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Travelling to the future of plastics industry  #6(112), 2012

From 12 to 14 June 2012 in the Austrian cities of Linz and St. Valentine the two events of the ENGEL Austria GmbH company took place: Car conference trend.scaut and the annual Symposium ENGEL-2012.

Automobile industry is one of the key trends in injection molding. Just due to this every three years ENGEL arranges specialized automotive conference trend.scaut, dedicated to the latest trends in manufacturing products for the industry. This year the focus of the event were electric cars and advanced lightweight materials coming to replace metals. More than 500 participants of trend.scaut combined listening reports of experts from the leading companies - leaders in the global automotive industry, with a survey of models of electric cars.

The second event - ENGEL Symposium-2012, lasted from 13 to 14 June and was attended by 2700 guests from 35 countries. It is a record number of participants for this traditional event of the company.

In the morning the visitors of symposium were advised to listen to reports in the Design Centre in Linz. In his opening speech the president of the ENGEL companies group Dr. Peter Neumann spoke about the recent successes and the company’s plans for the nearest future. He noted that the company’s turnover for the last financial year 2011-2012 has far exceeded prognoses and reached 834 million euros, and the ENGEL’s share of the world market in 2011 was 14 percent. Presentations were devoted to such themes as quality improvement of plasticizing, mixing and cooling processes, new process control possibilities, energy efficiency of modern drives, as well as the development of lightweight constructions. Among the speakers were Georg Steinbichler and Gerhard Dimmler, heading-up the Research and Development of ENGEL, and Peter Egger, Head of the ENGEL Center of new technologies of lightweight composites in St. Valentine.

Exposition at the ENGEL plant in St. Valentine for production of large machines included the complete range of ENGEL equipment and a wide variety of special technologies. Among 18 exhibits of the modern automated production for such industries as automotive, packaging, telecommunications and electronics, medicine, manufacturing of technical articles, a number of technological solutions of the future were presented.

Automotive industry: polymerization in the mold
Visitors could look into the future of lightweight constructions for automotive industry, having familiarized with innovative polymerization technology in the mold (in-situ polymerization), used to produce lightweight but very firm brake pedal. On the hybrid columnless injection molding machine ENGEL e-victory 310H/310V/120 combi equipped with multi-axis robot ENGEL easix, the insertion of embedded element made of fiber composite material was done with its subsequent filling.

On the machine ENGEL duo 11050H/4550M/1500 combi M the Dolphin technology was first presented for single-stage molding of the car interior parts of premium class with soft-touch surface. The first serial production of such complexes was launched last autumn. Guests were amazed by IMM dimensions, as well as by high degree of automation and integration of production processes.

Molding of the central car consoles with touch-sensitive buttons was demonstrated on the IMM ENGEL duo 2050/350 pico, equipped with energy-saving drive ENGEL ecodrive and turn-over platens, with the use of ENGEL technologies clearmelt and inmould labeling.

The all-electric IMM ENGEL e-motion 740/180 T was used to produce headlight housings with the use of innovative feeding system ENGEL roto feeder. Among the novelties the all-electric IMM for casting with maximum precision - ENGEL e-mac 310/100 - was presented; it was used to fabricate fog-light frames.

Technical casting: benefits of columnless IMM
Lightweight designs have been applied also in production of household appliances: on the columnless machine ENGEL victory 3550/500 tech the wringing forks for floor mops of polypropylene were cast. Hollow elements are produced using molding with the gas, namely -
ENGEL gasmelt technology. With this method the part becomes more convenient to use and material is spared that reduces the cost of cast. The guests were particularly impressed with manufacturing scheme for this article – a two-meter tall 4-cavity mold was implemented on comparatively small IMM with a clamping force of just 500 tons. This could be carried out due to possibility to use the entire area of ??mounting platens in the columnless clamping unit of ENGEL victory – so-called tie-bar-less technology. The complex two-component part – sealed housing for lamp – was manufactured in production cell on the basis of ENGEL victory 1350/300 tech with multi-axis robot ENGEL easix. First the part was cast from polycarbonate, then in a special groove a seal of polyurethane was applied. The new technology of low-temperature elastomer vulcanization under ultraviolet light, developed by ENGEL in the partnership with Elmet, has been demonstrated on the machine ENGEL victory 200/80 LIM for molding bottle caps. This method allows to combine elastomers with different thermoplastics. Compact (only 775 mm in height) vertical machine ENGEL elast 2700/400 V compact produced on 8-cavity mold lashing straps of rubber with high production energy savings.

“Teletronika”: electric version of the large ENGEL duo
Another novelty presented at the symposium was a hybrid injection molding machine ENGEL ENGEL e-duo 2440/500. On this machine extremely thin-walled (less than 1 mm thick) and at the same time highly decorated laptop covers were produced, using compression molding technology and in-mould labeling in a clean room. Lightweight and thin panels of electronic books with high quality matt surface were produced on the all-electric IMM ENGEL e-motion 940/200 T automated via robot ENGEL viper 20, with the use of vario-thermal heating technology of the mold. The machine ENGEL e-victory 310/90 produced plugs casings with 30 percent of glass fiber by the MuCell foaming technology.

Medicine: high performance at lower products cost
Medical industry was represented by the three highly integrated complexes based on all-electric machines ENGEL e-motion, working in clean room conditions. Two- component molding of syringes for autoinjection was carried out on ENGEL e-motion 80H/80W/180 T WP combi. Effective molding with insertion of hollow needles in the pre-filled syringes of the cyclic olefin copolymer, automated by multi-axis robot ENGEL easix, was demonstrated on the ENGEL e-motion 200/100 T machine. As a sample of high-speed production of medical articles the casting of needle holders on TPA ENGEL e-motion 310/100 T was demonstrated. Removal of articles was carried out by the high-speed robot from Hekuma just within half a second.

Packaging: high-speed production
All-electric machine ENGEL e-cap 3440/420 has demonstrated high-speed molding of caps: a 96-cavity mold produced 123 thousand caps per hour at a speed of injection up to 460 mm/s and a cycle time of 2.8 seconds. 12-liter buckets were cast on a new injection molding machine ENGEL s-duo 4500/700 pico, equipped with a drive of ecodrive type. A series of large high-speed machines s-duo sets new speed records (cycle time - 11 seconds only) for such application.

All-electric two-component IMM ENGEL e-motion 310H/50V/180T combi, designed for JSC Mir Upakovki in St. Petersburg, fabricated on symposium the barrier containers on the two-cavity press mold. That’s a unique product for packaging of food products with long storage time. Barrier effect is achieved by the three-layer wall of the product, whilst the middle layer - a copolymer of ethylene and vinyl alcohol (EVOH) - prevents penetration of oxygen and ultraviolet radiation. 100-percent quality control of production was ensured by video filming.

Exhibition of partner companies
40 ENGEL system partners in the fields of raw materials, mold making, automation systems, peripherals, quality control technologies, temperature control and clean room technology backed up the main exhibits with their products and solutions. Thus, emphasis was made on the importance and high demand on integrated solutions for plastics processing.

A good addition to a rich business program has become a solemn awards ceremony HL Awards-2012. This prize is awarded for the most cost-effective and innovative use of columnless injection molding machines.

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