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Engel, Nexus Demo Automated Molding of LSR Blade Valves

Production of the 7-mm-diameter blades is fully automated in a 64-cavity mold with an Engel easix articulated robot and integrated vision control system.

October 5, 2022

3 Min Read
LSR blade valve
Image courtesy of Engel

Blade valves are used in a range of applications, from automotive to medical technology, and in all cases the injection molding process must meet strict consistency parameters. At K 2022, Engel and partner company Nexus Elastomer Systems will demo a fully automated production cell molding liquid silicone rubber (LSR) blade valves that achieves consistent quality in a cost-effective manner.

At stand C58 in hall 15 an e-victory injection molding machine with smart digital assistance supported by Nexus’ mold and plasticizing technology will produce LSR blade valves measuring 7-mm in diameter. Production is fully automated in a 64-cavity mold with an Engel easix articulated robot and integrated vision control system.

Engel e-victory injection molding machine.

Incorporating tie-bar-less servo-hydraulic clamping and electric injection units, the e-victory model machine on display supports low-flash, rework-free processing of low-viscosity materials. The moving platen precisely follows the mold as the clamp force builds up, resulting in optimal platen parallelism, said Engel. Patented force dividers ensure that the clamping force is distributed evenly over the entire platen face. Even in large multi-cavity molds, the same clamping force is applied to cavities near the outer edge of the platen as those near the centre.

Engel’s iQ weight control smart assistance system continuously analyzes the injection profile and readjusts quality-relevant process parameters in the same cycle whenever deviations occur.

Because of the tie-bar-less design, multi-cavity molds may be used on smaller injection molding machines than is customary, providing cost savings without affecting productivity per unit of area, according to Engel.

The easix articulated robot requires little headroom and connects the injection molding machine with camera-based quality control and the discharge station. Additional process units can be added retroactively, integrated upstream or downstream of the injection molding process.

Nexus designed the 64-cavity mould with a demolding device to enable the end-of-arm tooling to easily grip parts. To ensure precise fill control, the cold runners in the mold are equipped with electric needle shut-off systems. Nexus’ Timeshot technology controls the fill quantity as a function of injection time. Each cavity can be controlled individually, even in molds with up to 128 cavities.

Nexus also developed the ServoMix X20 LSR dosing system, which ensures air-free dosing, even in very small quantities, of the liquid silicone rubber. Networking via OPC UA and MES authentig by TIG ensures full process data monitoring and complete traceability down to the individual cavity level.

This marks the first time that Engel is demonstrating a networked injection molding machine and LSR dosing unit via OPC UA in line with the Euromap 82.3 standard at a trade show.

The process data of the dosing unit are available during production in the CC300 control system of the injection molding machine and can be used for even more precise process monitoring and continuous optimization. The dosing parameters are stored in the mold's part data record, making them immediately available at the machine control when the mold is set up again.

K 2022 comes to Messe Düsseldorf in Düsseldorf, Germany, on Oct. 19 to 26.

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