Arburg marks 100 years with new energy-efficient hybrid machine; focus on sustainability, too

BASF opens R&D centre for coatings

At German injection moulding machine maker Arburg’s technology event held in early March this year, which marked its 100th year in business, a highlight was the hybrid Allrounder 470H. The “milestone”-termed machine set the stage for a new machine technology from Arburg – it saves energy, conserves resources, is production-efficient, user-friendly and reliable all at the same time. The technical features include a new oil management concept, flow splitting for simultaneous movements of hydraulic secondary axes and the extended use of the Arburg servo hydraulic system. With the "Comfort", "Premium" and "Ultimate" performance variants, various injection units and a wide range of options, the new Allrounder 470 H machines can be adapted to specific customer requirements.

"Electric drives are becoming increasingly important, not least in terms of energy efficiency," points out Gerhard Böhm, Managing Director Sales and Service. "In the new Allrounder 470 H, we have created precisely the hybrid machine that users need today and in the future; a machine that has not yet been available on the market in this form."

Compared to a similar hydraulic machine, the energy footprint of the Allrounder 470H is up to 50% better, and depending on the application, up to 12,000 kg of CO2 can be saved each year. The new oil management concept also helps to conserve resources: For one thing, around 35% less oil is needed, and for another, waste machine heat is used to pre-heat the oil. In addition, the required cooling water capacity is also between 50 and 70% lower. A reduction in the dry cycle time of up to 33% results in greater production efficiency.

"User-friendliness and reliability are also important criteria for the new machine in order to save time and money on service and maintenance," says Böhm. "To achieve this, we incorporated the experiences and suggestions of our customers and service technicians directly into the design." Gerhard Böhm adds that predictive maintenance is an important factor in this context and describes how the machine will automatically report that the oil filter is due to be changed soon, for example, so that this can be scheduled accordingly.

The Arburg servo hydraulic system (ASH), which has already proven itself in hydraulic and electric Allrounders, has been integrated in the Allrounder 470 H Comfort and Premium machines. ASH enables particularly energy-efficient and low-emission operation, as the speed-controlled, water-cooled servo motor continuously adjusts the drive system to the actual power requirement. This means, for example, that when the machine stops moving, the pump drive also stops and there are therefore no more idling losses. This saves up to 50% of the energy, especially in processes with long cooling times. At the same time, however, the machine's cooling requirements and noise level are also significantly reduced.

Splitting the flow rate of the hydraulic pump makes it possible to drive an additional secondary axis at the same time. This technology has a positive effect on production and energy efficiency, particularly with the powerful hybrid Allrounder H machines. The machines consume less energy in total and cycle times are also reduced at the same time. These are two real advantages in combination that the hybrid series can offer over purely hydraulic machines.

The new oil management concept with improved oil container, differential pressure-enabled oil filter housing and predictive maintenance for filter changes and oil pump inspection are aspects ensuring that the new machines are extremely reliable and operate with low energy and resource requirements. The warning message for a dirty filter is issued when the level reaches 75%, which is early enough to enable proactive procurement of a new filter in good time. Result: no machine standstill. By attaching the filter element to the removable cover with a handle and making the filter housing easily accessible on the operating side, the machine's designers have also made the filter housing more ergonomic.

The new oil management concept reduces energy and cooling water consumption and increases the service life of the individual components, in some cases considerably. Hot, contaminated hydraulic oil is separated from cold, clean hydraulic oil in the oil container. Together with the constantly filtered and cooled return volume and targeted flow guidance, the oil quality is improved with an oil volume that is around 35 per cent lower and the service life of the components is increased, thereby improving machine availability. The waste heat from the machine can be used to pre-heat the oil and does not flow back into the cooling water circuit as residual heat.

Additional design simplifications have been implemented to ensure that the machine is extremely user-friendly. A real-time Ethernet bus replaces the individual ribbon cables of the control modules, which increases the service and service life of the machines. The distribution of the hardware on and in the machine base has been completely restructured. The control manifold and hydraulic accumulator technology have been moved inside so that there is more space for peripheral equipment at the rear side of the 470 H Allrounder machines. The electrical, hydraulic and water media circuits have been separated, which simplifies assembly, service and conversion. Hydraulic and water circuits are located in the machine base. The pneumatic and central lubrication systems are on the operating side, which also means more flexibility with options on the rear side. This optimised distribution saves time during service and in daily use. Finally, arranging options and interfaces uniformly on the rear side of the machine also
provides more clarity and order around the Allrounder H.

Rousing attendance at event; more than 50 exhibits

5,700 customers from 53 nations came to the Arburg Anniversary

The 100-year old company says almost 5,700 customers from 53 nations came to the Arburg Anniversary Days at its headquarters in Lossburg, Germany. Besides the premiere of the anniversary hybrid machine, Arburg covered topics such as sustainability, digitalisation, energy efficiency and automation.

