Arburg Makes a Big Impact at K 2016
Those wanting to find out about innovations and trends in injection moulding and industrial additive manufacturing at the K 2016 leading international trade fair in Düsseldorf (Germany) could not afford to miss Arburg.
From 18 to 26 October 2016, over 400 employees and trade partners from 53 countries presented twelve innovative exhibits on the company’s own exhibition stand, while a further fifteen machines were on show on partner stands. The major attraction was the new hybrid Allrounder 1120 H – with a clamping force of 6,500 kN, the largest injection moulding machine in Arburg’s product range.
Pioneering features included its visionary Gestica control system as well as the aesthetic and functional new design in which this world premiere was presented. According to the exhibition magazine, the most popular give-away at the K 2016 were the Arburg silicone wristwatches.
“Our pioneering large machine heralds the next generation of Allrounders. The response was overwhelming. We are extremely satisfied. Evidently, we have perfectly fulfilled the wishes of our customers,” summarises Michael Hehl, Managing Partner and Spokesperson for the Management Team at Arburg: “Virtually no other manufacturer offers such a wide range of solutions for the efficient production of plastic parts. From high-volume items to batches as small as a single unit, we have shown innovative applications and techniques, once again impressively demonstrating our innovative strength.”
New “Wir sind da.” brand promise
“However, our offering extends far beyond these technological services,” emphasises Managing Partner Juliane Hehl: “At the K 2016, we combined our brand promise with a special key visual – ‘Dare to Dream. Wir sind da.’ This is intended to express the fact that we are always there wherever the customer may be – in geographical, technological, mental and physical terms. You can rely on us, just like a trusted family-member. We promise our customers and partners that we will never compromise in our commitment to them. This is an idea that was quite tangible in Düsseldorf. We had thousands of international visitors and the mood on the stand was extremely positive. You could hardly ask for more!”
Arburg surprises the trade experts
Following the sensational launch of the Freeformer at the K 2013, this year it was the turn of the hybrid Allrounder 1120 H to make its international début. Arburg has thus extended its clamping force range by 30 percent, now up to 6,500 kN. “Together with the new machine design and the visionary Gestica control system, we genuinely succeeded in surprising the trade experts once again, giving us plenty to talk about in our discussions,” adds Managing Director Sales, Gerhard Böhm. “Our exhibits covered a wide range of industries and applications and were very well received by the visitors. All-in-all, we have rarely had so many high-quality discussions at a trade fair before.” International interest in high-end injection moulding technology “Made in Germany” is still very high. From the entry-level electric machine to complex turnkey systems and the Freeformer for industrial additive manufacturing, Arburg had production-efficient solutions for every industry and application.
Industry 4.0 trend topic
Everyone was talking about Industry 4.0 at the K 2016. Managing Director Technology & Engineering Heinz Gaub explains the idea behind the Arburg exhibit in the context of this trend topic: “We used the example of a ‘smart’ luggage tag to demonstrate the potential of spatially distributed production and the individualisation of high-volume parts in batches as small as a single unit. For this purpose, an Allrounder injection moulding machine was combined with a Freeformer for industrial additive manufacturing and the product was individualised on a customer-specific basis.”
After the two parts were moulded using a vertical Allrounder 375 V and an NFC chip was integrated, the order data for the subsequent production process was stored on the chip and the product thus became an information and data carrier, identifying itself at the various stations and controlling its own further manufacturing process. The subsequent processes included the addition of the address data of a QR code by laser and the additive application of a 3D graphic using the Freeformer. The Arburg host computer system stored all process and quality data on a central server. The individual website of the personalized product meant that all process and quality data could be traced on a 100 percent basis at all times. At the central “Industry 4.0″ information point, the last of five stations, Arburg also illustrated the benefits of Industry 4.0, as well as some possible business models. In addition to traceability, this also includes other data-supported actions using the NFC chip integrated in the luggage tag, such as the online ordering of brochures.
As an example of “smart service”, a hydraulic Allrounder 270 S was used to introduce a new remote maintenance tool that enables fast, efficient and reliable online support. The injection moulding machine was equipped with a service router and integrated firewall for this purpose. Malfunctions and process sequences can be efficiently analysed and optimised through online support. This reduces unnecessary waiting times, machine downtimes and therefore costs.
