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Beck Automation premieres universal IML automation at Fakuma

Source: EPPM
News 26.08.2015

New trends in IML are always of importance. At the development centres of IML specialists, finding rapid solutions to geometry and labelling challenges is often paramount. This, coupled with the fact IML packaging has to be manufactured for test purposes before quickly being presented to the market, requires set-up times of IML machines for each production job.

Normally highly automated IML machines are configured specifically for particular applications to achieve optimal performance. If high levels of flexibility are required, this results in significant challenges when setting up these machines. Beck Automation has responded to this and is launching its latest Beck-Flex IML system in time for Fakuma.

Beck-Flex - making inside or outside gated automated manufacture of IML products possible.

The Beck-Flex is a side-entry automated IML system designed for maximum flexibility.

The target group for the Beck-Flex system is surprisingly diverse. On the one hand, experienced IML users who wish to quickly get packaging trends to Point of Sale. On the other, those new to IML, who are looking to find their feet in the IML decoration process. Beck-Flex specifically targets short re-tooling times, a wide label, product or mould range and small to medium size production batches. Beck-Flex excels as a universal all-in-one solution to meet these very different production requirements.

Premiere: flexibility without compromise
During the development of the Beck-Flex system, flexibility had utmost priority. The IML system had to able to decorate products that are either inside or outside gated. The system also had to handle moulds with different numbers of cavities, from single and dual cavity right up to four cavity moulds. The development "wish list" also included rapid changeover from lids to containers and vice versa. Another aim was to cover a broad spectrum of labels. Very different types of labels, such as 3 or 5 sided labels, with or without closed edges, flat labels and 360° labels should all be possible with the Beck-Flex. This comprehensive range is a real balancing act for IML automated machines. The Beck-Flex makes all of these tasks possible as an all-round IML system.

When short changeover times play a key role
Short changeover times are essential for a high degree of flexibility. When re-tooling from one lid to another, Beck Automation specifies a changeover time of less than 30 minutes. Re-tooling from a lid to an inside gated container takes less than 60 minutes.

Beck-Flex stands out with a large product range
Along with fast changeover times, a large product portfolio is very appealing for IML users. Beck-Flex can decorate labelled lids and containers up to dimensions of 220 x 100 mm. The minimum diameter is 40 mm, the maximum diameter is around 200 mm. For containers, the max. product height is 170 mm. Flat labels are deployed for lids. Independent of inside or outside gating, all common types of labels can be used for containers. Here, Beck-Flex options range from flat labels, to 3 or 5 sided labels, 5 sided labels with closed edges right up to 360° labels. The flexibility of the Beck-Flex system also applies to very wide-ranging mould configurations, these include single cavity, dual cavity (horizontal or vertical layout) or also high capacity 4 cavity moulds. Maximum cavity spacing is 360 mm. Beck-Flex is designed for IML applications on injection moulding machines with a maximum closing force of 420 metric tons.

High productivity included: four cavity mould from Otto Hofstetter for IML decoration.
Image: Otto Hofstetter

A look at the details
For the required flexibility, Beck-Flex needs excellent accessibility, even though the footprint of the IML system is comparable with a customer-specific machine from Beck Automation. A servo portal enables job-specific label feed or also product placement. Inside the machine, two linear main axles can be found, which are driven by servos. In terms of performance, the Beck-Flex offers the typical characteristics of IML solutions provided by Beck Automation. There are no compromises when it comes to manufacturing speed and the precision of the guides, despite such a high degree of flexibility. Cycle times of around 4 seconds with an intervention time of up to 1 second are possible with the Beck-Flex. And of course Beck Automation offers a comprehensive support service right up to remote diagnosis for the Beck-Flex system.

IML technology in a nutshell
The Beck-Flex offers the usual level of an IML high-performance automation system. Here, production output as well as reduced waste, long service intervals and lifecycle times play a significant role in the most economic operation possible of the IML machine. At Fakuma, the Beck-Flex shall be presented as a four cavity solution with a mould deploying hot runners from Otto Hofstetter AG. In this case, cavity spacing is 235 mm. The application is a cylindrical container made of PP with MFI 70 and 155 ml volume, with a wall thickness of some 0.4 mm. The diameter of the container is 69.3 mm, height 67 mm. Hofstetter states container weight to be 6.2 g and the ratio of flow path to average wall thickness is said to be 1:259 mm. Nicolas Beck, CEO at Beck Automation, said: "The Beck-Flex IML system clearly demonstrates that high production output and excellent flexibility are no contradiction."

An Engel eMotion 440/160 injection moulding machine shall be deployed at the show.

Beck added: "The Beck-Flex offers IML users a wide range of possibilities with very short lead times to give their product communication a premium look at point of sale and thus influence the consumers' purchase decision process."

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