As injection molding machine manufacturer Arburg was proud to announce at its annual Technology Days event: Don’t forget—you saw it here first.
So, what is "it"? Inline printing, which is being hailed as a genuinely new breakthrough in production integration. As the integration of upstream and downstream production processes goes ever further in the ongoing effort to produce parts in a cost-efficient manner, the need for flexible systems and components continues to grow.
Inline printing is an innovative technology that not only opens up new areas of application, but can also reduce the time-to-market for a product with a new motif from several months to a few hours. What makes this so special is the so-called InkBOT process from FPT Robotik, which combines digital printing and robotics. The inline printing system, which was running during the event, is integrated together with an electric Allrounder 370 E and a six-axis robotic system in a fully-automated production cell. Individually printed, curved name plates were being produced in a cycle time of around 20 seconds, to allow time for drying. Thanks to high-precision robotic system kinematics and improvements in the print heads supplied by the inkjet industry, the inline printing system makes it possible to exploit the benefits of digital printing in high-speed industrial production processes for the first time.