Festo wins Arburg’s Energy Efficiency Award

German injection moulding machine maker Arburg has since 2008 bestowed its energy efficiency award each year to a company for outstanding activities in the field of energy efficiency. The winner for 2014 is Festo, a global supplier of technology for automation. The company won the award for the conception of its new plastic parts production facility in Germany. Being experienced for many years in prototyping and additive manufacturing, Festo was also the first supplier to test Arburg’s Freeformer machine for additive manufacturing, before it was launched at the K2013 show last year.

Michael Hehl, Managing Partner and Spokesperson for the Arburg Management Team, emphasised the importance of the award, at an event attended by 40 guests at the firm’s headquarters in Lossburg, “With this award, we annually show our appreciation to companies who, like us, take an innovative, integrated and global approach to the subject of energy efficiency and who stand out on account of their corporate philosophy and activities. Previous recipients of the award include the Lego Group and Continental, for example.”

Meanwhile, Herbert Kraibühler, Managing Director Technology & Engineering, summarised his company’s long-standing cooperation with Festo and the reasons for awarding it the Energy Efficiency Award 2014. “The intensive business relations between Festo and Arburg have grown over 30 years, with both family-run companies exchanging know-how that goes far beyond the product level. This happened both with regard to Festo’s new plant in Hassel/St. Ingbert in Germany and to the Freeformer, which expanded the Arburg product portfolio in 2013 to include additive manufacturing. Both of these examples make important contributions to the future-oriented enhancement of energy and production efficiency and were therefore decisive for presentation of the Arburg Energy Efficiency Award 2014 to Festo.”

Dr. Claus Jessen, Director Product Supply at Festo, explained, “Since many years, we invest in energy efficiency. It’s encouraging that our efforts and investments are recognised, which lends credence to the course we have embarked on.” He explained that Festo had identified plastics technology as a key technology for the global competitiveness of its products several years ago and had decided to develop top-class expertise in this area. “

He also described how Festo was the first partner to have the privilege of testing the new Freeformer at its in-house rapid prototyping department even before market introduction. Arburg’s says the Freeformer expands the energy and efficiency end of the Arburg portfolio because fully functional one-off parts and small-volume batches can be produced very cost efficiently directly from standard granulates without a mould using 3D CAD files. The results and feedback from Festo provided Arburg with valuable information for optimisation and further development. Festo sees opportunities for using the Freeformer in its own business predominantly in the areas of prototyping and, following subsequent further development, in small-volume production.

Festo decided to set up a plant with a completely new polymer production facility and a focus on energy efficiency, the Global Production Centre Hassel, at its St. Ingbert location in the Saarland. The plant is currently under construction and will be finished in early 2015. The firm will apply Arburg’s machinery: 45 Allrounders for thermoplastic and 12 vertical Allrounders for elastomer processing. It says that for thermoplastics, electric Allrounder Alldrive machines were selected, which were specially configured to meet the requirements at the Hassel plant. For elastomers, the machines are to be converted to speed-regulated pump drives.

The key elements of the holistic concept also include insulation of moulds and plasticising cylinders, optimisation of material pre-drying and supply through an efficient central solution and waste reduction, e.g. through lower sprue weights and fewer hot runner connections. Due to the nature of the products, the temperature levels were selected so that cooling is only necessary during midsummer, meaning that heat recovery can be dispensed with.


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