Düsseldorf, Germany — Engel Holding GmbH (Hall 15/B42) has carried out a far-reaching revision of its hydraulic injection units in the next generation of its Victory and Duo injection molding machines being shown at K 2016.
A long development program by Engel's engineers has resulted in innovative features, which enable the machines to achieve “even higher levels of precision, ergonomics and efficiency than before,” said the Schwertberg, Austria-based company.
Engel has also taken the opportunity to restructure the sizes of the units and optimize their performance data, such as injection pressure, injection speed and plasticizing capacity. These changes take into account both current and potential future requirements from its customers.
“As a result, it will be possible from now on to accommodate the individual wishes of users more specifically when designing the machine,” said Engel.
The new design of the injection units being unveiled at K 2016 is the result of a lot development work. The program started some time before K 2013, Engel told Plastics News Europe.
At K 2016, the company is dedicating an Expert Corner to the injection units. Customers can initially order the new design on Engel's Victory machines from an injection unit size of 860 (screw diameter from 45 to 55 mm) and its Duo machines to size 23060 (screw diameter from 135 to 170 millimeters). The company is making other sizes available after the exhibition.
In order to achieve more precise injection, Engel worked on improving control of temperature and pressure in the barrel.
“Special attention was paid in development to temperature control of the feed through,” said Engel. “The temperature control range was enlarged to safely rule out clumping in the feed zone and absorption of moisture across a wider range of materials. The new concept minimizes energy losses both during heating and cooling of the feed through.”
The group has revised the piston design, which it said is the main contributor to better controllability of the pressures in the barrel.
Achieving higher process stability, especially when ambient conditions and raw materials fluctuate, can be done through Engel's iQ weight control software. This detects variations and automatically compensates within the same shot. From K 2016, the iQ software is available as an option for hydraulic injection molding machines, following its earlier deployment on electric injection units.
Engel's work also focused on improving ergonomics in the redesigned units, mainly to speed up barrel changes by operators and maintenance technicians.
“With the new design, Engel has applied the principle of quick mold clamping to the barrel,” the company said.
The large two-platen Duo machines have had their control cabinets and pumps rearranged to improve clarity of the layout and accessibility. “In some machine models, the footprint has even been reduced,” said Engel.
Barrel replacement is made easier and faster because the technician does not need additional equipment. The barrels come equipped with stable pedestals. In the large units, efficiency has been improved as only a few screws now need to be loosened and tightened again when replacing them.
Another feature helping the new units achieve greater energy efficiency is the use of Engel's Ecodrive servo-hydraulics system. Ecodrive is fitted as standard equipment with the new units, whereas previously it could be specified as an option by customers.
In this system, servo motors drive pumps only when needed, so that during phases when the motors are idle, such as during cooling, they do not use energy. Other benefits include lower noise levels and the hydraulic oil does not heat up as much, which also reduces the workload on oil cooling.