The over 50 exhibits produced live injection-moulded and 3D-printed components at the Anniversary Days. Around every second machine processed alternative plastics or recyclates. For example, an Allrounder 470 S produced dosing spoons from corn starch that dissolve in water and are compostable, while an Allrounder 320 C Golden Edition processed post-consumer recyclate obtained from used refrigerators and returned to the cycle.

An invisible "tracer" was also compounded into the material, through which each part could be identified in a forgery-proof manner. In a particularly resource-saving application for the packaging industry, special emphasis was placed on a material-saving component design and energy efficiency: An Allrounder 720 A "Ultimate" produced four thin-walled IML round cups with a wall thickness of only 0.37 mm in a cycle time of 3.95 seconds. Combining the new all-electric packaging machine with the injection compression moulding process improves the energy footprint by 20% while significantly reducing the component weight from 13 to 10.8 g.

Other application highlights included, for example, the fully automated injection stretch blow moulding of vaccine containers, the production of ready-to-use Luer Lock connectors for the pharmaceutical industry and the production of tyre levers that can be traced via an "invisible fingerprint".

Freeformer exhibits and 3D printers from innovatiQ presented the entire range for industrial additive manufacturing. One highlight was the new Freeformer 750-3X with a build chamber around 2.5 times larger and with a higher construction speed compared to the Freeformer 300-3X – with the same external dimensions. The process is also faster and more economical. Also on display were Freeformers in high-temperature and soft versions for processing plastic granules, as well as the TiQ and LiQ series, which 3D print on the basis of filaments and liquid silicone.

Energy efficiency was an important theme of the Anniversary Days 2023

Energy efficiency was an important theme of the Anniversary Days 2023. The new "Action Plan: Energy" is particularly interesting in this respect. This includes advice on a host of measures to help customers significantly reduce costs in injection moulding production and optimise energy requirements throughout the entire production process, beyond the machine itself.

How existing machines can be energy-optimised through retrofits – for example with fully insulated cylinders, Arburg energy saving systems AES and IE3 class motors – was demonstrated in a practical manner in the service area. There, visitors were also able to find out how to quickly get a new warehouse machine via the customer portal app "Ready2Go". Arburg can also provide documented consumption measurements for businesses that require detailed energy data for certification.

The Efficiency Arena with its focus on arburgGREENworld

Everything in the Efficiency Arena revolved around the key topics of digitalisation, resource conservation and the circular economy. At a total of nine stations, six on the topic of arburgGREENworld and three on arburgXworld, Arburg and selected partners along the entire value chain demonstrated how digitalisation and innovative solutions enable a sustainable circular economy.

Taking centre stage was a hybrid Allrounder that produces Fischer dowels from the "Greenline" series. The plastic product consists of 50% castor oil. The machine was equipped with the recyclate package and Arburg's new "aXw Control RecyclatePilot", which ensures a stable shot weight by means of adaptive process control and can compensate for fluctuating material qualities. The sprues were ground immediately and fed back into the process as post industrial recyclate (PIR).

Selected partners provided information on current topics such as marking, identifying, sorting and recycling, supported by the transmission of data along the value chain.

Arburg also presented its sustainability strategies, the arburgXworld customer portal and the ALS host computer system in the Efficiency Arena.

Probably the most sought-after give-away at the event was the tool box already known from the world's leading trade fair K2022, this time in the anniversary design. It was manufactured by a turnkey system around a hybrid Allrounder 1120 H and finished with gold Arburg lettering. Together with its partner Zahoransky, Arburg presented an innovative turnkey solution and a new process for injection stretch blow moulding in the Automation Arena: Medical vaccine containers, "vials", are produced from crystal-clear, unbreakable COC in just one work step. The pre-moulded parts were produced by a vertical Allrounder 1600 T in a special version without a rotary table. They were then transferred directly in the mould to two other stations and stretched and inflated in the process. The plan is to produce around 22 million parts/year with this system and a 16-cavity injection mould.

There was enormous interest in automation and turnkey systems.

A turnkey system based around a hybrid Allrounder 630 H in cleanroom design was particularly sustainable and a prime example of digitally networked plastic parts production. The injection moulding machine processed crystal clear recycled PET and communicated with the mould, hot runner controller, material dryer and automation via the Gestica control system and OPC UA. 32 blood vials each were produced in a cycle time of around 6.5 seconds, which corresponds to well over 17,000 blood vials/hour.

Another highlight was a customer project with a vertical rotary table machine Allrounder 1600 T and a total of five integrated robotic systems. Another turnkey system with two integrated Allrounders boasted a high level of autonomy of around 12 hours for pallets, intermediate layers and finished products.

On the occasion of the anniversary, there was also a special event location to visit this year: the Arburg Cube. There, visitors were able to embark on a multimedia journey through the 100-year history of the Hehl family business and also enjoy culinary delights.

Another special feature of the Anniversary Days 2023 was the welcoming of the 100,000th visitor to the industry event on 8 March, which has attracted thousands of customers from all over the world to Lossburg every year since 1999, according to Arburg.


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