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Arburg promotes Industry 4.0 at Fakuma

Source: EPPM
News 13.10.2015

Spearheading zeitgeist: Industry 4.0
Arburg has spearheaded the Industry 4.0 zeitgeist at Fakuma, combining innovative technology with its Allrounder and Freeformer.

With automated Allrounders, the central Selogica control system, the Freeformer for additive manufacturing and IT solutions such as the Arburg host computer system ALS, Arburg offers comprehensive expertise in flexible production technology, the company said in its official release, published today.

"At Arburg, Industry 4.0 extends above and beyond the injection moulding sector," stated Arburg Management Team spokesman Michael Helh.

'Industrie 4.0 – powered by Arburg' has been demonstrated at Fakuma using two different examples. The first is the production of customised office scissors produced on a fully-networked and automated production line - which features the premiere of an automated Freeformer. The second is the manufacture of personalised rocker-type light switches, which are being produced at different times and at different locations – virtually in three factories: Moulded parts produced in the run-up to the trade fair have been individualised using a Freeformer on the Arburg stand. The associated, individually printed packaging is produced on the stand of Arburg partner FPT Robotik. Each individual part becomes an information carrier via a DM code applied by laser directly after injection moulding.

Integrating injection with additive
Injection moulding is being integrated with additive manufacturing by means of an automation system for the first time at the Fakuma, While the Kuka seven-axis "iiwa" (intelligent industrial work assistant) robot mounted on a mobile platform is also presenting a debut to the world of plastics processing.

The iiwa has been designed for autonomous human/robot cooperation and does not require a safety enclosure. It removes the workpiece carrier with the scissors from the conveyor belt of the injection moulding cell. A scanner is used to identify the product via its DM code and the next production step is started. The seven-axis robot automatically loads and unloads the Freeformer build chamber.

In order to automate the Freeformer, experts from the Development, Arburg Plastic Freeforming (APF) and Projects departments pooled their skills to devise a solution that is unique in the world of additive manufacturing. As a result, the Freeformer now features a Euromap 67 interface that allows it to communicate with the robotic system. The cover is opened and closed fully automatically and the part carrier has also been adapted.

Also at Fakuma, a Freeformer is on display showing how injection-moulded rocker-type light switches can be enhanced with a customised symbol/name combination.

The interesting feature in this instance is that the three work processes take place at different times and locations: the rocker-type light switches were moulded some months ago by Arburg in a high-volume batch. The DM code applied by laser means that each part has already received a product ID and its own website.

Central host computer system records all data
The Arburg host computer system, ALS, plays a central role in networking the autonomous stations, recording all the relevant production data and test results before transferring them to a central web server. This is where all production and quality parameters come together and are archived. In order to record the machine data, the ALS relies on worldwide Ethernet real-time networking standard for the machines and links the process chain by means of the OPC UA application protocol.

Each part is assigned its own website in the cloud which can be accessed with mobile devices using the individual code. This means that all relevant process data for each individual part is fully traceable, even after several years. This is important in practice, e.g. for the purposes of just-in-time production and safety-related components.

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