Medical: even more safety in the clean roomThe centerpiece in Engel's medical exhibition space at Fakuma combines no less than three premieres at the same time: the all-electric and tie-bar-less Engel e-motion TL machine in the new 80-tonnes variant; and Engel is setting new standards in consistent GMP-compliant clean room production with the new stainless steel pipe distributor and gripper housing.
During the five days of the fair, an Engel e-motion 170/80 TL will be producing needle holders for 1-ml safety syringes in a 16-cavity mould by Fostag Formenbau (Stein am Rhein, Switzerland). The filigree polystyrene parts – the shot weight is just 0.08 g per part – are designed with a predetermined breaking point that makes it impossible to re-use disposable syringes. This is an important safety feature, especially in emerging countries.
The very thin and different wall thicknesses require extremely precise process control. Too high a clamping force, or fluctuations in the melt volume immediately lead to rejects. To prevent this, two software solutions from the iQ product family by Engel are used. One of them is iQ weight control, which automatically detects fluctuations in the melt volume and material viscosity and compensates for them in the same shot. The other is iQ clamp control, the new Engel software, which continuously adjusts the clamping force to match the current process parameters based on the mould breathing.
In terms of design, too, the Engel e-motion 80 TL ticks all the boxes for constant process control. The innovative frame concept of the all-electric tie-bar-less machine guarantees particularly high platen parallelism and ensures that the clamping force is evenly distributed across the mould mounting surface.
Engel introduced the all-electric and tie-bar-less small-scale machine at K 2013, and is now extending the model range upwards with the 80-tonnes variant. Because there are no tie bars in the way, the mould mounting platens can be fully used up to their very edges. This means that large moulds can be mounted on relatively small injection moulding machines, which in turn keeps the investment and operating costs low and enables particularly compact production cells. In the clean room in particular, productivity per floor space has already become an important efficiency metric.
Further benefits of tie-bar-less technology include fast tooling processes and efficient automation solutions because the robot can reach the cavities directly from the side without having to work around any obstacles. The trade fair exhibit will also demonstrate this. The Engel e‑motion 80 TL is equipped with an Engel viper 12 linear robot that transfers the needle holders to the pipe distribution system. The moulded parts are packed in bags separated by cavity in order to support batch tracking right through to the level of individual cavities. To avoid interrupting production when changing the bags, the distribution system is equipped with a buffer. The pipe distributor developed by Engel, in contrast to systems previously available on the market, is made completely of stainless steel and thus contributes towards reducing particulate emissions in the clean room.
The robot gripper housing, also developed by Engel, achieves something similar. Thanks to its smooth, easy to clean surfaces, the housing enables the use of standard grippers in the GMP environment.
As a system provider, Engel is continually expanding its portfolio of GMP-compliant peripherals. For example, conveyor belts are also offered in a special clean room design. From a single source, Engel supplies highly integrated and automated production cells for medical technology and also handles the entire GMP documentation for its customers, on request.