Oh, the machines you’ll see at Fakuma 2018

  • Fakuma 2018

    The summer of 2018 is over, which can mean only one thing for plastics professionals—Fakuma is right around the corner. This year's iteration of the show dedicated to all things related to plastics processing runs from Oct. 16 to 20 in Friedrichshafen, Germany, on the idyllic shores of Lake Constance, before going on hiatus in 2019, as is customary during a K year.

    “Fakuma sees itself as the number one technical event for injection molding,” notes show organizer P. E. Schall GmbH & Co. KG, and that is not an empty boast. While 3D printing, thermoforming, extrusion and other plastics processing technologies are widely represented on the show floor, “there’s no getting around injection molding if you want to combine lightweight design and highly complex components,” said Fakuma project manager Annemarie Schur.

    More than 1,800 exhibitors from all corners of the world will display their wares to almost 50,000 international attendees, if past years are any indication. We will publish a number of articles previewing noteworthy equipment, products and services that will be on display at Fakuma leading up to the event. We begin this series with a look at what some of the major injection molding machine companies are highlighting this year.

  • Sumitomo (SHI) Demag IntElect S at Fakuma 2018

    In hall B1 at stand 1105, German-Japanese injection molding machinery manufacturer Sumitomo (SHI) Demag (Schwaig, Germany) will showcase its IntElect S 130/520-450 machine with a package of options developed specifically for medical technology applications. Notably, the process has been optimized to achieve the levels of quality assurance and traceability that are required by medical device OEMs, and an emphasis is placed on customer support for product validation, according to Sumitomo (SHI) Demag. The machine on display at Fakuma will be molding pipettes.

    The production cell will include a compact system developed by automation specialist Waldorf Technik comprising 100% visual inspection for sorting the pipettes into the appropriate racks. A Max Petek–designed laminar-flow hood is connected to a master computer from bfa solutions, which ensures traceability of process data and monitors changes made to the set machine data.

    “The machine design with minimal surface areas and encapsulated mold space and our expertise in the all-electric segment are the recipe for our success as an innovative system supplier for medical engineering applications,” said Pietro Scattarreggia, Director Business Development Electronics & Medical at Sumitomo (SHI) Demag. “The special solution tailored to our NC5 control that delivers real-time visualization and traceability guarantees maximum product safety,” added Anatol Sattel, Key Account Manager, Medical Applications. “Not only does this solution provide a better overview of the process, it also facilitates the normally very complex documentation tasks for quality management and assurance.”

    The launch of the compact, high-speed version of the IntElect S at Fakuma 2018 will also mark the beginning of a new era for Sumitomo (SHI) Demag, according to the company. Both standard and high-speed machines will now run with all-electric drive technology. “Our experience with about 60,000 all-electric machines delivered company-wide has shown us that it was time for a step ahead,“ said CEO Gerd Liebig. “Our in-house drive technology has advanced to a level that delivers not only fast cycle times and unparalleled process stability but also guarantees maximum energy efficiency.” 

    “We are perfectly prepared for high-speed engineering applications,” explained Product Manager Peter Gladigau. "Extensive life-cycle tests under extremely harsh conditions have proven the superior performance and reliability of our IntElect S. This machine . . . comes into its own when it is used for medical engineering applications. As such, we consider it a substantial enhancement of our solutions portfolio.”

  • Wittmann Battenfeld vertical VPower series

    Guests at the 10th anniversary celebration in June of the integration of Battenfeld Kunststofftechnik GmbH with the Wittmann Group got the first glimpse of the company’s new vertical VPower series. The rest of us will get our chance at Fakuma in hall B1, stand 1204.

    Wittmann Battenfeld (Kottingbrunn, Austria) started to redesign its entire portfolio of machinery shortly following the integration a decade ago. The PowerSeries line of machinery is now well established in the market, said the company, and it is now remodeling its vertical machines to align with the PowerSeries design.

    Features of the new VPower line include energy efficiency, a compact footprint and user-friendly operation. The rotary table is powered by a standard servo-electric drive, which is designed for short rotation times. The injection unit can be converted from vertical to horizontal and vice versa, even after it has been commissioned. Moreover, the absence of a central tie-bar enables central media supply from below through the rotary table or via installation of a compact rotary manifold. Thanks to its open design, the machine is suited for the integration of automation systems with insert feeding and finished part removal functions.

    At Fakuma, the functionality of the new VPower will be demonstrated with a VPower 160/750 and a 1600-mm-diameter rotary table.

  • KraussMaffei PX 320 at Fakuma 2018

    KraussMaffei (Munich) reports that it will feature complex applications for its new all-electric PX 320 and PX 25 injection molding machines in hall A7, booth 7303.

    The PX 320 will produce a 10-inch human-machine interface display with integrated electronics, a black frame and scratch-proof coating in a single production step. A six-axis robot inserts the in-mold decorated (IMD) film with printed conductor paths on the nozzle side. On the ejector side, an IMD film runs through the mold, transferring paint with a design layer and UV-hardening top coat to the component.

