Automotive: In situ polymerisation pointing the way to the future




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Press release


ENGEL Symposium 2012: 2500 Guests expected

Integrated solutions for more competitiveness

Schwertberg/Austria – April 2012. It’s show time at ENGEL AUSTRIA – on 13th and 14th June, the international injection moulding industry will be convening in Austria for the ENGEL Symposium 2012 in St. Valentin and Linz. With challenging applications and innovative technologies on a total of 18 exhibits, with keynotes on the megatrends of the future in injection moulding, an exhibition by partner companies, and the HL Awards Ceremony 2012, the ENGEL Symposium is a highlight in this year's event calendar that some 2500 guests are expected to attend.

How can one continue to boost efficiency in injection moulding? What opportunities do innovative technologies offer for more competitiveness? How can individual strengths be converted into factors for global success? – Attendees can look forward to answers to these questions and others at the ENGEL Symposium 2012. For two days, events at the ENGEL large-scale machine works in St. Valentin and at the Design Centre in Linz will focus on every aspect of injection moulding technology and its automation solutions.

Different industries pose different requirements and need different solutions – focusing on automotive, technical moulding, telecommunications, packaging and medical technology, ENGEL will be showing – based on the example of 18 highly integrated and automated production cells – how customisation of the systems to best match the task in hand can help to leverage the maximum efficiency potential. The whole of the ENGEL product portfolio and a wide selection of new and established process technologies will be deployed. Visitors can look forward to several global firsts: among other things, ENGEL will for the first time be showing the large-scale, electric ENGEL e-duo machine, the new design of the ENGEL victory 500 and innovative solutions for in situ polymerisation and low-temperature vulcanisation.

Automotive: In situ polymerisation pointing the way to the future

The highlights in the automotive section of the exhibition is a prototype plant for manufacturing fibre composite semi-finished products in reactive thermoplastic injection moulding. Inserts for brake pedals will be produced on an ENGEL e-victory 310H/310V/120 combi injection moulding machine. For this purpose, first of all a fibre pre-mould is created. The latter is then insert-placed into the mould by an ENGEL easix multiple axis robot, where it is impregnated with  Caprolactam by a newly developed, servo-electrically driven high-pressure RTM injection unit immediately before polymerisation to polyamide 6 occurs in the heated mould.

ENGEL developed the in situ polymerisation technology in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT in Pfinztal/Germany. This technology is characterised by a totally new type of monomer preparation and metering as well as an efficient solution for automated handling of the unstable shape of the fibre pre-mould. "Due to the extremely low viscosity of  Caprolactam, even the finest fibre filaments can be infiltrated without damage and tailored fibre structures can be integrated to reflect the load", emphasises Peter Egger, the Head of the Technology Centre for Lightweight Composites at ENGEL AUSTRIA. "This development clearly points the way into the future of fibre composite lightweight construction." Another developing partner is ZF in Friedrichshafen/Germany.

Two production cells centring around ENGEL duo large-scale machines show how what were formerly multiple stage production processes can be combined in a single step to achieve efficiency and product quality. Using ENGEL clearmelt technology, an ENGEL duo 2050/350 pico – equipped with the ENGEL ecodrive energy saving option – and using rotary plate technology, will be creating central consoles with integrated functional elements in a single step.

The second duo machine, an ENGEL duo 11050H/4550M/1500 combi M, will be using the Dolphin process to create dashboards with a soft touch surface. This extremely economical production process went into serial production for the first time last autumn. Daimler supplier SOLE uses Dolphin to produce cockpit covers for the new Mercedes-Benz Actros.

An all-electric ENGEL e-max 310/100 injection moulding machine rounds off the spectrum of automotive applications with the production of visible parts.

All five production cells in the Automotive division are highly automated. Both ENGEL viper linear devices – including the new size viper 90 – and ENGEL easix multiple axis robots are used. "easix sees ENGEL enter into a new age of convenient robot control," emphasises Jörg Fuhrmann, Head of Automation Systems with ENGEL AUSTRIA. "Thanks to the complete integration of the robot control unit into the CC 200 control unit on the ENGEL injection moulding machine, the robot can be controlled using the familiar, uncomplicated instructions of the ENGEL control unit."

