01/27/2015

www.gupta-verlag.de/rubber

Engel to showcase eight innovative applications at NPE2015

[image_0]According to Engel, the highlights include the first composite brake pedal manufactured in a one-shot process, the new high-performance e-speed machine, the particularly dynamic e-pic pick-and-place robot, as well as innovative service tools for an even higher level of process security and machine availability.[image_1_right] One main emphasis will be on lightweight construction, which is currently one of the areas with the strongest growth. "In the next few years we can look forward to strong growth in the injection moulding industry, particularly in the field of fibre composite engineering," points out Mark Sankovitch, President and CEO of Engel North America with headquarters in York, PA, USA. Directed fibre systems have long since established themselves in high-performance products - for example in the aircraft industry. For composite materials to find even wider use in high volume applications, such as in the automotive sector, the biggest challenge at present is to develop manufacturing processes that provide low unit costs despite high volumes. "Engel is providing ground-breaking offerings in thermoplastics solutions to provide production breakthroughs across all industries," emphasises Sankovitch. Injection moulding technologies offer great potential for this. Engel already fulfils another crucial success factor with its high levels of system solution and automation expertise. To promote even faster development of new processes, Engel established its own technology centre for lightweight composites in 2012 at the site of its large-scale machine production facility in St. Valentin, Austria. The technology centre was created primarily as a platform for interdisciplinary collaboration with international partner enterprises and universities. In collaboration with its system partners, Engel has been able to set several milestones in recent years.[image_2] Cost efficiency for high-volume lightweight construction Engel and its partner ZF Friedrichshafen will present one of these milestones in Orlando - a geometrically optimised and stress-resistant plastic brake pedal. The concept for manufacturing a hybrid brake pedal from thermoplastic fabric received the "Composite Innovations Award” in 2011, and has been consistently enhanced by ZF since then. Engel will be offering a glimpse into the efficiency of the new manufacturing process at its stand at the exhibition. Using a vertical Engel insert 1050H/230 single US injection moulding machine with an easix multi-axis industrial robot and infrared oven, a continuous-fibre-reinforced thermoplastic semi-finished product (known as thermoplastic fabric) will be heated, preformed in a mould and immediately over-moulded with polyamide. The system produces ready-to-fit components; no cutting is necessary. Thermoplastic fabric offers high strength and rigidity. In addition, the product developers at ZF have adapted the layer structure to the component load when designing the brake pedal. This enabled the component weight to be reduced by around 30 % compared to conventional steel brake pedals - without impairing load-bearing capacity. In addition, the lightweight construction method makes many conventional manufacturing process steps unnecessary, thereby increasing productivity and cutting unit costs, says Engel. The control unit of the easix multi-axis robot is fully integrated into the control unit of the injection moulding machine. As a result, besides making it easy to operate and program the robot, the movements of the machine and robot are precisely coordinated with each other. Since the robot has access to the machine parameters, the gripper can enter the mould area during the opening movement, which in turn reduces cycle times. Synchronous movements are particularly important when it comes to handling pre-heated semi-finished products, because semi-finished products must not be allowed to cool too rapidly in advance of the forming process. Another factor that determines quality in this application is the high positional accuracy of the multi-axis robot. Efficient multiple component injection moulding using standard technology According to Engel, while process integration offers advantages for many multiple component applications, it is not necessarily the most efficient solution. In addition to the requirements of the part being produced, the planned lot size, conditions on site and the existing machinery are also important when choosing the best fabrication process. One alternative to production with a multi-component mould and an integrated manufacturing cell would be to utilize a transfer process to link two, or more, injection moulding machines with a linear robot. The transfer process is advantageous when standard technology satisfies the production requirements, as opposed to making customised speciality machines necessary. Engel demonstrates what this can look like in practice with the production of double-ended wrenches on a system using two Engel e-mac 170/55 US machines with four-cavity moulds from Roembke (Ossian, Indiana, USA). The wrenches are made of carbon-fibre-reinforced polyamide which is over-moulded with silicone between the two ends for better grip. The part is injection moulded on the first machine in the cell, removed by a viper 12 linear robot and immediately placed in the mould of the second injection moulding machine which is situated opposite. During the processing of the liquid silicone, the first machine has begun production of the next wrench.   The compact size of the all-electric e-mac machines provides a space-saving solution for the production of technical parts with high demands on precision, says Engel. As a result, the productivity per square foot of production space increases, which has become a key figure for efficiency in an increasing number of businesses. The e-mac injection moulding machines provide high repeatability and reduced cycle times with parallel movement of the different drive axes. From injecting and metering to mould and ejector movements, all drives in the e-mac are servo-electric. According to the manufacturer, this guarantees the best possible precision and process stability while maximising the effectiveness of the machine as a whole. The drives are operated by a modern axis system solution involving a stabilised intermediate circuit in which the braking energy is recovered and fed back into the grid, thereby achieving very high energy efficiency. According to Engel, the e-mac achieves a high acceleration of up to 20 m/s² on the injection axis.   A special highlight at NPE2015 is the new Engel plus customer portal that the company will be presenting for the first time worldwide. Now customers can make service requests and order spare parts even more easily and quickly than before. Another positive aspect is the high level of transparency. The customer can for example track the status of a service request, which makes it possible to plan more reliably. The new customer app "opens the doors to the world of Engel, as well as one's own manufacturing facility,” says the company. A concise overview of the current status as well as the availability of all machines can be displayed in the app. "Our innovative strength at Engel is demonstrated not only in products and technologies," says Mark Sankovitch. "It is also our goal to continuously increase the benefit customers have from our service."   Engel at NPE2015, West Building, hall A, stand W1303

www.gupta-verlag.de/rubber