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In line with the general theme of this year’s Fakuma trade show, the KraussMaffei Group promoted its range of intelligent solutions under the umbrella term “Plastics 4.0” at the Fakuma trade show in Friedrichshafen last week.

Karen Laird

October 19, 2015

3 Min Read
KraussMaffei sees Industry 4.0 as opportunity for plastics processors


"In our view, the key requirements of plastics processors in the implementation of Industry 4.0 are production efficiency, flexibility, automation, availability, and quality,” said Dr. Hans Ulrich Golz, President of Injection Molding Machinery at the KraussMaffei Group at the Fakuma trade event. "For us, Industry 4.0 is a long-term project. Our aim is to develop intelligent solutions that make life easier for our customers. Solutions that enable processes to be managed that could not be managed in the past.”

KraussMaffei’s Plastics 4.0 solutions fall into three categories: Intelligent Machines, Integrated Production and Interactive Services. Intelligent Machines, equipped with self-optimizing features that improve productivity and quality, open the door for processors to achieve zero-defect production. Integrated Production refers to what Golz called “seamless networked production,” in which the individual machines and peripheral equipment communicate with each other and control processes accordingly. “A very simple example: a machine might be running low on material. It could text the operator to report this issue, so that production can continue uninterruptedly. This is just one way we contribute to a stable process,” Golz explained.

The development of the future host computer interface Euromap 77 marks an important milestone in the Integrated Production arena, and KraussMaffei and Netstal are both on the Euromap committee. In the future, this interface will enable the transfer of production data to a central host computer in real time. The new data transmission protocol OPC UA, the basis for these new communication interfaces, has already been implemented at Netstal and KraussMaffei.

Interactive Services is intended as a quick and global service, that makes use of, among other things, remote maintenance tools. Connected machines can be simply accessed online, allowing faults to be eliminated quickly and simply by remote diagnostics. Netstal has been offering remote support for a long time now, in order to be able to provide customers with fast, global and professional support.

“In our vision, a machine that has a problem will be able to diagnose what is wrong, send out a message so that a mechanic is dispatched the next morning, for example, with the necessary part. And we promise you, this will be a reality for all our machines by next year’s K show,” Golz declared.

At the show, specific applications of how the Industry 4.0 vision can be implemented in injection molding production were displayed at the booth, for both the Netstal and the KraussMaffei brand. This includes an example of KraussMaffei’s Adaptive Process Control system, which recognizes process fluctuations caused by changing environmental conditions or fluctuating viscosity and then makes the requisite adjustments automatically. This makes it possible to compensate for deviations online, and in the same shot. Also on display are a Netstal ELION 2800 and a CX 300, from KraussMaffei, both of which have been integrated with a Motan-Colortronic materials supply/dryer. Different scenarios are shown (tool change, precise planning of production start using weekly timer), to illustrate how efficiency can be increased through data exchange and energy consumption can be automatically reduced to a minimum.

Other exhibits included a slightly modified ELION Hybrid machine producing margarine tubs with IML decoration in an injection compression molding process, a CX 160 equipped with dynamic mold heating (from RocTool), enabling premium quality surfaces in a one-shot process and the new Fiberform procedure for processing fiber-reinforced plastics with a thermoplastic matrix.

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