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Scottish Plastics and Rubber Association Scottish Plastics and Rubber Association

Awards for SPRA Corporate Members

Once again SPRA Corporate Members featured in the Plastics Industry Awards for 2012. Arburg Limited received the ‘Suppliers Partnership: Prime Machinery’ award for a project with the moulding company, John Guest, which resulted in reductions in cycle time, material usage, wastage and energy consumption, while Sumitomo (SHI) Demag was runner-up in the same category.

Arburg Partnership with John Guest

John Guest, a family owned moulding company based in West Drayton and market leader in the connector industry, has been an Arburg customer for over 30 years and currently uses a total of 144 Arburg machines. In one particular product, a complex moulding, with high tolerances and consequently higher than normal scrap rates, it also required a secondary turning operation to improve the component’s functionality, a secondary operation which was labour intensive, costly and created waste material. It was against John Guest policy to source the part in the Far East and take advantage of the lower labour costs and Arburg’s help was sought with the problem.

Redesigning the tool for automatic operation, eliminating the secondary operation and with zero quality defects, was made possible using Arburg’s new electric unscrewing unit. To give better repeatability and energy saving, the second step was to identify the optimum screw and barrel combination to give the best combination of residence time, shot weight and energy consumption. The third step was to select the most appropriate Arburg machine to give the best price/performance ratio. Extensive trials at Arburg Technology Centre in Germany on all electric, hybrid and hydraulic machines demonstrated that the optimum machine was the Allrounder Hidrive hybrid technology, coupled with an electric unscrewing unit. This gave good shot repeatability, high accuracy, reduced cycle time (15%) and an energy saving (49%).

Arburg training personnel continued the partnership after the machines were delivered with frequent visits to ensure John Guest staff were conversant with the technology and setters understood optimisation of process conditions. Although John Guest required only 4 machines for the project, they ordered a further 6 machines to replace older machines.

As well as the elimination of the secondary operation, the reduction in cycle time and energy saving, there was an 11% saving in material associated with the tool redesign, a reduction of 38% in the overall manufacturing time and a reduction in work in progress.

Sumitomo (SHI) Demag

Sumitomo (SHI) Demag received the runner-up award in the Supply Partnership: Prime Machinery category at the Plastics Industry Award for their work with Molex, a global supplier of interconnect products.

In the same week Sumitomo (SHI) Demag picked up the Polymer Equipment Manufacturer of the Year 2012 at the Packaging and Processing Machinery Association (PPMA) Awards.

In both cases the awards were for their partnership with Molex, in creating a multi-component 2-shot connector. The solution was a 350 tonne injection moulding machine, with two 8+8 cavity moulds to produce 3.5 million multi-component 2-shot connectors annually. Sumitomo Demag functioned as a systems integrator, overseeing the entire project which required a new production process, new moulds, technical expertise, machine design and machine build.

Report by Charlie Geddes, SPRA Hon Secretary, Nov 2012

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