Lohr am Main, 2016-10-17

The future of plastics machines: Customized drive concepts and intelligent Industry 4.0 connection for increased productivity and energy efficiency

Dirk-Walter Herold, Director Sales Plastics and Diecast Machinery at Bosch Rexroth AG

Dirk-Walter Herold, Director Sales Plastics and Diecast Machinery at Bosch Rexroth AG

“The requirements of users of plastics machines have increased continuously. Due to the high competitive pressure and the rapidly increased pace of innovation of the market, today’s manufacturers face a major challenge: They have to develop machines combining higher productivity with increased product flexibility (smaller lot sizes) and improved energy efficiency. For the implementation, a simplified and targeted engineering process is an important key to success.

The question for the perfect drive concept has always been one central point. As development partner, we recommend examining every single application scenario and adjusting the drive concept to the concrete application. The question should be: Which solution approach should I choose to reach the desired result with the best cost/benefit ratio and with high quality? This approach leads to drive concepts in which machine manufacturers can freely combine electromechanical, hydraulic or electrohydraulic drives in one modular machine concept, depending on the performance requirements. For the hybrid machine concepts, only minimum constructive adaptations are necessary.

Bosch Rexroth has suitable solutions for all these approaches and offers a correspondingly broad product range. On one hand, this includes complete, autarkic axis drives – electrohydraulic and electromechanical ones – and on the other hand drive concepts with variable-speed pump drives Sytronix SvP/DFEn by means of which up to 80 percent of the power consumption of the hydraulic drive technology can be saved. The radial piston motors Hägglunds CAb constitute another example. Due to little hydro-mechanical losses, the motors need less energy, particularly in the upper speed range. Thanks to their high power density, they are particularly suitable for the compact installation conditions of plastics machines.

Another trend topic is digitalization - keyword Industry 4.0. Similar to the drive concepts, we here also support a needs-based approach according to the field of application. Industry 4.0 offers large potentials, the conversion should, however, be considered as continuous process. This may start with manageable changes, e.g. with condition monitoring at one axis aiming at the development of preventive maintenance for the complete machine.

The key to communication is the fieldbus technology - this is also and particularly true for hydraulics, the digitalization of which has been promoted by Bosch Rexroth for many years. The particularities of the fluid technology are mapped in the software. Rexroth fieldbus valves allow for the local read-in of favorably priced, analog sensors directly into the valve. There, this data can be directly used for the control and provided to the machine control via fieldbus. Here, our experience as drive and control manufacturer is consistently combined with extensive software know-how for the automation.

And apart from that, we are not only an Industry 4.0 supplier but also claim the roll as leading user due to pilot projects in our own plants. So all the gathered practical experience is directly integrated in our new automation solutions making it easier for manufacturers to start networking their machines. As, for example, the Open Diagnostics Network ODiN recording the operating data over the entire lifecycle and in different operating modes and - after the analysis - allowing for individual recommendations for actions for preventive maintenance. Or an IoT gateway by means of which existing machines and plants can be connected to the IT world - completely without intervening with the existing automation structure.

Industry 4.0 is not automatically an immediate success. The pure recording of the data is easy - taking the correct conclusions is very demanding.”

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Susanne Herzlieb
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97816 Lohr am Main
Phone: +49 9352 18-1573

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