The product of a decades-long partnership with Milacron, the Fanuc Roboshot offers the most available injection unit sizes on a single frame found in the injection molding industry. The machine takes state-of-the-art CNC precision technology and applies it to injection molding. The results are greater acceleration, ultimate precision of movement, extremely short cycle times and the ability to produce the most consistent and highest quality parts.
Milacron and FANUC drive to deliver best-in-class all-electric injection molding solutions
An all-electric, plastics processing workhorse, the Roboshot is engineered for greater rigidity, versatility, and reliability. Backed by Milacron’s commitment to service, safety and quality, processors spanning from medical and electrical to automotive rely on this high-precision machine to perform on their shop floors 24/7, year after year.
Milacron’s Roboshot customers are often loyal to the Cincinnati-based OEM, as the machine is known worldwide for best-in-class reliability. Elite Biomedical Solutions, a Milacron customer for more than a decade, produces replacement components for infusion and telemetry assets for hospital biomed departments across the United States. Being in healthcare, Elite requires a machine solution that consistently produces with precision, day-in-and-day-out.
“Typically we run low volumes, but very tight tolerances, and that’s healthcare,” explained Elite CEO and Founder, Jeff Smith. “As a result of that, with the Roboshot solution, we’re guaranteed that process to be consistent with every part we make, and we make thousands and thousands of parts weekly.”
The CNC precision of the Roboshot delivers short cycle times and consistent parts quality with every shot. Drawing on 60 years of continuous development, its movements are entirely controlled by FANUC servo drives that offer industry-leading uptime and maintenance-free operation with a MTBF (mean time between failures) design of 50-years.
Four servo motors enable separate independent control of clamp ejector, extruder and injection processes on the Roboshot. This allows for reduced cycle times while maintaining CNC accuracy. Additionally, precise V-P switchover, injection pressure, and back pressure control deliver part repeatability cycle-after-cycle at the lowest energy consumption in the industry.
The machine’s, pre-injection functionality enables the time between the beginning of injection molding and clamp tonnage build-up to be independently controlled with enhanced mold venting. Using the pre-injection function as well as the clamp tonnage release during the cooling stage, cycle times may be reduced by 0.3 to 0.7 seconds.
Customers can choose to use either a user-friendly, automatically-configured set-up or for more advanced applications, the ability to control multi-steps with varying timing and clamp motion. The timing of the clamp tonnage build, and release timing, can be controlled based on additional process variables, making the Roboshot the most advanced machine in the world for optical lens molding.
Showcasing the largest range of injection unit sizes on the market, Milacron’s Roboshot machines are capable of exerting clamping forces from 17 to 550 US tons. Each model has anywhere from five to nine different screw/barrel capacity choices.
Several Roboshot models are available with “micro” injection units making it ideal for medical and electronics, where the molds are large but require unusually small screw diameters. In 2023, three new clamp/injection unit combinations were released to meet the needs of these industries. Wide platen and tie bar spacing allow for larger mold sizes, increasing the Roboshot’s flexibility. The machine also comes standard with an advanced rigid toggle mechanism that is ideal for faster cycles, lower maintenance, and improved component life.
“Fanuc’s automation expertise executed in the assembly and quality control process for all of their products is impressive,” explains Kent Royer, Roboshot Sr. Product Manager. “The result is the highest level of manufacturing efficiency and quality in any industry. The Roboshot’s design provides the customer with the widest range of applications on the market.”
The industry standard-setting technology found in the latest Roboshot model, the Alpha-SiB-series, is a direct result of decades of insight between Milacron and Fanuc. The Alpha Si-B series iHPro controller features next-generation technology that delivers greater capabilities and standard features not found on most or are optional on other brands. Extensive focus has been made to create an operating system in the Roboshot that offers seamless operation and integration with auxiliary support equipment. The controller is designed to minimize human error by using OPC UA communications and I/O links that prevent production without the full system's confirmed ready status.
