Third injection moulding machine
Skellerup Rubber Services Product Development Centre has taken delivery of a third injection moulding machine to increase development and production capacity. The high-spec Engel machine from Austria has an 80-tonne clamp force and the unique feature of no tie bars, says Production Development Manager Shaun Spacey.
This makes it easy to load large complex tools and increases access for the robots. “We have also purchased an extra screw and barrel for processing rubber,” Shaun says. “With a 30-minute changeover we can be injection moulding precision rubber parts. This is the next stage for future development of over-moulded products.”
Robots in action
Last year the team announced it had developed a two material plastic bush to fit into Gulf Rubber Australia’s centering bush for vehicle drive shaft systems.
It’s now been six months since the Product Development Centre finished commissioning its centering bush production cell, which utilises a robot and can produce four plastic bushes every 22 seconds, Shaun says. The production cell was mainly designed, built and commissioned by Skellerup. “It’s a fantastic achievement. The project has increased our skill base and our ability to maintain and improve the system,” Shaun says.
The plastic bush consists of two plastic materials – the inner is a lubricated plastic and the outer is a glass-filled material adding strength to the part. An ABB six axis robot loads the mould tool with the inner moulding and removes the overmoulded part. The parts are then placed in a drill station that drills out the feed system and adds a chamfer to the parts. All four parts are drilled at the same time.
A vision inspection system is the next step. Photos are taken of each part and a computer calculates the size of the part, inspecting the outside and inside diameters. “The robot does the jobs of two people and allows us to produce consistent, tight tolerance parts that are required for the finished centering bush,” Shaun says. New technology and materials are continually being developed by the team as it concentrates on providing innovative solutions for Skellerup’s global customers, Shaun says.