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German injection machine builder will also highlight lightweight construction for the automotive industry, LSR processing for the 3Cs sector (communication, computer, consumer), a medical technology application, and an ambitious turnkey solution for the packaging industry.

Stephen Moore

February 5, 2018

5 Min Read
Arburg focus on Industry 4.0 and additive manufacturing at Chinaplas

The relocation of Chinaplas to a new exhibition site in the Hongqiao area of Shanghai presented German injection machine builder Arburg with the opportunity to expand its stand area by a factor of 2.5 to 600 square meters and bring a lot more technology to the event.

As a key component of Industry 4.0, the Arburg host computer system (ALS) provides for comprehensive IT networking of molded part production. The "Mobile Maintenance" module for mobile devices is a new feature.

At Chinaplas 2018, a Freeformer will use standard PP to produce cable clips with delicate structures and click functionality in an additive manufacturing process.

Lightweight construction: Low-distortion parts with a homogeneous foam structure can be produced on conventional injection molding machines with the ProFoam physical foaming technique.

At Chinaplas 2018, an Allrounder 370 E Golden Electric machine will produce Y connectors for intravenous drip therapy.

At the exhibition stand, visitors can discover solutions Arburg offers for the Smart Factory and the "Made in China 2025" state-sponsored industrial development plan and how Industry 4.0 components can be individually combined. These include, for example, industrial Ethernet, as well as online process control, data acquisition, detailed planning and status monitoring. Further information is also available, for example on the individualization of high-volume parts as single-unit batches by combining injection molding and additive manufacturing. Further offerings include the new remote maintenance tool and numerous assistance systems for starting, setting-up, optimizing, producing and monitoring tasks.

As a central component of Industry 4.0, the Arburg host computer system (ALS) enables complete traceability of orders, batches and individual parts. Machines and peripheral components can thus be networked in a simple, standardized way by means of interfaces based on the OPC UA application protocol. All exhibits on the Arburg stand are automated and connected to ALS. Visitors will be able to see for themselves how ALS can be used to record and archive the relevant process data online.

In order to increase added value, an increasing number of more complex process steps are being integrated into the injection molding process. Arburg offers a broad range of automation solutions from a single source. These cover everything, from simple pickers to six-axis robots featuring the Selogica user interface and complex turnkey systems.

In this way, for example, a sophisticated turnkey system produces folding crates for the packaging industry: a hydraulic Allrounder 920 S with a clamping force of 5,000 kN and a 1 + 2 + 2-cavity family mold first produces the five individual PP parts in a cycle time of 32 seconds. A Multilift V 40 linear robotic system with a load capacity of 40 kilograms then removes all molded parts simultaneously and positions them in a separate assembly station. There, the 950-gram end product is automatically assembled within the injection molding cycle and the ready-to-use folding crate (40 x 30 x 15 centimeters) is placed on a conveyor belt by the Multilift V 40.

With its modular product range, Arburg offers suitable solutions for virtually every industry. The continuing trend in China is towards high-quality products. Lightweight parts are of interest to many industries, in particular the automotive sector. To this end, Arburg will be presenting the ProFoam physical foaming technology in China for the first time. As well as reducing weight, the technology can also be used specifically to improve mechanical characteristics and part quality.

The innovative process can be used on conventional injection molding machines. The exhibit is a hybrid Allrounder 570 H with a size 800 injection unit that produces a component for passenger car engine compartments. Processing involves fiber-reinforced materials (30% glass fiber-reinforced polyamide (PA) 66). With its fine cell structures, the ProFoam part is characterized by low weight, few sink holes, uniform shrinkage and greatly reduced distortion. A granulate lock ensures a continuous feed of material and gaseous blowing agent. As well as a version with a capacity of one liter, Arburg also offers a five-liter granulate lock for size 1300 to 4600 injection units.

Medical technology is an important market for Arburg and is characterized by high growth rates. The modular Allrounder can be precisely tailored to customers' requirements. The range extends from machines and production cells that are docked to a clean room from the outside to a machine or turnkey system in the clean room itself. An Allrounder 370 E Golden Electric will be used at the Chinaplas 2018 to demonstrate that the entry-level electric series is also suitable for the precise production of medical technology parts.

The exhibit uses a 2-cavity mold from Wellmei to produce Y connectors for intravenous drip therapy. The molded parts made from PC are removed and set down by a Multilift Select linear robotic system.

Arburg is also a pioneer in the processing of liquid silicone (LSR) and will demonstrates its competence at Chinaplas 2018 with a machine designed for LSR processing from the Golden Edition entry-level series: an Allrounder 420 C Golden Edition will produce flexible LSR cases for the iPhone 8. The mold is provided by Prover, while the LSR dosing unit comes from 2 KM. A Multilift Select linear robotic system performs the handling tasks.

A Freeformer and a variety of functional components will be used at Chinaplas 2018 to demonstrate that Arburg Plastic Freeforming (APF) is not only suitable for prototyping but also for the industrial additive manufacturing of functional components in particular. The exhibit processes qualified standard polypropylene (PP) and the water-soluble support material Armat 12 to produce functional cable clips with delicate yet durable structures. Visitors can handle so-called "experience parts" at an interactive station and convince themselves of their functionality and quality.

One advantage of the APF process is that it can be adapted to the requirements at hand. The open system affords users independence: Freeformer customers can qualify their own original material and optimize the freely programmable process parameters specifically to the relevant application. In addition to amorphous standard granulates such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), PA and polycarbonate (PC), the ever-expanding range of materials qualified by Arburg includes, for example, thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), medical grade polylactic acid (PLA), PC approved for the aerospace industry, and semi-crystalline PP.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and is a proud dachshund owner.

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