Under the names of Digital Transformation and Industry 4.0, the integration of digital solutions into the production process is gaining momentum.
From the Smart Machine and host computer system to the Smart Factory and Smart Services – with over 30 years of experience in digitally networked and flexibly automated production, Arburg offers everything a “smart” injection moulding company needs to enhance added value, production efficiency and process reliability. At the Fakuma 2017, “elastic tension straps” are being presented for the first time as a practical example; these are produced in different lengths and colours and with different end pieces from shot-to-shot, in accordance with customer requirements. Arburg is also presenting its remote maintenance tool and the ALS host computer system with new modules, for example “Mobile Maintenance”. Visitors can obtain further ideas and pragmatic solutions at the Industry 4.0 information point.
“At the Fakuma 2017 we are demonstrating a clever turnkey system with which overmoulded inserts can be produced ‘on demand’ in multiple variants, yet cost-effectively and in high-volumes,” explains Heinz Gaub, Managing Director Technology & Engineering at Arburg. “We are using the practical example of elastic tension straps to demonstrate how customer wishes can be integrated online into the ongoing injection moulding process. In industrial practice, such an application is ideal for cable assembly in the automotive industry, for example.”
Multiple variants: high-volume production according to customer requirements
In the application demonstrated at the trade fair, visitors can choose between 40, 60 and 80 centimetre long elastic tension straps in three different colours and with three different end piece combinations and can enter the variant of their choice directly at the terminal. The order is then transferred to the central Selogica control system via the OPC UA communication protocol. A compact turnkey system built around a vertical Allrounder 375 V machine produces the required product “on demand” on a flexible shot-to-shot basis with no need for conversions – thanks to a clever product and mould design and Industry 4.0 elements.
The strap is first cut to the selected length from the roll and the ends are spliced by means of a plasma process. The flexible inserts are handled by a six-axis robot that is compactly housed within the machine’s installation area and which enters the mould from the rear.
The four-cavity mould has two cavities each for the hooks and eyelets. The two ends of the strap are placed into the cavities in accordance with the order. In the next step, the two ends are pierced with a pin so that the plastic (PP GF30) can be securely anchored. The two corresponding cavities are filled via hot-runner nozzles during overmoulding of the inserted strap. This allows the hook/hook, hook/eyelet or eyelet/eyelet combinations to be produced in a cycle time of around 40 seconds. The finished tension strap is finally taken from the mould by the robot and removed from the system.
Key Industry 4.0 component: Arburg host computer system
As a central component of Industry 4.0, the Arburg host computer system (ALS) can record and archive all the relevant production and quality data, ensuring complete traceability of orders, batches and individual parts. Thanks to the OPC UA-based interface, machines and peripheral components can be integrated in a simple and standardised way. ALS also features an interface to a wide range of ERP systems, including SAP.
Arburg is presenting two new ALS modules for computer-aided production organisation at the Fakuma 2017: “Energy Visualisation” for order-specific allocation and display of energy data as well as “Mobile Maintenance”. With maintenance and servicing via mobile devices, the user receives an overview of the due tasks on site and can for example change the maintenance status and acknowledge test points directly online.
Smart Services: remote maintenance via secure data connection
Arburg is presenting its remote maintenance tool that enables fast, efficient and secure online support on a hybrid Allrounder 370 H. The injection moulding machine is equipped with a service router and integrated firewall for the “Smart Service”. Once the operator has activated the machine in question, Arburg accesses the Selogica control system via an encrypted data connection. Then, jointly with the service experts, the customer can analyse downtimes, faults and process sequences quickly and efficiently. This reduces unnecessary waiting times, machine downtimes and therefore costs. Remote access is terminated as soon as the on-site operator ends the connection.
Information point: Industry 4.0 pragmatic
With more than three decades of experience in digitally integrated machines, including peripheral equipment, Arburg is the industry leader in the field of Digital Transformation. At the “Industry 4.0” information point on the exhibition stand, visitors can find out which solutions Arburg offers for the Smart Factory and how Industry 4.0 components can be individually combined. These include, for example, industrial Ethernet, as well as online process control, data acquisition, detailed planning and status monitoring. Further information is also available, for example, on end-to-end batch monitoring and the individualisation of high-volume parts as single-unit batches by combining injection moulding and additive manufacturing. Arburg experts are of course on hand to answer any specific questions.