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The automotive supplier Arkal Automotive produces two door side panels parallel on an MX 1600 – 12000 injection moulding machine from KraussMaffei at its Crock location in Thuringia, Germany.
According to KraussMaffei, this is made possible through the use of a multi-daylight mould. The unique feature: Two LRX linear robots, mechanically coupled on a single axis and operated via a single central control system, ensure that components are demoulded and deposited quickly and reliably. Together they enable short cycle times and high precision.
High precision and short cycle times were one of the basic requirements for designing a suitable injection moulding machine. It had to be capable of processing thirty percent fibre glass-reinforced PP. Another requirement was that two components were to be produced simultaneously on one injection moulding machine, namely side panels for the left and right-side front or back door for a Tier 1 supplier. “We were able to shorten cycle times considerably by implementing an MX 1600 – 12000 in combination with an LRX twin robot,” explains Thomas Marufke, Managing Director at KraussMaffei Automation. Arkal currently manufactures approximately 3,600 door side panels per week in three shifts, alternating between front and back panels.
The MX series from KraussMaffei is said to excel here thanks to its high melt quality and particularly reliable shot weight consistency. The hydromechanical dual-platen clamping unit developed by KraussMaffei ensures fast production. Particularly the platen parallelism of the MX series proves the worth of the large multi-daylight moulds used by Arkal: The moulds do not get damaged and are thus protected against wear. High-quality components can be produced over a long period of time. The MX series also ensures that the large multi-daylight moulds do not tilt. The matching multi-daylight mould was customised for this application. It is equipped with a ‘flying platen’ and mould cooling.
A particular challenge was the complex automation of component demoulding and depositing. Arkal chose the solution with an LRX twin robot with the new multiple kinematics control concept from KraussMaffei. “The combined linear robots with multiple kinematics offer us considerable advantages when it comes to durability, flexibility and convenience,” explains Thomas Reichl, Manager of Production & Maintenance at Arkal. The two LRX 350 linear robots, which are arranged on a joint z axis, demould the components in a parallel process, and move them to and deposit them in the component storage area. This so-called TwinZ design is ideally suited for transferring components (handshake) during fast component demoulding and stacking. This configuration also provides significant space and time savings for automation processes with overlapping motion ranges.
“The premiere for this robot type in this design has been extremely successful. This is the first time that we combined two mechanically coupled x/y axes of the LRX series on a z robot axis with a new control concept,” says Marufke. Thanks to this design, both linear robots as well as the MX 1600 can be programmed and controlled via the central MC6 control system. “This makes operation of the complex system significantly more convenient,” explains Reichl, Manager of Production & Maintenance at Arkal. The robots are programmed via the shared program editor. Program commands and parameters can be assigned to individual robots with minimal effort. A joint co-ordinate system for all axes makes it easier to control specific robots in individual operating modes.
Structure-reinforcing components made primarily from fiberglass-reinforced plastics are the trademark of the Crock location in Thuringia, owned by Israel-based Arkal Plastic Products. “Our expertise comes into play whenever metal components need to be replaced by parts made from lightweight, reinforcing plastics,” says Reichl. Typical applications include functional parts, center sections of wheels and battery compartments. Customers include renowned OEMs as well as Tier 1 suppliers. The production location in Thuringia houses 11 injection moulding machines, 8 of which are from KraussMaffei. The company has already planned additional investments.
Image provided by KraussMaffei
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