Sumitomo (SHI) Demag stages ultra-short forming ‘Med-Cup’ process with high-speed extraction at K 2022

At K 2022 (Hall 15, D22), Sumitomo (SHI) Demag will once again demonstrate its medical sector expertise. This time deploying a hybrid high-speed El-Exis SP 420. Collaborating with Zubler Handling AG and Otto-Hofstetter AG,the shared ‘Med Cup’ project manufactures with the highest precision 30ml medication dispensing cups from PP. Anatol Sattel, Director Business Development Medical, describes the exhibit as the perfect synergy of proven machine technology and application of the most advanced equipment and production techniques.

The ambitious project concept was to combine the highest energy efficiency while optimising material use and maintaining the highest quality. By using less material, the mould cools faster. Allowing the injected material to solidify faster and the production cycle to be repeated faster and more frequently. The outcome is an ultra-short moulding process combined with high-speed extraction. Resulting in the release and analysis of 48 high quality medication dispensing cups in under three seconds.


One machine, 432 million parts p/a


Demonstrating the enormous production rate, Sattel exclaims that the combination of an integrated intelligent stacking system from Zubler Handling with the four-axis pick-and-place robot supplied by Pagés, the production rate can reach 57,600 cups per hour “The 48-fold application requires an installation space of approximately 25.5 square metres and produces about 432 million components per year. In comparison, a 16-fold application supplying 151 million parts takes up 15.5 square metres of floor space. The production output is three times as much as that of the smaller unit, yet the machine footprint is less than twice the size.

Otto-Hofstetter supplies the 48-cavity tool. The perfectly balanced hot runner is equipped with individually heated and controllable nozzle tips. This enables the injection of the cup, with a shot weight of around 70 grams, to occur centrally via open nozzles (point gate). A highly efficient, thermally balanced cooling system comprising 29 water cooling circuits, guarantees thermal stability in the mould. Its stable design allows safe and constant use in production. Among other features, the tool is designed to remove moulded parts from the front, making it very easy to service.


Rapid quality control


Product quality is maintained using a 100% inline control system installed by Zubler Handling. Comprising intelligent high-definition vision cameras placed along the high-speed extraction axis. At an extraction speed of 7.5 millimeters per second, the cameras take an image every twelve milliseconds, processing 96 images in total. Anomaly detection and dimension measurements are performed on each image with an accuracy of 0.05 millimeters. "The quality of every cup, perfect and sub-standard, are identified and segregated at the end of the process," explains Sattel.

After removal, the cups are stacked on a round table equipped with 2 x 48 compartments. Once the rotary table is fully stacked, it moves to its next position where the cavity stacks are sorted by the pick & place robot. The robot can handle eight stacks simultaneously, sorting them individually into good or bad shells.


Measurably more sustainable and energy efficient


The El-Exis SP 420 is especially suitable for high-speed applications. Capable of delivering a cycle time of less than two seconds, the  speed of the opening and closing sides means the El-Exis SP remains the fastest injection moulding machine series on the market today.

The hydraulic accumulator is the main reason behind this machine’s short cycle times and injection speeds of 1,000 mm/s. As a result, processors can manufacture even thinner and lighter items, resulting in a significant reduction in raw material use, waste and shipping costs. Being able to adjust the accumulator charging to the injection pressure required for the exact moulding process not only lowers energy usage, but also reduces wear and tear on parts.

Not only is the El-Exis SP’s processing cycle time less than competing technologies, its hybrid design also offers a measurable energy efficiency and sustainability advantage. It’s a powerful and ecological combination, reports Sattel.

Given the company’s Act! Sustainably slogan, the Group and all future product developments are focused entirely on reducing environmental impact. The El-Exis SP range fits into this ecological commitment, whereby Sumitomo (SHI) Demag states that all future innovations, machines and equipment are now totally manufactured with this corporate social responsibility (CSR) mission in mind.