Industry 4.0

Networked: machines, processes and products

For fully integrated production in the "smart factory" we combine automated ALLROUNDER injection moulding machines, the freeformer for additive manufacturing and our own IT solutions, such as the ARBURG ALS host computer system. You can view various practical examples covering all aspects of Industry 4.0 here.

Drinking cups finished inline

Turnkey system sets new standards
A "smart" turnkey system based around an electric ALLROUNDER 370 A produces drinking cups in a high-quality crinkle design and then finishes them in a digital printing station. Information on the production process and recycling can be retrieved for each cup via DM codes.

The "smart" injection moulding machine is equipped with intelligent assistance systems such as aXw Control FillAssist. The production cell can be connected to an MES via its standard IIoT gateway. The ARBURG Turnkey Control Module (ATCM) Scada system visualises all relevant process and quality data and amalgamates it for each specific part. Each individual cup can be fully traced back via the DM code applied to it. A second code leads to the digital product passport, which enables separation by type. A MULTILIFT V 20 robotic system performs the handling tasks.

Spirit level

Cost-efficient, traceable production of complex parts
The example of the spirit level shows how 100 percent traceability and cost-efficient production can be assured. Thanks to the ARBURG Turnkey Control Module (ATCM) SCADA system with which the turnkey system is equipped, all relevant process and quality data can be traced back at any time from every single component.

In this system, the two halves of the injection-moulded housing are assembled with three bubble tubes after demoulding to form the ready-to-use part. Each part is marked with a QR code after visual quality inspection. The data can then be retrieved at any time on a part-specific website. In practice, this forms the basis for big data analyses and 100 percent traceability.

Injection moulding "on demand"

Elastic tension strap to customer requirements
ARBURG presents a practical example of Industry 4.0 tailored specifically to the requirements of the injection moulding sector. In this regard, customer requirements are integrated into the running injection moulding process for multi-variant high-volume production.

Visitors can choose between 40, 60 and 80 centimetre tension straps in three colours and three end piece variants. The required variant is entered directly at the terminal and the order is transferred to the central SELOGICA control system using the OPC UA communication protocol. A compact turnkey system based around a vertical ALLROUNDER 375 V injection moulding machine then flexibly produces the part variant on demand on a shot-to-shot basis.

Customer magazine "today", issue 67, p. 26-27, "Tech Talk: Cost-effective, multi-variant, high-volume production" (PDF - 5,4 MB)

Spatially distributed production

"Smart" luggage tag as a practical example
ARBURG will demonstrate the distributed production of "smart" luggage tags as an example of a pioneering Industry 4.0 application. Once an NFC chip is fitted, the product becomes an information carrier and navigates its own path through the production process. It passes through five stations on the way to becoming a unique item:

Station 1: The high-volume part is injection moulded with an ALLROUNDER 375 V and an NFC chip is fitted
Station 2: Personalisation of the part and creation of an electronic calling card
Station 3: 2D data is applied to the product by laser with the help of an INTEGRALPICKER
Station 4: Further 3D individualisation in an additive process using the freeformer
Station 5: Use of smart product for online actions

"Industrie 4.0 - powered by Arburg"

Heinz Gaub on the digital factory
The production efficiency main theme at the Fakuma 2015 focused on "Industrie 4.0 – powered by Arburg". Managing Director Technology & Engineering, Heinz Gaub, explains the digital factory in which smart products can be coded and identified, enabling them to navigate their own path through production.

ARBURG can look back on over 30 years of experience in digitally networked production. The starting point for the digital factory is flexible production technology. Other elements include central process management an a central host computer system for recording, exchanging and archiving data. The video explains the potential that Industry 4.0 can offer ARBURG customers for efficient and "smart" plastic parts production.

Fully automated single-unit batches

Linked: injection moulding and additive manufacturing
ARBURG has automated additive manufacturing and thereby implemented a fully IT-networked production line for the individualisation of high-volume parts using Industry 4.0 technology. A seven-axis robot links the ALLROUNDER injection moulding machine with the freeformer.

