Wireless Switchgear for Two-Component Injection Moulding

Feb. 17, 2022
Simplified process monitoring for injection moulding machines with rotary plates.

Wireless, not cabled: according to this principle, wireless switches and sensors from steute guarantee safe, reliable and cable-free signal transmission in a wide range of applications. One interesting area for this solution is plastic injection moulding, especially multi-component processes which often involve machines with rotary plates. These plates enable the main part of the construction element to be moulded first and then—after rotating the plate by 90 or 180—injection of the second part. This prevents distortion and accelerates the production process.

One challenge here is monitoring the slide positions and thus ultimately the correct closing of the injection moulding tool. If the slides are not in the correct position and the tool closes, this can lead to repairs which cost not only money, but—almost more importantly—time.

In order to prevent this from happening, while at the same time eliminating the effort of installing cables, which are then also susceptible to wear and tear, users can opt for a wireless position switch or wireless inductive sensor from steute. The wireless switch or sensor registers the end position of the slide and transmits a corresponding signal to a wireless receiver unit inside the control cabinet. The next injection moulding process is not started until the receiver unit transmits the signal "slide closed" to the machine control system.

Because this solution is the most elegant way (simple to install and free of wear and tear) to achieve signal transmission from a rotating machine element, it is already being used by leading plastics processors. Most of them have opted for a position switch from the steute range (ES 13, for example) which is then "wireless compatible" in combination with a wireless universal transmitter (RF 96 ST or RF I/O). Alternatively, wireless inductive sensors from the RF IS range are also available.

The cost of installing a wireless switch or sensor (including receiver and integration in the machine control system) is very manageable, whereas the benefits are enormous, due to the fact that this option is a very simple and reliable way to avoid tool damage. Incidentally, similar solutions are also in use for metal processing—for example to monitor the positioning of workpieces in press brakes.

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