SAVAGE, Minnesota, March 24, 2015 – Beckhoff Automation has announced the new XMold and eMold controllers, integrated solutions to enhance automation in injection molding machines. The North American debut of the XMold and eMold systems will take place at the National Plastics Expo (NPE) trade show, March 23 – 27, 2015 in Orlando, Fla. Leveraging high-end PC- and EtherCAT-based control technology, the XMold system is intended for the most complex injection molding machinery in the industry, while eMold is designed to suit cost-sensitive applications as a highly efficient, yet powerful solution. XMold and eMold exist as a culmination of the injection-molding expertise gained through Beckhoff’s many years of success in this industry.
XMold – the high performance injection molding control solution
Based on the Beckhoff’s eXtreme Fast Control technology (XFC), the XMold system exceeds even the highest requirements for precision, speed, and energy efficiency. XMold offers an integrated control solution for demanding applications such as hydraulic, servo-electric, or hybrid injection molding machines and is primarily designed for complex machines with multi-component injection units or extensive core-pulling programs. High-speed applications and complete production cells can also be implemented with XMold.
The XMold system solution consists of a CP6212-1001 Panel PC with a 2nd generation Intel® Celeron® processor, a 12“ 4:3 display set in portrait orientation, TwinCAT PC-based control software, EtherCAT I/O terminals, and optional Beckhoff drive components for servo-electric machines. eXtreme Fast Control technology (XFC), which is based on the high-speed EtherCAT communication system, enables the sampling of rapidly-changing input signals with a temporal resolution down to 50 µs, facilitating high-precision control of the injection process.
eMold – high performance control for cost-sensitive applications
Supplementing the high performance XMold offering, eMold is an integrated solution for cost-sensitive injection molding applications. A 9-inch CP6616-1004 Panel PC with Intel® Atom™ processor is used as a compact and integrated control and operating solution. It features a special I/O board for injection molding machines that is linked via EtherCAT and corresponding technology software.
As with XMold, the key arrangement of the eMold Panel is optimized for injection molding processes and is designed to suit most applications. Clearly, an important factor for the acceptance of a machine by operators is ergonomic, intuitive operation. The dynamic user interfaces of the XMold and eMold solutions are based on Microsoft Silverlight Embedded. Through attractive, ergonomic design and programming of the actual operating logic, machine manufacturers are able to customize their user interfaces very quickly and flexibly.
Standard functions of injection molding machines, such as the complete procedure of switching over to holding pressure, as well as a vast number of core puller programs are included in the TwinCAT Injection Molding PLC Framework software from Beckhoff. This saves users valuable development time without limiting the possibilities for customer-specific technology and intellectual property development.
Machine manufacturers can create customer-specific HMIs quickly and flexibly for the attractive and ergonomically-designed XMold and eMold operator interfaces. With XMold and eMold, manufacturers of plastics machines also benefit from the widespread use of EtherCAT. In addition to the extensive Beckhoff portfolio, users of EtherCAT technology have a virtually unlimited selection of third-party components that can be easily integrated into their control architecture.
The underlying PC-based control technology of the XMold and eMold systems is well-suited for enterprise-level connectivity, integration with cloud-based systems via OPC UA, analysis of Big Data, and advanced condition monitoring for predictive maintenance to reduce maintenance costs and maximize uptime.