Injection press manufacturers will show off many of the signature themes of the plastics industry today: a circular economy, Industry 4.0, artificial intelligence and new technology to improve service and enable preventive maintenance, including augmented reality and the use of sensors to predict problems.

And until someone invents a technology — be it virtual reality or some other highly advanced technology pending development — that lets you visit a trade show from the comfort of your couch, you have to travel to Düsseldorf, Germany, in the fall for the technology world's largest plastics trade show.

Arburg GmbH & Co. KG (Hall 13, Booth A13) officials have created company-specific terms to show its commitment to the topics of digitalization and the circular economy: "arburgXworld" and the launch of "arburgGREENworld." The main goal is to conserve resources and make a significant contribution to production efficiency.

In a practical circular-economy demonstration, Arburg will present two examples of arburgGREENworld. First, the company will mold polypropylene cups from about 30 percent recycled PP on a new size of hybrid Allrounder, with 600 metric tons of clamping. Cycle times on the eight-cavity mold will be around four seconds.

In the second demonstration, Arburg will show its Profoam foaming process to mold a machine door handle in a two-component press with foamed post-consumer material from household waste, partially overmolded with a soft thermoplastic elastomer.

"In Düsseldorf, we will be able to present our arburgGREENworld more extensively to experts for the first time and demonstrate the practical solutions by means of various examples, which have also been discussed at the international Arburg Packaging Summit in June 2019," Juliane Hehl, Arburg's managing partner responsible for marketing and technology, said in a news release.

The arburgXworld is Arburg's digitalization strategy as well as the name of Arburg's customer portal, which has been available for German customers since March.

Hehl said that, for example, new to the digital product and service portfolio are the filling assistant and the plasticizing assistant for material processing and predictive maintenance at the screw.

Much of the arburgXworld customer portal is free. At K 2019, Arburg will introduce some fee-based functions such as "Self Service," a dashboard showing the machine status, the control system simulator, process data and the machine design. For global customers, the portal will be available in 18 languages as of K.

Wittmann Battenfeld GmbH (Hall 15, Booth C6) has the main K show theme showcasing intelligent machines that adjust themselves using adaptive algorithms. The company will demonstrate that with an all-electric EcoPower 55/350 press equipped with the software packages HiQ-Flow, HiQ-Melt and HiQ-Metering.

The press will mold polycarbonate clothespins on a four-cavity mold. The HiQ-Flow will automatically compensate for fluctuations in material viscosity.

Wittmann Battenfeld is also hitting the circular economy trend by presenting one of its current projects: molding cosmetic jars with lids molded from a material completely based on natural ingredients on an EcoPower 240/1100/130L Combimould, running a four-by-four cavity mold. A Wittmann W842 pro robot will take a round paper label from a magazine and insert it on the clamping side for the bottom of the jar. Then, the robot removes the parts from the nozzle side and passes the jars to another robot — a W818 — which inserts them into a screwing station. The W842 pro then moves the lids for the lars to the station, where they are screwed onto the jars.

Milacron Holdings Corp. (Hall 1, Booth C5) will address its Industry 4.0 offering: the M-Powered suite of connected services.

Presses equipped with M-Powered can enable remote services such as downtime analytics, with predictive analytics and data collection with maintenance and parts recommendations, as well as full integration of Milacron's suite of APIs to connect machinery assets to any existing infrastructure.

M-Powered connects parts, service, rebuilds and retrofits with Milacron's preventive maintenance services through the ServTek aftermarket brand — also part of M-Powered: the Imflux module.

In machinery news at K, Milacron will highlight its Q-Series of servo-hydraulic toggle machines, a global press; the Elektron all-electric; the new Maxima Performance series; and the large-tonnage Cincinnati.

Wilmington Machinery Inc. (Hall 13, Booth B91-19) is touting plastic pallets as a big, sustainable market for recycled plastics.

Pallets are a mainstay market for Wilmington's Lumina structural foam molding machines, a turnkey system that takes pallet manufacturing from pellets to production. The Lumina Plastic Pallet System can turn 150,000-800,000 pallets a year from a single machine, company officials said.

In technology news, Wilmington has reengineered its 800-ton servo-hydraulic press, the Lumina MP800, as a single-stage machine that incorporates a reciprocating screw and an in-line accumulator arrangement. Direct gas-injection into the extruder barrel provides for large-part, thin-wall structural foam molding. The machine also can run nonfoamed material to mold medium-sized parts.

Wilmington also makes blow molding machines and is rolling out the new redesign of its Series III B rotary blow molder.

Engel Austria GmbH (Hall 15, Booth C58) is targeting all of the big-picture machinery trends at K this year, including smarter and more efficient injection molding via its iQ product portfolio. Individual options are iQ Weight Control, iQ Clamp Control, iQ Flow Control, iQ Vibration Control and Flomo, an intelligent water manifold system.

Engel's iQ Melt Control is debuting at K this year. The intelligent assistance system determines the optimum plasticizing time for each application and offers recommendations for optimizing temperature and back pressure.

Engel will also be demonstrating iQ Weight Control's potential in injection molding with recycled materials. At its booth, the company will show how the system can be used to process fully recycled ABS on a Victory 120 press.

"By offering this solution, we're opening the door to a significantly wider range of applications for recycled material, making an important contribution to the circular economy," Paul Kapeller, Engel's product manager for digital solutions, said in the release.

