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Hörl Kunststofftechnik: Fully automated and networked production
The company slogan, “Precision in plastic” precisely describes the products manufactured by Hörl on a turnkey system from ARBURG since 2014: tiny clips in retainers for connectors in the automotive sector. The entire production set-up, which also includes electric ALLROUNDER A machines, is automated and integrated by means of the ARBURG ALS host computer system.

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The robotic system removal plate has been specially adjusted by Hörl.

“Our production facility is highly automated in order to ensure high capacity utilisation. We’re achieving annual growth of between 20 and 25 percent,” says Thomas Hörl, describing the current situation. The product portfolio includes small housing components for connector elements and insulating parts in high unit volumes that are increasingly being produced on high-cavity moulds. Some 70 percent of Hörl’s total production is purchased its majority shareholder, the Rosenberger Group. As a system partner, Hörl provides development, design, mould construction and production from a single source.

All the machines are equipped with a robotic system
Production quality and transparency in  production  are  enormously  important for the tier 2 producers supplied by Hörl – which has led to the use of electric ALLROUNDERs, MULTILIFT robotic systems, turnkey systems and the ARBURG ALS host computer system. “You won’t find a single machine without a robotic system in our air-conditioned plastic injection moulding shop,” says Thomas Hörl. “We only need two operatives to monitor our 65 machines during the night shift. No one else is needed.”

Industry 4.0 already a reality
In the Industry 4.0 sector, the company is developing autonomous closed control loops. Manual work is to be increasingly replaced by programming and monitoring activities. Thomas Hörl summarises the strategy: “There is an increasing trend towards innovative processing techniques, such as assembly injection moulding in multi-component processing or the use of stack moulds and six-axis robotic systems, including in a dual configuration. We already have concrete plans for more turnkey systems.”

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The clips are produced on a turnkey system.

Turnkey system for fasteners
The production cell from ARBURG commissioned in 2014 is used to produce special fasteners which ensure that plug connections are held securely in place after being correctly connected. For this purpose, the pre-assembled clips measuring around 7 millimetres in length and weighing 0.1 gram are clipped through the connectors under pressure.
The clips made from ten percent fibre-reinforced PBT are produced using five different 32 to 48-cavity moulds on an electric ALLROUNDER 470 A. Injection is performed via distributors into eight mould inserts, in each of which six or four cavities are arranged in a circle and held precisely in position by means of a vacuum unit.
A MULTILIFT V with a plate specially adapted by Hörl to the task in hand removes the clips from each mould insert and drops them separately in to six containers by means of a tube system for better traceability. Next, the parts are packaged according to a specific number of units.
The greatest challenge lay in the electrostatic charging of the clips, which was neutralised by means of a three stage ionisation system using air on the gripper, the tube system and via the transport containers in the cover plate.

Over four million clips each day
When the system was delivered, the cycle time was still around ten seconds, including the robotic cycle. Thanks to continuous process improvements  in the commissioning phase, the cycle time was reduced to 7.55 seconds by the time high-volume production started. As a result, Hörl now produces far in excess of four million parts per day for installation in almost every car brand around the world.

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