Dürr Ecoclean supplied its 100th EcoCFlex to a South German automotive manufacturer

In the 100th year of its history, 2016, the BMW Group ordered the 100th EcoCFlex system from Dürr Ecoclean. The anniversary specimen of the flexible robot cell forms part of a three-unit package and has received a special painting. The machines have been serving in a volume production environment at the Steyr engine plant since May 2017.


The custom-painted 100th EcoCFlex system operates in a production line for spark ignition engines at the BMW Group’s Steyr engine plant.

The first EcoCFlex machine for cleaning and deburring engine components went into service at the BMW Group in 2005. Eleven years later, when the company was celebrating the 100th anniversary of its foundation, BMW ordered the 100th cleaning machine of this type as part of a major order. Representing the third generation of Dürr Ecoclean’s flexible robotized cells, this anniversary specimen was launched in production at the Steyr engine plant in early May 2017 along with two other EcoCFlex 3L systems. These cleaning machines are adapted to BMW’s latest specifications for technical cleanliness, replacing the transfer systems previously employed on a production line for petrol engines.

Along with the special painting specified to suit the occasion, the BMW Group opted to order the new EcoCFlex 3L systems with handling technology comprising the Scara manipulator developed by Dürr Ecoclean. This rugged robot was purpose-designed for use in cleaning machines and convinces, among other features, with its innovative control approach. Instead of the separate robot control unit commonly adopted, the EcoCFlex 3L relies on just one single CNC controller to operate both the Scara manipulator and the cleaning machine. This simplifies and accelerates programming, service and maintenance of the overall installation. However, the EcoCFlex 3L sets new standards not only for cleaning quality and ease of operation, but also in terms of energy efficiency.

Dürr Ecoclean is a leading supplier of advanced cleaning technology and surface treatment and activation systems to automotive manufacturers and their tiered suppliers as well as to a broad and diversified industrial market. Dürr Ecoclean’s tailor-made technology enables customers to tap savings potentials, e.g., at the level of per-unit costs, energy demand and cycle times. Dürr Ecoclean currently employs around 800 people at more than 10 sites in eight countries around the globe.

www.durr-ecoclean.com

Mold Design: Virtually Optimized Cooling Channels

The thermal layout of a mold can be optimized during the design stage, understanding the effect of the cooling channel size and location over the part deformation and its solidification. With Sigmasoft Virtual Molding, which works as a virtual injection molding machine, it is possible to try different concepts and to evaluate the advantage of more expensive approaches, such as conformal cooling, before even starting to cut the steel.

Above: conventional cooling approach and resulting temperature distribution in the mold cavity. Below: conformal cooling approach (courtesy of IPC) and improved temperature distribution.

Thermal mold design is one of the most critical parameters determining the performance of an injection molding operation. Up to now, a lot was left to guessing and prior experiences. This approach is changing with the latest simulation tools, and one of the pioneers has been IPC, Innovation Plasturgie Composites, from Oyonnax, France, who has successfully used Sigmasoft Virtual Molding for six years in the design of their injection molds’ thermal layout.

IPC’s approach has been to carefully analyze the impact of different cooling concepts virtually to find the one that best suits their requirements. The company combines traditional cooling systems with conformal cooling. The analysis performed with Sigmasoft Virtual Molding allows them to quickly detect the impact of every iteration on the mold performance (in terms of cycle time) and on the part quality (regarding warpage and residual stresses).

“Using Sigmasoft Virtual Molding has helped us to be more reliable in the design phase”, states Eric Pauze, Design Manager and Responsible for the Business Unit Conception and Simulation. “IPC has been working on cooling optimization with conformal cooling in ALM in the tools for ten years. We are sensitive to thermal homogeneity of injected parts as a quality criteria check. Each system is designed and then tested using Sigmasoft to qualify the cooling benefit compared to standard systems. Through this software, we had also generated hours saving thanks to the preprocessor efficiency.”

Sigmasoft Virtual Molding follows a unique approach. It works like a virtual injection molding machine, reproducing precisely all the effects seen in reality. The mold, with all its components, is defined in the simulation. Each component is defined with its own material properties. Also the injection molding process is thoroughly set-up, just as in reality. Not only the injection, packing and solidification stages are considered, but also the dead times between processes, which are relevant in the heat transfer of the complete molding cycle.

The part deformation and its solidification behavior are a combination of all factors affecting the thermal mold performance. The thermal layout of the cooling channels is one of these factors. If there is a hot spot in the mold, either due to a very large concentration of plastic material over the part, or due to insufficient mold cooling, the part will shrink more in this area, affecting the overall warpage. A hot spot will also delay the solidification of the part.

In the example seen in Figure , a conventional cooling is considered for a plastic part. The cavity temperature distribution is seen on the right side. Below, the part is optimized with a cooling concept provided by IPC. As seen, the mold temperature is substantially reduced, and the cycle time can be decreased by around 27%.

