There’s something about big machinery that commands our attention. The seed is typically planted at a young age. A few years back, I remember watching my 8-year-old godson and his best friend utterly captivated by snow grooming equipment lumbering up and down the ski slopes after the trails had been closed for the day. We couldn’t lure them to the ski lodge until the trucks had disappeared on the other side of the mountain. I always see some sparks of that atavistic attraction at trade shows. A molding machine spitting out plastic parts or robot executing its precise motions rarely fails to draw a crowd. Good news: You will have several opportunities to gaze at machinery going about its business, and maybe reconnect with your inner child, at the Advanced Design & Manufacturing (ADM) Cleveland event on March 30 and 31, where several machine makers will demo their newest technologies.
In addition to the PLASTEC zone, ADM Cleveland features zones dedicated to design and manufacturing, automation technology, medical design and manufacturing and packaging, covering the full range of products and services routinely sourced by OEMs. The event also includes more than 25 hours of free educational conferences devoted to the automotive and medical manufacturing sectors along with the challenges and opportunities of smart manufacturing technologies. The event comes to the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland on March 29 and 30. Click here for more information and to register to attend.
To showcase the precision and performance with which its molding equipment can process liquid-silicone rubber, Engel North America, a member of the Engel Group headquartered in Schwertberg, Austria, will run Silopren LSR 4655 SL from Momentive through a four-cavity mold on a victory 200/120 hy-tech US at booth 1017.
The company’s victory line of injection molding machines offers a flexible modular system, said Engel, making it suitable for producing different technically complex parts or for running an extensive selection of process technologies. The tie-bar-less design provides freedom for complex mold design, rapid mold change and unobstructed robot movements. Customers can select a machine size based specifically on clamp force requirements—not mold dimensions—thereby using less production space and reducing investment costs.
At ADM Cleveland, Absolute Haitian will exhibit a Zeres ZE400/80 all-electric injection molding machine producing a medical tubing clip at booth 1323. The machine features all-electric technology with the advantage of additional hydraulic circuits for core pull, ejectors, nozzle contact and injection carriage movement.
The company also will be announcing new, larger sizes of the all-electric Zeres Series, but won’t be bringing any of those machines to the show. They’re just too big, said the company’s Patrice Aylward.
And what do say to a field trip? Wednesday, after the show, attendees are invited to visit Absolute Haitian’s Ohio Technical Center, located just 15 minutes from downtown Cleveland, to see additional machine and robotics displays, and enjoy refreshments and a little downtime. The company will be giving away a flat screen TV, and all guests will be entered in a raffle for a $50 American Express gift card. If you're in the market, you may be happy to learn that Absolute Haitian will offer machine and robot discounts ranging from $10,000 to $30,000. To RSVP, contact Christina Spielhaupter via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, 216/452-1000.
Maruka USA (Lee's Summit, MO) and Yushin America (Cranston, RI) are tag-teaming it at ADM Cleveland: They will co-present live demos showing how quickly and efficiently smartphone holders and plastic caps can be produced by aligning injection molding systems with advanced robotics.
In a prepared statement, Maruka USA Product Manager Dale Bartholomew echoed something we often hear when speaking with plastics processors on show floors or when visiting their facilities. “An increasing number of molders today are not just looking for injection molding machines. What they want is a customized, turnkey injection molding cell that they can literally put on the floor and start running. And the system they request from us the most is a robotic arm or other automation technology,” said Bartholomew. In his case, they specify Yushin systems, he added.
At the Maruka booth (1217), a 110-ton FCS HA-110 servo hydraulic will be paired with a Yushin RCII-150S robot to mold plastic holders for smartphones and business cards. Reaching across the aisle, literally—Yushin is exhibiting at booth 1117A —the automation supplier will demo a 55-ton TOYO all-electric Si-55-6 equipped with a four-cavity mold and Yushin HOP-Five 550X robot to produce plastic caps used in a range of packaging applications.
Both demos will be enhanced with peripherals and add-on equipment from Advantage Engineering, Dri-Air Industries, Plastrac, Temptek and other suppliers to show attendees how easy it is to get a turnkey injection molding cell with everything they need.
Wittmann Battenfeld Inc. (Torrington, CT) will showcase two turnkey injection molding work cells in booth 1123, designed to illustrate Wittmann 4.0 technology, which enables seamless integration of robotics and several auxiliaries, said the company in a pre-show announcement. But many eyes will be on its new Unilog B-8 control, which is being shown for the first time in North America.
Based on the operating logic of the previous Unilog B6 control system, the Unilog B8 also runs on the Windows 10 IoT operating system, enabling easy integration of standard applications as well as Internet-based service support. Full integration and control of the molding machines, robots and peripherals can all be managed with the new B8 control, said Wittmann Battenfeld.
The SmartPower 120 molding machine on the stand will be molding yo-yos on a mold provided by Hasco and running with the B8 control and W823 robot with servo B-axis rotation. The small, nimble W823 robot has a fast, telescopic vertical y-axis. When combined with the standard SmartRemoval on the B8 control, the robot can provide for ultra-low part removal times. With the addition of the optional Servo B-Axis rotation, parts can be removed from the fixed or moving platens with simple program changes, noted the company.
Also at the show, Wittmann Battenfeld will have one of its MicroPower molding machines operating in its booth. The MicroPower 15/10 will be using a mold from Mold Craft to produce a gear filter.
Following a successful run at PLASTEC West in Anaheim, CA, in February, French robotics company Sepro (La Roche-sur-Yon) is bringing its 6X-90L 6-axis articulated-arm robot and 5X-15 5-axis Cartesian beam robot to ADM Cleveland. The systems will collaborate in a live demonstration of insert loading and part removal. The company’s new S5 3-axis-servo sprue picker will also be on display.
In the demonstration cell, the two robots will take turns picking two parts from a simulated injection mold, placing them on a conveyor and then picking them off the other end of the conveyor and placing them back on the “mold” cores.
Sepro’s proprietary visual control platform—developed specifically for plastics injection molding—can be customized to control the simplest sprue picker or the most advanced 3-, 5- or 6-axis robots. It can control one robot or an entire automation cell, including robots and pre- and post-mold peripheral equipment.
Sepro’s newest sprue picker, the S5 is a fast and versatile beam-mounted Cartesian system with three servo-driven axes. It comes standard with a simple sprue gripper but can be supplied optionally with an R1 wrist rotation and can be fitted with simple end-of-arm tooling.
At the show, the picker operating space will be protected by a laser light curtain. If a person approaches the robot while it is operating, the sensors will signal the Sepro control, which will first slow the robot and eventually stop its motion entirely to prevent operator injury or damage to the equipment.