Part of the OnePlastics Group, Tamworth based AAC Structural Foam is a large, modern, trade moulding production site. As part of a combined expansion and machine replacement programme, a circa £1.5 million order for five machines and automation was recently placed with Negri Bossi.
Following the decommissioning and replacement of older equipment, the mould shop will now be 100% equipped with Negri Bossi machines. As always, machines supplied to the site are extremely well-specified, including options for the moulds such as special water distribution systems, valve gate control and integrated soft-start hot runner controllers. The machines are also equipped with Sytrama automation cells and the AMICO Teleservice facility. This enables advanced remote connectivity for diagnosis and worldwide assistance.
A new 1100 tonne Vector machine was the first machine of this recent order to be commissioned and is primarily producing 40% glass filled fan blower bodies.
The machine is located in an area of the facility with reduced headroom, making it an impractical location for the majority of larger moulding machines on the market. Fortunately, Negri Bossi’s Vector series machines have a low-level design as standard, which when combined with sister company Sytrama’s S20-s telescopic enhanced stroke robot, provided the ideal solution.
Letter Tray Cell. As part of a modernisation and efficiency drive, two new CANBIO ST 500 tonne machines will produce letter trays using two brand new mould tools. The machines are specified for high levels of productivity and material throughput, with barrier screws for improved melt quality and increased plasticising rates. Mould/product cooling is also critical to the achievement of new target cycle times, so is assisted by the specification of platen mounted large-bore chilled water distribution manifolds.
The two individual machine cells sit side by side, with robots stacking mouldings on a dual central conveyor system. This means that one robot is offloading to the operator side. To maintain easy access to the operators/control side of the IMM, additional robot traverse stroke supported by a vertical leg is provided. The floor-mounted guarding includes a roof for operator protection.
This configuration of the cells allows large quantities of trays to be produced without operator intervention. When the conveyor system is almost filled to capacity, the operator is signalled via a visual and audible alarm to empty the belts.
Each Negri Bossi cell incorporates a fully integrated label applicator to which the robot presents moulded parts with a positional accuracy of +/- 0.2mm. The applicator applies a waterproof barcoded adhesive label into a dimensionally critical window. The system also verifies the presence of the label in the window, as bar code presence is critical for tracking the tray and its contents in use.
Continual high operational efficiency, with minimum labour content, is the end result of this economical, autonomous solution.
Two additional 330t servo-hydraulic Negri Bossi machines will replace older and less energy-efficient equipment. The machines will be fitted with Sytrama robots with associated conveyors and guarding.
A total of 7 Sytrama robots are being supplied, as two older machines also benefit from upgrades to their automation cells. Negri Bossi’s UK based robot specialist ensures that all associated downstream automation and guarding/safety systems are correctly specified and quality monitoring systems between the injection moulding machine and robot are optimised and implemented. This means that robots are supplied to AAC’s exacting requirements and able to optimise floor space and work in areas of restricted headroom.
One Plastics Group Managing Director, Conor Sugrue commented,
“We did not take the decision to make the Tamworth Industrial Moulding division a ‘single machine shop’ lightly. There were a number of factors considered, including proven reliability over many years, energy efficiency and the benefits we have seen from Negri’s preventative maintenance schedule.”
“We also appreciate the merits of being provided with a complete solution, so the fact that Negri Bossi has its own in-house specialist robot manufacturer, in Sytrama, is a major advantage. Their UK team are able to specify a complete, tailored solution and fully manage its installation and fine-tuning. On an ongoing basis, we are also aware that all of their service engineers are fully trained on both product lines.”