The systems are also efficient in terms of their consumption. Fitted with ENGEL ecodrive servohydraulics, hydraulic injection moulding machines by ENGEL can realise energy savings of up to 70 percent – depending on the machine type and application – thus achieving consumption levels on a par with those of all-electric machines. The ecodrive energy saving option is available for all hydraulic injection moulding machines by ENGEL. The ENGEL e-victory hybrid machines are equipped with ecodrive as a factory standard.

Technical Moulding: tie-bar-less technology frees up space for large moulds

Lightweight construction is not only the driver for new developments in the automotive industry. Manufacturers of household appliances are increasingly looking into this trend, as the wringing forks for floor mops by ENGEL customer Leifheit, Nassau/Germany go to prove. The wringing forks are manufactured from polypropylene on a tie-bar-less ENGEL victory 3550/500 tech injection moulding machine with ecodrive and viper 40 robot using the ENGEL gasmelt process. Gas injection technology makes components lighter, which in turn makes them more convenient to use. At the same time, this reduces the material requirements and the cost per unit without impacting stability and quality. Besides these advantages, the high level of process stability achieved by ENGEL injection moulding technology was an important criterion for Leifheit, when they came to select a machine supplier. The wringing forks are injected into a 4-cavity mould whose balance posed a major challenge for legacy gas injection technology. However, ENGEL gasmelt helped Leifheit to achieve a very high level of reproducibility and minimal reject rates.

Something that will be particularly impressive for visitors to the symposium is the size of the 4-cavity mould which can be mounted on a 500 tonne machine despite having a height of 2 metres. Thanks to tie-bar-less technology, the mould fixing platens can be used right up to the edges on the ENGEL victory machines. Additionally, the wide machine frame, which allows the mould to protrude down into the shaft, also turns out to be an advantage.

The ENGEL victory 500 injection moulding machine is showing off its new design for the first time at the symposium. The two-part safety gate, which is particularly easy to open, is another new feature. In addition to this, the designers have also created space next to the machine control unit for depositing a laptop, clamping data sheets, and for additional operator control units.

ENGEL is exhibiting a particularly sophisticated two-component application in collaboration with its customer Zumtobel Lighting, whose head offices are in Dornbirn, Austria. Ceiling lamp housings are first injected in polycarbonate on an ENGEL victory 1350/300 tech and then immediately sealed with a polyurethane bead. An ENGEL easix multiple axis robot demonstrates its excellent consistency and reproducibility of movement in this application with the sealing bead being applied to the root of the sealing groove which is just a couple of millimetres wide. The entire production cell including the PUR plant (Sonderhoff, Cologne/Germany), robot and conveyor belt is extremely compact and fits inside the footprint of the machine.

Teletronics: ENGEL duo large-scale machine electrified

ENGEL has electrified its dual platen large-scale machine from the duo series for highest precision with the shortest possible cycle times. The new ENGEL e-duo will be celebrating its world premiere at St. Valentin in June, and featuring a highly innovative application into the bargain. An ENGEL e-duo 2440/500 will be producing in-mould decorated laptop covers. The labels and the finished parts are handled by an integrated ENGEL easix robot.

In collaboration with system partners, ENGEL has succeeded in using injection-compression moulding to develop a highly efficient solution for manufacturing premium laptop covers in an IML process which allows previously unachievable thicknesses of less than 1 mm to be realised. The material pairing shown at the symposium with a scratchproof coated PC foil and a PC carrier demonstrate a torsion free component without damage to the foil on an injection-compression mould by Inmold Technologies, Suzhou/China. The plant is also an innovation in terms of the foil feed. Despite cleanroom technology, the rejects rate in in-mould labelling is frequently still too high; for this reason ENGEL has improved the foil cleaning technology and shifted the brushes (Wandres, Buchenbach-Wagensteig/Germany) immediately close to the machine's mould space. In terms of cleanroom technology, Max Petek Reinraumtechnik, Radolfzell/Germany is supporting this project.