At K, Engel will also launch the new iQ Process Observer software, which covers the four process phases — plasticizing, injection, cooling and demolding — and analyzes each stage, notifying the machine operator of various process settings and conditions in order to resolve any problems. The results are immediately available and displayed on the machine's CC300 control unit as well as on Engel's E-Connect customer portal.

"By using the iQ Process Observer, process technicians can maximize the potential for efficiency and quality offered by the injection molding machine and production cell," Kapeller said. "The iQ Process Observer is currently the only assistance system on the market based on live data, which actively indicates changes in the process and counterproductive settings, helping to improve stability throughout the process."

In automation, the company will show three new developments: a larger-range viper linear robot; a new pic A pneumatic sprue picker that Engel says is its longest-lasting and most compact sprue picker on the market; and a compact production cell. From K onward, Engel's X-stroke extension, which keeps the handling area compact, will be an option for viper linear robots in sizes 12-60.

For the first time, Dr. Boy GmbH & Co. KG (Hall 13, Booth A43) is now offering hybrid versions of its medium-sized injection molding machines, ranging from the Boy 60E to 125E.

Visitors to its booth at K will see the optional, servo-electric drive on a Boy 100E injection molding machine. The machine will be making pharmaceutical measuring cups on an eight-cavity mold.

Sacmi Imola S.C. (Hall 13, Booth A63) says sustainability is the "common thread" running through all its new products. At K, the machinery maker will be showing its injection molding preform system, which can make 100 percent recycled polyethylene preforms and use recycled PET flakes in quantities up to 50 percent using standard machines and hot runners — ultimately giving PET "a second life," the company said.

In artificial intelligence, Sacmi will present its first complete, patented system for identifying abnormal stress on preform surfaces using polarized light and advanced AI algorithms. At K, the company will show how the PVS10L equipped with the new Computer Vision control system can "self-learn" and respond to complex inspection checks, thus minimizing waste and optimizing process costs.

Under its K show theme of "Injection for Innovation," Nissei Plastic Industrial Co. Ltd. (Hall 13, Booth C93) has put together its overview of industrial trends ranging from eco-friendly technologies to plant monitoring via the internet of things.

The company — as part of its ongoing effort to nurture sustainable zero-waste societies and reduce carbon footprints to combat climate change — will display its polylactic acid injection molding machine system. At K, it will be molding sparkling wine glasses.

Nissei said it has developed a thin-wall container molding technology using 100 percent PLA that can replace petroleum-based disposable containers. The technology mixes carbon dioxide into molten PLA to improve the fluidity of injected material.

In smart-factory news, under the theme "Visualize to Support, Connect to Utilize," Nissei will discuss how an injection molding machine can serve as a hub, forming a network of various auxiliary equipment that can collect data. The company said it is also accelerating its effort to develop an Industry 4.0-enabled controller under the code name "Nissei 4.0."

Following its July announcement of a companywide rebranding, KraussMaffei Group GmbH (Hall 15, Booths B27, C24, C27 and D24) is tackling top trends at K this year — many of which lean on the group's digital service solutions division.

Under the circular economy topic, KraussMaffei is stringing together its extrusion and injection molding machinery divisions with its DSS unit. At K, the complete process will show how a bucket can be recycled into high-quality panel on a vehicle's A-pillar with an overmolded fabric surface. The company's injection molding machinery enables the production of high-tech components before extrusion steps in again to recycle the products. An 1,100-tonne GX press produces the polypropylene buckets, and an all-electric PX 320 produces the panel.

Throughout the circuit, KraussMaffei's APC (Adaptive Process Control) Plus is used to monitor the injection molding process and adapt to any fluctuations between batches. The company's DataXplorer gathers the data and makes a detailed view of the process, as it is capable of storing up to 500 signals every 5 milliseconds as graphs, the company said. All of the data is then routed to a new data system, which will be introduced at the show.

In Industry 4.0 news, KraussMaffei's DSS unit is offering its digital services — APC and DataXplorer, for example — to all machine generations and models in injection molding, with plans to extend that to reaction process machinery and extrusion technology. The company said even decades-old injection molding machines can undergo a digital retrofit with its capabilities.

Sumitomo (SHI) Demag Plastics Machinery GmbH (Hall 15, Booth D22) will unveil a lineup of fast, sustainable, energy-efficient and data-driven machines this year, including two energy-enhanced EL-Exis SP machines in a small and large version. Brand-new launches will include the IntElect 500-tonne and IntElect S 180-tonne presses and eMultiPlug, an independent unit that can be retrofitted to an existing machine to enable multicomponent injection molding.

In Industry 4.0, Sumitomo will present a connected production cell, highlighting remote diagnostics, online support, document tracking and spare part ordering. Visitors to the booth can see how Sumitomo's myConnect software can be used to achieve data-driven efficiency improvements.

"Sustainability, productivity, energy resources, plastic waste, Industry 4.0, big data automation — these have all been headline topics over the past 10 years," Sumitomo's CEO Gerd Liebig said in a statement. "As we race toward the end of the decade, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag is celebrating some significant milestones and showcasing how we are assisting molders to tackle these topical circular economy and efficiency challenges."

At its booth, Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. (Hall 13, Booth A61) says it will show its range of products that support the circular economy and customers' sustainability goals.

The company will be running its new HyPET HPP5e injection molding system for the first time. At K, the system will be producing preforms made from 100 percent recycled PET.

Visitors to the booth will also get a glimpse at Husky's Next Generation Operating Model, a digitalized end-to-end manufacturing system that offers speed and flexibility; as well as demonstrations of its new online spare parts ordering portal.

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