New machine technology
An Allrounder Cube 2900 was presented for the first time in Düsseldorf, using a 32+32-cavity cube mould from partner Foboha to produce two-colour flip-top closures for Pril washing-up liquid bottles from Henkel in a cycle time of 8.5 seconds. The moulded parts were removed including fitting of closures without impacting on the cycle time. This output for this application was increased by ten percent, despite a 25 percent lower energy requirement. Arburg tailored the new series, which is available with clamping forces of 2,900 and 4,600 kN, to high-speed applications using cube moulds weighing up to 16 tonnes.
The Golden Electric series was launched in spring 2016 to facilitate economically efficient entry into electric injection moulding production. The new electric machines with clamping forces of 600 to 2,000 kN offered an excellent price/performance ratio thanks to consistent standardisation. At the K 2016, an Allrounder 470 E Golden Electric with a 32-cavity mould produced protective covers for a health care product.
The new Allrounder 2000 T vertical rotary table machine with 2,000 millimetre table diameter was also presented on the stand of Arburg’s partner Lauffer Maschinenfabrik. The new machine concept features a very compact installation area, an ergonomically efficient table height of just 850 millimetres and space for larger moulds.
One of the application highlights was the “ready-to-use” LSR/LSR wristwatch in Arburg design. The associated expertise in multi-component injection moulding, automation and the processing of liquid silicone (LSR) was demonstrated with an efficient turnkey system. An electric two-component Allrounder 570 A produced two two-coloured wrist straps from liquid silicones (LSR) Silopren 2670 and 2620 fully automatically in a 75-second injection moulding cycle.
No less impressive was the production of ready-to-use designer folding step stools. The idea, design and implementation of this application all originate from Arburg. The centrepiece of the turnkey system was the new hybrid Allrounder 1120 H high-performance machine with a clamping force of 6,500 kN, which produced a 1,092 gram step stool in a cycle time of around 60 seconds. The new Multilift V 40 robotic system removed the eight individual pieces from the family mould and placed them on a rotary transfer table. There, the two halves of the step stool were pre-assembled and then transferred by means of a turning station to a six-axis robot, where the stoppers were added to the feet and the finished step stool was placed on a conveyor belt. In this concept the linear robot and six-axis robot worked hand-in-hand, i.e. the six-axis robot communicated directly with the Multilift V 40, which in turn was connected to the Gestica machine control system.
Physical foaming with Profoam was an innovative lightweight construction application in which plastic granulate is mixed with a gaseous blowing agent in a granulate lock upstream of the injection unit. A hydraulic Allrounder 630 S with a new, five-litre granulate lock produced a structured cover for car interiors from PC (GF) in a cycle time of around 60 seconds. Dynamic mould temperature control enabled a high-gloss surface to be produced also with foaming technique.
The visible part was consistently designed for foaming and, with a wall thickness of only 1.8 millimetres, met the same requirements as a moulded part with a thickness of 2.5 millimetres produced using compact injection moulding. At around 213 grams, the structured cover was therefore around 24 percent lighter than an equivalent compact part.
The example of Petri dishes was used to demonstrate a cost-effective, compact and productive solution for the production of high-volume medical technology items: An electric Allrounder 470 A in a clean room version produced around 4,500 bases and lids per hour, corresponding to an output of around 16 million parts per year. The bases and lids of the Petri dishes were made from PS and were produced using a 2+2-cavity stack mould in a cycle time of 3.2 seconds, brought together in a conveyor system, assembled and stacked.
The current status of additive manufacturing
As well as the Freeformer, which individualised “smart” luggage tags at the K 2016, Arburg also presented two other Freeformers. One was used to process a new material, PEI high-temperature plastic. One of the remarkable features of this application was the layer depth of around 0.14 millimetres and the associated part quality. 70 spacers used in Allrounder injection moulding machines and weighing just 0.09 grams each were produced in a small-batch operation. The third Freeformer produced a model of a toggle model (1:16). Consisting of around 100 million drops, the resulting “block” almost filled the entire build chamber. After the support structure had been dissolved in the warm water bath, the 738-gram model had around 30 moving joints – just like the toggle of a “real” injection moulding machine.