Illig claims its new range is now more productive.
The third generation RDM-K automatic roll-fed thermoforming machines from Illig, a specialist in the field, are designed for the high-volume production of cups in diverse shapes and sizes from thermoplastic material stock. RDK series machines also rely on roll-fed material but produce bowls, trays and hinged packs used, for example, to preserve food in transport and on supermarket display shelves. At Chinaplas, an RDM 70K with a 680 x 300 mm² forming surface will be shown making APET cups at a rate of almost 45,000 per hour using an 18-cavity mould. APET will also be the material processed by an RDK 80 IC (forming surface 756 x 565 mm²) in making trays in a 10-cavity mould at 50 cycles per minute. The “IC” suffix denotes machines featuring the new “Illig Intelligent Control Concept”. This control system has been designed to help the operator to make full use of the servomotor-driven thermoforming units.
With the development of its RDM-K machines, Illig says it has driven up productivity while reducing costs and further boosting the quality of the thermoformed parts. The use of servomotors for all machine motions raises the speed of each function, subject to a velocity profile adapted to the given process stage. At the same time, the third generation RDM-K automatic thermoformers need less forming air – compared with their predecessor, air demand is reduced by up to 50%. This results in a more dynamic forming air build-up. The user should benefit from faster moulding and a closer reproduction of cavity contours. Productivity could potentially be boosted by 30% and over, with a simultaneous increase in quality and substantial energy savings, claims the group. The precision and repeatability of the RDM-K automatic pressure forming machines is said to be noticeable from start-up.
The RDK machine’s productivity (up to 55 cycles/minute) delivered through consistently servomotor-driven and process-controlled operating sequences, is supported by the new IC (Illig Intelligent Control Concept) control technology. This operating system comprises mutually compatible control modules, thus making the machine simpler to operate, accelerating start-up of new moulds, eliminating ambient influences through appropriate process control, and boosting process stability and process quality.
One such module is ThermoLineControl, a feature that enables machine components on the production line to be centrally accessed and programmed at the forming station. The module also provides structured help functions for optimising processes and reducing set-up times.
One newly added capability is referred to by Illig as “dynamic process optimisation”. The operator, claims the group, no longer requires an “expert understanding” of interdependences between operating parameters – these are computed automaticallly for each station on the line. When settings are changed, the cycle rate is re-calculated and adapted immediately.
For enhanced process stability, a compensation control system now adjusts for the effects of changing ambient conditions during the production run. Until now, the inevitable heat-up of the machine frame in the course of thermoforming operations would lead to temperature irregularities (temperature drift) in the material web.
Another new module, called sas-up (self-adaptive start-up), provides a start-up mode with a lower cycle rate and process-optimised settings, thus reducing material consumption in the start-up phase when a new mould is put into service. The intelligent control (IC) concept is rounded out by its ability to integrate the production line into Illig's NetService – with the benefit of providing an Internet-based review of all line components, fault diagnosis, and fast troubleshooting where problems are due to machine settings.