At the 100th birthday party for the Hehl family organised last week at Arburg Ltd, over 100 invited guests gathered together from across the UK and Ireland from all segments of the moulding industry, as well as five colleagues from the Arburg headquarters in Lossburg, Germany.
This year, celebrations and open houses are being held at Arburg locations across the world - events that commemorate the founding of the original company by Arthur Hehl and his wife Maria in 1923, which produced medical equipment, and later flashlights for photography. The company needed a moulding solution for its products, so in 1954 developed a simple injection moulding press, that proved popular with other companies. By 1956, serial production of injection moulding machines in Lossburg had begun. Hehl’s sons Karl and Eugene further expanded on the success of the original machine to build the company into a major European producer of plastics processing machinery. Even today, the company prides itself on building all its machines at its Lossburg site in Germany, where it also produces almost all the components it needs as well.
Over the years, an aspect that has become increasingly important is that of energy efficiency, as customers grow ever more aware of the need to strive for more sustainable plastic processing operations. This is an aspect that has long been a focus of attention for Arburg in the development of its machine technology.
At the celebration party in Warwick, therefore, a highpoint was the first UK showing of the new Arburg 470 H 1000 400 hybrid anniversary energy efficient machine – the 100-tonne “Premium” model – fitted with a new 8kg Multilift robot system and automation turnkey cell. The machine is equipped with the Gestica control system.
The guests also heard several expert presentations on energy saving, hot runner technology, the circular economy and robotic automation. These included a talk on energy efficiency across the process chain, delivered by Lukas Krueger, Arburg’s Applications Energy Consulting expert, who emphasised the need to analyse and implement energy-saving across the entire plastics process chain. Companies that can optimise each stage, from project design to machine technology to close contour cooling, cylinder insulation and more stand to save thousands of pounds in energy costs, he said.
Dr Robin Kent of Tangram Technology conducted a Q&A about the future of the planet and sustainability. Guests also received signed copies his book ‘Sustainability Management in Plastics Processing’, published by the British Plastics Federation.
The presentation given by Reiner Heendeniya, sales director of Günther UK Ltd, demonstrated the potential of “BlueFlow®” hot runner technology to save up to 50% energy consumption, while Giorgio Santella, managing director of CMG Granulators, on behalf of Piovan UK, presented on the circular economy. Giorgio showed how three scenarios of workload in a plastic granulator process – constant, cyclical and variable workloads, and how with CMG’s technology each type could reduce different amounts of energy consumption, with some variable workload scenarios saving 40% energy over the incumbent standard working practice.
Chris Burton of GEKU Automation discussed identifying automation projects for moulding companies. He presented case studies of customers that had used robots and recorded high productivity, showed how to identify where automation can help a company save money and explained the difference between robot types including cobots and Delta/scara robots.
Justin Davies, managing director of Tex Plastics, said. “What stood for me at the event was the recognition and importance of energy efficiency, and the need to analyse the processes and grasp hold of this. Tex Plastics has a lot of energy measuring equipment and we are now planning our production around machines’ energy consumption, so what I have seen today is very encouraging.”
Arburg Ltd. managing director Colin Tirel gave a short speech to mark the centenary and key milestones, Arburg’s longevity in the UK and Ireland - now approaching 30 years - and gave credit to the support Arburg Ltd. receives from its many long-standing customers and Arburg GmbH.
“It is a great pleasure to be able to mark this incredible milestone at Arburg Ltd,“ Colin said. “It is clear that moulders are interested in staying up with the latest technology and thinking, be it the latest technology, energy consumption – especially now – sustainability or digitalisation and look to Arburg for that lead. We are extremely well placed to offer all of these to our customers, well-established and new. And I am really pleased that we had a fantastic response with over 100 people attending on the day.“