    A separate film runs through the mold and provides a second cavity with another decor. This is possible thanks to the IMD SI DUO film feed from Leonhard Kurz, which is the first company in the world to position two single-image decorations independently of each other, accurate to one-hundredth of a millimeter, according to KraussMaffei. A patent is pending. The decorations become visible through backlighting, which can reveal operating symbols, for example.

    The additional process is completely integrated into the compact manufacturing cell. On the conveyor belt, UV lamps harden the scratch-proof layer (this step will be deactivated at Fakuma for safety reasons). The material then travels to a laser station, which first removes flakes and flash and then cuts the sprue with the assistance of  industrial robots. A cleanroom hood from Max Petek above the clamping unit ensures a dust-free mold chamber.

    The mobile PX 320 can be rapidly docked to other machines by means of mechanical fixture points. This increases flexibility in production, as the machines can be simply operated for components with or without IMD technology.

    The company is also showcasing the “little sister” in the PX series—the PX 25 with a clamping force of 250 kN. It is suited for molding articles with a low shot weight, such as precision components for clocks, gears and gearbox elements.

    At Fakuma, the machine will be running a sealing ring made of liquid silicone rubber (LSR) with an intricate undercut. The part weighs a scant 0.15 g, and cycle time is 14 seconds. A new plasticizing process was developed for this application involving a 12-mm-thin screw complemented with a spring-loaded check valve. There is space under the cantilever clamping unit for a vacuum pump and other peripheral equipment.

    The entire process, including demolding and depositing the component, can be automated within the standard enclosure. The SPX 10 sprue picker is suited for use in rooms with low ceilings, such as cleanrooms, as well as for demolding operations that use a swiveling axis, even in multi-cavity applications, said KraussMaffei, whose automation division developed the precision grippers that remove the tiny components.

  • Arburg Road to Digitalization at Fakuma 2018

    Arburg (Lossburg, Germany) invites Fakuma attendees to hop on the “Road to Digitalisation”—the journey starts at stand 3100 in hall A3. "On this road, visitors will be able to pick up a host of new ideas and obtain detailed information from our experts about six new Arburg assistance packages, the benefits of augmented reality in service and find out about the launch of our new customer portal,” said Michael Hehl, Managing Partner. “The six injection molding exhibits in mint green, light grey and dark grey will also provide a new look at our stand. This new colour scheme will be used for all our Allrounders starting in 2019."

    Arburg has created new assistance packages that support its "smart" machines, which monitor their own processes, control them adaptively and actively assist the operator. The “4.” series facilitates machine setup, startup, optimization, programming, monitoring and maintenance operations.

    The new Gestica control system and Selogica ND, which stands for "new design," will be presented along with demos of augmented reality. The Arburg host computer system ALS, the central building block of Industry 4.0, ensures that information technology is integrated in production and that relevant production and quality data are recorded, archived and shared.

    At Fakuma, Arburg also will debut a new, cloud-based customer portal. Central applications include a machine overview, which clearly displays important information and documents for each machine, and a spare parts catalog.

  • Engel at Fakuma 2018

    Engel (Schwertberg, Austria) will team up with Dow Silicones (Wiesbaden, Germany) in hall B2, stand 2220, to mold liquid silicone rubber (LSR) lenses for LED headlamps on a tie-bar-less e-victory 310/120 injection molding machine. The system includes an integrated Engel viper 40 linear robot and two-cavity cold runner mold built by ACH-Solution.

    LSR is becoming increasingly popular not just in automotive but also in building and street-lighting applications because of its properties, according to Engel. Highly transparent grades for optical applications have a lower yellowing index than conventional thermoplastic lens materials, are resistant to environmental influences such as UV radiation and withstand temperatures between 40° and 200°C, and even higher. DOWSIL MS-1002 moldable silicone will be processed at the stand. The material creates smooth, hard surfaces comparable to thermoplastics.

    In general, to be profitable in the production of high-tech products made of LSR, the process must be automated and the finished product should not require rework, according to Engel. Injection molding machines with tie-bar-less clamping units already provide the optimum design for this, added Engel. Free access to the mold area enables particularly efficient automation concepts and compact production cells. Since the mold mounting platens can be fully utilised right up to the edge, the high-volume lens mold fits on a comparatively small 120-ton injection molding machine.

    One of the reasons for the tie-bar-less e-victory's accurate reproduction of surface detail is the parallelism of the mold mounting platens, explained Engel. The patented force divider ensures that the moving platen precisely follows the mold while clamping force is building up and that the force is evenly distributed across the platen face. When multi-cavity molds are used, all cavities within the parting line experience the same surface pressure, which prevents flash even when processing very low-viscosity silicones.

    To guarantee the required precision during injection, the e-victory machine is equipped with an electric injection unit. In addition, iQ weight control improves process stability. The electric valve gates in the mold are also automatically self-regulating. The Servoshot system by ACH-Solution makes it possible to control each electric valve gate individually.

    Engel integrates all of the production cell components with the injection molding machine's CC300 control unit. Control integration reduces complexity and enhances ease of use.

    At Fakuma, visitors to the stand can experience the steps involved in starting the production cell via augmented reality glasses from AVR Tech Innovations. Through texts, animation and short videos, the glasses provide an interactive look at system operations, showing what needs to be done where and how.

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