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360-degree solution for plastics injection moulding and extruder machines

KEB's extruder software consists of two project parts: one for the PLC and one for the HMI interface

When it comes to selecting drives, controls, automation systems and software for plastics machinery such as extruders and injection moulding machines, KEB Automation can provide a complete tailored solution for machine manufacturers, including servo motors, gearmotors, permanent magnet brakes, drive controllers (with integrated functional safety if required), PLCs, HMIs and application software.

As Tim Aufderheide, Application Engineer Plastics Machinery at KEB Automation states: “The aim is to implement a system with co-ordinated components. In the field of extruders, for example, we can offer a 360-degree solution. We supply not only the hardware in the form of HMIs, drive controllers and servo motors, but also the software including appropriate visualisation. 

“Today, users of smartphones and tablets are used to finding a clear and intuitive user interface. When creating software for our HMIs, user-friendliness and intuitive operation play an important role. This also includes the development of a modern HMI interface, which not only takes the function into account, but also the design.”

KEB’s extruder software consists of two project parts: one for the PLC and one for the HMI interface. 

Both are project frameworks that the customer can use to extend their software project with the desired features. 

As Aufderheide puts it: “The customer can expand the range of features using KEB’s COMBIVIS studio software, which is similar to dealing with open source software. By combining hardware with corresponding software, we are offering our customers advantages and set ourselves apart from other solutions in the industry.”

In order to save time and resources in their own software development, customers can use an existing software core to build additional functions on top of. 

Due to the extendable nature of the project framework, it is possible to provide the machine with its own ‘business card’. 

As Aufderheide explains: “We want o give small and medium sized companies the opportunity to bring their machines up to date with a multitude of features already implemented in advance and a modern HMI design, without having to create complete control software.

“In addition, when developing the software solution for extruders, we paid particular attention to compliance with Euromap standards, so that it’s ready for use in Industry 4.0 applications thanks to the use of open interfaces. 

“For example, the machine can simply be connected to the Internet via a router, so remote maintenance and secure, online access are not a problem.”

For extruders and injection moulding machines, KEB offers the following hardware and software, backed up by worldwide support and applications engineering:

  • Motors – servo motors provide high dynamics and maximum flexibility in the connection to the machine design. With high overload and low mass moment of inertia, servo motors are the ideal solution for plastics machinery. In combination with KEB’s COMBIVERT F6/S6/H6 drive controllers and pre-assembled encoder/motor cables, powerful drive systems can be created and precisely coordinated with each other.
  • Drives – as well as functionality and economy, flexibility has a central role in modern drive systems. KEB drive controllers support the implementation of new machine concepts with extended requirements for performance, communication and integrated safety. They can operate different motors in the power range 0.37kW to 900kW and offer a variety of application-specific functions for plastics machinery.
  • Software – KEB offers suitable software solutions for plastics machinery, which can for example, be integrated directly into the Drive Controller in order to process time-critical tasks effortlessly. Software solutions are also provided separately for the PLC, which can be supplemented by an HMI. Both the PLC software and the HMI can be individually expanded.
  • PLC – KEB’s scalable system consisting of control technology and functional safety can be optimally adapted to the requirements of plastics machines. The portfolio covers both the need for high processing power for fast implementation of the machine functions and a sufficient display size for the HMI. The systems can be automated with open software tools based on standards such as IEC 61131. So individual solutions can be created according to customer requirements in the area of control, visualisation and machine safety.

Hybrid machine solutions

In addition to the COMBIVERT H6 and F6 drive controllers for fully electric machine solutions, KEB also offers the function of a servo pump control for hybrid machine solutions. 

The adjustment of the pump speed in the partial load range and outside the machine cycle in combination with a volume flow or pressure control directly via the pump system offers up to 70% energy saving potential in hydraulic systems. When the pump is operated according to requirements, noise emissions are reduced by up to 20 dB(A).

Highly dynamic control is acheived with the DL4 motor series, which is matched to KEB’s drive controllers. This is characterised by a low mass moment of inertia in conjunction with an internal gear pump, for example.

Thanks to the control parameters of the servo pump integrated in the COMBIVERT F6, the cycle times of the actuators can be significantly reduced.

By working closely with hydraulics experts, KEB has also developed effective tools and auto-tuning functions, which help to reduce system commissioning, which in turn reduces operating costs and time.

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