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Processor Atek (Moravská Třebová, Czech Republic) uses molds with dimensions up to 1100 x 1100 mm on an Engel (Schwertberg, Austria) victory 3550/500 tech injection molding machine with a clamping force of 500 tonnes.

PlasticsToday Staff

November 11, 2011

5 Min Read
Engel victory 500: big mold, small machine

Processor Atek (Moravská TÅ™ebová, Czech Republic) uses molds with dimensions up to 1100 x 1100 mm on an Engel (Schwertberg, Austria) victory 3550/500 tech injection molding machine with a clamping force of 500 tonnes.

Thanks to the tried- and-trusted tie-bar-less technology of the victory model range, the automotive supplier can deploy a far smaller machine than legacy approaches would need for a mold of this size, and this means massive cost savings. Atek is the first adopter of the new Engel victory 500 machine which further improves manufacturing efficiency with its innovative features.

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Hand-over of the first Engel victory 500 at the Engel plant in Schwertberg: Franz Pressl, Product Manager ENGEL victory, Manfred Kudla, Sales Technician with ENGEL AUSTRIA, Jan Kohoutek, Sales Engineer with ENGEL CZ, Miroslav Kolísek, Proprietor Atek, ZdenÄ›k Kolísek, Head of Production Atek, and Josef Krejčí, SGEF Leasing

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The new machine design keeps things tidy and clear-cut, with space provided for a laptop, clipboard and additional control units right next to the main control unit.

Founded in 2004, Atek is one of the younger plastics processing enterprises in the international automotive suppliers industry but its list of customers is quite impressive. Among other components, Atek molds premium class A surface parts for BMW, Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Seat, Škoda and Mercedes vehicle interiors.

Its modern machine inventory is an important factor in the company's success. Right now, 16 Engel injection molding machines, most of them Engel victory machines with clamping forces between 50 and 2300 tonnes, are deployed in the production shop, and four of them are combimelt machines for multi-component injection molding. Linear devices from the former Engel ERC model range and new Engel viper robots are used for automation.

To cope with steadily increasing demand, Atek ordered three new machines and the first of them was delivered and commissioned in September.

Operating and investment cost savings

"Purchasing more Engel victory machines to extend our machine park was an easy decision for us to take. Tie-bar-less technology offers us many benefits, especially in multi-component injection moulding," says Miroslav Kolísek, the proprietor and managing director of Atek. Molds for multi-component technology are usually relatively large, but typically a comparatively low clamping force is required on account of the fairly small part surfaces projected. Since the clamping unit in the Engel victory machines operates without tie-bars, the mold can project beyond the edges of the mold fixing platens. This allows for the use of particularly bulky molds on comparatively small machines. "If it wasn't for tie-bar-less technology, we would have needed to invest in an 800-tonne machine at least this time, although we don't need the high clamping force," says Atek's Head of Production, ZdenÄ›k Kolísek. "But, as things are, we were able to save on cost of investment, and a smaller machine needs less energy during operation, and less floor space."

Atek creates trims for center armrests for rear seat benches on the new Engel victory 3550/500 tech injection molding machine. To make optimum use of the large mold fixing surfaces offered by the victory machines in the vertical direction as well, Atek uses T-shaped mold designs in some cases. In other words, the lower mold area is narrower to fit between the machine frame, while the mold uses the full width of the mold fixing platens at the top. As an example, the largest mold used by Atek is 1100 mm wide at the top, and 950 mm wide at the bottom. Its height is 1100 mm.

The finished trims are taken out by an Engel viper linear robot, and again the tie-bar-less design offers benefits. The robot can reach directly from the side into the mold space where it has ample freedom of movement, while at the same time using less space than a conventional linear unit that takes off from the top.

New design keeps things clear-cut

The innovative design features of the new Engel victory 500 machine guarantee additional efficiency. FEM analyses have helped to optimize the mechanical properties of the individual machine components, while at the same time substantially reducing the clamping unit weight. The victory 500 machine is equipped with Flexlink including an integrated force divider as a factory standard. The patented system ensures high-precision platen parallelism - both under clamping force, and during the opening and clamping movements.

On top of this, the new machine design improves ergonomic aspects for the user mainly thanks to two innovations. The first is the two-part safety gate on the clamping unit: opening a legacy safety gate requires a considerable amount of strength and thus both hands. The advantage of the two-part design is that the machine operator needs only one hand to quickly and easily access the mold space in the case of minor manual intervention.

The Engel product designers have also created space to the right of the machine control unit for placing a laptop, clamping data sheets, and for additional control units. An angled attachable tray holds the laptop safely, and the integrated clipboard is located above it. This means that the machine operator, maintenance or service engineer always has a complete set of information at hand and clearly visible directly on the control unit. This removes the need for desks that take up additional space next to the machine, and for unattractive posting of customer data on the safety gate pane with sticky tape. A new solution has also been designed for the flow controllers. In the current machine design they are located behind a fixed safety cover on the non-operator side.

In the future, the victory 500 will be available as a combi variant just like all other sizes. The combi model of the victory 500 machine, for multi-component injection molding and the use of large injection units, includes Engel ecodrive servo-hydraulics as a factory standard, thus potentially reducing the energy consumption of hydraulic injection molding machines by up to 70%.-[email protected]

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