Arburg will be presenting a fully networked and automated production line for individualised office scissors at the Fakuma 2015. This will be the first time that injection moulding and additive manufacturing are linked via a seven-axis robot. In a second practical example, rocker-type light switches will illustrate the idea behind Industry 4.0 and the “smart factory”.
Visitors to the Arburg Stand 3101 in Hall A3 will be able to personalise these switches, injection moulded prior to the trade fair, and have them individually packaged by the partner FPT Robotik (Stand 3216). The process and quality data from all three “factories” will be recorded by the Arburg host computer system, ALS, and archived in the cloud. The data for each separate part can be accessed via a specific website at any time using a smartphone.
Heinz Gaub, Arburg Managing Director Technology & Engineering says: “Only those companies which can individualise large-volume parts in a personalised production process to manufacture single-unit batches cost effectively, integrating customers and their specific requirements directly in the value added chain – only those can really call themselves system suppliers for cyberphysical production systems and make a genuine contribution to the development of the ‘Smart Factory’ and Industry 4.0. Anyone looking to make their company ready for Industry 4.0 will find the perfect partner in Arburg. We have 30 years of experience in digitally networked production and are currently the only manufacturer in the sector that allows its customers to produce individualised plastic parts cost-effectively as one-off parts and small, multiple-variant batches.”
Combined: Allrounder, Freeformer and Industry 4.0
With automated Allrounders, the central Selogica control system, the Freeformer for additive manufacturing and IT systems such as the Arburg host computer system, ALS, Arburg offers comprehensive expertise in flexible production technology. Visitors to the exhibition stand will be able to experience for themselves how individual customer requirements can be incorporated directly in the value chain, transforming different variants of office scissors into one-off products. When entering their orders, they will create their own individual lettering on a tablet PC. The corresponding data will be recorded digitally and saved on a chip card. The chip card will then be used to start batch production.
For flexible and fast production changes, human and robotic system work interactively: The operator places the selected stainless steel blades directly into the gripper of a Multilift V robotic system, which then transfers the insert to the mould. An electric Allrounder 370 E moulds on the plastic handles, after which an individual DM code is applied by laser. From this moment on, the product itself becomes a data and information carrier and even has its own website. At this stage it is optionally possible to have the individual lettering applied in 2D by laser or in 3D in a downstream additive process by the Freeformer. A Multilift V robotic system places the scissors in workpiece carriers in which they leave the production cell by conveyor belt.
Premiere: Automated additive manufacturing
Injection moulding will be integrated with additive manufacturing by means of an automation system for the first time at the Fakuma 2015. Another premiere on view will be the Kuka seven-axis “iiwa” (intelligent industrial work assistant) robot mounted on a mobile platform. This is designed for autonomous human/robot cooperation and does not require a safety enclosure. It removes the workpiece carrier with the scissors from the conveyor belt of the injection moulding cell. A scanner is used to identify the product via its DM code and the next production step is started. The seven-axis robot automatically loads and unloads the Freeformer build chamber for those scissors to which a 3D relief is to be applied from plastic in an additive process. The finished scissors undergo a final quality assurance check before being “personally” presented to the visitor.
In order to automate the Freeformer, the Arburg experts from the Development, Arburg Plastic Freeforming (APF) and Projects departments have pooled their skills to devise a system described as unique in the world of additive manufacturing. As a result, the Freeformer now features a Euromap 67 interface that allows it to communicate with the robotic system. The cover is opened and closed fully automatically and the part carrier has also been adapted.
Individualised large-volume parts
In a second practical example of networked production, a Freeformer will enhance injection-moulded rocker-type light switches with a customised symbol/name combination. The interesting feature here is that the three work processes take place at different times and locations: the rocker-type light switches were moulded some months ago by Arburg in a high-volume batch. The DM code applied by laser means that each part has already received a product ID and its own website. The process of individualisation with the Freeformer will be demonstrated on the Arburg Stand 3101 in Hall A3. Visitors who would like to have their product packaged with their own personal motif can do so with the partner FPT-Robotik on Stand 3216.
Central host computer system records all data
The Arburg host computer system, ALS, plays a central role in networking the autonomous stations, recording all the relevant production data and test results before transferring them to a central web server. This is where all production and quality parameters come together and are archived. In order to record the machine data, the ALS relies on worldwide Ethernet real-time networking standard for the machines and links the process chain by means of the OPC UA application protocol. Each part is assigned its own website in the cloud which can be accessed with mobile devices using the individual code. This means that all relevant process data for each individual part is fully traceable, even after several years. This is important in practice, for example for the purposes of just-in-time production and safety-related components.
Beyond the Industry 4.0 applications, all exhibits at the Arburg exhibition stand are networked via ALS. Communication exclusively uses OPC UA. Visitors can experience the performance of the host computer system, which is tailored for injection moulding operations, with regard to machine and operational data logging ‘live’ at the stand and also receive advice from experts.
To learn more about Industry 4.0 powered by Arburg, visit Fakuma 2015 or go to www.arburg.com.