DIGITALISATION IS SAVING ENERGY & CUTTING CARBON DIOXIDE
Schwertberg, Austria – December 2022
Digital solutions are making it easy to maximize the full potential of production cells. They deliver a major contribution in terms of saving energy and cutting carbon footprints. At the Swiss Plastics Expo 2023 event, which will take place in Lucerne, Switzerland from 17 to 19 January, ENGEL will show how this works by using an all-electric, efficiency-optimised injection moulding machine. Connectors for vehicle electronics will be produced on its stand.
Where all components in a production cell – from the injection moulding machine to temperature control and digital assistance systems – are coordinated to the precise requirements of the product being manufactured and work together in complete harmony, energy savings of up to 67 percent are achievable. In the case of the trade show exhibit, this will be demonstrated by means of a PBT connector for vehicle electronics. Such delicate structures require highly precise moulding, which the all-electric ENGEL e-mac injection moulding machine with 800 kN of clamping force can guarantee. A four-cavity mould will be used, and the total shot weight will be 28 grams. An ENGEL viper linear robot in the new size 4 will remove the components from the mould and place them on the integrated conveyor belt.
Constant temperature conditions
To process one kilogram of PBT, the production cell to be presented at the Swiss Plastics Expo only needs 0.8 kWh of electricity. The all-electric drives of the e-mac machine contribute to this high degree of energy efficiency, which is enhanced still further by integrated temperature control technology in connection with digital solutions.
Mould temperature control is responsible for almost 40 percent of the total energy consumption of a production cell. This makes it by far the greatest energy consumer in injection moulding. With this in mind, ENGEL has devoted more than a decade to temperature control in injection moulding processes, building up its own product range. Accordingly, the e-mac 80 on show at the Swiss Plastics Expo will be equipped with e-flomo, e-temp and iQ flow control.
The e-flomo temperature-control water manifold system monitors and regulates the flow rate, pressure, temperature and temperature differences. On the basis of these measurement values, the smart iQ flow control assistance system actively regulates the temperature difference in all individual circuits. This means that the thermal conditions in the mould remain constant at all times, even if there are fluctuations in the system. The result is very high repeatability and minimum cooling water and energy consumption.
The integration of e-temp temperature control units into the CC300 control unit of the injection moulding machine via OPC UA delivers an additional energy saving. In the integrated ENGEL solution, the speed of the temperature control water pumps is automatically adapted to match the actual demand.
Optimum holding pressure time with just one click
The e-mac machine displayed at the Swiss Plastics Expo will be equipped not only with iQ flow control, but with all assistance systems available as part of ENGEL’s inject 4.0 programme. These can be activated and deactivated to enable visitors to the trade show to track functionality live, highlighting the major benefits of specific iQ solutions in terms of the day-today challenges of injection moulding. Experts from ENGEL will present various scenarios illustrating such topics as greater energy efficiency and consistent part quality, even where raw materials are subject to batch fluctuations.
Live on show: iQ hold control, the new smart assistant for nominal values that determines the ideal holding pressure time. Until now, holding pressure time has generally been determined empirically, which takes a long time and consumes a lot of raw materials. iQ hold control puts an end to the waste. The assistance system analyses mould breathing and pinpoints the position of the plasticising screw in order to calculate the ideal holding pressure time and pass this on to the set-up technician.
The holding pressure time is determined objectively, meaning that even less experienced process technicians can adjust the process parameters with just one click in case of a batch change. Further efficiency gains can result from the automatically determined optimum holding pressure time being lower than the holding pressure time set initially. In these cases, the cycle time is reduced and the energy requirement decreases.
Another highlight is the iQ process observer, which keeps track of hundreds of parameters in all four phases of the injection moulding process – plasticising, injection, cooling and demoulding. Through continuous analysis and preparation of the data obtained, the iQ process observer enables the fast diagnosis of quality variations. The software incorporates intelligent drift detection, which can be used to indicate process changes proactively, thereby keeping the number of rejects under control.
ENGEL at the Swiss Plastics Expo 2023: Hall 1, stand A 1001
High performance in a compact and cost-effective package
With the e-mac, ENGEL has complemented its range with an all-electric injection moulding machine that combines high precision, performance and energy efficiency with an extremely compact machine design, all for a relatively low investment cost. The machine is tailored to the needs of the medium performance segment, which is characterised by cycle times in excess of four seconds. The injection moulding machines in the all-electric e-mac series are used in technical moulding applications and the packaging and medical sectors as well as the teletronics industry.
All movements of the ENGEL e-mac – including the nozzle movement and ejection – are performed by servo-electric drives. This means that the machine achieves very high overall efficiency. The ENGEL e-mac injection unit was developed from scratch with a focus on even better dynamics. It is available in three performance classes to ensure the machine can adapt to precise requirements while maximising overall efficiency.
Across the whole series, e-mac machines of the latest generation are some of the most compact in the world in their respective performance segments when compared against other all-electric injection moulding machines on the market. Thanks to optimised toggle lever geometry, the machines are shorter than previous versions, without reducing the opening stroke. This guarantees a high productivity per unit of area – an increasingly important indicator of efficiency for many businesses.