ENGEL at the VDI Conference "Plastics in Automotive Engineering" Focus on surfaces and lightweight design
Injection moulding machine manufacturer ENGEL AUSTRIA will have a suitcase full of challenging sample parts on show at the international "Kunststoffe im Automobilbau" (Plastics in Automotive Construction) congress, March 9th and 10th, 2016 in Mannheim, Germany.
Injection moulding machine manufacturer ENGEL AUSTRIA will have a suitcase full of challenging sample parts on show at the international "Kunststoffe im Automobilbau" (Plastics in Automotive Construction) congress, March 9th and 10th, 2016 in Mannheim, Germany. The application examples clearly show how innovative process technologies and integrated system solutions can meet the strictest quality requirements at a competitive unit cost.
"Lightweight design, functionalised surfaces and precise optics – these three topics are the most important drivers of innovation and growth in the automotive industry", as Michael Fischer, Sales Manager Technologies at ENGEL AUSTRIA, emphasises in the run-up to the VDI congress. "We are expecting new impulses, but also tangible enquiries related to them in Mannheim."
What all three topics have in common is that highly-integrated processes and intelligent technologies enable the efficiency and cost-effectiveness required for high-volume series production. As an injection moulding machine manufacturer with a huge amount of automation and system integration expertise, ENGEL offers the best possible conditions for this, and is thus one of the preferred partners of automotive companies, OEMs, and tier-one and tier-two suppliers.
Based on sample components, ENGEL is showcasing innovative process technologies and providing insights into state-of-the-art applications in Mannheim.
ENGEL clearmelt – feature-rich premium surfaces
Fakuma last October marked a clear milestone for the ENGEL clearmelt process. During the fair, an ENGEL duo 650 combi M injection moulding machine produced decor elements with real wood veneer and a particularly high-quality and at the same time robust finish. Immediately after the fair, this injection moulding machine was delivered to HIB Trim Part Solutions – a subsidiary of NBHX Trim GmbH – in Bruchsal, Germany, where the first series production application will be ramped up in the near future. "Further projects are also on the finishing straight", says Fischer. "The automobile industry is currently in the process of exploring the huge potential that this highly efficient multiple component process opens up."
The ENGEL clearmelt process involves first injecting a thermoplastic carrier, which is then immediately flooded with polyurethane on the second side of the indexing platen mould. PUR makes the surface scratch proof and gives it visual depth. The wood veneer is inserted into the mould before processing the thermoplastic, and is sandwiched in the finished part between the carrier component and the layer of PUR. Instead of precious woods, decor foils can also be used here. Back injection of capacitive touch foils is also particularly promising. This means that electronic features can be combined with a premium, closed and robust finish in a single step. In future, control fields will be integrated into thin decor elements – whether visibly or invisibly.
ENGEL variomelt – high gloss without a flow line
ENGEL variomelt technology is the perfect choice for achieving premium finish quality directly on the thermoplastic surface. Before injecting the melt, the mould cavities are heated and, after complete filling, are cooled again, thus increasing the contact temperature between the melt and the mould wall to slow solidification of the surface layer. This makes it possible to create a high gloss finish without sink marks or flow lines.
ENGEL optimelt – thick LED lenses with a short cycle time
The biggest challenge in the production of LED lenses is to strike the right balance between superior optical quality and high cost effectiveness. Multilayer moulding, a process in which a pre-moulded part is overmoulded with more layers of the same material, helps to achieve this balance. If the pre-moulded component is partly cooled outside of the mould, the cycle time can be reduced significantly – even in the production of very thick lenses.
ENGEL has grouped its system solutions for the manufacturing of premium optical components under the ENGEL optimelt label. For more than ten years, ENGEL has focused on multilayer moulding processes and holds numerous patents for optical component manufacturing methods.
Integrated system solutions for cost-effective lightweight design
State-of-the-art lightweight design, and thus sustainable mobility, would be hard to imagine without intelligent, highly-integrated processes. Compared with aerospace engineering, car manufacturing is characterised by high volumes, and thus exposed to considerably greater cost pressure. This necessitates completely new methods in the production of fibre-reinforced plastic components. Pushing forward with the development of these methods, and accelerating their time to market, is the aim of the Center for Lightweight Composite Technologies founded by ENGEL in 2012. The Center's understanding is above all that of an interdisciplinary platform for collaboration with customers, partner enterprises and universities. The focus topics include processing of semi-finished thermoplastic products (thermoplastic fabric and tapes), duroplastic moulding materials such as SMC, and reactive technologies that use thermosets and thermoplastic systems, such as HP-RTM and in-situ polymerisation of ε-Caprolactam. During the VDI congress, ENGEL will be providing insights into current projects.
To be able to cover an even wider range of applications and technologies, ENGEL is extending the capacity of its Center for Lightweight Composite Technologies to include an ENGEL v-duo 1700 injection moulding machine with 17,000 kN clamping force. The injection moulding machine is equipped with an injection unit, an integrated ENGEL easix multi-axis robot and a high pressure metering system for reactive process technology; it can also be combined with the IR oven developed by ENGEL to support a huge variety of composite technologies. The new ENGEL v-duo machine is available for both development work and customer trials.
In developing the ENGEL v-duo model range ENGEL has tailored a compact and energy efficient injection moulding machine specifically for fibre composite applications to support highly cost-efficient production solutions. The machine's vertical clamping unit can be accessed from all four sides instead of just two, which speeds up maintenance work and facilitates automation by supporting handling device integration on the smallest possible footprint for direct and unobstructed access to the mould area.