The ENGEL HL Awards 2012 were presented on 13th June against the backdrop of the ENGEL Symposium 2012. This year's prize winners leverage the benefits of tie-bar-less technology, mainly to achieve greater cost-efficiency in production. The HL Awards in Gold, Silver and Bronze went to Volkswagen in Wolfsburg/Germany, O.C.S.A. in Creazzo/Italy and Anton in Zalaegerszeg/Hungary.
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The HL Awards are ENGEL's acknowledgement of excellent applications with ENGEL tie-bar-less injection moulding machines. The tie-bar-less technology that ENGEL introduced to its victory series of machines more than 20 years ago not only supports particularly efficient production concepts, but also inspires more and more users to develop totally new process ideas. 25 contributions from 15 countries gave the jury a very hard job this year. This year's jury members closely scrutinised the deployed technologies, the progressiveness of the applications, and the economic benefits compared with legacy machines. The jury comprised Prof. Dr. Christian Bonten, the Head of the University of Stuttgart's Institute of Plastics Technology (IKT), Thomas Bründl, CEO of starlim//sterner in Marchtrenk/Austria, and Joachim Rönisch, the publisher of K Magazine, Hanover.
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Multiple, optimum use of tie-bar-less benefits
The HL Award 2012 in Gold went to Volkswagen. The Plastics Division at the Group's head offices in Wolfsburg/Germany perfectly leverages the benefits of tie-bar-less technology in two different ways in the production of components for fuel filler door modules for the Golf, Golf Estate and Golf Plus models. Firstly, the extremely large moulds utilise the whole of the mould fixing platens' surfaces and even protrude beyond them at the sides. Secondly, the large grippers on the handling robot can reach into the mould space without interference. Both factors ensure that the production cell has a minimal footprint. At the same time, free access for the robots considerably reduces the cycle time.
The award-winning production cell comprises two tie-bar-less injection moulding machines – ENGEL victory 750/400 tech and ENGEL victory 1050/400 tech – and two Kuka KR 60 multiple-axis robots. To produce the inserts for the fuel filler doors, first the base body made of 30 % glass fibre reinforced polypropylene is injected. The second machine then adds an EPDM seal. Technologically, a very challenging combination of materials!
Twice as fast as the competitor
It's not just in the automotive industry, but also in packaging that fast cycle times are a precondition for good competitive ability. Tie-bar-less technology inspired mould maker and injection moulder O.C.S.A. from Creazzo/Italy to create a unique mould design. Thanks to it, O.C.S.A. produces coffee capsules for espresso machines by illycaffè twice as fast as its competitor, and was thus able to secure contract awards for more of illycaffè's projects. The jury acknowledged this achievement in the form of the HL Award in Silver.
The core of the capsule, the polypropylene and TPE coffee holder, is injected on an ENGEL victory 1350H/200W/220 combi machine in a 32+32x rotary plate mould. The key to reducing cycle times is cooling the hard component. To accelerate this process, in-house mould making replaced the cooling water supply hoses with thicker pipes. They jut out upward through the mould area and are directly connected to the cooling unit. Because there are no tie-bars in the way, the pipes can easily follow the motion of the rotary plate.
Clamping force of 400 tonnes instead of 600
The HL Award 2012 in Bronze went to Anton in Zalaegerszeg/Hungary. Thanks to tie-bar-less technology, Anton can now position no less than four injection units on a machine with just 400 tonnes clamping force, while at the same time combining multiple-component injection moulding with insert-placing technology. The ENGEL victory 1050H/330W/200V/400 combi is used to produce housings for electric manual tools by Anton's largest customer, Bosch. After an ENGEL viper 20 linear robot has insert-placed the metal inserts into the 2+2x rotary plate mould, the left and right housing shells are first injected from green PP GF30. Following this, the mould rotates to a second position where the three following components are applied in a single step using corepulls: first the red Bosch label (PP GF30), then black, and finally grey TPE S on the handle surfaces.
Anton requested quotations for various injection moulding machine types for the mould, which measures 1250 x 910 x 900 mm. Legacy machines were planned with clamping forces between 600 and 800 tonnes. With the tie-bar-less 400 tonnes ENGEL victory machine, Anton not only saved on cost of investment, the smaller machine also offers savings in ongoing operations.
Places 4 to 6 go to Germany, Russia and Finland
The jury awarded prizes to the first six places. The number 4 spot went to Schneegans in Emmerich/Germany for the production of vehicle keys in multi-component technology. Fifth went to Doctor Zeta in Moscow/Russia for its highly-automated production of toothpicks, with Okartek in Kaarina/Finland und Fiskars in Billnäs/Finland coming 6th. The companies produce handles for garden tools.