ENGEL debuts at Chinaplas 2018 Chinaplas Innovative processing brings greater competitiveness

Chinaplas 2018 was held against the background of economic growth. “China's investment environment is at a new high,” said Gero Willmeroth, head of sales and service at ENGEL Machinery Shanghai, on the eve of the most important plastics product show in Asia. “Chinaplas will add strength to the development of the industry.” In addition, the increasing competitive pressure between local plastics manufacturers will also have a positive impact on further development. The investment will be the modernization of industrial parks and emerging technologies, which will lead to an increase in production efficiency and product quality.

Injection molded thick-walled lenses are more economical

The “Automotive” section of the ENGEL booth reflects the trend of applying innovative machining processes. This is the first time ENGEL has demonstrated complex multi-component machining processes with chain injection molding equipment on Chinaplas. LED lenses for automotive headlights are produced with a 22 mm thick plexiglass (PMMA) through a set of duo injection molding equipment.

More and more high quality plastic lens assemblies are being produced. The polymeric material is lighter than glass, giving the product more design freedom. The challenge, however, is how to combine lighting quality with productivity. ENGEL's patented multi-layer technology and external cooling process solve this problem.

First, pre-compressed plastic parts are produced, and then multiple layers of the same material are placed in the order of steps. Casting is filled in the recessed position of the previously formed level surface to achieve higher lens quality. Optical technology related research shows that the contact surfaces between the various levels do not affect the effect and function of the illumination lens.

Because the cooling time during injection is proportional to the square of the wall thickness, the multi-layer technology significantly improves efficiency when producing thick-walled parts. Multiple thin layers are generally faster than a thick layer. Further, if the lens body is taken out of the tool while cooling, the cycle time is further shortened. Although the cooling time in the air is longer than in the tool, it does not calculate the cycle time.

During Chinaplas, a group of duo 1060/400 injection molding equipment will be used to produce the lens body using 4x tools. The easix knuckle robot integrated into the process chamber removes the four components and transports them to an external cooling station. The robot then picks up four fully cooled pre-compressed parts and transfers them to the 4+4 times tool of the duo 600H/600H/500 combi multi-component unit with steering table. Two layers of plexiglass will then be cast and the easix will remove the finished lens. The total cycle time is less than 3 minutes, while the pre-compression molded parts have a cooling time of approximately 30 minutes. The cooling time can be controlled by the number of cooling points at the external cooling station.

Standard injection molding equipment is connected by a two-component machine, demonstrating a high degree of production flexibility. Both devices can also be loaded independently with other tools.

The intelligence of the machine control system is a distinctive feature of the smart factory in the Industry 4.0 target. In addition, the networking of production systems and the systematic application of machines, processes and production data have resulted in significant improvements in production efficiency, production quality and flexibility. ENGEL's inject 4.0 covers a range of proven and proven products and solutions that facilitate the digitization and networking of injection molding, both in its own right and in the context of a digital strategy. “Step by step toward smart factories, this is our customer's strategy,” says Willmeroth.

ENGEL visually demonstrates the enormous potential of the inject 4.0 solution by attaching the inject 4.0 logo to the fully electrified e-motion 80 TL injection molding machine. The device's CC300 control unit can simulate floating production conditions to track subsequent adjustments to automation through the intelligent auxiliary system on the display. On the one hand, the iQ weight control ensures a constant volume of molten metal during the entire injection molding process. On the other hand, the iQ clamp control calculates the intake of the tool to ensure optimum closing force and automatic adjustment. “Thanks to the automatic optimization of injection molding equipment, we were able to make the machining operations so simple and let the performance and quality potential of the equipment and technology be fully realized,” says Gero Willmeroth. “The first devices equipped with iQ have been put into use in China.”

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