“The key factors determining the future viability of a company are increasing production efficiency and using new technologies. This includes lightweight construction, which is indispensable in many innovative industries,” emphasises Gerhard Böhm, Managing Director Sales at Arburg. “In Hanover we will be presenting two forward-looking applications for flexible and economical production of fibre-reinforced components. Fibre direct compounding and Arburg Plastic Freeforming are proof that we provide efficient solutions for both injection moulding and additive manufacturing”.
FDC: innovative injection moulding process for lightweight construction
Injection moulding and additive manufacturing enable designs that could not be realised with machining technologies, including, and especially for, lightweight construction. Using the example of its resource-saving FDC lightweight construction process, Arburg demonstrates how long-fibre reinforcement of plastic parts can increase the load-bearing capacity and reduce the amount of material used: fibre direct compounding stands out for its high material availability and achievable cost reductions of up to 40 percent. Unlike comparable processes using expensive long glass fibre compounds, a wide range of cost-effective standard plastics can be used. In addition, materials can be flexibly combined, with fibre length and fibre content individually adjustable so that the component properties can be systematically influenced.
The trade fair exhibit, an Allrounder 630 A electric injection moulding machine with a clamping force of 2,500 kN, shows a practical application from the automotive industry. In a cycle time of around 50 seconds, it produces long-fibre reinforced PP carrier plates for seat adjustment systems in a car interior. In this particular application, the fibre content is 35 percent and the moulded part weight is around 330 grams. The consistency of the shot weight, and consequently of the fibre content, is displayed via a weight control integrated in the automation, while the measurement result is monitored as a process parameter by the control system. A Multilift Select linear robot system deposits the finished parts on a conveyor belt.
The FDC unit on the injection unit features a side feeder with integrated cutting device, an adapted cylinder and a special screw geometry. The glass fibres are supplied as rovings, cut inline and fed directly into the liquid melt. Such in-process material preparation also has a positive effect on the CO2 footprint of production. Lightweight construction therefore offers great potential in terms of efficient use of resources and a circular economy – topics that also play an important part in our "arburgGREENworld" programme.
APF: additive manufacturing of fibre-reinforced parts in single-unit batches
During Hannover Messe 2020, Arburg will be demonstrating industrial additive manufacturing of resilient functional parts in single-unit batches on a second machine exhibit: using Arburg Plastic Freeforming (APF), a Freeformer 300-4X will produce a fibre-reinforced gripper "live". The new machine features an additional fourth rotation axis and a feed unit for continuous glass or carbon fibres, which are precisely deposited on the part carrier, immediately embedded in a plastic melt and cut to the defined length. This makes the APF process suitable for the production of components that are individually and locally reinforced in specific areas subject to stress.
Arburg developed the Freeformer and the APF process based on decades of know-how in plastics processing. One advantage of the open system is that users can optimise process control themselves and process plastic granulates in the same way as they are used for injection moulding. This includes original materials approved for medical technology or aerospace, for example. The additively manufactured gripper is an example of automation solutions and operating equipment that can be produced on Freeformes, on demand, without a mould and individually in single-unit batches. In addition, time to market can be accelerated in order to keep pace with rapid technical developments, short product life cycles, increasing variant diversity and the demand for individual products.
“arburgXworld”: digitalisation and customer portal
When it comes to digitalisation, which is another important enabler for sustainability and production efficiency, Arburg also lives up to its pioneering role in the world of plastics processing. Arburg has a suitable solution for virtually every requirement – from single-unit batches to IT networked and automated high-volume production.
The "arburgXworld" customer portal will be presented at the Arburg exhibition stand. With its numerous apps and expansion stages, the portal offers comprehensive support for injection moulding – starting with machine configuration and ordering of the new Allrounder 270 S compact, through simulation of the control system, an overview of the machine fleet and documentation of production processes, all the way to ordering spare parts and digital services. Arburg has combined its entire range of digital products and services, including numerous assistance functions, in its "arburgXworld" programme.