Arburg: Energy Advice and Other Measures Significantly Reduce Costs

Cost-effectiveness and efficiency have always been Arburg’s guiding principles. Due to the huge price increases, the topic of energy in particular has rapidly gained in importance throughout Europe. This is one of the reasons why the machine manufacturer from Lossburg, Germany, launched its “Action Plan: Energy” in March 2023.

The plan is based on individual energy consultations, including energy measurements at the customer’s premises. It highlights many specific options for optimising energy requirements throughout the production process, thereby significantly reducing injection mould production costs.

The importance of energy costs has increased at lightning speed in the injection moulding sector in 2022. We have responded to this with a professional action plan,” explains Gerard Böhm, Managing Director Sales and Service at Arburg. “The history of our company and our current activities show that we are great at saving energy, both in terms of our products and our in-house production. We allow our customers worldwide to benefit fully from this knowledge. With our in-depth expertise, machine upgrades and digital services, we support injection moulding plants and make them strong and resilient with regard to energy efficiency.

Sharing knowledge: Comprehensive energy advice

Anyone who wants to make significant energy savings in their injection moulding parts production can receive specific and comprehensive advice and training from Arburg as part of its “Action Plan: Energy”. Initial contact can be made via the responsible sales staff or by e-mailing energy@arburg.com.

After a kick-off via video conference, the experts go to the customer’s premises, where they follow a 5-step plan. In order to obtain meaningful data, step 1 is to determine the energy requirement in a real production environment. For example, measuring power and compressed air leakages can reveal potential energy guzzlers. The measurement data is used directly at the machine for subsequent advice on process optimisation. New measurements follow this to evaluate the success of these measures. In step 2, the machine fleet is classified and individual retrofits are considered. Step 3 comprises process and cycle time optimisations intending to increase output and reduce specific energy requirements. In steps 4 and 5, the experts deal with the “dos and don’ts” of moulds and peripheral equipment.

At the end of the action plan, there is a detailed consultation and a final discussion with the customer, who is given an individual list of measures with all the information and specific recommendations on suitable retrofits, digital solutions and, depending on the region, the use of possible subsidies.

Learning something new: Special energy efficiency courses

Arburg offers special courses on energy efficiency at its Training Center in Lossburg as well as directly at the customer’s premises. For example, maintenance staff and production managers learn how to make their work even more energy efficient as part of an information seminar. The seminar explains, among other things, which criteria can be used to select the most energy-efficient injection moulding machine, determine the specific energy requirement of an Allrounder and exploit savings opportunities in the injection moulding process. In addition, the Arburg experts provide practical training for machine operators on request, directly on their Allrounders on site.

Documenting: Energy data for certification
  • Arburg can provide documented and traceable consumption measurements for new machines for businesses that require detailed energy data for certification (Fig. 4). This service has three components:
  • Basic: Measurement of the energy requirement in the operating phase of the Arburg injection moulding machine and robotic system.
  • Extended: Besides the operating phase, the energy requirement in the start-up and cooling phases, including peripheral devices, is determined.
  • Complete: Additional water and compressed air consumption measurement, flow rate and cooling capacity.
Saving energy: Upgrades and retrofits

Existing Allrounder injection moulding machines of all sizes and series can also be retrofitted to optimise their energy use. Depending on the application, it may be worthwhile to fully insulate the cylinder, which ensures that process heat losses are minimised and heating is fast (Fig. 5). With this measure, the energy requirement in relation to heating energy can be reduced by up to 40 per cent, depending on the process.

For machines made in 2011 or earlier (with IE1 and older motors), an upgrade with energy-efficient air- and water-cooled IE3 motors can save up to ten per cent of energy, which means a return on investment (ROI) of only 1.5 to 2 years, depending on the machine.

