"We are extremely proud of these incredible visitor numbers: Because after all, whole regions, for example in Asia, were unable to travel due to Corona. Added to this is the fact that we organised the Technology Days four months before the world's leading trade fair, K, and not everybody will come to Europe twice within four months. The Technology Days certainly proved again their absolute global attraction," concludes Juliane Hehl, who as Managing Partner of Arburg is responsible for Marketing and Business Development. “This makes it very clear to me that our customers and visitors could hardly wait for the Technology Days either!”
Think Tank: lots of new things to discover
Under the Technology Days title, "Think Tank", Arburg proved with numerous application examples that the company does not wait until topics become popular, rather it acts as a pioneer offering future-proof solutions ahead of time. This could be felt at every corner. The sparks of enthusiasm and inspiration quickly leapt across to the visitors. In discussions about the wide range of applications and exhibits that demonstrated live e.g. the “smart” injection moulding of recyclates as well as bio plastics, over the “arburgXworld” customer portal or at the presentation of the Gestica control unit with its digital assistants, e.g. “aXw Control FillAssist”, enhanced in collaboration with development partner Simcon to systematise and automate simulation of the filling process yet further. The next step follows at K 2022.
Even for "old hands" there were many new things to discover: appearing for the first time were sister companies, AMKmotion and InnovatiQ, with solutions for drive systems and additive manufacturing respectively. A digital highlight was the brand new 5G campus network, which Arburg, as a pilot customer of Deutsche Telekom, used in the Customer Center at the Technology Days 2022 for networked manufacturing in plastic processing. Expert presentations in the new Training Center and exhibits and exhibition areas distributed across the entire company covered popular topics such as turnkey, medical technology, additive manufacturing and service.
Focus on digitalisation and the circular economy
The Efficiency Arena met with a great response. Here, around 20 experts from Arburg and its partners provided information on all topics relating to "arburgGREENworld" and "arburgXworld". The focus at the total of nine stations was on innovative solutions for resource conservation and digitalisation along the entire injection moulding value chain. With the production of drinking cups that can be separated by type, the visitors were shown an application example of the R-Cycle initiative, and learnt about the key topics of circular economy and digitalisation. An overview of the entire range of products and services offered by Arburg in this respect was on display in two new, permanently installed rooms: in the "arburgGREENworld" a hybrid Allrounder 370 H processed Post-Industrial Recyclate (PIR) that originated from technical textiles (airbags). For this purpose, the machine was equipped with Arburg's new recyclate package. In the "arburgXworld" area, numerous options were shown for making production more efficient, transparent and sustainable thanks to digitalisation. The "smart" Gestica functions and the Arburg host computer system, ALS, were also presented there.
"Green" resource conserving applications
The HolyGrail technology was presented as an example of an innovative solution for "intelligent" marking and separating by type, a requirement for a closed circular economy. With this technology, a digital product passport with recycling-relevant information can be placed directly on the plastic part. As an application example, 5-litre buckets were produced from Post-Consumer Recyclate (PCR) by a hybrid Allrounder 820 H in Packaging version with a cycle time of only around five seconds. An ingenious "rib structure" of the side walls allowed up to 18 per cent of the material to be saved.
The manufacture of sustainable reusable cups made of foamed PP was demonstrated by a hydraulic Allrounder 470 S, equipped with a MuCell® package. The highlight of this application from Bockatech: the material is enriched with gas both chemically and physically, and foams directly in the opened mould after injection. This saves on material and cycle time. The microcellular structures ensure a weight reduction of up to 50 per cent and also have an insulating effect. The foamed wall thickness is 2.0 instead of the compact 0.7 millimetres. The matching gripper for the handling Multilift Select robotic system was manufactured additively by a Freeformer beforehand. The gripping function with air guidance was integrated into the component, without any additional pneumatic drives or valves.
A hybrid Allrounder 920 H processed a PP compound with up to 70 per cent sunflower husks as filler and reinforcing material into beverage crates, while an hydraulic Allrounder 320 C Golden Edition produced perforated discs through paper injection moulding, with which straw insulation can be attached to mud walls.
Machine communicates with mould
A new solution for the communication between mould and machine was presented by Arburg alongside its partner Hack, using a hybrid "Packaging" Allrounder 630 H in clean room design, which produces transparent blood tubes from shatterproof PET. The "Moldlife Sense" computer system was integrated into the 32-cavity mould. This monitors the complete life cycle and enables monitoring. The data is passed directly to the machine control system via an OPC UA interface. In this way, for example, malfunctions as well as performance-dependent maintenance intervals for the mould can be displayed.
LSR dosing unit integrated in machine controller
Digitalisation also offers practical benefits in LSR processing: via OPC UA and the Euromap interface 82.3, dosing systems can be integrated into the Allrounder control system. At the Technology Days 2022, three LSR exhibits had such an OPC UA connection: three Allrounders were equipped with LSR dosing units from Elmet, Nexus and Reinhardt Technik, and manufactured light conductors for the automotive industry, "Needle Free Valves" for infusion therapy, as well as foamed toe pads.
Part tracing without markings
Arburg demonstrated together with the start-up, Detagto, and an hydraulic Allrounder 470 A, a new solution for tracing moulded parts without markings by means of "invisible tracing". The process is reliable, tamper-proof, and requires little effort: a small camera station in or at the machine, a small server outside or in the Cloud, as well as a second camera station for recognition are sufficient. The image data of the photographed surface, that, like a finger-print, appears minimally different for each component, is converted into a storable character string, and transferred to a database. In this way, each component can be unmistakably identified later.
Exciting turnkey systems
At the Technology Days, several exciting production cells that Arburg is currently implementing with customers were also on show. A highlight was a production cell with a rotary table machine in which two robots interact with the mould in a coordinated manner. Another fully automated turnkey system based around an electric Allrounder was designed to produce almost 90 different product variants. Special emphasis was placed on short set-up times. Visitors were also able to see how 16 very delicate contacts can be separated from bulk material and inserted into the mould, as well as an example of an efficient way to move into automated plastic part production with container storage.
Additive manufacturing with the Freeformer
At the Arburg Prototyping Center (APC) in the Customer Center, visitors learnt all about additive manufacturing. Experts showed how to create added value with the APF process. In the APC, six Freeformers processed a wide variety of materials live, including PA10, PP, different TPU materials and material combinations of these.