Industry News

Arburg at Fakuma: To Demonstrate Comprehensive Portfolio for Efficient Plastics Processing

Published on 2014-08-08. Author : SpecialChem

LOSSBURG -- At Fakuma 2014, which takes place from 14 to 18 October in Friedrichshafen, Arburg will present the next step in its production efficiency strategy. In addition to a holistic approach, the focus will also be on the cost-effective production of plastic parts, from one-off parts to mass-produced items. Thanks to the expansion of the product portfolio to include the Freeformer, Arburg is now the only manufacturer to cover the entire spectrum from additive manufacturing to injection molding. The total of eleven exhibits on the exhibition stand in Hall A3 will also present innovative applications, special industrial and automation solutions as well as practical examples regarding the future topics of Industry 4.0, functional integration and lightweight construction.

"The Fakuma will provide us with an opportunity to demonstrate that we offer our customers a truly comprehensive portfolio for efficient plastics processing," states Michael Hehl, Managing Partner and Spokesperson for the Arburg Management Team. "The eleven exhibits will give visitors a practical insight into how such product-oriented solutions can look. Key areas of industry will be represented, such as the automotive, medical technology and packaging sectors, as well as complex processes such as Arburg Plastic Freeforming (AKF), three-component injection molding, long-fiber direct injection molding, micro-injection molding, Particle-foam Composite Injection Molding (PCIM) and liquid silicone processing (LSR). Production efficiency will be the common thread running through our entire Fakuma presentation and will be the focus of each exhibit."

Individual: additive manufacturing with the Freeformer

The two Freeformers will demonstrate how plastic parts can be produced economically as one-off parts or in small-volume batches directly from CAD data, without requiring a mold. These machines use inexpensive standard granulate, building up the parts in a drop-by-drop process. This industrial process can be used to produce fully functional parts, not just demo samples and prototypes, and also enables new geometries to be achieved.

The two Freeformer exhibits will have a three-axis component carrier and two discharge units, in order to produce plastic parts from two different materials. The focus will be on two-component parts and products with supporting structures that can be subsequently removed in a water bath or by mechanical means. Furthermore, the Freeformer will be integrated in the "Industry 4.0" project, which will involve the production of customized molded parts.

Productive: around 31,500 disposable articles produced and ready-to-ship every hour

An electric Allrounder 820 A with a clamping force of 4,000 kN and a size 2100 electric injection unit will demonstrate the cost-effective production of mass-produced articles. This exhibit will show the potential of the high-performance Alldrive electric series in a high-speed application. A 24+24-cavity mold from Fratelli Bianchi will be used to produce 24 knives and forks in around 5.5 seconds, including demolding, set-down and immediate packaging. This corresponds to an output of around 31,500 ready-to-ship parts per hour.

The other hydraulic, hybrid and electric Allrounder injection molding machines will also demonstrate a wide range of capabilities, from individual plastic parts to mass-produced articles.

New: complete micro-injection unit

Evidence of Arburg's targeted approach to the development of its machine and component range will also be demonstrated in a micro-injection molding exhibit. Following the micro-injection module, the Arburg range now includes a complete micro-injection unit in Euromap size 5, which will be unveiled for the first time at the Fakuma. The exhibit, which will be built around an electric Allrounder 270 A is designed as a production unit for micro parts and produces four 0.03 gram micro counter wheel. A clean room enclosure ensures a clean environment and the micro-injection unit enables very precise plasticizing. It combines a 15-millimetre screw for melting the material with an 8-millimetre injection screw. This means that standard granulate can be used to achieve very small shot weights and tolerances measured in microns.

In addition, there is the specially configured Multilift H 3+1 horizontal robotic system, which removes the sprue and the delicate micro parts and gently sets them down, segregated according to cavity.

Industry 4.0: a glimpse of tomorrow today

Also when it comes to important future topics, such as Industry 4.0, functional integration and lightweight construction, Arburg will show just what is possible in practice at the Fakuma.

Industry 4.0 is a future project involving the vision of a smart factory. This requires the networking of machines, order information and process data. The fact that this vision can already be a reality will be demonstrated by Arburg at the Fakuma with the optional production of left and right-handed scissors on an electric Allrounder 370 E. An individual QR code will then be applied by laser, so that all of the most important process parameters of the relevant item can be retrieved online. The Arburg host computer system (ALS) is of central importance here, networking various independent stations, recording all the parameters and transmitting them to a web server. The scissors can then be customized to individual requirements using the Freeformer.