Sigma Engineering GmbH presents its Virtual Molding technology at the upcoming FIP Solution Plastique trade show at booth M14. The show takes place between 13th and 16th June 2017 in Lyon, France.

www.sigmasoft.de

Big Kaiser benefits from parent company’s new 12,000 m2 automated logistics and distribution center

Big Kaiser, a global leader in premium high-precision tooling systems and solutions for the metal-working industries, today announced that its parent company, Big Daishowa Seiki Co. Ltd., has completed a new logistics and distribution center that will help meet the growing demands of customers in Europe and around the world.

The state-of-the-art facility is a fresh addition to the five existing Big Daishowa factories on the Japanese island of Awaji. The 12,000 m2 building currently has an inventory of 1’500’000 products comprising of 15,000 unique part numbers.

Takuya Ichii, CEO at Big Kaiser, said, “The scale of investment into logistics demonstrates our concerted effort and dedication to providing customers with the ‘right products at the right time’. This state-of-the-art warehousing facility will enable us to keep more items dedicated specifically for the European market, increasing stock availability and reducing shipping times in this key manufacturing region of the world.”

The new warehouse is highly automated and built upon the latest Industry 4.0 principles. It features an automated material handling system comprising of un-manned forklifts, inspection systems, and robotic stacking and packing of products on pallets for shipment – all operating under a barcode system. A vertical lift picking system takes full advantage of all available space, and a two-dimensional hand controller and voice guidance system eliminates picking errors.

“Big Kaiser produces premium grade products, and provides its customers with premium grade logistics and services,” concluded Takuya Ichii.

www.bigkaiser.com

AMB Iran: Iranian industry optimistic about the future

The second AMB Iran takes place in Teheran from 23 – 26 May. The trade fair is almost fully booked with over 180 exhibitors. The organisers Messe Stuttgart and the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association (VDW) invited keynote speakers to three industry get-togethers in Iran in the industrial hubs Isfahan, Teheran and Tabriz.

600 high-ranking representatives from politics, industry and industrial associations discussed the current situation following the lifting of the sanctions and the new opportunities of the Iranian industry. Topics which are shaking up the industry throughout the country include the technology transfer from abroad, the potential for foreign investments, and the importance of company and on-the-job training.

The transfer of knowledge and the intensive exchange with international companies is of immense importance for Mohammad Reza Barekatain, President of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Isfahan. The participation of Iran on the global market and the cooperation with international companies, particularly from Europe, shall be decisive for successful growth in the coming years. International perception can only be increased when the corresponding installations and facilities are available locally.
Mohammad Reza Modoodi, representative of the exports and foreign trade association (TPO) and government advisor, reported a noticeable upturn in the Iranian economy. For TPO the transfer of the latest technologies is the starting point, from which better production results are possible. Subsequently the organisation is hoping for higher investments and thus also the creation of jobs.

As a result of the sanctions and the resulting restricted links with abroad, the demand for modernisation in industry is now very high. Samad Hassanzadeh, President of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Tabriz, estimates that 70 percent of the machines in Iranian factories are German products. The vast majority of German exhibitors at AMB Iran are therefore welcome. Younes Akbarpour Paydar, President of the Association of Automotive Parts and Machine Manufacturers in Tabriz, can also report a long history of joint ventures between German and Iranian companies. Iran is an attractive location for metal working for two reasons: the expected capacities are very high and the production costs are appropriate for the Middle East.

Mohammad Zeinalipour, Business Development Representative in the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Isfahan, talked about the rising interest of European companies in the Iranian market. The expected technology transfer is important, but cannot solve all industrial problems in the country. The extension of the strong support for training and specific technical training courses are important for the future. Akbar Ashurion, President of the Association for Mechanical and Plant Engineering, Trucks and Suppliers in Isfahan, also emphasises that training is the top priority. A cooperative venture between associations is desirable, as well as the promotion of a university exchange between Iran and Germany.

Iran is the leading importer of electrical and automation technology in the Middle East. At the industry get-together in Teheran, Jürgen Engert, Vice President of Siemens S.S.K., the Iranian subsidiary of Siemens AG, also delivered a keynote speech focussing on automation. Siemens S.S.K. showcases products in the Automation Iran pavilion at AMB Iran.

Industry in Iran
Mechanical engineering in Iran is currently experiencing a strong upturn. The numerous planned large projects, expansion investments and the necessary renewal of often very outdated industrial plants offer mechanical engineers huge opportunities. In Iran imports are expected to grow US $ 20 billion between 2015 and 2017. It is estimated that machines and accessories will account for 20 percent of this growth.

Iran possesses a well-developed automotive parts industry, but there is still a very high import requirement. There are around 15,000 production sites in Iran, but 60 percent of the parts required for the automotive industry are still imported. The production capacities of the Iranian automotive manufacturers are roughly 2 million vehicles per year. Modernisation is also needed in the oil industry. In addition, automotive manufacture, the chemicals industry or the expansion of renewable energies are some of the areas in which machines are required.

www.messe-stuttgart.de/amb_iran