Rising energy prices, establishing a circular economy and changing consumer needs pose serious challenges for manufacturers of plastic packaging. Injection moulding machine manufacturer ENGEL has established a new Packaging Centre to help its customers in this demanding industry further boost the performance of production cells and ensure their competitiveness. Some 300 international guests came to Austria mid-May for the inauguration of the new Technology and Expertise Centre.
"Cycle time and energy efficiency are the most important key efficiency indicators in the packaging industry. And injection moulding solutions by ENGEL lead the field in both sectors", says Christoph Lhota, Vice President of Business Unit Packaging at ENGEL. "This is precisely what we demonstrate at the Packaging Centre. We invite our customers to put our injection moulding machines through their paces here".
Fit-for-purpose production cells for a wide variety of packaging requirements are available at two locations – Schwertberg and St. Valentin. They include all-electric e cap high-performance machines for manufacturing caps and flip-top lids, e-speed machines for thin-walled containers and pails, and duo speed dual-platen machines for large containers. In addition to this, all-electric e-mac injection moulding machines can be used at the ENGEL technology centre. After all, this series is also increasingly seeing use in packaging applications in the mid-performance segment, frequently for processing recycled material.
Focus on energy efficiency, the circular economy and digitalisation
Energy efficiency, the circular economy and digitalisation are the central topics which the new ENGEL Packaging Centre addresses. All of the injection moulding machines are equipped with smart assistance systems from the ENGEL inject 4.0 programme. For example, with iQ weight control, which detects fluctuations in the shot volume and material viscosity and automatically compensates for them in the same cycle. The latest series of tests have shown that the software achieves notable quality improvements in high-performance applications with very short cycle times. iQ flow control, which controls the temperature differences in the individual cooling circuits to maintain the set value, is a further example. In doing so, this smart assistance system ensures constant temperature control conditions, while at the same time clearly reducing the energy consumption required for temperature control.
"The key to high energy efficiency is the individual plant components harmonising in the best possible way. In each case, we individually adapt the production cell to the requirements of the product to be manufactured", says Lhota. ENGEL offers the optimum drive technology for every packaging application with a wide range of injection moulding machines. From all-electric, through hybrid, to servo-hydraulic.
ENGEL customers can bring their own moulds, and also their own materials, to the new Packaging Centre for a hands-on performance test including cycle time and energy efficiency analyses. On top of this, ENGEL provides many moulds from the various product groups on site. This offering is rounded off by a wide range of peripheral systems from various partner companies as well as automation solutions developed both in-house and by partners such as Campetella and Beck automation.
World premiere: rPP for food packaging
Some 300 customers and partners of ENGEL accepted the invitation to Schwertberg and St. Valentin for the Packaging Center opening ceremony in mid-May. There were fascinating keynotes, panel discussions and live machine exhibits at both locations. The prominent speakers included technology and material suppliers and brand-name packaging producers. For example, Prof. Edward Kosior from Nextek talked about the food packaging production opportunities opened up by rPP. To fit the occasion, ENGEL staged a world premiere, presenting injection moulding of polypropylene, recycled following post-consumer collection, for the first time. The opening of the ENGEL Packaging Centre established a globally acknowledged landmark on the path to a circular economy for plastics. "We have closed yet another open material cycle", says Christoph Lhota.