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1/12/2016 | 1 MINUTE READ

INJECTION MOLDING: More User-Friendly Process Monitor

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More monitoring channels and digital outputs, and software features to make it easier to use.

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At the recent Fakuma 2015 show in Germany, the Swiss parent of Kistler Instrument Corp., Amherst, N.Y., introduced its latest injection molding process-monitoring and analysis system, called ComoNeo. It replaces the monitoring functions of the Como Injection system; a new process-control module will arrive for the K 2016 show in Germany this fall.

ComoNeo comprises new hardware and software. The hardware module (mounted on the press) accepts twice the number of cavity-pressure signals as before (32 vs. 16), as well as 8 or 16 cavity-temperature inputs. Likewise the number of digital outputs (24) has also doubled to permit parts sorting in greater numbers. The system offers Ethernet or USB connectivity, and can also accept four 10V machine signals.

The new user interface is a 15.6-in. industrial touchscreen, which can be detached for portability as a tablet. It accepts swipe gestures like a smartphone.

New software—which can be accessed via the Internet on smartphones, PCs, or tablets—is said to be more user-friendly and to require less expertise to use. For example, it reportedly reduces the number of clicks to set up and run the system by 50% to 80%. It automatically computes a range of standard monitoring parameters from the incoming data, such as maximum cavity pressure, area under the pressure curve, and mold temperatures.

A new feature called the EO Assistant is a “wizard”-type program that guides the user interactively to define which areas of the pressure curve are to be monitoring for quality control. The Assistant/wizard also suggests manual changes to machine settings to simulate natural variation in the process. After identifying good and bad parts produced over the process range, the Assistant/wizard defines the process window for good parts. As shown in the accompanying photo, the monitoring display overlays the curves for different cycles and different cavities and allows the user to show/hide individual cavities.

Another major new feature is the Dashboard, an overview screen (see photo) that includes a trend display of process fluctuations, information on the current mold, current production total and forecast when the job will end, “live” display of cavity-pressure curves  for the current cycle, pressure differences among the cavities to measure mold balancing, and color-coded status display of all cavities.

ComoNeo also offers User Management—assigning specific roles for various users, tracking who changed what and when, and ability to lock out further changes from unauthorized users.