Automotive industry in Asia increasingly relying on new technologies
| Subj: Press-releses
For the first time, ENGEL trend.scaut took place parallel to FUMOTec, the international trade fair for automotive engineering and future mobility, at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Centre, thus attracting a particularly high level of attention to the conference. “Some trade fair visitors who had not known ENGEL and trend.scaut before spontaneously registered,” reports Gero Willmeroth, President East Asia and Oceania of ENGEL based in Shanghai. The participants were mainly development and production managers as well as managing directors of both Chinese and international companies,and this also contributed to the huge success of the event. “We discussed new technologies and opportunities for the future on the basis of the specific requirements of local producers and were also able to reflect the topics in an international context.” The key-note program was top-class with speakers in-cluding representatives of Volvo and Nobo (a member of the Great Wall Motor Company), Continental and Ecorea, as well as JSC Automotive, ExxonMobil, Sabic and ENGEL.
As the first presentations already made clear, the automotive market in Asia is continuing to develop at a particularly dynamic pace. “Over 100 vehicle brands are now competing in China,” says Dr Norbert Müller, head of the ENGEL Center for Lightweight Composite Technologies, explaining the situation. The focus is on electric vehicles. Another development is that renowned Chinese suppliers are also placing their products in the premium segment. “This results in important opportunities for the market entry of new technologies,” says Müller, summarising both trends and using the example of innovative composite technologies in his presentation. Together with his team, Müller develops new, particularly cost-effective processes for large-scale composite lightweight construction, covering a broad range of technologies: from HP-RTM and SMC to the processing of thermoplastic semi-finished products such as organic sheets and tapes, through to innovative reactive technologies such as in-situ polymerisation (T-RTM). “What is new is that composite manufacturers in Asia are also increasingly focusing on thermoplastic-based solutions,” says Müller. “The possibility of functionalising thermoplastic composite materials immediately after moulding in the same mould using injection moulding can secure decisive time advantages.”
Focus on productivity and efficiency
Process integration and automation are becoming even more important as efficiency pressure increases. “We are increasingly supplying multi-component machines to Asia,” confirms Michael Fischer, Head of Business Development Technologies at ENGEL’s headquarters in Austria. ENGEL is increasingly developing integrated system solutions including process technology, automation and other peripherals for the automotive lighting and interior sectors. “If we precisely coordinate all process stages and match system components right from the start, we can exploit both the efficiency and quality potential to the full,” says Fischer.
Live demonstrations at the ENGEL technical centre
Thick-walled headlamp lenses were produced in a fully automated production cell with two interlinked duo injection moulding machines. ENGEL solves the challenge of combining high optical quality with short cycle times with its patented multi-layer technology, optimised by external cooling. Although the pre-moulded parts cool for 30 minutes, the cycle time is significantly less than 3 minutes. “More and more frequently, high-quality optical components are being made of plastics,” Fischer reports. “The polymer materials are lighter than glass and offer product designers more freedom. ENGEL has already equipped renowned lens manufacturers worldwide with multilayer systems.”
The task of the second application was to combine efficiency with high surface quality. A further duo injection moulding machine was used to produce sophisticated trim parts for the vehicle interior using the ENGEL foammelt process. Structural foam moulding makes it possible to reliably fill even very thin component areas while at the same time reducing the component weight. The special feature of the innovative process presented in Shanghai, which is based on a chemical blowing agent, is that high-quality visible surfaces are created directly from polypropylene in injection moulding.
The production of transparent technical parts was all-electric. Here, an e-mac injection moulding machine impressed with its high precision, process stability and efficiency. The e-mac series machines are exclusively equipped with particularly powerful servo-motors, including the ejection and pressing functions, thus ensuring optimum efficiency. Added to this there is the compact design. Saving space is also an important efficiency factor.
Assistance systems for the injection moulding machine
ENGEL trend.scaut 2019 in Detroit