Efficient turn-key solution for multi-component production

With ACH Solution, ENGEL presents a holistic production solution for high-quality 2C respirators with silicone sealing lip and replaceable filter on two injection moulding machines.

Joining forces, companies in the plastics industry are making important contributions to the fight against the Corona pandemic. One of these contributions comes from Fischlham in Upper Austria, the home of ACH Solution. The mould maker and system supplier specialising in silicone and multi-component processes has set up a production line for its own respiratory protection product. Its long-standing partner ENGEL supplied two e-victory injection moulding machines for this purpose, which grow flexibly with the company. Because ACH Solution is planning for the long term. The new FFP2 masks also offer more safety and comfort in industry and construction.

The hard components of the mask are made of polycarbonate. Apart from the sealing lip, the valve and the valve closure are also made of silicone. A total of four parts of the premium mask are produced by injection moulding: The two filter housing halves, the valve and the valve closure, which is used wherever an even higher protection level is prescribed or the regionally applicable pandemic law does not permit masks with an exhalation valve.

The most exciting part is the mask housing, the part that faces the face when worn. In a first step, the basic housing bodies are moulded from polycarbonate in a four-cavity mould on the e-victory machine with a clamping force of 120 tonnes. 

The pre-moulded parts are fed to the second production cell via a separator and aligned with the aid of a camera so that the jointed-arm robot can pick up the parts in the correct orientation and transfer them to the centring station with four depositing positions. The viper linear robot takes over from there. It places the set of four in the mould of the 160-tonne machine, where the mask housings are fitted with the silicone lip in a second injection moulding step. The viper demoulds the finished two-component parts and removes them from the production cell via a conveyor belt.

See a video of the plant here

Flexibility is the central requirement, not only in the design of the masks, but also in the layout of the new production cell. The two new injection moulding machines - an e-victory 120 and an e-victory 160 - are designed to process both liquid silicone (LSR) and thermoplastics and can thus be used flexibly - if necessary also with other products or for mould sampling. "In less than two hours, we can convert the machines from one material to the other," says Andreas Penninger, head of application technology at ACH Solution. To do this, the plasticising unit is exchanged and the control system is adapted.

Further demands on the injection moulding machines are high reproducibility and process stability. This also applies to both business areas, mould sampling and mask production. "We produce unmanned for many hours," says Penninger, "so we have to be able to rely on good parts leaving the machines shot after shot."

ENGEL and ACH Solution have been working together for many years. They are development partners in many projects. "We benefit from the short distances to each other and from quick decisions," says Christian Hefner, CEO of ACH Solution. "Just like ENGEL, we are very strongly driven by innovation and technology. That connects."