"The trend in Consumer Electronics products is towards customisation. The design is becoming an important differentiating feature", emphasises Heinz Rasinger, Head of the ENGEL Teletronics Business Unit. "The challenge for the manufacturer now is to create premium, individually-decorated surfaces while at the same time reducing the component size and weight." ENGEL will be processing a wide range of foils during the event. A variety of foil designs in analogue and digital printing technologies document freedom of design for visible parts. Our partner here is Bayer MaterialScience, Leverkusen/Germany, for the polycarbonate and hardcoat foils.

Thin wall technology in combination with excellent surface quality, this is the requirement that Amazon poses for the case of its Kindle eReader. The front covers are manufactured on ENGEL injection moulding machines using Variothermal technology. During the symposium, a single cavity mould by RocTool, Le Bourget du Lac/France, will be used for this on an all-electric ENGEL e-motion 940/200 T injection moulding machine. "This application shows the optimum performance that can currently be achieved using inductive-variothermal mould temperature control," says Heinz Rasinger. "The matt grey surface is just as demanding as designs using glossy piano black." Thanks to variothermal temperature control, the surface is free from sink marks and flow lines, although the wall thickness varies across the component. It is just 0.4 mm at the thinnest part. The material processed here is a viscose polycarbonate type. The small shot volumes necessitate extremely precise machine technology. The all-electric ENGEL e-motion returns the best results here. At the same time, parallel operation of the individual electric drives keeps the cycle times low despite variothermal technology.

No warpage on parts and a short time-to-market, these are the most important benefits of the ENGEL foammelt technology, foam injection moulding in line with MuCell (Trexel, Wilmington/MA, USA), which will be demonstrated in St. Valentin on an ENGEL e-victory 310/90 injection moulding machine. The machine will be producing plug housings of PBT/ASA with 30 percent glass fibre. The decisive thing about this technology is the high dimensional stability of the foammelt components, into which the contacts are shot after completing injection moulding. Our project partner here is FCI in Mattighofen/Austria.

Medical: Higher throughput with lower costs per unit

The all-electric ENGEL e-motion injection moulding machine is the focus of the Medical section of the exhibition. Three machines in cleanroom design will be presenting integrated solutions that live up to the trend of more efficiency in high-volume production of disposables. After all, cost pressure is increasing in medical technology, too. "We are seeing a trend towards larger, electric machines," says Christoph Lhota, Head of the ENGEL medical Business Unit. "The factor driving this trend is the increasing use of large, multiple cavity moulds for comparatively small articles with exacting precision requirements."

An ENGEL e-motion 80H/80W/180 T WP combi will be creating parts for auto-injectors on a servo-electric 16+16-cavity index platen mould by Hack Formenbau, Kirchheim u. Teck/Germany, in a two-component injection moulding process. This is a product by SHL (Scandinavian Health), a Swedish medical technology manufacturer.

The syringe barrels including needles are produced in a single step on an ENGEL e-motion 200/100 T. To allow this to happen, the needles are inserted into a 4-cavity pilot mould by ZAHORANSKY, Freiburg/Germany, and overmoulded with COC/COP. An ENGEL easix takes the syringe barrels out of the mould. Because take-off occurs in parallel to insert-placing of a new set of needles, the plant achieves extremely short cycle times. In the legacy process, the needle holder is first manufactured in an injection moulding step and the hollow needles are then glued in later.

With the third ENGEL medical exhibit, it's all about speed. An all-electric ENGEL e-motion 310/100 T machine will be producing polystyrene needle holders for safety hypodermics using a 16-cavity precision mould by Fostag, Stein am Rhein/Switzerland. In high-speed automation the moulded parts are taken off the mould and deposited sorted by cavity. The take-off only takes half a second. ENGEL's partner for automation for this exhibit is Hekuma, Eching/Germany.

Packaging: Ready for maximum performance

Taking speed and performance to the next level in packaging: "With cycle times of less than 3 seconds and injection speeds of up to 460 mm/second, the all-electric ENGEL e-cap injection moulding machines are perfectly suited to deployment in fast-cycling and high-performance applications in the packaging industry", says Dr. Christoph Steger, Head of the ENGEL packaging Business Unit. During the symposium, an ENGEL e-cap 3440/420 will be producing just over 130,000 sealing caps per hour in a 96-cavity mould by Plastisud, Castelnaudary/France, with a cycle time faster than 2.8 seconds. A single cap including its seal strip weighs just 1.3 g, thus enormously and sustainably reducing the unit costs in combination with the unusually high levels of energy efficiency achieved by the e-cap. A camera-based quality monitoring system by IMD vista, Brügg/Switzerland guarantees 100 percent quality control.