Once the ALLROUNDER has moulded plastic handles onto office scissors and a DM code has been applied by laser, the KUKA "iiwa" seven-axis robot removes the part together with the part carrier from the conveyor belt of the injection moulding cell. A scanner is used to identify the scissors via its individual code and the next production step is started. The robot handles the loading and unloading of the build chamber. The freeformer uses an additive process to apply an individual 3D geometry in plastic to the scissor handles. The result is a unique mass-produced item. Before the "iiwa" ejects the finished scissors, it subjects it to a final quality inspection.

Smart Factory

Production in three "factories"
ARBURG uses the example of rocker-type light switches to illustrate the idea behind Industry 4.0 and the "smart factory". The various work processes take place at different times and in different locations, effectively in three different "factories". The ARBURG host computer system (ALS), plays a central role in networking the autonomous stations.

The first step was the moulding of the light switch and the application of a DM code prior to the Fakuma 2015. From this point onwards, the product itself becomes the data and information carrier, communicating with the machines, recording its own history and status and steering its own path through the process chain. Visitors to the ARBURG exhibition stand were allowed to personalise the moulded parts "live" and could later have them packaged to their individual design on the stand of partner FPT Robotik. The ALS host computer recorded the process and quality data from all three "factories" and archived it in the "cloud". The data for each separate part can be accessed via a specific website at any time using a smartphone.

Individualised large batch series

Practical example: Office scissors
Based on the example of a pair of office scissors, the flexible customisation of plastic products will be demonstrated by the combination of injection moulding using an ALLROUNDER and ARBURG Plastic Freeforming (APF) using the freeformer. The application also illustrates the topic of Industry 4.0.

At the injection moulding station, visitors will first be able to choose between different scissor versions. In order to enable flexible and fast product changes, human and robotic system work hand-in-hand. The handle of the scissors is moulded on by an electric ALLROUNDER and a DM code is then applied by laser. The freeformer then adds individual lettering to the scissors. The data from the injection moulding process and additive manufacturing is recorded via the ARBURG host computer system (ALS) and transmitted to a web server. The relevant Internet page can then be called up by means of a DM code using a mobile device.
to the moulded part

Fully networked process chain

Additive Manufacturing Plaza
At the special Additive Manufacturing Plaza exhibition at the Hannover Messe 2015, ARBURG as exclusive partner presented a fully networked process chain consisting of injection moulding and additive manufacturing, including host computer technology. Here, rocker-type light switches produced as high-volume parts were individualised.

How can several machines and the production process be efficiently controlled, documented and tracked in the context of Industry 4.0? How can high-volume parts be individualised by means of industrial additive manufacturing using the freeformer? As an exclusive partner at the Additive Manufacturing Plaza, ARBURG demonstrated precisely how it’s done based on the example of rocker-type light switches. Trade visitors were able to go through and experience the complete process chain live – from order entry, injection moulding and industrial additive manufacturing through to automated packaging of the individualised products and display of the process parameters on a part-specific web page.

Integrated, personalised production

Practical example: Toy buggy
Parts-based online data acquisition and archiving ensure transparent production and 100% traceability. This entails the data integration of machines, order information and process data. The production of a toy buggy provides an example of how Industry 4.0 can work in practice.
The production process consists of five steps:

  • Enter your ID: Personalise a chipcard, have it read by the SELOGICA control system.
  • Produce the buggy: moulding individual parts, laser engraving (individual QR code), assembly.
  • Check assembly: correctly installed and fitted, dimensions of roof, chassis and axles.
  • Measure the speed: buggy "test circuit".
  • Call up the buggy data: scan QR code, archived part-specific production and quality data.

The ARBURG host computer system (ALS) is of central importance here, integrating the autonomous stations in one network as well as recording and archiving all parameters. Thanks to the QR code, the process parameters of each individual buggy can be uniquely assigned and all process steps seamlessly documented.


Customer magazine today 55, p. 8-9 “Data-integrated production” (PDF - 5,1 MB)