On the way towards Industry 4.0

IMP: advantages through networked and automated injection molding production

IMP S.p.A. from Saronno, Italy, has long cooperated with ARBURG and for some time been involved in-depth with the topic of Industry 4.0. The many-times certified company produces complex components for the automotive, electronics and equipment industries. This is often associated with high demands and a consistently high quality standard. Not least for this reason, the two injection molding locations were networked using the ARBURG host computer system ALS. This results in significantly more flexible and transparent production and one-hundred percent traceability.

IMP is a leading Italian company specializing in the design and construction of molds for the production of high-precision parts made from thermoplastics and thermosets. “We very much appreciate that we always receive fast and highly competent support from the ARBURG experts,” summarises Gabriele Malvestiti, Managing Director at IMP, regarding the excellent and trustful cooperation since 1988. “We want to further optimize our manufacturing processes with the aid of Industry 4.0 solutions and are convinced that we will thereby gain an edge in terms of quality with respect to many of our competitors. An important step in my view is the introduction of an MES system.” Here again, IMP relied on ARBURG’s expertise and has been working with the host computer system ALS since 2014. All 126 injection molding machines, of which 71 ALLROUNDERs, are networked with ALS. To ensure high part quality, 80 percent of the machines are automated, particularly with INTEGRALPICKERs and linear robotic systems such as the MULTILIFT V. The automotive parts include gear units, connectors, lead frames, brush holders and coil bodies. Vertical ALLROUNDER T rotary table machines are used primarily for the overmoulding of metal inserts. These include rotor and stator packages and precision stamped parts, particularly starters, electric drives and locks for the automotive industry. Production takes place in three shifts, five days a week.

Flexibility is a major strength

“In 2018, IMP is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Thanks to the many years of experience, we have confirmed our leading position on the international market. Our development and improvement carry on continuously,” says Gabriele Malvestiti. In the meantime, he adds, IMP is increasingly involved in the electric motor business and is working together with tier 1 and top players to develop overmoulded rotors and stators on half and fully automated production lines. The company is also specialized in the development and manufacture of molds, of which around 1,500 are currently in use.

On the way towards Industry 4.0
In his several-times certified plant, IMP Managing Director Gabriele Malvestiti (left) relies on ALS and Industry 4.0. He has long been working together with Björn Noren, Managing Director of ARBURG Italy.

Flexibility is one of the main strengths of supplier IMP, which carries out some 40 to 50 mould changes a week. “Because we control the entire production process, we can offer our customers very competitive total costs of ownership (TCO),” explains the Managing Director. “It is therefore essential that the machines are fast to set up and make ready for production. Normally, the planning requires around ten days lead time, but we’re also flexible enough to cater to our customer’s “last minute requests.”

“The intuitive-to-operate ALS allows us to achieve organised and precise planning as well as good machine capacity utilisation and creates transparency,” adds Roffi Luca, IMP Sales Director, who is also responsible for ALS.

ALS networks two locations

“In the past, we did the planning manually, which was quite laborious. Owing to human error and inefficient manual calculations, this proved to be relatively expensive. With ALS, the planning is significantly faster, more flexible and standardised. We’ve used it to network our two injection moulding plants and have since achieved more stable production processes.” IMP also integrated further systems such as optical inspection systems into the host computer system. “Our objective is to create a report that records and directly compares all the quality-relevant parameters from the injection moulding process together with the results of the quality measurements,” says Gabriele Malvestiti describing a further step towards transparent and smart injection moulding production. He also sees great potential for ALS with regard to energy management at his ISO 50001 certified plant. “In future, we’d like to determine the actual energy requirements for individual injection moulding machines, production cells and even complete production lines with the aid of ALS. We can network this data with the process data and evaluate it, for example according to order.”


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