Vision System Prevents Injection Molding Tool Damage and Improves Part Quality

At TNT Plastic Molding, located in Anaheim, California, USA, when an injection molding operation is completed, pins on the movable side of the mold push the part out of the mold. Occasionally, however, a part sticks in the mold. In the past, the operator was responsible for checking the mold after each cycle to ensure the part was removed. Sometimes, the operator did not notice that the part had not been ejected—and the typical result was $14,000 in damage to the mold. TNT Plastic Molding has overcome this problem by using a mold monitoring system developed by A.S.K. Technologies, Yorba Linda, California, USA, that inspects the mold before it closes to be sure that the part has been ejected. The mold monitoring system utilizes the Cognex In-Sight® vision system, which was trained in minutes simply by taking images of the mold in the proper condition without a part. The vision system now checks the mold for the presence of the part on every cycle, eliminating the risk of damage to the mold. The mold monitoring system has also improved quality by enabling the press to run in automatic mode, which increases cycle time consistency. “We were interested in taking human error out of the equation in order to improve quality and reduce costs,” said Murray Anderson, Director of Sales and Marketing for TNT Molding. “We had noticed that the performance of vision systems designed for injection molding had improved at the same time their cost was being reduced. We selected A.S.K. Technologies’ mold monitoring system because their system is very easy to program for a wide range of mold monitoring applications including insert molding, short shots, part presence or absence, runner presence or absence and before and after shot inspections. The flexibility of the system also enables many other possible applications. We were also very impressed with the cost of the mold monitoring system which, at about $10,000, is less than the cost of a single accident caused by failure of the part to eject.”

 

An application success story from Cognex

Tri-Phase Automation is a Cognex distributor in Wisconsin. We offer machine vision evaluations and technical support to help our customers solve their applications.

Insert in a Bottle

 

Problem:
A consumer product manufacturer was experiencing problems with inconsistent placement of bottle inserts.Standard photoelectric sensors checking for inserts would often pass units that were not fully seated, resulting in frequent line shutdowns to adjust sensors. Sensor re-positioning also hindered job changeovers.

Solution:
A vision sensor was installed. The part finding sensor identifies a reference feature on each bottle. This feature is used to locate where the insert should be visible. The Vision sensor then uses a pattern sensor to inspect for the insert placement. Use of the part finding sensor to locate the inspection point provides consistent, reliable readings even when the bottle position varies.

Results:
Quality, yields and scrap costs were improved by reliably identifying missing inserts. Its part finding capability and ability to save settings for different jobs minimized setup and changeover times. Downtime was reduced by eliminating frequent sensor adjustment.

An application from Cognex

Tri-Phase Automation is a Cognex distributor in Wisconsin. We offer machine vision evaluations and technical support to help our customers solve their applications.

InduSoft Used on Networked Operator Interfaces for Extrusion Control

More Bang for the Buck

McGoff-Bethune, Inc. chose InduSoft HMI software for a new series of extrusion control systems because it enabled the company to build powerful, inexpensive operator stations which can be integrated across a plant-wide network.

InduSoft delivered decisive technological and commercial advantages. Because InduSoft operator interfaces can run on the Windows CE operating system, the McGoff-Bethune workstations are diskless and do not rely on rotating memory. It is a powerful collection of e-automation development tools for Web based integration. Each workstation is able to acquire data directly from the extruder, download recipes from the plant server, and generate production and quality reports for plant management to review over the network.

These operator interfaces help contain costs, improve reliability and have rapid recovery after a restart. When evaluating software for this project, McGoff-Bethune decided that the InduSoft Web Studio delivered a lot of bang for the buck.

This is a success story from InduSoft.
Tri-Phase Automation is an InduSoft distributor in Wisconsin
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SICK solution for flexible plastic parts inspection for Automotive Suppliers

In an automatic testing unit, a 3D smart camera combined with an encoder enables flexible quality checking of a wide range of different plastic parts.

Challenge

Industry:
Automotive Suppliers

The Czech company Provys specializes in the construction of specialist machines for the automobile and electro-technical industries. The customer AKT requested the development of an inspection system which could check a variety of plastic parts, such as lock covers for cars, for a wide range of different characteristics. Due to the complex nature and variety of inspection tasks – eight part types, each with more than 20 inspection characteristics – the solution needed to be flexible and adaptable. The contrast conditions – black parts against a black background – provided a further challenge for the inspection process. The final aim was to create a solution which could write the measurement values and records of the parts inspections in LOG files so that the production and inspection data for individual parts could be accessed at any time.

Application Solution
For this task, Provys developed an inspection system in which a SICK 3D smart camera (IVC-3D) is moved over the test objects by a linear motor. The smart camera scans the test objects with its integrated laser-optic system and generates a profile section. Connected to the camera is an encoder (DRS60) which adds the exact position for each profile section, so that the camera can generate a complete, high-precision 3D image of the test object. The 3D camera uses the recorded data to determine – unaffected by surface colors and contrast – which of the part-specific inspection characteristics programmed into the system are present and which are absent. Both the smart camera and the encoder can be parameterized, meaning that Provys can adapt this entire highly-flexible system to new inspection characteristics at any time.

Benefits
The 3D smart camera solution inspects parts with high precision and availability. It is ideal for Provys, as it requires only one camera and no extra lighting, due to the built-in laser sensor. The user-friendly camera is also efficient and flexible, and can be independently adapted to new parts or characteristics. Provys procured the 3D smart camera and programmable encoder from a single source, so they are perfectly tuned to each other. The inspection measurements and records are documented, so production and inspection data can be retrieved for the end customer at any time.

