Torrington, Conn.-based Wittmann Battenfeld Inc. has made about a dozen updates for injection molding machines, robots, automation and material handling systems.
"Even with all the chaos of the last year, we have continued to work as hard on improving our product line as always, and we have some really exciting product news to share with the industry, even without a trade show to do it at," Crystal Gagnon, marketing communications manager at Wittmann Battenfeld, said in a news release.
One of the most significant developments the company made in the last year was the advancement of its SmartPower technology into liquid injection molding. This opens the door for cross-linking at low temperatures, the release says.
In a recent demonstration, Wittmann Battenfeld used a SmartPower molding machine to produce a complex liquid silicone rubber product called Drinky, which is a drink coaster with a timer that flashes to remind people to hydrate at regular intervals. Drinky has a printed circuit board fitted with battery cells that was inserted into the mold and overmolded. Low temperatures are required for overmolding electronic components and battery cells. The technology met the challenges of the difficult process, the release says.
Also for injection molders, the new Ingrinder-brand granulator system is available as a package with EcoPower (55-110 tons) and SmartPower (25-120 tons) presses. The system integrates a granulator and a sprue picker with the molding machine. The Ingrinder works best with smaller presses "that run together with molds incorporating cold runner technology with a corresponding need for scrapping or recycling sprues," the release says.
Processors benefit from a more efficient grind, faster use of regrind and less time for hygroscopic materials to absorb water.
Also, depending on the machine model, users can see a 25 percent savings in floor space compared with a work cell utilizing a granulator and a robot with guarding.
In May, a new Temi-brand, ready-to-use, low-cost manufacturing execution system (MES) solution, which was developed with a partner, should be available. The system was designed to bypass many of the barriers manufacturers were having with integrating their MES systems with their process, the release says.
The MES resides on a separate, pre-installed data server based in the Wittmann Battenfeld control cabinet and does not require any external network communication, the release also says.
For quick mold changes and data analysis, Wittmann 4.0 compatible auxiliary equipment ordered after April 2020 can be connected via Open Platform Communications United Architecture (OPC UA) as standard for the company's presses with B8 control systems. OPC UA is the data exchange platform for industrial machine-to-machine or PC-to-machine communication.
"This digital connection between processing machines and auxiliaries is a huge advantage for molders needing to make quick changes, analyze their data sets and keep consistent parameters for processing — all of which have proven critical amongst Wittmann Battenfeld customers in the midst of the pandemic and the quick shifts required by it," the release says.