ENGEL presented its new quick mold change system with technology partner Stäubli at PTXPO 2022, which ran March 29-31 in Rosemont, Illinois. The new system, designed specifically for smaller machines, was demonstrated live at ENGEL’s booth #106, with representatives from Stäubli on hand plus Ossian, IN-based mold maker Roembke Mfg. & Design, who was providing the tooling for the demo.
Innovative process improves cost-efficiency on small machines
ENGEL, Stäubli & Roembke showcased quick mold change system at PTXPO 2022
Small machine, big solution
The centerpiece of the demonstration was an 85 US ton tie-bar-less ENGEL hydraulic victory injection molding machine with ENGEL ecodrive servo-hydraulics running salad tongues and a fruit bowl designed by West Linn, OR-based Formfinder LLC.
“The victory series is the ideal machine platform for efficient production of a large variety of parts providing more space for tools and easy access, especially for robots,” stated Plastics Application Engineer for ENGEL North America Lukas Neunzig. “We know that not all available solutions are also cost-efficient in the real world, especially when it comes to molding on small machines. For this exhibit, we worked on a concept for a fast mold change that is both affordable and convenient — minimizing the time from the last part of one tool to the first good part of the second mold.”
Mold change made easy — and cost-efficient
ENGEL’s quick mold change system uses three of Stäubli’s simple and effective technologies, all operated manually: MCI for error-proof connection of circuits, QMC bayonet for mechanical mold clamping, and MLV for easy mold transport and loading into the machine. Mold identification with RFID then guarantees that the machine controller is using the correct data set without additional machine settings adjustments or programming.
ENGEL’s iQ weight control software, the key to quickly adjusting injection cycle parameters — shot by shot — to variations in the material or production environment, was also a critical part of the demonstration.
“Our iQ weight control software improves part quality during production, but it also significantly reduces the time to get the first good part after changing the mold,” Neunzig explains.
At the end of the cycle, the parts were then taken out and positioned on a conveyor by an ENGEL viper 12 linear robot with a quick-change system and RFID identification of the end-of-arm tool.
Custom mold change solutions for any budget
“With this system, mold change is not only fast but also user-friendly, for production crews of all skill levels,” said Stäubli Market Specialist Tim Boyce. “There’s no crane needed and minimal training. It shows that our manual solutions can be very practical for many companies and a key component of any mold change process.”
“To get the most out of the quick mold change system, it’s important to involve everyone early on — including mold makers and automation teams,” added Business Development Manager for Roembke Mfg. & Design Adam Shaal. “This provides a synergy that benefits all involved, leading to a more streamlined approach that optimizes production and further increases cost-efficiency.”
Neunzig further stated that the ultimate aim of this modular approach from ENGEL and Stäubli is to show molders all of the possible ways they can increase efficiency in production while at the same time reducing costs.
“I urge all molders of any size to get in touch with ENGEL to explore their small machine quick mold change options,” Neunzig said. “You don’t have to be a large automotive company for us to find the perfect, practical and affordable solution that works for you.”