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NPE2018 Show Daily - Thursday

NPE is truly ‘Breaking the Mold’ as a multifaceted experience, with activities, discoveries and opportunities to satisfy the needs of anyone who works in the plastics industry or has a need to know about plastics

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THURSDAY NPE 2018 : THE PLASTICS SHOW SHOW DAILY Robots Play a Role in Industry 4.0 By Matthew H. Naitove Plastics Technology If a show as big as NPE can be said to have a single overarching theme, this year the lead- ing contender would be the wave of techno- logical innovation and futuristic enthusiasm known variously as Industry 4.0 or the Smart Factory or the Internet of Things. That wave has charged across the ocean from Europe, where new protocols for machine-to-ma- chine and machine-to-central-computer communications are being developed under the leadership of the German machinery as- sociation, or VDMA, as well as the European Plastics & Rubber Machinery Association, EUROMAP. Yushin America (above) and Sepro (right) both host vivid displays of robotic technology and its intersection with Industry 4.0. Although much of plastics machinery used here comes from Europe, the concept of In- dustry 4.0 has not achieved the same degree of familiarity on this side of the Atlantic. "Molders here are more at the stage of 'What is it, and why do I need it?' They want to know how much change it will bring to their operations, what it will cost, and how they will benefit," says David Preusse, president of Wittmann Battenfeld Inc. (Booth W3742). Jim Healy, vice president of sales and mar- keting for Sepro America (Booth W8571), thinks that Industry 4.0 can be understood in part as an evolution of trends that have been developing for years. "If Industry 4.0 is about connectivity between machines, then robots have been 'Industry 4.0' for years, thanks to standardized control protocols. Today, that connectivity goes several steps further in automation cells that may involve not only a molding machine and a robot, but also insert feeders, secondary robots, complex end-of- arm tooling, in-mold sensors or vision sys- tems, post-mold handling, inspection, finish - ing, stacking, and packing." Preusse advises show visitors to observe how exhibitors illustrate practical ways of using elements that tie into this new Smart Factories era. He says these can include: • Molding cells with robot, press, and auxiliaries all connected together; KraussMaffei is molding two 5-gal paint pails with IML—said to be an unusual feature for this market—in under 14 seconds. KRAUSSMAFFEI, BOOTH W403 • Mold setup recipes for robots and other auxiliaries stored on the injection machine forfaster mold changes; • Web service support; • MES collection of production data; • Smartphone apps to get production sta- tus or alerts; • Predictive-maintenance monitoring of robots and other cell equipment; • "Smart molding" process solutions; • Production traceability; • Remote access and control. That's an awful lot to digest, and Chris Parrillo, national sales manager of Yushin America (Booth W2173), thinks the best way for molders—espe- cially those from small to mid- sized firms—to approach the topic is to "break it down into manageable chunks." One of those chunks is pre- dictive maintenance, which is an emerging theme that is being sounded at the show by injection machine suppliers and builders of auxiliary equipment. The idea is for a robot "to monitor its own internal systems and detect problems as they develop, so it can warn of a maintenance is- sue before a catastrophe strikes on a week- end shift," explains Dino Caparco, Yushin's engineering operations manager. Some of early signs of this trend for robots are visible at NPE. For example, look for fea- tures such as monitoring gripper vacuum lev- els to warn of leaks or other problems before the robot loses its grip. Other approaches include vibration sensing and monitoring servomotor torque and am- perage load to detect bearing misalignment, insufficient lubrication, damaged rails, and/or fatigue of the robot arm due to re- peated flexing. Another closely related "chunk" of Industry 4.0 is remote monitoring and web-service support. Such features have become increas- ingly common for molding machines and are now spreading to robots. Still another related trend under the broad umbrella of Industry 4.0 is varying degrees of integration of robot controls with those of the injection press, which can range from "mirror- ing" of the robot control interface on the op - erator panel of the press to actual sharing of data between the robot and press—a more complex issue when different vendors are involved. 6 I want to learn about how injection molding has advanced in terms of components and new technologies. Kari Gerrits Product Manager TechShop I am interested in melt filtration for recycling and beach waste and contaminant removal. I am also interested in temperature control for extrusion and injection molding. Matthew Flynn-Hepford First-year Graduate Student, University of Massachusetts Lowell Plastics Engineering Masters Program I want to learn how manufacturers are embracing Industry 4.0 and how that's going to change the future of molding. It's also interesting to see how manufacturers are choosing between electric, hydraulic and hybrid systems for various applications. I'm also interested in learning about new inter- faces that connect everything back to apps. Caleb Jergens Junior, Ferris State University Plastics Engineering Major and Third-Generation Plastics Engineer I'm interested in the raw materials side, as far as what is ecofriendly, biogradable and what's coming out in the future. I'm driven toward that as someone from a younger generation. We care about the environment. You've got to figure out what's the new raw material that's used. New plastics? What is it? And that's what I want to know. Scott Hoang Sales and Marketing Manager, Chemical and Polymer Sales Tribute Energy Inc. Now That's Interesting With nine different conferences and educational opportunities in every booth, there is a lot to learn here at NPE2018. So we asked— What one issue are you most interested in learning more about here at the show? Interviews by Karen Cornelissen MoldMaking Technology

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