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Digital transformation in plastics processing

Digital transformation in plastics processing

News 20.02.2018

For Arburg, the main focus will be on "Connectivity" at the Hannover Messe to be held from 23 to 27 April 2018: With over three decades of experience in IT-networked machines, including peripheral equipment, the machine manufacturer is a leader in digital transformation in the plastics industry. At the leading "Digital Factory" trade fair, on stand J10 in hall 6, Arburg will present the multiple-variant injection moulding of elastic tension straps "on demand", the Freeformer for industrial additive manufacturing, the in-house developed MES system, ALS, as well as current Industry 4 components for the "smart factory".

arburg 127006 heinz gaub

Heinz Gaub, Managing Director Technology & Engineering at Arburg

"We regard ourselves not only as a supplier of machines, but also as a technology partner, efficiency promoter and pioneer in the plastics industry with regard to the topic of digital transformation. With us, our customers receive everything from a single source," explains Heinz Gaub, Managing Director Technology & Engineering at Arburg. "The requirements are becoming ever more stringent. The objective is to make parts production even more flexible, to achieve the best possible machine utilisation and to render the production processes more transparent. For this purpose, our range offers our customers a wide variety of technologies and solutions. A further important step in the future will be the digitalisation of business processes and services – working with a digital twin, the virtual simulation of a real machine."

Networked and flexibly automated production
From the smart machine and host computer system to the smart factory and smart services, Arburg has a large range of offerings for 'smart' injection moulding companies in order to enhance added value, production efficiency and process reliability in networked and flexibly automated production.

arburg 134975 spannseil

High-volume production "on demand"


As an important component of Industry 4.0, the Arburg host computer system (ALS) enables the comprehensive traceability of orders and batches. Machines can be networked in a simple, standardised manner by means of interfaces based on the OPC UA communication protocol.

At the Hannover Messe 2018, visitors will be able to gain an impression of all aspects of the digital transformation at Arburg: solutions for the smart factory, Arburg Remote Service (ARS), combinable Industry 4.0 components and the individualisation of high-volume parts as single unit batches through the combination of injection moulding and additive manufacturing.


Practical example of Industry 4.0 – tension straps "on demand"
How to integrate specific customer requests on-line into the ongoing injection moulding process thanks to a clever product and tool design, is shown at the Hannover Messe 2018 by the practical example called "tension straps". A turnkey system related to the vertical injection moulding machine Allrounder 375 V produces elastic tension straps on demand and nevertheless economically in series in different versions - flexibly from shot to shot, completely without machine conversion. In industrial practice, such an application is ideal for cable assembly in the automotive industry, for example.

arburg 109850 industrie 4.0

The "Mobile Maintenance" module for mobile devices is a new feature of the MES system

In the application demonstrated at the trade fair, visitors can choose between 40, 60 and 80 centimetre long elastic tension straps in three colours and with three different end piece combinations and can enter the variant of their choice directly at the terminal. The requirements are then transferred to the central Selogica control system via the OPC UA communication protocol. The strap is cut to the selected length from a roll and the ends are spliced using a plasma process. The flexible inserts are handled by a six-axis robot that is compactly housed within the machine's installation area. The four-cavity mould on the injection moulding machine features two cavities each for the hooks and eyelets. The two ends of the strap are placed into the cavities in accordance with the order. The two corresponding cavities are filled via hot-runner nozzles during overmoulding. 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.

arburg 117439 freeformer prototyping center

In addition to the Freeformer for industrial additive manufacturing, numerous sample parts will be on view at the Hannover Messe 2018

Industrial additive manufacturing
A Freeformer and a variety of functional components will be used at the Hannover Messe 2018 to demonstrate that Arburg Plastic Freeforming (APF) is not only suitable for prototyping, but also for the industrial additive manufacturing of functional components in particular. Visitors will therefore be able to examine the parts "hands on" at an interactive station and convince themselves of their functionality and quality. These will include cable clips made from a standard PP (Braskem PP CP 393). The delicate yet durable structures feature the click effect typical of injection moulded parts thanks to a film hinge.

The Freeformer is an open system that provides independence for users: They can qualify their own original materials and optimise the freely programmable process parameters specifically to their specific application. One huge advantage in this context is that original materials certified e.g. for medical technology or aerospace applications can be used. In addition to amorphous standard granulates such as ABS, PA and PC, the ever-expanding range of materials qualified by Arburg includes, for example, elastic TPE, medical grade PLLA, PC approved for the aerospace industry and semi-crystalline PP.

About Arburg
A German family-owned company, Arburg is one of the leading global manufacturers of plastic processing machines. The product portfolio encompasses Allrounder injection moulding machines with clamping forces of between 125 and 6,500 kN, the Freeformer for industrial additive manufacturing and robotic systems, customer and industry-specific turnkey solutions and further peripheral equipment.

The company places the topic of production efficiency at the centre of all its activities, taking into account the entire value-added chain. The objective is to enable Arburg customers to manufacture their plastic products, whether as one-off parts or in high-volume production, with optimal quality and at minimum unit costs – e.g. for the automotive and packaging industries, communication and entertainment electronics, medical technology or the white goods sector.

An international sales and service network ensures first-class customer support at the local level: Arburg is represented by fully owned organisations at 33 locations in 25 countries and by trading partners in more than 50 countries. The machines are produced exclusively at the parent company in Lossburg, Germany. Of a total of around 2,800 employees, about 2,300 work in Germany. About 500 further employees work in Arburg's organisations around the world. In 2012, Arburg became one of the first companies to gain triple certifications: ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment) and ISO 50001 (energy).

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