A new contract has led medical device manufacturer Armstrong Medical to source an additional injection moulding machine from Sumitomo (SHI) Demag


n the next five years the global respiratory care devices market is

expected to grow at a rate of 9.65% due to increasing pressures on respiratory health care and aging populations1

. As a

specialist medical device manufacturer, Armstrong Medical is in a prime position to take advantage of these opportunities. Faced with a need to increase production

after negotiating a new contract to supply a carbon dioxide absorbent for use in anaesthesia and manufactured using a brand new suite of mould tools, the Northern Ireland moulder spoke to longstanding partner Sumitomo (SHI) Demag about acquiring an additional machine. By September, the new hybrid Systec Servo 160 was in position and helping to meet the demands of Armstrong Medical’s new customer. Having suffered a devastating fire in

2007, Armstrong Medical had to reconstruct the production facility quickly, ordering replacement injection moulding machines from Sumitomo Demag. The company was able to rebuild the operation in a way that would suit its needs. Today, the company has 11 injection

moulding machines, two bench top moulding machines, a liquid silicone rubber (LSR) production cell and various other pieces of equipment tailored to Armstrong’s production process. Predominantly involved in the production

The team opted for the versatile Systec Servo 160 as lead-time was critical and the machine was in stock

TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND UPSCALE PRODUCTION orts/0305290369/global -respiratory-care- devices-market? source=worldmoney news&mode=51


of innovative respiratory disposables for anaesthesia and critical care – Armstrong Medical’s plant also features class 10,000 and 100,000-type assembly Cleanrooms. Discussing the need for the additional

The carbon-dioxide absorber is used in anaesthesia and critical care

Systec Servo machine, Nigel Simpson, plastics project manager at Armstrong Medical, explained why longstanding trust and knowledge of the control panel makes such a difference during the selection process. “We have a very good relationship with Sumitomo (SHI) Demag that has been built up over a long time and are extremely happy with the machinery they supply. The control system is great and our operators know that when they start working on a brand new machine, it will all be familiar to them, which helps with our productivity levels. “The day-to-day level of service is also

good,” added Simpson. “Sometimes I’m talking to their support team on a daily basis and they can always answer my questions. We are in the process of setting up remote access on our Sumitomo fleet,


As part of its five-year investment to boost capacity and operational excellence within its global plastics additives business, BASF has awarded Emerson a multi-million-dollar contract to modernise automation software and controllers at its specialty chemical production facility in Lampertheim, Germany. These enhancements will help the chemical manufacturer increase production flexibility and enhance operations. BASF will implement Emerson’s new hybrid automation solution

that replaces existing programmable logic controllers (PLCs), used to control 20 reactors, with Emerson’s DeltaV PK Controller. The new hybrid technology integrates into BASF’s existing DeltaV automation system, which will reduce the cost, time and complexity of modernising the automation system; minimise start-up time for new production batches; and make switching production easier. Emerson will also replace an obsolete system controlling the tank farm and distillation columns at the


facility, which produces additives that improve characteristics for plastics and coatings. The expansion of the DeltaV DCS, which is already used to control other parts of the plant, will ensure continued efficient production and enable BASF to standardise its control architecture, helping to reduce integration complexity and operator training costs. A key part of the project is also to expand automation security protections to address cybersecurity threats.

which will help us speed up the diagnosis of machine issues and monitor production levels. The team has been really helpful in making this process as smooth as possible to minimise business disruption.” Lead time and delivery of the Systec

Servo 160 was crucial. “The machine was ready to go and we knew that the delivery time – allowing for a Sepro robot to be ordered and fitted – would work perfectly with our production timeframe,” said Simpson. “We now have the ability to respond instantly to market demands and produce a wider range of injection- moulded items when requested.” The new contract will help expand the

company’s portfolio. “In order for us to meet the demands, we’ve upscaled production, hence investing in new machinery. This has enabled us to lower the cost per unit without compromising on quality, which means we will be able to service a larger slice of the critical care market,” said Simpson. Equipped with the tooling to produce

anywhere between 150 and 200 different components, Armstrong Medical has to ensure that mould tool changeovers are as quick as possible in order to maintain efficiency and limit downtime. New machines – such as the Servo Systec 160 – benefit from the upgraded NC5 control system to make programming easier and quicker. As a result, production efficiency levels are improved and mould change times are further reduced. “We can have four or more mould

changes a day on some days. We have managed to reduce the time it takes to complete the majority of these by up to 40%, with quick mould clamps, better organisation and employing correct procedures for mould changes as well as benefiting from the new NC5 control system,” emphasised Simpson.

Sumitomo (SHI) Demag

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