The Roboshot design is very well suited for the production of almost anything from thick wall camera lenses to micro medical products. Common applications include drug delivery systems (such as the telemetry and infusion assets produced by Elite), COVID test kits, self-injectors, vials, catheters, pipettes, contact lenses, electrical connectors, and computer chip production.
In addition, thanks to a wide range of Milacron-engineered options, even standard Roboshots can produce specialized items like MuCell, Thermoset, liquid silicone rubber, powdered metal (PIM), and ceramic (CIM) parts.
Roboshot retrofit packages are offered through Milacron so that customers can easily switch applications in minutes.
Milacron, today known as a global leader in plastics processing solutions, was first an industry leader in CNC machinery and tooling for more than 100 years. In 1968, the Ohio-based company fully transitioned into the plastics industry.
A half a world away from Milacron, Fanuc Corporation was founded in 1956 in Japan. The company’s journey focused on the development of servo motors and CNC controls back then. In 1982, Fanuc brought its technology to the U.S. in the form of industrial robots.
After a little more than 10 years in the plastics industry, Milacron introduced a dozen new products to the market in the mid-1980s, including the newly developed all-electric drive injection molding machine by Fanuc. The partnership has evolved with success ever since.
In October of 2023, Milacron President, Mac Jones, traveled to the Fanuc global headquarters at the base of Mt. Fuji in Yamanashi, Japan to commemorate the four decades of successful collaboration shared among the two companies. The leaders celebrated their successes and discussed ways they can continue to evolve in the all-electric injection molding space.
“Milacron has relied on Fanuc’s invaluable partnership to deliver world-class, all-electric solutions, technology, and service to our North American-based customers for decades. We look forward to continuing the advancement of critical innovations across the plastics processing industry with Fanuc,” Jones said.
The medical plastics market is an industry that relies on comprehensive manufacturing solutions to meet precise production requirements. Milacron’s cutting-edge Roboshot solutions are designed to meet these high demands with clean-room-ready machines and processes that produce consistent part quality.
The Roboshot’s gold-standard features, like configurable core sequence, flexible I/O, unmatched pressure control, and industry-leading artificial intelligence (AI) keep processors in the medical industry running with tight tolerances and precision year after year.
Elite Biomedical is a Milacron-only house of five Roboshots that are flanked with various pieces of Milacron auxiliary equipment to support. A company that got its start in the basement of CEO, Jeff Smith’s home nearly a decade ago, Elite has grown to a multi-million-dollar business in a short period of time. The growth has even allowed the company to branch off with its own custom contract manufacturing segment, Elite Precision Plastics.
Smith attributes the success of his dynamic business to not just the reliability of his Roboshot fleet, but the ease of working with Milacron through the years for all his company’s plastics processing needs.
“We do all of our shopping with Milacron and get all our accessory equipment through them and their partnerships,” he said. “They’ve been very consistent. Their training is all the same. And, who’s going to take care of us is all the same. It brings a sense of security and peace of mind, which is important to me as CEO.”
Learn more about Elite’s Roboshots and the partnership they’ve come to rely upon with Milacron over the last decade. For a full Roboshot product brochure, visit the Roboshot landing page on Milacron.com. And, for additional Roboshot product expertise, Milacron’s Kent Royer, can be found on LinkedIn, as well as in-person at NPE 2024 at the Milacron booth, W1601, next May. Milacron is on LinkedIn, Facebook, and X, where valuable information pertaining to a wide range of plastics processing solutions is shared on a regular basis.
Milacron (www.milacron.com) is a global industry and technology leader in the manufacturing of injection molding and extrusion systems. Milacron also produces and provides machinery, auxiliaries and components that complement its plastics processing machines and systems. The company’s 1,900 associates worldwide collaborate to provide a diverse range of products across various plastics applications in industries such as automotive, construction, medical, telecommunications, material handling, packaging, and much more. Milacron holds longstanding relationships with more than 27,000 global customers across North America and India, as well as coverage in Europe and in many emerging markets, including Central/South America. Milacron is an Operating Company of Hillenbrand (NYSE: HI), an industrial company operating in over 100 countries serving a wide variety of industries across the world. www.hillenbrand.com
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