Butler has carried out a project to analyse the

age, condition and sustainability of the company’s combined fleet of 419 moulding machines spread across 13 countries. Specifically, he was interested in strategically proving that the improvements that could be realised by taking the all-electric route would enable Essentra Components to maintain its capacity, while also shrinking its machine count and lowering the company’s overall carbon footprint without compromising output, cycle speed or moulding quality. Through a series of trials, Essentra Components has collated all the raw data it needs to push forward with its investment strategy of replacing legacy hydraulic with all-electric machines. As a result of the improved process control and the IntElect’s quicker clamp unit/linear movements, the trials showed an average 24% cycle time saving. Across the company, this means that it could potentially install, run and maintain 100 fewer injection moulding machines if replacing hydraulic with a like-for-like all-electric precision machine. “The capacity gains in one test for a particular job where we make 1.6 million parts annually, equated to saving 248 hours production hours annually. That is an exceptional saving,” says Butler. In a separate trial, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag’s

Technical Manager Nick Stockton replicated the exact product processing, shot weight, cycle time and machine tonnage to document energy improvements. Previously consuming 6.31 kWh at an average cost of £0.78 per hour (US$1.1/€0.9), on the new IntElect this dropped to 4.3 kWh. This instant 32% energy saving was gained without adjusting any of the process steps. The company adds that even when slightly optimising the process and reducing the cycle time by 1.1s, all the test data and energy savings remained consistent. Yet, by cycling quicker, the component yield went up. “With the optimised cycle time, the volume of material we processed per hour increased by nearly a third compared to the hydraulic machine. So, we are essentially making more mouldings at virtually the same energy cost,” says Butler. Engel has developed the servo

hydraulic Ecodrive, which is now standard equipment on its hydraulic injection moulding machines from the Victory and Duo ranges, for example. Depending on the machine type and the application, the energy-saving option reduces the energy consumption of hydraulic

20 INJECTION WORLD | June 2021

injection moulding machines by up to 70%. The Ecodrive is energy-optimised servo-hydraulic drive technology, with the drive speed resulting from the required speed of the injection moulding machine axles. When the machine is not moving – during the cooling phase, for example – the drives are at a stand-still as well and do not consume energy. Energy losses are reduced to such an extent, particularly with small machines, that the hydraulic oil is heated only minimally. The temperature of the hydraulic oil is an indication of how energy efficient the injection moulding machine is. The company adds that the energy efficiency of these hydraulic machines can only be improved by using all-electric equipment. Engel first introduced the E-motion electric machine in 2002, with the latest all-electric machine, the E-mac 130, offering a clamping force of 130 tonnes. For example, an Engel E-mac 465/130 is producing actuators for Han-Quick Lock brand connector systems for German company Harting using a 16-cavity mould. Depending on the connector type, up to almost one hundred actuators are fitted in a single connector housing. They enable particularly fast and easy connection of stranded conductors. The requirements for the small precision components, which weigh little and have a strong wall thickness variance, are high. High rigidity is required to ensure reliable functioning; this is achieved with a polycarbonate containing glass fibres. Engel adds that all-electric injection moulding machines are preferred for the production of connector components in order to ensure maxi- mum dimensional accuracy and repeatability of the filigree component structures. The cost-effective- ness of the machines plays an important role, especially in high-volume production. For precision applications with cycle times of more than 4s, the E-mac is an economical solution, it says. It combines high output with flexibility, efficiency and a compact machine design. With the smallest available injection unit, the new E-mac 130 measures only 4,400 mm in length. The clear tie-bar width is 530×530 mm. This

Left: Engel has introduced the E-mac 130 all-electric injection moulding machine


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