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June 21, 2016

6 Min Read
Engel homes in on auto industry with two technology centers in Motor City area

Leading injection press builder Engel North America has entered into strategic partnerships with Hi-Tech Mold & Engineering (Rochester Hills, MI) and SA Engineering(Livonia, MI) to further its position in the auto sector and support the North American market with the highest levels of technology, including advancements in processing and machinery as well as ancillary products and technologies.

“Engel recognizes the strong, and increasing, demand for weight reduction and improved production efficiencies in automotive applications. To introduce the latest technology developments that address these requirements in North America, we are pleased to announce our entry into two distinct collaboration ventures in the Detroit area,” announced Christoph Steger, CSO at ENGEL.

The SA Engineering Technology Center is equipped with five Engel injection molding systems, ranging in size from 285 to 3500 US tons in clamping force, each equipped with an integrated Engel robot and advanced processing capabilities.

Going beyond standard practices by exploring smart factory and smart design, the team at Hi-Tech Mold & Engineering will begin at the concept and design stage of the mold to engineer-in solutions for lightweighting technology, as well as molding and production efficiencies.

“The strategic partnership with [toolmaker] Hi-Tech Mold & Engineering will focus on providing our customers with the full development of a product and process, from the initial concept to a full-fledged production solution focusing on the integration of mold and machine; all being offered under one roof at the Hi-Tech Mold & Engineering location in Rochester Hills. The second partnership, with SA Engineering, will offer a neutral, confidential environment in which a broad array of technologies can be tested, during mold tryouts, for the development of repeatable, production ready processes,” added Steger.

The new SA Engineering Technology Center is a world-class incubator, supporting the efforts of OEMs and tiered automotive suppliers looking at developing leading edge global technologies and processes for mass production consideration. With a variety of leading technology partners including Engel, MuCell foaming system licensor Trexel, and rapid prototyping/tooling exponent Excel RP | Excel Global centrally located under one roof, with state-of-the-art equipment and on-site technical specialists, the mission of this one-of-a-kind facility is to assist OEMs in determining the best technology to bring their ideas and objectives from concept, through trial, to final product.

In the confidential environment of the SA Engineering Technology Center, specialists work with clients to apply strategies to reduce weight, waste, cycle time and process costs, make cosmetic improvements and improve quality, through the use of a multitude of new technologies being developed and tested at the Center.

The showroom at the SA Engineering Technology Center is equipped with five Engel injection molding systems, which are available for process development and optimization, mold trials, and technology testing. The systems include:

  • A fully integrated Engel duo 3500 US injection molding machine and Engel easix articulating robot equipped with coining expert technology and capable of running Trexel MuCell  process

  • An Engel duo 16050/1650 WP US, wide platen version injection molding machine, with an integrated Engel viper 60 robot equipped with coining expert technology and capable of running Trexel MuCell process

  • An Engel duo 7050/1000 WP US, wide platen version injection molding machine, with an integrated Engel viper 40 robot equipped with coining expert technology and set-up to run the Trexel MuCell  process

  • An Engel duo 2550/660 US injection molding machine equipped with an Engel viper 20 robot and set-up to run the Trexel MuCell process

  • A tie-bar-less Engel victory 1350/285 tech US machine, equipped with watermelt technology and set-up to run the Trexel MuCell process

Engel experts on process engineering and application consulting are located in an on-site office and training center, and are available to support innovative projects, find solutions for production challenges, and offer Engel training programs including basic and advanced operator, machine controller, maintenance and robotics.

“The SA Engineering Technology Center is primarily automotive focused, but not necessarily. It brought together our desire to create a center of development for advanced injection molding technologies with Engel’s constant push to expand the envelope of injection molding techniques. They were clearly an ideal partner, which has resulted in the machinery installed being exclusively Engel’s,” said a spokesperson for SA Engineering.

In support of continuous innovation, the new Technology Center at the Hi-Tech Mold & Engineering facility in Rochester Hills is a model for Industry 4.0, smart factory initiatives: maximizing productivity, flexibility and quality of the manufacturing process through a fully integrated, automated and optimized production flow.

Equipped with Engel machinery ranging from 340 to 3500 US tons clamping force, each with an integrated Engel linear (3-axis) robot, the Technology Center is dedicated to improving the integration of mold and machine to increase production efficiencies and part quality. By the end of the year, there will be four Engel machines, each with integrated robots, in the Technology Center.

Utilizing the superior engineering, mold design and production skills of the Hi-Tech Mold & Engineering team, combined with the state-of-the-art-machinery and molding technology of Engel, the Hi-Tech team will begin at the concept and design stage of the mold, going beyond standard practices by exploring smart factory and smart design. This collaboration utilizes the benefits of various machine and process technologies to engineer-in solutions for lightweighting technology, as well as molding and production efficiencies.

“The Hi-Tech Mold & Engineering team is committed to serving our customers from the initial concept phase to production,” reports Robert Schulte, President and CEO of Hi-Tech Mold & Engineering, Inc. “Through Hi-Tech’s vertical integration, we design and build injection mold tooling for all tonnage ranges. Both Engel and Hi-Tech Mold & Engineering are committed to the future of injection molding and leading the industry by creating and defining standards for quality, efficiency and productivity for manufacturing.”

Hi-Tech Mold & Engineering has supported Michigan area OEM and tier suppliers for over 30 years with quality engineering and mold making. In 1997, Hi-Tech Mold & Engineering expanded south adding 370,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing capacity in Winchester, TN. Further, 2016 brings the opening of a new 90,000-sq.-ft. facility in Oconee County, South Carolina and a Technology Center for the Rochester Hills, Michigan campus.

“Engel is pleased to be able to provide on-site support and customer training in these innovative facilities,” says Mark Sankovitch, President of Engel North America. “The ability to offer expert processing and technology support directly in the Motor City region has needed the right partners, and we have them now with Hi-Tech Mold & Engineering and the SA Engineering Technology Center. With these two very unique facilities available to assist not only automotive molders, but molders from all industries, by bringing their design and processing teams together with experts from industry partners to deliver production ready solutions. For all of us, it is about helping our customers be more competitive.”

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