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Injection Molding: Industry 4.0 Advances at Fakuma 2017

At October’s Fakuma fair in Germany, several injection machine suppliers will showcase their progress toward Industry 4.0 connectivity.


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At this month’s Fakuma fair in Germany, several injection machine suppliers will showcase their progress toward Industry 4.0 connectivity. Here are examples:

Engel Austria (U.S. office in York, Pa.) will emphasize three aspects of its Engel 4.0 program. In the category of “smart machine” Engel will highlight its iQ control software. As of this month, iQ weight monitor, which ensures consistent shot weight, is standard on all new Engel machines. Also, its iQ clamp control (introduced at the last Fakuma in 2015) is now available in a version for large hydraulic machines in Engel’s two-platen duo series. Originally, this control was offered only for electric-drive clamps up to 220 m.t. And Engel’s newest, the iQ flow control for mold cooling, works with a new fluid temperature-control unit (TCU) with variable-speed pump from HB-Therm. The milestone at this Fakuma is integrating the TCU with the injection machine’s CC300 control via the OPC-UA communication protocol, which is becoming standard for Industry 4.0.

Under the heading, “smart production,” Engel is emphasizing its authentig MES system, developed by T.I.G. in Austria, which became part of Engel last year. New for Fakuma is a certified SAP interface for authentig and a new energy module, which not only displays the energy consumption of different machines in a plant, but also caps peaks in power demand based on user-defined situational consumption limits for individual machines.

As for “smart service,” all Engel’s service products are now integrated into a redesigned e-connect customer portal. The new version is being launched for German, Austrian, Swiss, and UK markets at Fakuma; next in line will be other European countries and the U.S.

Also, the new e-connect.monitor program for preventive-maintenance monitoring of machine functions is now integrated into the customer portal. One of the first functions is wear monitoring of screws by sensing the flight clearance through the barrel wall. Engel says this solution is already being used on large machines in automotive.

Sumitomo (SHI) Demag (U.S. office in Strongsville, Ohio) will demonstrate Industry 4.0 in molding an auto interior sun visor on a Systec Multi two-component machine. Finished parts are moved by the robot to a laser-marking station, which applies a data matrix code (DMC) that is unique for each part. During laser marking, the press transmits all important process data relating to that shot to a MES from BFA of Switzerland. Long-term traceability of the part’s manufacturing history will be demonstrated by using a hand-held laser scanner to pull up on a PC all the stored process data from the MES for the part in question.

Sumitomo Demag will also highlight its new generation of IntElect all-electric machines, along with the new SDR 5P servo sprue picker.

Wittmann Battenfeld (U.S. office in Torrington, Conn.) is emphasizing the integration of injection machines and auxiliaries into a network under “Wittmann 4.0.” For the first time, Wittmann’s Aton wheel-type dryer will be integrated into the Unilog B8 machine controller, along with previously integrated robots, Tempro TCUs, Gravimax blenders, and Flowcon water-flow controllers.

The company will also demonstrate gas-assist molding with the Airmould interface to the nitrogen generator and compressor integrated into the Unilog B8 controller. In addition, Wittmann will introduce two new MES partners. For Europe, its partner will be MPDV Mikrolab GmbH. The partner for North America will be IQMS, Paso Robles, Calif. These MES systems integrate injection machines into a corporate network. The SmartMonitoring module can be integrated on every Unilog 8 monitor screen so that the status of all machines in the network can be viewed from each press. Wittmann says it will also present publicly for the first time the integration of an injection machine into an MES network via the new Euromap 77/83 protocol based on OPC/UA.

Milacron Plastics Technologies, Cincinnati, will highlight “smart manufacturing” with “Milacron 4.0,” described as “a full suite of observational, analytical, and transactional systems and services with a focus on lean manufacturing.” Milacron is also offering LSR capability as a new option for its Mold-Masters E-Multi secondary injection units.