It seems fitting that in an interview with PlasticsToday on Earth Day, Stephan Braig, CEO of Engel North America, said that the company’s focus at NPE2009 is on energy-saving machinery and software. The new duo pico with ecodrive pairs a servo hydraulic system with an electric screw drive to reduce energy consumption, and an integrated Energy Calculator software feature in the CC200 control system allows operators to view and analyze real-time energy consumption under different machine setup parameters. Engel will also feature several all-electric injection molding cells, demonstrating multicomponent, liquid silicone rubber (LSR), and multicavity molding applications. “We want to show the industry that we are an electric powerhouse,” said Braig.
Engel has been developing the energy-saving ecodrive system for the last few years, and will introduce it at NPE as a feature on the recently introduced hyrbid duo pico. The company says that this compact machine, available in sizes from 500-770 U.S. tons, is the fastest two-platen machine on the market with a dry cycle of just 2.6 seconds.
The 550-ton machine on display at the show has a footprint of less than 24 ft, and when equipped with the ecodrive, requires about 45-70% less energy. These energy savings are similar to all-electric machines, while allowing for the use of hydraulic components such as core pulls, hot runner needles, and mold mounting systems. For further energy savings, the variable-drive servomotors only work on demand, and the electric plasticating unit allows the hydraulic pumps to idle during plasticating. Braig says that ecodrive can be added to other hydraulic equipment and will be an option on the Victory hydraulic machine line.
In addition to the machines on display, Engel will also introduce its new energy calculation software program, which has shown energy consumption savings of 15-25% in practical tests. For hydraulic and all-electric machines with CC200 A02 controls, operators can enter the shot weight, and the energy required to process the part is automatically calculated, based on settings such as clamp motion, injection, cooling, and parts ejection. The torque is measured in all-electrics to calculate energy for a particular motor, while in hydraulics the oil pressure and volume are used. The operator can see the quantified energy consumption for each individual motion and adjust them individually.
Commenting on NPE2009 itself, Braig commended the incentive plan offered by the Society of the Plastics Industry to increase participation and attendance for the show. Braig believes that having Antec colocated with NPE will also give molders more of a reason to attend and learn about the latest technology. “The better the industry does as a whole, the better each individual company does,” he observed. —[email protected]