Asked about the advances the company is showing in Friedrichshafen, Engleder pointed to a number of solutions for sustainability, that he described as "close to standard."
"In the segment of two-platen injection molding machines, we are exhibiting an application that supports a variety of use cases. We manufacture automotive trims for the vehicle interior made of a [polypropylene] compound. Using 30 percent recycled material, this application aims at the EU directive currently under discussion, which envisages a 25 percent share of PCR (post-consumer recyclate) in cars by 2030."
Another example is the e-motion packaging application, also running at the stand, showing that thin-wall performance and energy efficiency "actually can go hand in hand."
"An all-electric drive and ideal temperature control add up to potential energy savings of around 30 percent compared to hybrid machines. The 1.3-liter pail, which weighs just over 26 grams, is being produced with maximum energy efficiency. The e-motion is also equipped with an assistance system from the iQ family. iQ motion control cuts cycle times by 0.2 seconds – another source of potential savings."
He also called attention to the suite of assistant systems Engel has developed to enhance the processability of bio-based and recycled materials. The difficulty in using materials that are not virgin or prime grades is that these often suffer from fluctuating material properties from batch to batch.
"We have developed assistant systems which ensure that the final product properties are constant by automatically adapting process parameters during the injection molding process. Simply put: with our assistant systems, injection moulders can process recycled materials like virgin materials, yielding the same high-quality output."
He added that there are two other processes that will also play a major role in closing the material circle.
"These are: processing recycled PET for packaging applications on the one side and feeding mostly unprocessed "waste" technical thermoplastics and polyolefins directly into an injection molding process on the other. Engel has been developing and continues to develop solutions for both.
Two further products shown by the company are the new CC300 plus control unit, with improved ergonomics and a new pushbutton panel for haptic feedback. The new unit was developed in response to operator feedback for frequent mold set-up operations and frequent manual operation.
Engel also launched its new part finder at the show: an effective tool for plastics processors in everyday operations providing a simple, time-saving solution to improve machine availability and to boost production efficiency, for which a smartphone is all that is needed. The path finder lets users identify and order virtually any part of an Engel injection molding machine in an uncomplicated way and is available free of charge as a feature of the Engel e-connect customer portal.
The tool offers various options for identifying parts, including a convenient, image-based spare parts search function. Users take a picture of the part in question and define the image section to be used for the search.
Alternatively, images can be mailed to the purchasing department. The purchasing coordinator can then use the image file in part finder to identify the part.
The app can even recognize dirty, worn or defective parts of older machines — from cables to pumps. The part finder's database includes injection molding machines which are up to 20 years old, along with other systems.
It's just another way for the company to get connected with its customers, "and they with us," Engleder said.