Plastics Technology

DEC 2018

Plastics Technology - Dedicated to improving Plastics Processing.

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from Arburg, accompanied by some Toshiba and Engel presses. The company has some hydraulic machines—mainly two-shot presses—but has bought almost entirely all-electrics since 2003. MES HUB FOR DATA EXCHANGE Medical molding requires extensive record keeping and strict adherence to qualified processes. So it's logical that both of these molders began their journey to Industry 4.0 with MES (manufac- turing execution system) computers. And, because they are pre- dominantly Arburg shops, they chose the Arburg ALS host-computer system as their information hub. Danielle Bentley, a Plastikos process engineer and medical molding manager, says the ALS came to that firm in 2013 with a package of 10 selected data screens (the choices have changed over time). The most-used display is the machine overview, which shows the press layout on the shop floor, with each press colored green if running or blue if down for mainte- nance or setup. This screen can show each machine's OEE (overall equipment effectiveness). At Plastikos' sister company, Micro Mold, two molding machines used for mold development are also tied into the same ALS network so that process refinements can be trans- ferred easily to Plastikos when production begins. "Within the maintenance module, pre-warnings proactively alert technicians when machines are coming due for required main- tenance. Production planning is also notified so that we can decide when it is appropriate to take the machine down for maintenance," explains Bentley. The four Sumitomo presses are also tied into ALS, which can display machine status. Meanwhile, at Roechling, Lenhardt says, "According to Arburg, we are their largest ALS installation outside of Germany, in both number of machines and number of software modules used." He describes the "core" of the system as production and process monitoring: "We can see at a glance what's running and get OEE for the entire shop or groups of machines, or even indi- vidual machines." As at Plastikos, another core function is loading branched out into molding in the following decade. It was purchased in 2012 by Roechling Group, a German firm with global operations in industrial, automotive, and medical plastics processing. Both operations decided to emphasize medical molding in the past 10 years. Plastikos (plastikoserie.com) started out molding electrical connectors, but made a serious push in medical starting around 2009, accelerated by installation of an ISO 7 (Class 10,000) clean room with eight all-electric presses in 2015. Today it retains the connector business but its revenues are 30-40% from medical devices for drug delivery, surgical eye care, fluid dispensing and orthopedics, among others. It has a 77,000 ft 2 plant with 160 employees and 35 injection presses from 88 to 220 tons. All are Arburgs, except four from Sumitomo (SHI) Demag. Thirty- four machines are all-electric. Plastikos is building a new 33,000 ft 2 medical plant nearby that will add 10 machines, with 10 more planned to follow in a second phase. At full capacity, the new facility will more than double the company's current clean-room molding area. Combined revenues with Micro Mold are above $33 million, says Rob Cooney, manu- facturing manager. The molding business at what is now Roechling Medical Rochester (roechling-advent. us) was mainly automotive and business equipment until 2006, when it began to focus on medical. When acquired by Roechling, the medical share of its business was 60% and is now over 90%, according to Joe Lenhardt, v.p. of operations. It produces surgical, diagnostic and laboratory devices. Clean- room molding and assembly occupy 6500 ft 2 . Part of the $2 billion+ Roechling Group with 90 locations in 23 countries, the Rochester medical plant occupies 80,000 ft 2 (plus a 30,000 ft 2 warehouse/distribution center nearby) with 260 employees and 52 injection machines from 28 to 550 tons. Upwards of 90% of those presses are Allrounders "The key advantage is in program administration. We can load a qualified process from the ALS server to the machine. It saves time and reduces the risk of manual transfer or using a USB stick." Plastikos medical molding manager Danielle Bentley. Upper screen shows mold thermal imaging data; it can also display ALS and eDART data. @plastechmag 39 Plastics Technology On-Site Plastikos, Inc. • Erie, Pa.; Roechling Medical Rochester • Rochester, N.Y.

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