This is an application from SICK.
Tri-Phase Automation is a SICK distributor in Wisconsin.
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Validator Ensures Quality Control for Plastic Injection Machines

This application has provided a dramatic improvement in the production of quality product for major Japanese automotive buyers

The TGKY plant in Kentucky is a producer of molded plastic parts for prominent Japanese automotive companies. Producing a high quality product is critical to maintaining business contracts, and the ability to better monitor the process promised to be vital in improving the overall efficiency of the plant and the quality of the parts produced there.

They contacted Kemper Controls, a local InduSoft Web Studio distributor, to develop the HMI application for their Validator solution. Because InduSoft Web Studio offers one of the best HMI solutions for Windows CE and embedded Windows PLC solutions The dependability of InduSoft Web Studio was also a factor, as was the ease of using its graphical interface.

The results of this monitoring capability have been impressive for TGKY. The Validator system based on InduSoft Web Studio saves the operators of the injection molding machines many hours that otherwise would have been spent replicating good parts, as well as the material waste of making defective parts.

Tri-Phase Automation is an InduSoft distributor in Wisconsin
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Graham Engineering Reinvents Blow Molding Machine Interface

Graham Engineering creates an intuitive HMI for plastic extrusion blow molding equipment using InduSoft Web Studio

Graham Engineering Corporation manufactures blow molding equipment that produces plastic containers of every conceivable shape and size. The versatile nature of plastics lends itself well to flexible machines, but without a well-designed HMI to operate that machine, the functionality is severely limited.

Graham Engineering formed a partnership with InduSoft, and used InduSoft Web Studio to create the HMI portion of their proprietary PC-based XBM Navigator control system. This intuitive HMI offers complete control over the blow molding process to the machine operators.

The result of this wholly reinvented HMI is a more robust platform that offers GEC complete control over the look and feel of their interface, paired with excellent technical support and seamless communication with the hardware platform.

Tri-Phase Automation is an InduSoft distributor in Wisconsin
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Confirmation of presence or absence of pellets

Customer:
Resin products manufacturers
Machinery:  Resin molding Machine

Application:
Confirmation of presence or absence of pellets
Pellets, which are material of resin products, are carried by air to a resin molding machine in this application. The pellets inside a transparent pipe is confirmed.

Problem:
Some malfunctions are caused by dregs of pallets, which are left by static electricity, inside a transparent pipe.

 Benefit
FT-A8 can stably confirm the remaining amount of pallets without being fully obstructed by dregs of pallets, because FT-A8 is the wide beam type whose detection width is 11 mm.

Tri-Phase Automation is a distributor of Panasonic products in Wisconsin.
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Rubber molding removal confirmation

Laser sensors used to detect if rubber cap is stuck in mold

If a molded rubber cap is left in a die, it brings die breakage so rubber molding removal is required to be securely confirmed. Machine is stopped if even one rubber cap is not present on a holder after a rubber cap is transported from die to holder. Even a holder (background) and a rubber cap are close together, FGS function brings stable detection.

Tri-Phase Automation is a distributor of Panasonic products in Wisconsin.
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Vision290 Gives Pultrusion Machine a Modern Makeover for Less.

A single Snap-in I/O module from Unitronics did just the trick!

Challenge
AMPS Industrial Controls Corp., a distributor of automation components and systems integrator, was recently hired by an end user to update and automate the controls of a second-hand Pultrusion machine purchased on ebay. The machine’s purpose, to manufacture fiberglass poles, requires a continuous process of pulling raw materials through a bath of resin, and then into a heated die where the resin will undergo polymerization.

Application Solution
With capabilities such as serial communication, analogue, discrete and high speed inputs and outputs, the Unitronics Vision290™ seemed to be a perfect fit. Analog outputs were used to control the speed of the winder while analog inputs were used to monitor pressure. High speed inputs were needed to monitor speed and several thermocouple inputs were required for temperature control.

Benefit
As a bonus, the Vision290’s™ built-in touchscreen HMI served as an advanced maintenance terminal for monitoring performance. Having the panel as an integrated part of the PLC allows it to easily draw the relevant data from the system.The Vision290™ PLC was also very attractive from a cost standpoint. All other PLC brand options were far more costly because of the unique I/O requirements. Matthew French, an electrical engineer at AMPS Industrial Controls Corp., says “The cost of other big brand PLCs would have been staggering whereas a single Snap-in I/O module from Unitronics did just the trick.”

This is a customer success story from Unitronics.
Tri-Phase Automation is a distributor of Unitronics products in Wisconsin.
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Injection Molding

For generations, hydraulic cylinders were the core pull devices selected by mold makers. But today, when it comes to creating the core pull actuation, the ideal electro-mechanical solution is provided by Exlar.

Challenge
Most plastic parts have a void. That void houses the electronics of a lap top computer or cell phone; on a plastic plate that void creates separate places for baked beans and potato salad. But, cycle time is where the money gets made. After the molded product is competed, the mold still has to be cycled, the core removed, the product ejected; and how fast those actions can be moved in and out impacts production.

Application Solution
Traditional hydraulic cylinders are fast, but Exlar’s GSX actuator can enhance cycle rates by letting related operations get started sooner. Exlar’s actuators and associated servo amplifiers can monitor their own position as well as the status of the rest of the machine, and allow processes to begin as early as possible, and work in conjunction with other processes to maximize throughput. Traditional limit switch controlled hydraulics don’t offer this flexibility.

This an Exlar Application Solution.
Tri-Phase Automation is a distributor of Exlar in Wisconsin.
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