Industry 4.0Applications to Industry 4.0 > Arburg and Industry 4.0
Arburg demonstrates Industry 4.0: Products becoming individualized, bulk goods batch-specifically traceable


Arburg is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of injection moulding machines. This Technology Days (in the picture the customer center) were focused on the topic of "Industry 4.0 – powered by Arburg". Around 7,100 visitors from 55 countries could see more than 40 exhibits. A fully automated production line showed how individualized products can economically be produced. Another application even provided the batch-specific traceability of bulk goods including material supply and quality management.

Individualized one-off parts: injection moulding and additive manufacturing linked

Visitors were able to turn office scissors into a one-off item "live". Eight different scissor types can be produced without machine conversions. The visitor first chooses the variant he wants and creates individualized lettering on a tablet PC. His visitor ID is scanned when the order is entered into the system and the data is digitally recorded and transmitted directly to the Allrounder injection moulding cell. As part of a networked system, serial production then starts for the specific order "on demand".  

 

  • A drawer system supplies the relevant scissor type for the order – with either a pointed or rounded tip.
  • Human and robotic system work hand-in-hand for flexible and fast product changes. The worker is directed where to place the stainless steel blades in the gripper of the Multilift V – depending on whether a left- or right-handed scissors has been requested. Accordingly, the robotic system transfers the insert into either the upper or lower cavity of the mould.
  • Based on the order, a core pull is actuated in the mould, which releases the relevant cavity for the injection moulding process.
Injection moulding machine and freeformer from Arburg.
Fully networked and automated production line for individualized office sissors Photo: ARBURG

An electric Allrounder 370 E then overmoulds the plastic handles, after which an individual data matrix (DM) code is applied by laser. From this point onwards, the product itself becomes the data and information carrier and receives its own individual website. It identifies itself to the machines and provides information for the next step in the production process. In addition, all work steps can be documented seamlessly and error-free. An individualised 2D inscription can be added by laser at this point. The scissors are placed in the workpiece carrier by the Multilift V and are removed by means of a conveyor belt.  


A seven-axis robotic system is used to link the injection moulding cell with additive manufacturing. If an individual 3D geometry is required, a Freeformer then finishes the office scissors with polypropylene (PP) lettering. Before the finished scissors are placed in storage for collection by visitors, a final quality assurance and data archiving step takes place. The visitor can then collect his individualised scissors whenever he wants. When he scans in his ID a second time, the relevant storage location is be displayed.

Central host computer system records all data

The Arburg host computer system (ALS), which networks the various autonomous stations as well as recording the production data and test results before transmitting them to a central web server, plays a central role. All process and quality parameters come together and are archived here. The ALS uses the worldwide real-time Ethernet wiring standard to record the machine data and networks the process chain via the OPC UA application protocol. Each pair of office scissors is assigned its own website in the cloud, which can be accessed with mobile devices thanks to its unique code.

Batch-specific bulk goods: traceability, from moulded part to granulate

A second electric Allrounder 370 E produces a housing in small volume batches using a 2+2-cavity mould. In this practical example, production, material supply and quality management are networked by means of the host computer system. The individual orders are managed and scheduled on a centralised basis by means of the ALS and the individual order queues are clearly displayed. The housing will be produced from one of three possible materials on an alternate basis in short run-times. The new material is automatically requested with each order change. At the same time, the ALS receives information on the current batch. Next, the moulded parts will be packed in batches of 16 into tubular bags, which can then be printed with production data, such as the date, order number, material and batch, thanks to the networked system.


Each labelled batch is then fully traceable, from the serial part to the granulate. Each production order also initiates an appropriate test process and the data is archived. The production and quality data can be retrieved online. This increase in transparency also further enhances process reliability. Partners for this application are CAQ (quality management), Koch (material control) and Packmat (batch identification).

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