Arburg's Technology Days nearly doubles population of its German hometown

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: March 28, 2014 12:39 pm ET
Updated: March 28, 2014 1:17 pm ET

Image By: Bill Bregar Nearly 7,000 people came to see the latest technology at Arburg's Technology Days.

Related to this story

Topics Injection Molding, Rapid Prototyping, Machinery
Companies & Associations Arburg GmbH + Co. KG

LOSSBURG, GERMANY — Once again at Arburg’s Technology Days the tiny Black Forest town of Lossburg became a global plastics mecca, as 6,800 visitors descended on the event, held March 19-22.

They studied more than 40 exhibits of Allrounder injection molding presses, including the new Freeformer, an additive manufacturing machine that Arburg unveiled at K2013. They saw direct injection molding over long-fiber reinforced sheets, overmolding of thick-wall LED lenses for car headlights, even a press molding ceramic dental crowns. They witnessed a press molding 64 irrigation drippers on a 1.8-second cycle.

Michael Hehl, managing partner of Arburg GmbH + Co. KG, said about 54,000 visitors have visited Technology Days since it began in 1999. “Our traditional event in March has been a magnet for the international plastics industry for many years,” he said.

The 6,800 attendees this year is almost the size of Lossburg’s entire population (7,800). The annual Technology Days is a major logistical feat, as the company organizes hotel rooms in surrounding towns, transportation and meals.

Technology Days drew 260 people from the United States, a record number. Arburg is building a new U.S. headquarters in Rocky Hill, Conn., and company executives said the United States remains Arburg’s biggest export market.

And every year, there is more to see — like a Disneyland for lovers of technology. For many, the highlight is touring the highly automated factory, where a self-directed pick-and-place system fills bins with components that move on gondolas hanging from five miles of overhead rails, to the assembly area. Arburg runs automated machines making tie bars and welding machine bases. Technicians assembly controllers upstairs, and shuttle then down to the assembly floor.

During the tours, Arburg’s 1,900 Lossburg employees kept on making injection presses. Arburg generated about 470 million euros ($650 million) in 2013. Company officials do not reveal how many presses are made each year.

Attendees saw a completely redesigned historical exhibit, first walking through a corridor with giant photographs of brothers Karl and Eugen Hehl, following them from boyhood to more recent years. Karl Hehl died in 2010. At the 2014 Technology Days, Eugen met customers from around the world, often hanging out in the well-stocked cafeteria area.

People strolled through an Efficiency Arena, seeing demonstrations of small-batch production—and even one-off production of toy cars, each with an individual QR code that showed detailed production and quality data.

On the management side, this Technology Days marked a major transition, as Herbert Kraibühler prepared to end a 50-year career at Arburg. He turned the reins over to Heinz Gaub as the incoming managing director of technology and engineering.

Gaub, giving a tour for the trade press, said demand has grown for Arburg to supply complete production cells, with more-complex machinery and automation.

Here are some highlights from Technology Days:

• A small magnifying glass molded from liquid silicone rubber, showing that LSR can give good optical properties.

• A work cell molding a thick, LED car lens in a press with 40 metric tons of clamping force, using a rotating tool that cycles through three injection units, with a cooling step between each injection station. Gaub said the key is molding different sections of the lens with no knit lines, and keeping a precise optical function.

• A machine molding a structural demonstration from a thermoplastic composite. A long-glass-fiber reinforced sheet—called an organic sheet--is heated, then shaped before the 400-tonne injection press does back injection-compression molding to inject the polypropylene around the sheet. The plastic can even go through the sheet to flow through mold, according to Christian Götze, head of research and development at Georg Kaufmann Formenbau AG, the Swiss maker of molds and process development. A six-axis robot moves the sheet through the operation.

• In a high-speed packaging application, an all-electric 400-ton Arburg Alldrive-e press turned out teaspoons in a high-cavitation mold. A Campetella side-entry robot removed the spoons and stacked them in a fixture. Then a five-axis ABB robot moved them to a conveyor, where groups of the spoons ran through a Lafer packaging line and into small plastic bags.

• Another press, a 180-tonne hybrid Hidrive P, cranked out two square food containers on a cycle of under three seconds.

The machines were displayed in Arburg’s glass-walled Customer Center, which looks on the picturesque German town.


Comments

Arburg's Technology Days nearly doubles population of its German hometown

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: March 28, 2014 12:39 pm ET
Updated: March 28, 2014 1:17 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Windmöller & Hölscher looking to continued growth in China

July 21, 2014 3:40 pm ET

With 2013 global sales of 600 million euros, China has grown into an important export market for Windmöller & Hölscher KG, second only to the United...    More

Image

Illinois injection molder expands

July 21, 2014 1:23 pm ET

Automotive supplier All-Rite Industries Inc. has added two new injection molding machines to its operations.    More

Image

Thermoforming Technology Group adds Lyle Industries to its portfolio

July 18, 2014 2:48 pm ET

Thermoforming Technology Group LLC has expanded its thermoforming equipment presence with the acquisition of Lyle Industries Inc.    More

Image

Infiltrator goes very large scale for injection press

July 18, 2014 1:45 pm ET

Infiltrator Systems Inc. has designed and built a mammoth injection press, with 6,000 tons of clamping force, to mold septic tank halves measuring 15 ...    More

Image

Milacron names Gallagher COO

July 17, 2014 1:41 pm ET

U.S. machinery maker Milacron LLC has named John J. Gallagher III as Chief Operating Officer for its Melt Delivery & Control Systems, Fluid Technologi...    More

Market Reports

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events