Plastics Technology

DEC 2018

Plastics Technology - Dedicated to improving Plastics Processing.

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While glowing predictions of an era of "smart factories" may strike some plastics processors as an imaginative exercise rather than a near-term reality, there's no question that some pioneering firms are pursuing the avenue of "smart management" as their route toward Industry 4.0. This is particularly evident in quality-critical markets such as automotive (see April Close-Up) and medical. The latter was evident in a recent visit to two medical injection molders in the Great Lakes region that are using information management as a strategic tool for improving quality, efficiency, and costs. Comparing their "4.0" implementations may be instructive both for the similarities and the differences. HOW THEY GOT HERE Plastikos Inc. in Erie, Pa., and Roechling Medical Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., both had their origins in moldmaking: Micro Mold was established in Erie in 1978 and launched Plastikos in 1989 to get into molding. Meanwhile, Advent Tool & Mold started up in Rochester in 1978 and 'Digitalization' and 'connectivity' are loaded terms—shorthand for a whole new way of doing business. It can't be accomplished in one go. But two Midwest molders in the sensitive medical field are already feeling the benefits of their initial steps in that direction. One of eight Arburg all- electric machines in a clean room at Plastikos. Each machine has two screens—the Selogica machine controller and a separate screen for the ALS central MES computer, as well as mold-protection camera images and RJG eDART quality data. In background is a shared screen (one for every eight to 10 presses) for ALS and IQMS ERP data. 38 DECEMBER 2018 Plastics Technology By Matthew H. Naitove Executive Editor On-Site Digital Manufacturing: Two Medical Molders Embrace Industry 4.0

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