The award in the category “Economical automation concept” went to the German molder Schneegans Freudenberg Silicon GmbH, for its innovative plastic dipstick module. In addition to more design freedom, the plastic reduces the weight of the modules and also means they can be produced using a very economical manufacturing process.
Schneegans uses projectile injection technology (PIT) to produce more than 3 million modules every year for BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, Seat, Audi and Skoda in Losenstein, Austria. Every 45 to 50 seconds, two completely assembled units are ejected from a fully automated production cell, the core of which is a tie-bar-less Engel victory 400 tech injection molding machine. Four integrated multi-axis robots share the tasks of inserting the projectiles, removing the molded parts from the mold, detaching the overflow cavities, printing on the front of the funnels, fitting O-rings, assembling oil sleeves and dipsticks, leak testing and packaging the finished modules.
Using a machine with tie bars would have meant having to employ significantly more complex removal processes, and a larger machine with at least 6000 kN of clamping force would also have been necessary. This would have increased the production cell's footprint and lengthened the cycle time.
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