Injection moulding machine manufacturer Engel Austria GmbH, Schwertberg, Austria, announced during K 2019, Düsseldorf, Germany, that it is collaborating with Autodesk, Inc, San Rafael, California, USA, to further develop the digitalisation of the injection moulding process.
As part of the collaboration, the companies have developed the new Engel sim link, which will reportedly be available to Engel and Autodesk customers next year. According to Engel and Autodesk, the Engel sim link makes it possible to transfer simulation data to the injection moulding machine and – conversely – to import measurement datasets from the machine control unit to the simulation software.
The companies state that the aim is to link the simulation with the real process, in order to be able to better support manufacturers throughout the complete product life cycle – from product development and tool design through to production. The Engel sim link will reportedly show the results of simulations performed using the Moldflow simulation software from Autodesk which can be transferred to the CC300 control of the Engel injection moulding machine – and how process and measurement data can flow back from the machine for use in the simulation.
An additional new feature is that process parameters and measurement results can conversely be imported from the injection moulding machine back into Moldflow. The companies explain that this function opens the door to a completely new approach to the analysis and optimisation of the ongoing production process using simulations. Simulation and measurement data can be easily reconciled, and the quality of the simulation improved. Furthermore, with support provided by simulations, unfavourable process settings can be subjected to in-depth analysis and, therefore, adaptations implemented more rapidly and precisely.
“Together with Autodesk we are closing the gap between the digital twin of the actual tool and the real injection moulding process,” reported Dr Johannes Kilian, Head of Simulation and Control Engineering at the Product Development Department of Engel Austria. “By creating easily usable connections between the digital and the real world we are facilitating the consistent and mutual utilisation of simulation and machine data throughout the complete product life cycle.”
Kilian added, “By linking the simulation with the real production process, injection moulding simulations will in future play a central role throughout the entire product life cycle. Simulations accelerate the machine setting, set-up processes and process optimisation, thereby significantly boosting productivity. It is therefore becoming an increasingly affordable competitive advantage for smaller injection moulding companies too.”