IC-Thermoformer – A New Machine Generation which Thinks and Controls

The IC-Thermoformer – A New Machine Generation which Thinks and Controls
Heilbronn/Germany, August 2013. – At this year's K Trade Fair, Düsseldorf, October 16 to 23, ILLIG will present thermoforming of tomorrow on automatic roll-fed machines equipped with the innovative, so-called IC technology. Machines equipped with the “ILLIG Intelligent Control Concept” are marked with the addition “IC”. The IC concept raises thermoforming to a new, higher level. The dynamic process optimization, one element of this concept, allows for the first time to utilize the optimum of a thermoforming line provided by today's machine technology, i.e. servo motor drives employed in all sections of the machine, fast and with only low operating effort required.

Two automatic roll-fed thermoforming lines with machines and molds of the RDKP and RDM-K series, equipped with the new IC technology, will be presented at the K stand under production conditions. RDM-K machines are specifically designed for serial production of cups of various shapes and sizes out of thermoplastic material. Roll-fed thermoformers of the RDKP series produce trays and hinged packs, used e.g. for protection of food articles during transport and presentation on the supermarket shelf. On the stand APET cups will be produced on an IC-RDM 54K machine, forming area 520 x 300 mm². The machine is equipped with an 18-up tool, i.e. more than 50,000 cups are produced per hour. Hinged packs are produced on an IC-RDKP 72 machine (forming area max 756 x 535 mm²) out of PP on a 6-up tool.

Capacity of servo-driven thermoformers utilized to full extent with ILLIG IC

ILLIG consistently pursue the strategy of increase in efficiency in thermoforming by employing the IC technology. This new control concept is designed for the current machine generation featuring servo driven motions in all sections of the machine. High dynamics can be achieved in the forming process using this drive concept and the process-controlled machine sequencing which can be realized with it. This results in high productivity of the thermoforming line with high quality of the formed parts at the same time. ILLIG Intelligent Control Concept now provides the possibility to the user to utilize the capacity to the full extent with only low operating effort required. The IC concept includes compatible control modules for the dynamic optimization of all processes, from simplification of machine operation and accelerated commissioning of new tools through to process control in order to eliminate environmental influences and also to improve process stability and product quality.

One of the modules, ThermoLineControl, is employed to call up and program all machine components of the production line centrally on the forming station. Various, structured support functions are available for process optimization and reduction of tool installation times. A further component is the so-called dynamic process optimization. The machine operator does not have to possess specialist knowledge about the interdependence of optimization parameters. This interdependence is considered by the control for every station of the line. A change of setting data is followed by recalculation and immediate adaptation of the cycle speed.

For an increase in process reliability the effects of changing environmental influences – e.g. temperature drift within the material due to heating up of material stand with progressing production time - are offset by employing a compensation control. Moreover, the use of the sas-up® (self-adaptive start-up) module for commissioning of new tools, a start-up operation with reduced cycle speed and process-optimized setting data, results in a considerable reduction of material consumption during start-up. The Intelligent Control Concept (ILLIG IC) is completed by integration of a production line in the ILLIG NetService. Thus ILLIG service engineers can look into all components of the line, diagnose errors and correct setting-related malfunctions quickly.

ILLIG is a global leading supplier of high-performance production lines and molds for thermoforming plastic materials as well as of solutions for the packaging industry. The company's product and services portfolio comprises the development, design, fabrication, installation and start-up of complex manufacturing lines and individual components. With branch establishments and agencies in over 80 countries, ILLIG is locally present in all markets around the globe. For more than 65 years, this owner-managed enterprise has been serving its worldwide clientele as a reliable partner in cost-efficient thermoplastic molding of sophisticated precision parts backed by innovative technology of unsurpassed quality and a comprehensive worldwide after-sales support.

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