For newer Allrounders, retrofitting with the Arburg energy saving system AES can also be considered. For example, assuming a cycle time of 50 seconds and 6,000 hours of production per year, a hydraulic Allrounder 270 S can save around 4,800 euros with electricity costs of 40 cents per kilowatt hour. With an Allrounder 820 S and 50 cent electricity costs, this measure even reduces production costs by around 21,000 euros annually. Generally, the payback period for an investment depends on the energy costs, machine and process.

Intelligent support: “EnergyAssist” controller function

The Gestica machine controller actively supports the operator – including when it comes to energy optimisation. The assistance function “aXw Control EnergyAssist” brings together all the essential functions for the heating zones of the plasticising cylinder and the mould hot runner, for example, and ensures that all heating zones are switched on and off optimised. This can reduce the energy requirement in the heating phase by up to 30 per cent (Fig. 6).

Energy-efficient working: New Allrounder 470 H

Arburg has answered the question of what an energy-optimised machine of the future will look like with its milestone machine: “When designing the hybrid Allrounder 470 H, we made significant advances to our tried-and-tested technology in order to optimise the energy footprint and reduce cycle times,” emphasises Guido Frohnhaus, Managing Director Technology & Engineering at Arburg. “There are many technical innovations in the new machine generation that are only available from Arburg“.

These include the new oil management concept, flow splitting for simultaneous movements of hydraulic secondary axes and the extended use of the Arburg servo hydraulic system. The new machine saves energy, conserves resources, and is efficient in production, user-friendly and reliable at the same time.

This is also made possible above all thanks to the combination of electric clamping unit and hydraulic injection unit. The electric drives reduce the energy requirement and hence the operating costs and carbon footprint. The high-quality hydraulic injection unit lowers the purchase costs and is also very robust.

A comparison of the hybrid Allrounder 470 H milestone machine with similar hydraulic machines produces some impressive figures:

  • A 50 per cent smaller energy footprint
  • Up to 12,000 kilograms less CO2 per year
  • Around 35 per cent less oil – preheated by machine waste heat
  • A cooling water capacity that is between 50 and 70 per cent lower
  • Dry cycle times reduced by up to 33 per cent, resulting in significantly greater production efficiency

The bottom line is that the Allrounder 470 H significantly reduces acquisition, operating costs, and carbon footprint.

Comparing Allrounders: Energy labels in the customer portal

Digital products and features help make production processes more energy efficient and create transparency – at any time and around the clock. The arburgXworld customer portal plays an important role here. New features in the “MachineCenter” app include energy labels: each Allrounder is assigned to one of three energy efficiency classes. In addition, its carbon footprint is displayed from the creation phase to delivery to the customer.

Depending on the machine, the customer portal also provides tailored suggestions for energy optimisation, e.g. through retrofits. The new equipment comparison option helps users quickly and efficiently find the best Allrounder for their current injection moulding process during production planning. Another tried-and-tested tool for determining the most efficient solution is the Arburg cost-effectiveness calculator, which uses important parameters to compare the various options and determine unit costs and the payback period.

Visualising the energy requirement: ARBURG host computer system ALS

The host computer system ALS also significantly contributes to increasing the production and energy efficiency of machines and systems. Arburg’s proprietary manufacturing execution system (MES) allows users to digitally plan and control their entire plastic parts production process and track all relevant information.

Mobile ALS functions enable resource-saving paperless production. Their energy requirements can be visualised and evaluated via ALS (Fig. 10). In the information and machine terminal, the total energy requirement of the current job, the energy requirement per 15 minutes or the average output per 15 minutes can be displayed.

Conclusion

As part of a professional action plan, energy consulting forms an important new component of Arburg’s portfolio of services. Especially in times of scarce resources and high energy costs, customers benefit from this very much, with on-site energy measurements and in-depth advice identifying specific areas for action.

Subsequent implementation of individual measures in the injection moulding plant, machine adjustments, and digital features and supplementary training courses open up the enormous potential that can significantly reduce energy requirements and thus also costs. Arburg is thus once again positioning itself as a primary contractor that provides its customers with full support in implementing their production tasks far beyond pure machine technology.

Read more news from ARBURG here.

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