The machines from injection molding machine manufacturer LWB Steinl certainly don't have to, because the company has found a way to connect even older machines to a communication network. Peter Radosai explains how this works and why it is advantageous for the company in this K-MAG interview.
What functions are available to your customers through the DataBox upgrade?
Peter Radosai: Via the DataBox, the operating or system data of older LWB control generations can be tapped and passed on to a higher-level production data acquisition system (PDA) or manufacturing execution system (MES). This means that older inventory machines are no longer excluded from central monitoring including data evaluation and/or data visualization of modern production monitoring systems.
In its basic version, the DataBox is a "one-way system", which means that control data can only be read and forwarded to a higher-level system.
How is the system integrated into the existing machines?
Radosai: The communication connection to the installed control generation is made possible via two ways: either an RS 232 interface or via a connection using an RJ45 TCP/IP interface (Ethernet cable).
What are the benefits for companies of making their old machines communication-enabled?
Radosai: All relevant process data can be viewed centrally from outside via the DataBox:
- all axis movements: the paths during plasticizing and injection, the unit lift-off, the paths of the sliding table, the ejector, the core puller and the safety gate as well as the separator top and bottom
- pressures (back pressure and injection pressure) and speeds (injection speed, screw speed)
- specific process data such as job number, date and time, cycle time, heating time, shot counts, piece counts per shift, temperatures
- all system information such as operating mode (manual or automatic), system pressure, hydraulic operating time, alarms
What are the technical requirements to use the package?
Radosai: The central component is the "DataBox", a data gateway that is added to the machine control cabinet. In addition, only a 24V power supply is required. It can also be easily retrofitted if required.
How do you intend to further develop the system in the future?
Radosai: We are currently preparing the "Two-way System", which will also allow data to be written, tailored to individual customer requirements.