The production of 12 litre buckets on a new ENGEL s-duo 4500/700 pico machine with ecodrive plus will be setting a different kind of speed records. To be able to use the benefits of the duo series – lots of power on a small footprint – for that kind of applications, the machine was equipped with a special inline injection unit for high injection speeds and pressures. In addition, the motion sequence on the clamping unit has been substantially accelerated. “This enables the dual-platen machine to achieve unusually short cycle times for this machine type", says Dr. Christoph Steger. The ENGEL s-duo injection moulding machine was specially designed for bucket production. "s" stands for speed.

Where lightweight rules the automotive industry, packaging is the domain of thin-wall technology. On an all-electric ENGEL e-motion 310H/50V/180 T combi, ENGEL is demonstrating the production of food packaging with particularly thin wall thicknesses that still possess a middle layer with a barrier function to protect the product against light and oxygen. A high precision injection unit is necessary to allow the barrier layer to be reliably implemented up to the edge. An additional camera system ensures 100 percent quality control and confirms the high level of reproducibility achieved by the all-electric ENGEL e-motion machine. The 2-cavity mould for this application is provided by ENGEL customer ZAO Mir Upakovki, who is based in Sertolovo near St. Petersburg/Russia.

Elast/LIM: Low-temperature vulcanisation opens up new opportunities

ENGEL also has a world premiere in the elastomer processing product programme. For the first time, a new vulcanisation method developed in collaboration with partner Elmet, Oftering/Austria, will be demonstrated on an ENGEL victory 200/80 LIM machine. "Low-temperature vulcanisation opens up new opportunities in multi-component technology", emphasises Leopold Praher, Head of Sales Elast/LIM with ENGEL AUSTRIA. "Liquid silicon can now be combined with a wide range of thermoplastics directly in injection moulding." During the symposium, sample parts made of a silicon by Momentive Performance Materials, Columbus, OH/USA, will be injected.

The vertical ENGEL elast 2700/400 V compact injection moulding machine with ecodrive, which will be producing lashing belts using an 8-cavity mould by ÖKT, Hostim/Czech Republic, will be demonstrating the enormous energy-saving potential in elastomer processing. The long heating times required in comparison with thermoplastic processing are decisive. As the ecodrive drive is idle during the heating phases, ecodrive is particularly apparent in the energy equation in this application. One boost for ergonomics is the low operating height of the ENGEL elast 400 V compact machine, which facilitates manual insert-placing work. The raw materials supplier for this application is Kraiburg, Waldkraiburg/Germany.

An all-electric ENGEL e-motion 740/180 T WP injection moulding machine with roto feeder will be used to manufacture BMC headlamp housings at the symposium. The ENGEL roto feeder feed system ensures maximum process reliability in the processing of duroplasts and solid silicons. A rotating hopper with counter-rotating screw ensures that the material is fed in continuously, without inclusions and at a constant pressure. The partner companies for this exhibit are Automotive Lighting in Reutlingen/Germany (processing and mould making) and Lorenz Kunststofftechnik in Wallenhorst-Hollage/Germany (raw material).

HL Awards for excellent tie-bar-less applications

Innovation is the driving force for shorter cycle times, increased productivity and less energy consumption – as the 18 exhibits at the ENGEL Symposium 2012 impressively demonstrate. At the same time, the applications reveal how important collaboration with the right partners can be. ENGEL system partners from the fields of mould making, peripheral units, raw materials and services will be presenting their businesses and products during the event in the scope of a partner company exhibition. In the accompanying programme of keynotes, the topics include machine concepts of the future, the potential of injection moulding technology and new lightweight solutions. Another highlight at the ENGEL Symposium is the HL Award Ceremony 2012 on the evening of 13th June at the Design Centre in Linz. These are ENGEL's awards for excellent applications with ENGEL tie-bar-less machines.

