Eminence Business Media

Eminence Business Media

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rapid, space-saving IML automation by Beck Automation: Camera inspection system ensures more quality and security of supply

At the Engel booth of the Fakuma 2014, Beck Automation is presenting a highly dynamic IML system. The manufacturing cell consists of a fully electric injection moulding machine Engel e-motion 440/160 and a 2-cavity injection mould by Glaroform. The feed and removal system for in-mould labelling is to be considered a reference with regard to speed, footprint, availability and process security for IML automation. The system is equipped with an Omron high-grade camera inspection system for quality control of the containers produced, designed and integrated by Beck Automation.

The IML automation by Beck Automation is designed to be extremely space-saving and features a small footprint. "This IML system is compact and yet very easily accessible, meaning user-friendly" explains Daniel Merki, Sales Manager at Beck. "Thanks to our construction principle and the various tests we run prior to delivery, we can keep the installation time on site at our clients very short. We don't just talk about "just in time", we mean it." As usual at Beck Automation, this involves a high-speed application (total cycle: 2.9 seconds,intervention time 0.9 seconds). Equipped with the latest in control and drive technology, the system is operated via a touch screen. The integrated remote access allows for dialling into the system from outside, in order to provide support to the user in a timely and cost-effective manner.

High QA level due to integrated camera inspection
The quality of the highly dynamic process is assured by a vision system. The high-grade FZ3 camera system comes from Omron in Japan. Engineering and integration are coordinated to the specifics of every application by Beck Automation."The structure and number of camera inspection modules depend, among other aspects, on the control requirements of the packaging unit, cycle speed and the number of cavities", explains Daniel Merki. It is the job of the Omron FZ3 vision system to identify defective parts. To accomplish this, 1 to n cameras and the necessary illumination are integrated into the IML automation. The specific number of cameras needed is defined in detail by various factors:
a) By the product that is to be monitored (shape, size, test criteria, etc)
b) the quantity of products (number of cavities and cycle time) as well as
c) place and time of the inspection within the process

The preliminary clarifications and system definitions are extremely important and have a great impact on the cost structure and options or capabilities of such a system. Longstanding experience with IML applications and the specific systems integration by Beck Automation offer IML users a reliable basis for expert consultation and support for the implementation of a process-oriented solution. There is an option to expand the system shown by a QA module (Q-SORT LINE), which can be retrofitted at any time. Daniel Merki notes, "This separation of good and bad parts, and the subsequent stacking unit in one highly dynamic system, provides the processor with an even higher level at which to secure his efforts to achieve high quality and an enhancement of efficiency in the IML process."

IML technology in the reference class
As IML is a highly dynamic process, profitability is derived from the level of all system components. In an initial step the labels are drawn in from the label hopper. In a second step, the labels are placed on the cores and held with vacuum. The automated cores move into the cavities to transfer the labels. In this stage the labels are blown against the vacuum, electrostatically charged and thus placed and held in the cavities so they are form-fitting. This makes the level of process design and quality of the label key factors in process stability, reproducibility, unit quality and economic efficiency.

Swiss-made thin-wall technology by Glaroform
Glaroform AG, Näfels (CH) is showing a high speed injection mould on a fully electric injection moulding machine Engel e-motion 440/160 with 2 cavities for a food container with a round-oval size of 500 ml. The mould features a proprietary hot runner system with a pneumatically operated valve gate nozzle. The moulded part is decorated at its side wall by IML. The mould is equipped with a conformal and high-efficiency cooling system, to guarantee a very rapid cycle time with simultaneous reproducible product quality. The conformal cooling also effectively reduces any warping in the part. In order to also guarantee the very long service life of the moulds for which Glaroform is well known, the mould is manufactured with the latest surface coating processes for outstanding process stability and the highest precision within tight tolerances. The thin-walled product has an average wall thickness of 0.4 mm and features a part weight of approx. 11 g.

Product Communication with high-quality labels
The labels used consist of a 60µ EUP orange peel film made of a material called Treofan by Viappiani Printing Segrate (Italy). The rounded oval shape of the food container requires labels that are, on one hand, stamped out with a high degree of precision and on the other hand, ensure observance of the short cycle time due to a good electrostatic charge. The sheet offset process guarantees superb printing quality both for four-colour photographic images and Pantone colours. Viappiani can print IML labels in up to 8 colours, including varnish coating. This gives users access to a wide range of options to enhance their product communications at the POS with a visually high-value appeal and in this way emphasise features that may influence purchase decisions.