Machine uptime is a critical issue for all plastics processors in this age of global competition and the rising cost of doing business. And now more than ever, preventative maintenance is seen as a valuable tool for identifying potential issues before things get serious and taking pre-emptive measures to avoid major trouble.
|Chen Hsong-Beckhoff collaboration developed CBmold injection molding machine controller with preventative maintenance functionality.|
CBmold, the latest injection molding machine controller from Chen Hsong that was developed jointly with Germany’s Beckhoff Automation, offers this very functionality through its capability to monitor injection presses in a molding shop remotely and in real time through the ubiquitous WeChat cross-platform instant messaging service. Extensively utilized in China, WeChat is similar in concept to the popular WhatsApp, Line or Facebook Messenger instant messaging systems commonly used in Western economies.
In China, however, the application is taking on increasing functionality, including as an electronic wallet as well as deployment in industrial applications. A processor can purchase a QR code from Chinese Internet company and WeChat developer Tencent and use it as a link to the injection molding machines at its plant. An offsite supervisor need only scan the code to access key machine data, such as operational status, tooling being used, tool temperature, and cycle time.
‘The CBmold injection machine controller is part of our response to Industry 4.0,” says Stephen Chung, an Executive Director of Chen Hsong. “We’ve also incorporated a ‘Time Machine’ function that allows the molder to revert back to a known set of processing parameters that they know are accurate.” Processing parameters can often drift over time and it might prove difficult for the molder to recalibrate these to optimum levels in order to ensure products are within spec. Time Machine monitors processing parameters every second and can store data on each molding cycle going back one month. This “big data” is stored in up to 64 GB of internal memory. Chen Hsong also offers options for 1 GB, 8 GB, 16 GB and 32 GB of data storage.
The CBmold controller also features a powerful 1.1-GHz Intel CPU that is much faster than the low-end CPU’s normally found in entry-level controllers (even European-branded) and that runs rings around the controllers conventionally found in local Chinese controllers. Further, the CBmold boasts 512 MB of RAM compared to the 128 MB typical of mainstream controllers and the paltry 4 MB common in Chinese domestic controllers.
The CBmold controller comes in two variants: the 300 version for small machines and the 800 version for larger machines. The latter version possesses a large 15” touch-screen.