Fast, efficient and sustainable: Fully electric injection molding machines
Welltec is a technological leader in the manufacture of injection molding machines. Since few Chinese suppliers have mastered the industry's most recent advancements, Welltec expanded its search and found an innovative and reliable partner in B&R. Together, the two companies now produce high-performance, fully electric injection molding machines with sophisticated technology that maximizes production efficiency and ensures premium product quality.
Welltec's machines range from 20 to 7,000 tons of clamping force. With an ongoing dedication to research and development, the company is regularly introducing innovative new products and system solutions to the market. One particular focus over the past several years has been the production of fully electric injection molding machines.
Hydraulic vs. fully electric
The primary differences between electrical machines and their hydraulic counterparts are the more powerful electronic components and the use of electrical axes. Fully electrical machines feature high-speed injection control that provides extremely efficient production. Highly precise servo positioning and perfect reproduction of process curves ensure outstanding product quality.
Manufacturers of plastic products also need cluster control and management systems to be integrated in the production line, while remote diagnostics and maintenance options are also frequently a decisive factor for their customers. Together with B&R, Welltec successfully implemented all of its requirements.
Fast reactions with POWERLINK
Fully electric injection molding machines require extremely fast motion control in order to maintain the constant cycle of processing steps: plastification, closing the mold, injection, switching, pressure control, opening the mold and finally ejecting the finished product.
The demanding response times required throughout the entire production line can only be satisfied by a powerful and precise communication system between the controller and drives. Its impressive clock synchronization accuracy (< 0.1 µs) and extremely fast network cycle times make POWERLINK the ideal solution for the plastics industry.
The electric machines are equipped with a servo regulated power pack that reduces mechanical wear when opening and closing the mold. The G-series devices feature a unique function for repeated infinitely adjustable closed-loop force control and mold closing in a single injection molding process. This reduces the time and cost of maintenance involved in exchanging and lubricating the high-performance ball screw.
The system, which consists of Power Panel and ACOPOSmulti devices, delivers the excellent stability and precision required for the injection molding process. The G-series of fully electric injection molding machines achieve a positioning precision of 0.01 mm and pressure control deviation of only 0.1 percent. The ACOPOSmulti drive system meets all the control requirements for the various production stages. The injection velocity is 20 percent higher than comparable products, which gives the customer greater flexibility as well as higher quality.
Welltec uses the Automation Studio 4 platform to develop its modular software. This allows multiple software engineers to each work on a different autonomous module simultaneously and load them to the hardware separately. This not only shortens development times, but also makes it easier to develop modular machines with flexible configurations.
The injection molding machine must not only be flexible enough to produce a range of different products, it must also be simple enough to allow operators to learn it quickly and use it reliably. With B&R's process modeling, the user only has to enter basic parameters such as product specifications and the type of raw material. The rest is handled automatically by the process model.
"B&R's engineers provided fantastic support with the process modeling. The result of this collaboration is machine software that can be adapted effortlessly to different machine configurations and different production processes," explains Guoqiang Cai, chief engineer at Welltec.
Welltec has developed its iSee mobile apps for end devices like smartphones and tablet PCs to provide remote access to injection molding machines in different plants. iSee cluster management allows the customer to access and analyze current and historical production data, order processing data, the operating status of various systems and much more – at any time. The connection to the controller is made via the open Ethernet interface on the B&R Power Panel.
"We are always working towards more and more intelligent machines, so it made sense to add B&R's condition monitoring solution to our development plan. We are convinced that this feature will become increasingly important to our customers in the future. Monitoring conditions such as vibration, temperature, power supply and more provides advanced warning of potential problems. This lowers maintenance costs and improves operational safety," says Cai.
"The cooperation between B&R and Welltec has created significant added value for both us and our customers. We have made a great leap forward and strengthened our technological and competitive edge." "We will be expanding our relationship with B&R in the future in order to offer our customers even better products." Guoqiang Cai, Chief Engineer at Welltec