A few things I’m looking forward to seeing at the K

From augmented reality on the shop floor to a wobbly laser welder, here are six innovations that deserve attention 

Smart glasses boost plant floor productivity

pm-tech Peter Mayer

There’s Industry 4.0, and then there’s Service 4.0. At K 2016, pm-tech Peter Mayer (Regen, Germany) will demonstrate how the use of augmented reality can help plastics processors ramp down machine maintenance costs while ramping up productivity. 

Machine operators wearing smart glasses connect to the manufacturer's service center, where a staff member can follow what’s happening in his or her browser and provide real-time guidance. The smart glasses receive notes, documents and wiring diagrams that are directly projected as an overlay via the smart glasses.

For the machine operator, this means minimal downtime, since there is no need to wait for a technician to travel to the plant. For the machine manufacturer, service support via smart glasses represents a more efficient use of resources. Modern technologies such as augmented reality open up completely new possibilities on the way to Service 4.0, says the company.

Smart glasses are currently available for less than €1000, according to pm-tech Peter Mayer, and often pay for themselves after the first service visit.

The technology will be demonstrated at the booth of Sesotec (hall 10, booth E 60), a manufacturer of plastic sorting machines.

 

Hybrid composite material outperforms pure carbon

Dyneema

Dyneema (Geleen, Netherlands) will showcase the “endless possibilities” of its hybrid composite Carbon material that improves on the performance of pure carbon composites in terms of weight, impact resistance, ductility and vibration damping. At stand B11 in hall 6, the company will demonstrate the hybrid’s advantages in sporting equipment and automotive applications.

Pure carbon is strong, stiff, lightweight and easy to mold, but it’s not as good at handling impact, notes DSM Dyneema scientist and part-time professor at Delft University of Technology Roel Marissen. Carbon also splinters when it breaks, which can cause injuries. By marrying carbon with Dyneema, which is 15 times stronger than steel, impact energy absorption can be increased by up to 100% while eliminating the risk of splintering, according to the company.

As part of a hybrid composite, Dyneema can bring its lightweight strength to products in which pure carbon composites currently are used, from golf clubs to racing bikes to steering wheels.
 

BASF unveils compostable particle foam with high biobased content 

BASF Ecovio

It may not look like much, but ecovio EA from BASF (Ludwigshafen, Germany) is the first expandable, closed-cell foam material that is biobased and certified compostable. The material and its applications will be on display in hall 5, booth C21/D21.

The patented particle foam’s properties make it particularly suited for transport packaging for high-value or delicate goods, where a high level of impact resistance and robustness is vital. The product properties—similar to those of EPS—boast exceptional energy absorption and very good resilience, even when subjected to multiple impact loads. The high biobased content and certified compostability make ecovio EA particularly attractive wherever a fossil packaging solution no longer meets customers' requirements for a biobased and biodegradable transport solution.

 

Extrusion instrument precisely measures large tubing diameter, ovality and much more 

Sikora

The Centerwave 6000 from Sikora AG (Bremen, Germany) precisely measures the inner and outer diameters, ovality, wall thickness and sagging of large plastic tubes between 120 and 2,500 mm during the plastics extrusion process. It also accurately measures the layer thicknesses of multi-layer tubes. The system is based on millimeter wave technology, which Sikora developed in conjunction with the Fraunhofer Research Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Technology and the South German Institute for Plastics.

Measurements are performed at several positions on the tubing. The material being extruded and processing temperatures have no bearing on the operation, and no coupling medium is used. Calibration is not required. The reproducible process represents a key technology for future-oriented quality assurance of large-diameter plastic tubing, says the company.  

 

LPKF debuts ‘wobbly’ laser welding system

LPKF

LPKF (Fürth, Germany) will unveil its new PowerWeld3D 8000 machine that uses “wobbling” technology to join large components at booth EO4 in hall 11.

Wobbling is a process by which the laser beam moves transversally in relation to the weld path. The technology allows the PowerWeld3D 8000, which will become commercially available in the first half of 2017, to join components as large as 100 x 70 x 40 cm with weld widths ranging from 1 to 5 mm. Welding contours can be altered with the click of a mouse. During the quasi-simultaneous process, the beam “wobbles” across the weld several times, creating homogenous temperature distribution, according to LPKF.

 

Wacker introduces first industrial 3D printer for silicones

Wacker Aceo

Chemicals company Wacker Chemie AG (Munich, Germany) will formally introduce its Aceo Imagine Series K printer, suited for industrial-scale 3D printing using silicone, at stand A10 in hall 6.

The “contact-less technology allows unprecedented geometries” and will enable the creation of “impossible things,” said Peter Summo, Vice President, Engineering Silicones. He foresees an additive manufacturing “revolution in healthcare, biomodeling, rapid prototyping, athletic products and more.”

Silicone droplets are deposited on a water-soluble substrate and then flow together under exposure to UV light. The resulting part is similar to an injection molded part, according to Wacker.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, of course, as many companies are tight-lipped about the innovations they will unveil at K 2016. Stay tuned to PlasticsToday for full coverage of product introductions and company announcements at the K show as they happen.

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