Engel at Industry 4.0 – Factory of the Future
How can consistently high product quality be maintained in the face of fluctuations in raw material? How can high machine availability and productivity be ensured even in the face of travel restrictions? – Engel will be providing answers to these burning questions during Chinaplas. The injection moulding machine manufacturer and system solution provider, headquartered in Austria, will once again be participating with its own exhibit at Event Industry 4.0 – Factory of the Future in Hall 11. While smart assistance systems from Engel’s iQ series help plastics processors to leverage the full potential of the injection moulding machine, even if qualified personnel are not present at all times, digital service products are all about ensuring high productivity in order to remain able to deliver even in the event of a crisis.
The latest developments to be presented in Shenzhen include iQ process observer and iQ melt control. The new iQ process observer continually analyses several hundred process parameters across all four phases of the injection moulding process – plasticising, injection, cooling and part removal – in order to automatically detect drifts. In the form of plain text messages, the system points out unfavourable process settings and conditions as well as the possible causes of them. The goal of iQ melt control is to conserve both the material to be processed and the mechanical components of the plasticising unit. In practice, plasticising often occurs faster than the cycle requires, which can have an impact on product quality, but also on the service life of the screw. iQ melt control therefore determines the optimum plasticising time. Instead of plasticising at the maximum possible speed, the system makes full use of the part’s in-mould cooling time for plasticising, ensuring very good melt homogeneity.
Another new feature is sim link, a joint development by Engel and Autodesk, the provider of the Mouldflow simulation software. With the support of the software, both the parameters optimised by Mouldflow can now be converted into a process settings data set and used directly on the injection moulding machine, and conversely, process parameters and measurement results from the injection moulding machine can also be imported into Autodesk’s simulation program. To boost the availability of injection moulding machines and manufacturing cells, smart service relies on online support, and condition-based, preventive maintenance. Covid-19 has shifted e-connect.24 in particular even further into the focus of plastics processors. The online support and remote maintenance tool, empowers Engel service staff to connect to the injection moulding machine from a remote location so that they can respond without delay in all support cases. The screen pages of the machine control unit are transmitted via a secure internet connection. Since the data are accessed in real time, the current state of the machine is displayed. As a result, the machine operators on the ground and external support staff can see the same production data, and they can offer advice and guidance to one another. The manufacturing cell can be controlled remotely, if necessary. Another benefit is that the user is notified by e-mail in the event of a malfunction. Thanks to this range of options, e-connect.24 ensures very high levels of machine availability, even if travel is not possible or production is temporarily unmanned.