Enhanced efficiency: reducing weight, integrating functions

The production of a lightweight component for the automotive industry that also has a high level of rigidity will be demonstrated by a hydraulic Allrounder 820 S using long-fiber direct injection molding. The advantages of this process include the flexible adjustment of the fiber length to up to 50 millimeters, the low incidence of fiber damage in the plastic melt and the lower material costs in comparison with long-fiber granulates.

Another interesting lightweight construction process is Particle-foam Composite Injection Molding, which Arburg will present at the Fakuma with an example of function integration, the main topic of the Blue Competence campaign "There's more to plastic", run by the Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association (KuG) within the German Machinery and Plant Manufacturers Association (VDMA). Together with its partners Krallmann and Ruch Novaplast, Arburg will be showing the practical application of this innovative process. A foamed part product component will be produced on the compact foaming system integrated in the production cell. A six-axis robotic system inserts this into the injection mold, where a thread is molded on in a positive bond. These composite parts — consisting of a foamed and a molded plastic component — can be integrated in a further step as standardized parts for example in a foamed housing, enabling media lines to be connected easily with an effective seal.

A further innovative application will be presented on a hybrid Allrounder 520 H in "Packaging" version: the production of a SKET cup, a recent development of Uniplast, a company belonging to the Knauer group. The mold and the highly flexible Multiflex IML robot are made by H. Müller-Fabrique de Moules SA. The special geometry of the cup, with spiral-shaped flow aids, enable extremely thin walls to be produced with a thickness of less than 0.3 millimeter in conjunction with a relatively thick sealing edge, so that the cups can be reliably sealed in production. The cup is produced with innovative peel-off cardboard labels which can be easily removed to reveal printed product information on the inside. The cycle time of this application is under five seconds.

Trends in automation: complex and/or flexible

Automation plays a key role in efficient production, ensuring process stability, availability, high output and part quality. Two trends are in evidence. On the one hand, turnkey systems are becoming increasingly complex, while on the other, there is a demand for highly flexible automation solutions. Arburg will provide proof of the wide range of its offerings at the Fakuma: from the electric Integralpicker and the linear Multilift robotic systems, through to six-axis robots. An intelligent solution will be presented in the form of an interactive process involving human/robot cooperation, in which inserts are transferred manually to the robotic system. This ensures flexibility and disposes with the need for complex feeder peripherals.

High-level flexibility and complexity are also offered by the mobile robotic cell with a small six-axis robotic system from Kuka, which also moves along an additional linear axis. The advantages of this solution, implemented with cooperative partner fpt Robotik, are short cycle times, an increased working area and the option of using the cell on different Allrounder machines.

A suitable solution in every case

"Our Fakuma exhibits underline that each machine and production solution from Arburg can be specifically tailored to the requirements of the customer, industry and product — that's all part of what we mean by production efficiency," explains Michael Hehl.

About Arburg

German machine manufacturer Arburg is one of the world's leading manufacturers of injection molding machines with clamping forces between 125 and 5,000 kN. This is complemented by robotic systems, customer- and sector-specific turnkey solutions and further peripherals. An innovative additive manufacturing system developed in-house was added to the plastic processing range in 2013.

In keeping with its motto "Arburg for efficient injection molding", the company places the topic of production efficiency at the center of all its activities, taking into account the entire value-added chain. The objective is to enable the Arburg customers to manufacture their plastic products, whether one-off parts or high-volume production, in optimal quality and at minimum unit costs — e.g. for the automotive and packaging industries, communication and entertainment electronics, medical technology, or the white goods sector.

An international sales and service network guarantees first-class, local customer support. Arburg is represented by its own organizations at 32 locations in 24 countries and by trading partners in more than 50 countries. The machines are produced exclusively at the parent factory in Lossburg, Germany. From a total of around 2,300 employees, around 1,900 work in Germany. About 400 further employees work in Arburg's organizations around the world. In 2012, Arburg became one of the first companies to gain triple certification: to ISO 9001 (Quality), ISO 14001 (Environment) and ISO 50001 (Energy).

Source: Arburg

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