Austrian injection molding machinery company Wittmann Group has advanced its smart technology ambitions — called Wittmann 4.0 — with a recent investment in MES startup ICE-flex.
Based in Saronno, Italy, ICE-flex is a supplier of MES solutions tailored primarily to meet the needs of injection molding companies with up to 50 machines per production plant.
As part of the Sept. 17 agreement, the Wittmann Group said it was taking an unspecified stake in ICE-flex.
Wittmann declined to give further details on the size of the deal.
As a result of this collaboration, Wittmann Battenfeld is now able to offer its customers the ICE-flex-developed modular MES package TEMI.
The TEMI software offers a number of easy-to-operate functionalities as standard, similar to other MES products commonly available on the market.
What makes TEMI an ideal interface protocols for the injection molding industry, is that the software supports various manufacturer-dependent versions and interpretations of Euromap 63, covering "virtually all" machine manufacturers on the European market, Wittmann said in a news release.
Wittmann will also introduce the new Euromap 77 protocol as an additional future communication standard at Fakuma Oct. 16-20.
Digital I/O (input and output) connections with TEMI will also be available for older machines.
Wittmann Battenfeld is selling the package developed by ICE-flex, which includes modules for production planning, monitoring and data storage, under the brand name TEMI+.
Using TEMI+, any alterations in the composition of the production cell is recognized automatically within the cell, and the new configuration is subsequently displayed and saved without operator intervention.
With this function, Wittmann claims to be the first manufacturer in the plastics industry to offer the MES functionality not only for machines, but also for mobile auxiliaries in a molding plant.
ICE-flex and Wittmann officials said they aim to offer an open MES system which can incorporate the entire range of injection moulding machinery of a molding plant.
"TEMI+ is the first MES software worldwide which supports and integrates mobile auxiliaries in molding plants through our Wittmann 4.0 technology," said Michael Wittmann, managing director of the Wittmann Group.
Among advantages of the package, the Wittmann official said, could be central storage of all settings of a given work cell, or the display of work cell OEE and ad hoc KPIs for the auxiliaries.