At K2019 the German company provides answers to important and pressing questions for the world of plastics processing and use: digitization and circular economy
by Susanna Vezzoli
«Our one world is becoming ever more complex and richer in perspectives, so that our challenges are growing accordingly» says Michael Hehl, Managing Partner and spokesman for the Arburg Management Board. Ultimately, it is always a question of meaningfully exploiting the potential of plastics as an important resource, of efficient production and of conserving resources. Arburg demonstrates what this can look like in practice by means of pioneering exhibits and applications.
In focus: digitization and circular economy
«We are dealing with the two truly prominent issues of our time: digitization and the sensible use and recycling of plastics» Juliane Hehl, Managing Partner responsible for marketing and technology, emphasizes the duality of this approach. «We are showcasing very important progress in terms of digitization. In this context, the idea of “arburgXworld” stands for much more than our customer portal of the same name». New to the digital product and service portfolio are, for example, the filling assistant and the plasticising assistant, as well as extended connectivity for the Allrounders. In addition, there are further apps and functionalities for the customer portal.
In circular economy, on the other hand, the German injection moulding machine manufacturer proposes the “arburg GREEworld” programme (see box).
The digital world
The ten interactive stations of the “Road to Digitization” exhibited in the Arburg stand (Hall 13, Booth 13A) offer visitors information on “Smart Machine”, “Smart Production” and “Smart Services”. This include, for example, the new “Plasticising Assistant” for material processing and predictive maintenance at the screw, and the control system simulator. Arburg’s six proven assistance packages, the Arburg host computer system (ALS), the Arburg Turnkey Control Module (ATCM) and the Arburg Remote Service (ARS) are also presented at K 2019. All injection moulding exhibits are provided with so-called “Basis Connectivity”, i.e., they have an IIoT-Gateway and can be interconnected with the higher-ranking ARS und “arburgXworld” customer portal systems easily and standardised using interfaces.
The machine knows the component to be produced
At the exhibition visitors can experience how Arburg has always been a pioneer in dealing with important future issues, providing answers to current questions and offering practical solutions. A number of new machines, processes and digital products and services are contributing to this.
On an Allrounder 570 A with a clamping force of 2,000 kN and Gestica control system, Arburg demonstrates a particularly “smart” application. The new filling assistant is integrated into the control system, meaning that the Allrounder “knows” the moulded part it is to produce – in this case a pair of Uvex goggles made of PA12.
Arburg developed the filling assistant together with its Aachen-based partner Simcon. It was first presented on an active Allrounder at the Technology Days 2019, but the application at K 2019 takes it one step further: the simulation model created offline and the geometry are read directly into the control system.
At the Gestica control system, the degree of part filling, relative to the current screw position, is animated in real time as a 3D graphic. In co-operation with Simcon, the functionality of the filling assistant has been extended, in order to cover a larger mould and material spectrum. The machine operator can compare the results of the simulation created offline with the filling performance of the last cycle interactively on the Gestica monitor. This results in benefits with regard to set-up time, safety and efficiency. The electric Allrounder 570 A is integrated into a turnkey system. It is used to injection-mould sophisticated safety goggles in a cycle time of around 30 seconds. Pick-up and transfer for optical inspection, laser marking and packaging is handled by a six-axis robot. In addition, the production cell is equipped with the Arburg Turnkey Control Module (ATCM) SCADA system, which enables 100% traceability of the parts.
Circular economy in practice
Arburg presents two applications on this topic at K 2019. Around 30 percent recycled material is used in the production of PP cups. For this practical example of a closed circular economy, Arburg cooperates with Erema (hall 9, stand 05), which provides recycled PP. In a cycle time of around four seconds, eight cups are produced on a hybrid Allrounder 1020 H. This new size machine in the company’s portfolio is presented as a packaging version. The exhibit has a distance between tie bars of 1,020 millimetres, a clamping force of 6,000 kN and features a new size 7000 injection unit. This is also available for the Allrounder 1120 H machines and offers a maximum shot weight of around 4,200 grams polystyrene.
In the second circular economy application, a PCR material (post-consumer recyclate) derived from household waste is used to produce a technical product. The PCR available on the market is processed by an electrical two-component Allrounder 630 A in a Profoam foaming process, the second material is TPE. The injection-moulded part is a machine door handle whose two halves are mounted in the mould. This is followed by partial overmoulding with the soft component. The application illustrates a way to reintroduce PCR material into the cycle to produce high-quality, durable functional parts.
At K 2019, Arburg is also shown its latest further development in various technologies. Withw an example from the electronic industry, Arburg demonstrates at the exhibition its competence in IMSE technology (Injection Moulded Structured Electronics).
An electric Allrounder 470 A with a clamping force of 1,000 kN shows how functional in-mould products can be produced using IMSE technology (Injection Moulded Structured Electronics). In this process, films with integrated electronic functions are inserted into the mould and overmoulded with PC. As a demonstrator, the injection moulding machine produces a night light in a cycle time of around 75 seconds.
An application for the automotive and medical industry is presented on an electric Allrounder 270 A, equipped with a size 5 micro-injection unit with 8-millimeter screw, 8-cavity mould and LSR cartridge, manufacturing microswitches from non-post curing LSR. The part weight is a mere 0.009 grams, the cycle time around 20 seconds. The moulded parts are picked up by a Multilift 3+1, optically inspected in the gripper, separated according to cavity and finally packed in paper bags.
At K 2019, Arburg also presents the latest innovations in overmoulding of hybrid components. The process is demonstrated by a vertical Allrounder 375 V with 500 kN of clamping force, which features compact automation in the form of a Multilift Select robotic system mounted on the machine base. The inserts are provided as a roll and the contacts are overmoulded to form hybrid connectors in a cycle time of around 15 seconds. In addition, a new Freeformer gives a technological outlook on how fibre-reinforced components can in future be produced using Arburg Plastic Freeforming (APF).