An Engel VICTORY 200/120 vertical injection machine is at work in the production of ready-for-assembly film-decorated thin section housing parts for a cordless telephone, injecting an ABS/PC blend onto special film by a sprueless process using a 1+1 hot runner mould.
To minimize the cycle time, this fully automatic manufacturing cell is equipped with two linear robots: one high-speed linear robot (ERS I) integrated into the vertical injection machine and one linear robot (ERC 23/1-E) combined with a tray server (ETS) serving as parts buffer.
The result is a cycle time of just 9 seconds! With this joint development by Siemens Bocholt, Bayer and Engel, an industrial volume moulding process for fully film-backed thin-section telephone housing shells was successfully progressed to the cost-effective series production stage.
The system impressively demonstrates the versatility of advanced IMD (in-mould decoration) technology.In addition, this real-life production system testifies to the fact that the efficiency of plastic processing applications involving injection moulding is often dependent on the right combination of the vertical injection machine and handling systems.
Equipped with the appropriate modules from the Engel VICTORY 'building block' range, the vertical injection machine meets all prerequisites for a successful thin-section moulding process using film inserts: the high stiffness of the mould clamping system, fast machine movements, high injection rates and outstanding accuracy are essential in this manufacturing context.
The 1 + 1 hot runner mould was thermally and rheologically layed out and designed to ensure that the special film can be processed by the sprueless direct injection method.The non-decorated bottom housing part is injected from the cavity side so that a mould with two-sided ejector system is essential.Special expertise was needed for designing of the thin-walled housing shells.
To ensure the component strength imposed by the quality specification, a special ABS/PC blend had to be developed.The tiebarless clamping unit is freely accessible, facilitating the lateral integration of the high-speed robot (ERS) into the manufacturing cell.This is an essential prerequisite for achieving short cycle times and hence, maximum productivity.The high-speed robot picks up pre-aligned film from a set-up station, then moves to its waiting position before the still-closed mould.As the mould opens, it advances to its loading position and places the film into the cavity with the requisite positioning accuracy.
At the same time, it removes the finished housing parts (i.e., the film-backed top and the undecorated bottom shell) on the nozzle side with its double demoulding head.The linear robot (ERC) manages the distribution of finished mouldings to the appropriate trays and the provisioning and pre-alignment of new film.Due to this neatly dovetailed sequence and the associated communication between subassemblies, the machine quickly produces plastic components that can be sent directly from the manufacturing cell to the assembly line without any trimming.
For Engel, automation is an important core element of any advanced injection moulding system.At this year's 'K', Engel will therefore exhibit its wide spectrum of automation technology ranging from straightforward demoulding handlers to high-speed robots.The so-called 'E series' represents the fifth and latest generation of Engel's ERC robot solutions.On the occasion of K 98 the company launched the smallest E-robot size for machines in the 400 to 6,000kN clamping force range.By now the medium-sized version (2,500 to 18,000kN) has likewise become a regular member of the product line-up.
The last member of this robot family, the large version for vertical injection machines with 13,000 to 55,000kN clamping force, will now be presented at K 2001.As a result, the Engel robot range now covers the entire output spectrum of today's vertical injection machines.The ERS type robot is an Engel development created specifically for 'high-speed' system environments.
It has proven its capabilities in numerous and diverse applications, reaching displacement speeds up to 8 m/s and acceleration levels up to 150 m/s2 - no less than fifteen times the gravitational acceleration on earth! Engel is the world's largest single-brand manufacturer of vertical injection machines and at the same time one of the world's leading manufacturers of plastics processing machinery.
Today the Engel Group offers all the technology modules necessary for the processing of plastics from a single source: vertical injection machines for thermoplastics and elastomers, moulds and automation equipment, whereby even individual component units compete and sell successfully.
With eight production plants in Europe, North America and Korea, its own branches in 17 countries and agencies in more than 70 countries, Engel offers its customers optimum local support worldwide, with new technologies and leading-edge production vertical injection machine and equipment, enabling them to hold their own in today's extremely competitive market.