At Fakuma 2014, which takes place from 14 to 18 October in Friedrichshafen, Germany, Arburg will present the next step in its production efficiency strategy. In addition to a holistic approach, the focus will also be on the cost-effective production of plastic parts, from one-off parts to mass-produced items.
Thanks to the expansion of the product portfolio to include the Freeformer, Arburg's 3D printing production solution, the company is now the only manufacturer to cover the entire spectrum from additive manufacturing to injection moulding. The total of eleven exhibits on the exhibition stand in Hall A3 will also present innovative applications, special industrial and automation solutions as well as practical examples regarding the future topics of Industry 4.0, functional integration and lightweight construction.
“The Fakuma will provide us with an opportunity to demonstrate that we offer our customers a truly comprehensive portfolio for efficient plastics processing,” states Michael Hehl, Managing Partner and Spokesperson for the Arburg Management Team. “The eleven exhibits will give visitors a practical insight into how such product-oriented solutions can look. Key areas of industry will be represented, such as the automotive, medical technology and packaging sectors, as well as complex processes such as Arburg Plastic Freeforming (AKF), three-component injection moulding, long-fibre direct injection moulding, micro-injection moulding, Particle-foam Composite Injection Moulding (PCIM) and liquid silicone processing (LSR). Production efficiency will be the common thread running through our entire Fakuma presentation and will be the focus of each exhibit.”
Individual: additive manufacturing with the Freeformer
The two Freeformers will demonstrate how plastic parts can be produced economically as one-off parts or in small-volume batches directly from CAD data, without requiring a mould. These machines use inexpensive standard granulate, building up the parts in a drop-by-drop process. This industrial process can be used to produce fully functional parts, not just demo samples and prototypes, and also enables new geometries to be achieved.
The two Freeformer exhibits will have a three-axis component carrier and two discharge units, in order to produce plastic parts from two different materials. The focus will be on two-component parts and products with supporting structures that can be subsequently removed in a water bath or by mechanical means. Furthermore, the Freeformer will be integrated in the “Industry 4.0” project, which will involve the production of customised moulded parts.
Productive: around 31,500 disposable articles produced and ready-to-ship every hour
An electric Allrounder 820 A with a clamping force of 4,000 kN and a size 2100 electric injection unit will demonstrate the cost-effective production of mass-produced articles. This exhibit will show the potential of the high-performance Alldrive electric series in a high-speed application. A 24+24-cavity mould from Fratelli Bianchi will be used to produce 24 knives and forks in around 5.5 seconds, including demoulding, set-down and immediate packaging. This corresponds to an output of around 31,500 ready-to-ship parts per hour.
The other hydraulic, hybrid and electric Allrounder injection moulding machines will also demonstrate a wide range of capabilities, from individual plastic parts to mass-produced articles.
New: complete micro-injection unit
Evidence of Arburg’s targeted approach to the development of its machine and component range will also be demonstrated in a micro-injection moulding exhibit. Following the micro-injection module, the Arburg range now includes a complete micro-injection unit in Euromap size 5, which will be unveiled for the first time at the Fakuma. The exhibit, which will be built around an electric Allrounder 270 A is designed as a production unit for micro parts and produces four 0.03 gram micro counter wheel . A clean room enclosure ensures a clean environment and the micro-injection unit enables very precise plasticising. It combines a 15-millimetre screw for melting the material with an 8-millimetre injection screw. This means that standard granulate can be used to achieve very small shot weights and tolerances measured in microns.
In addition, there is the specially configured Multilift H 3+1 horizontal robotic system, which removes the sprue and the delicate micro parts and gently sets them down, segregated according to cavity.
Industry 4.0: a glimpse of tomorrow today
Also when it comes to important future topics, such as Industry 4.0, functional integration and lightweight construction, Arburg will show just what is possible in practice at the Fakuma.
Industry 4.0 is a future project involving the vision of a smart factory. This requires the networking of machines, order information and process data. The fact that this vision can already be a reality will be demonstrated by Arburg at the Fakuma with the optional production of left and right-handed scissors on an electric Allrounder 370 E. An individual QR code will then be applied by laser, so that all of the most important process parameters of the relevant item can be retrieved online. The Arburg host computer system (ALS) is of central importance here, networking various independent stations, recording all the parameters and transmitting them to a web server. The scissors can then be customised to individual requirements using the Freeformer.
Enhanced efficiency: reducing weight, integrating functions
The production of a lightweight component for the automotive industry that also has a high level of rigidity will be demonstrated by a hydraulic Allrounder 820 S using long-fibre direct injection moulding. The advantages of this process include the flexible adjustment of the fibre length to up to 50 millimetres, the low incidence of fibre damage in the plastic melt and the lower material costs in comparison with long-fibre granulates.
Another interesting lightweight construction process is Particle-foam Composite Injection Moulding, which Arburg will present at the Fakuma with an example of function integration, the main topic of the Blue Competence campaign “There's more to plastic”, run by the Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association (KuG) within the German Machinery and Plant Manufacturers Association (VDMA). Together with its partners Krallmann and Ruch Novaplast, Arburg will be showing the practical application of this innovative process. A foamed part product component will be produced on the compact foaming system integrated in the production cell. A six-axis robotic system inserts this into the injection mould, where a thread is moulded on in a positive bond. These composite parts – consisting of a foamed and a moulded plastic component – can be integrated in a further step as standardised parts for example in a foamed housing, enabling media lines to be connected easily with an effective seal.
A further innovative application will be presented on a hybrid Allrounder 520 H in "Packaging" version: the production of a SKET cup, a recent development of Uniplast, a company belonging to the Knauer group. The mould and the highly flexible Multiflex IML robot are made by H. Müller-Fabrique de Moules SA. The special geometry of the cup, with spiral-shaped flow aids, enable extremely thin walls to be produced with a thickness of less than 0.3 millimetre in conjunction with a relatively thick sealing edge, so that the cups can be reliably sealed in production. The cup is produced with innovative peel-off cardboard labels which can be easily removed to reveal printed product information on the inside. The cycle time of this application is under five seconds.
Trends in automation: complex and/or flexible
Automation plays a key role in efficient production, ensuring process stability, availability, high output and part quality. Two trends are in evidence. On the one hand, turnkey systems are becoming increasingly complex, while on the other, there is a demand for highly flexible automation solutions. Arburg will provide proof of the wide range of its offerings at the Fakuma: from the electric Integralpicker and the linear Multilift robotic systems, through to six-axis robots. An intelligent solution will be presented in the form of an interactive process involving human/robot cooperation, in which inserts are transferred manually to the robotic system. This ensures flexibility and disposes with the need for complex feeder peripherals.
High-level flexibility and complexity are also offered by the mobile robotic cell with a small six-axis robotic system from Kuka, which also moves along an additional linear axis. The advantages of this solution, implemented with cooperative partner fpt Robotik, are short cycle times, an increased working area and the option of using the cell on different Allrounder machines.
A suitable solution in every case
“Our Fakuma exhibits underline that each machine and production solution from Arburg can be specifically tailored to the requirements of the customer, industry and product – that’s all part of what we mean by production efficiency,” explains Michael Hehl.