Increasing quality and efficiency with system solutions from a single source
December 2, 2015
Maximum output, consistent quality and constant machine availability: At the Saudi Plastics and Petrochem trade fair taking place from January 18th to 21st 2016 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the injection moulding machine manufacturer and integrated system expert ENGEL will be demonstrating how these requirements can be combined with excellent profitability and energy efficiency through the perfect harmonisation of injection moulding machine, mould, automation, application technology and support. ENGEL's exhibits and demonstrations will revolve around the manufacture of bottle caps, thin-walled packaging, pallets and fittings, as well as consumables for medical and laboratory use.
"ENGEL is one of the most preferred plastics processing industry partners in the Gulf States, and our system solutions are responsible for a large percentage of this success," says Andreas Leitner, Sales Director Middle East at ENGEL. "It's only when we coordinate all the components of a production cell from the very beginning while taking individual requirements into consideration that we're able to make full use of the cell's quality and efficiency potential and create competitive advantages for our customers." Besides injection moulding machines, ENGEL system solutions can include automation, the integration of upstream and downstream process steps, process technology, the mould, quality assurance and other peripheral components. ENGEL works with system partners to enable it to develop the optimal solution for each individual situation, and three of those partners will be joining ENGEL in Riyadh. They are mould makers Otto Hofstetter (Uznach, Switzerland) and ifw (Micheldorf, Austria), and BECK automation (Oberengstringen, Switzerland), an automation expert specialising in high-speed and IML applications. The companies will be available during the exhibition to answer specific questions and will be able to offer initial on-the-spot assessments for new project ideas. The partners possess many years of experience and have completed many projects in the Middle East together, particularly in the areas of caps and closures, thin-walled packaging, fittings and pallets.
All-electric ENGEL e-cap has established itself in the caps and closures market
The caps and closures market in the Middle East is extremely dynamic. "ENGEL has established itself here very well with the all-electric ENGEL e-cap injection moulding machine," says Leitner. "In the United Arab Emirates, for example, all the well-known bottlers and bottle cap producers now use ENGEL technology. There is a clear trend towards all-electric machines in this segment.“
In 1998, ENGEL became one of the first European injection moulding machine manufacturers to launch an all-electric machine onto the market and has continued to develop and update the ENGEL e-motion series for high-performance applications ever since. In 2010, ENGEL presented a high-speed all-electric machine specifically tailored to the requirements of the caps and closures industry based on this mature technology in the ENGEL e-cap. With cycle times of under three seconds and injection speeds of up to 460 mm per second, ENGEL e-cap injection moulding machines are designed for highest output performance and have set new standards for the entire industry in process stability and efficiency. Compared to other machines on the market used to produce closures, ENGEL e-cap machines require significantly less energy and cooling water, are very clean and make a sustainable contribution to protecting the environment. "Energy efficiency is becoming extremely important in Saudi Arabia," as Leitner says. "With subsidies being reduced, electricity is going to become considerably more expensive in the next few years."
In addition to their all-electric drive technology, ENGEL e-cap machines also boast other features that contribute to their particularly high efficiency levels. These include a powerful, premium-quality injection unit, increased ejection force and a reinforced, faster clamping drive unit. Thanks to their powerful direct drive units, ENGEL e-cap machines are able to process even non-free-flowing types of HDPE with the greatest precision and therefore guarantee extremely low unit costs even in the manufacture of lightweight closures.
Plastic pallets make logistics sustainable
ENGEL is helping plastics processors in the Middle East to follow the trend of switching to plastic pallets with flexible plant concepts based on its large yet compact ENGEL duo machines. "In the Middle East, pallets made from plastic are especially environmentally friendly compared to wooden pallets," explains Leitner. There are several reasons for this. As there are no forests in the Gulf States, all the raw material for the production of wooden pallets has to be imported, whereas plastic granulate is produced in the region. In addition, plastic pallets don't have to be treated with pesticides and fungicides, which means environmentally harmful chemicals don't have to be used. Plastic pallets are also neither hygroscopic nor combustible, have no sharp edges and cannot splinter. This reduces the risk of injury and simplifies the import and customs clearance procedures in many countries.
A further advantage of plastic pallets is their low weight. Together with its system partners and raw material producers, ENGEL is able to utilise a wide technology and material spectrum to make the pallets lighter while keeping them very stable and stiff at the same time. When subjected to stress tests, these pallets in lightweight design sometimes even prove to be more robust than wooden pallets, which helps to reduce transport damage. Some companies are already using plastic pallets to strengthen their image – high-quality products require high-quality packaging too.
When injection moulding is used to manufacture plastic pallets, the low MFI values of the materials used are a particularly difficult challenge for the machine technology to overcome. With their very high drive capacity and high-quality screws, ENGEL duo dual-platen machines are optimally equipped to deal with it, however.
Industry expertise for flexible solutions
Besides the markets for bottle closures and plastic pallets, the demand for thin-walled containers, fittings and products for medical and laboratory use is also contributing to the growth of the plastics industry in the Middle East. ENGEL and its partners are exhibiting sample parts, presentations and videos that demonstrate how even the highest requirements can also be met safely for these market segments.
At the ENGEL headquarters in Schwertberg, Austria, the expertise obtained from projects all over the world is bundled in the machine manufacturer's five business units. Its experts in the packaging, medical, technical moulding, automotive and teletronics industries work in close cooperation with its production plants, subsidiaries and representatives around the globe, as well as with its product and technology development departments. ENGEL is therefore able to be extremely flexible when meeting individual customer needs.