ENGEL trend.scaut 2012: Focus on electromobility

The automotive industry is meeting one day before the ENGEL Symposium opens. On 12th June, the international automotive conference, ENGEL trend.scaut, takes place in Linz. The focus topic this year is electromobility. In particular, technologies revolving around the topic of lightweight construction play an increasingly weighty role. OEMs are faced with the challenge of implementing the new technologies in a production-mature and economically viable way. ENGEL trend.scaut and the ENGEL Symposium 2012 point the way into the future.

Pictures

With 18 exhibits, keynotes and the HL Awards Ceremony, the ENGEL Symposium is a highlight in this year's event calendar. The automotive industry is meeting one day before the ENGEL Symposium opens. On 12th June, the international automotive conference, ENGEL trend.scaut, takes place.

ENGEL automotive

Inserts for brake pedals will be produced on an ENGEL e-victory 310H/310V/120 combi injection moulding machine by applying the in situ polymerisation technology.


The ENGEL viper robots are available with a nominal load-bearing capacity of 90 kilograms.


ENGEL technical moulding

The ENGEL victory 500 injection moulding machine is showing off its new design. Wringing forks for floor mops are manufactured on an ENGEL victory 3550/500 tech.
Ceiling lamp housings are first injected in polycarbonate on an ENGEL victory 1350/300 tech and then immediately sealed with a polyurethane bead. An ENGEL easix multiple axis robot demonstrates its excellent consistency and reproducibility of movement in this application.


ENGEL teletronics
The new ENGEL e-duo will be celebrating its world premiere. An ENGEL e-duo 2440/500 will be producing in-mould decorated laptop covers.

Thin wall technology in combination with excellent surface quality, this is the requirement that Amazon poses for the case of its Kindle eReader. The front covers are manufactured on ENGEL injection moulding machines using Variothermal technology.

ENGEL medical

Higher throughput with lower costs per unit: An ENGEL e-motion 80H/80W/180 T WP combi will be creating parts for auto-injectors on a servo-electric 16+16-cavity index platen mould.

The syringe barrels including needles are produced in a single step on an ENGEL e-motion 200/100 T.

ENGEL packaging


Ready for maximum performance: An ENGEL e-cap 3440/420 will be producing just over 130,000 sealing caps per hour in a 96-cavity mould by Plastisud with a cycle time faster than 2.8 seconds.

The production of 12 litre buckets on a new ENGEL s-duo 4500/700 pico machine with ecodrive plus will be setting a different kind of speed records. The dual-platen machine achieves unusually short cycle times for this machine type.

ENGEL elast/LIM

The ENGEL roto feeder feed system ensures maximum process reliability in the processing of duroplasts and solid silicons.


ENGEL AUSTRIA GmbH

ENGEL is one of the global leaders in the manufacture of plastics processing machines. Today, the ENGEL Group offers a full range of technology modules for plastics processing as a single source supplier: Injection moulding machines for thermoplastics and elastomers, and automation, with the assurance that individual components are also competitive and successful in the world markets. With eight production plants in Europe, North America and Asia (China, Korea) as well as subsidiaries and representatives in over 85 countries, ENGEL offers its customers the optimal global support they need to compete and succeed with new technologies and leading-edge production systems.
Contact address for queries:

    Gerd Liebig, Group Marketing Director, ENGEL AUSTRIA GmbH,
    Ludwig-Engel-Strasse 1, A-4311 Schwertberg/Austria, Tel.: +43 (0)50 / 620-3800, Fax: -3009
    E-mail: gerd.liebig@engel.at


Susanne Zinckgraf, Manager Public Relations, ENGEL AUSTRIA GmbH,
Ludwig-Engel-Strasse 1, A-4311 Schwertberg/Austria,

PR Office: Theodor-Heuss-Str. 85, D-67435 Neustadt/Germany, Tel.: +49 (0)6327/97699-02, Fax: -03

E-mail: susanne.zinckgraf@engel.at

ENGEL AUSTRIA GmbH, A-4311 Schwertberg/Austria,

Tel.: +43 50 620-0, Fax: +43 50 620-3009
E-mail: susanne.zinckgraf@engel.at, http://www.engelglobal.com

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