Keeping product quality high and minimizing scrap is key to maintaining a profitable injection molding process, especially in automotive. While this is a simple notion, the solution isn’t always so obvious.
Injection molding equipment is typically designed with multiple points of interest when it comes to pressure, temperature and humidity. Those levels can vary depending on which point is being monitored along the line. With all the moving parts of an injection molding line, trying to monitor those levels simultaneously for accurate readings is a challenge when using traditional wired monitoring gauges.
A tier-one automotive injection molding operation that produces gas tanks, wheel wells, and other plastic parts had been using wired pressure gauges and hoses to manually test points of interest periodically. It wasn’t enough to determine when and where pressure spikes and drops were occurring along the production line. Testing hard-to-reach areas proved just as frustrating, as the long cables of the monitoring devices prevented technicians from being able to run the equipment while performing diagnostics.
Installing SensoNODE™ Blue sensors at critical points on five injection molding machines allowed maintenance technicians to consistently monitor pressure levels throughout the day. They found that spikes occurred two or three times hourly, each about five minutes in length.
The small sensors have flexible antennas, allowing technicians to fit them in hard-to-reach areas. Because the system is wireless, workers can perform diagnostics while the machine is running, reducing diagnostic time without interrupting production.
Using Voice of the Machine™ Mobile software to collect that data, technicians can break it down into useful analytics with charts and graphs, which help them to determine the causes and locations of the fluctuations, so they can respond to them before they lead to equipment failure.
By allowing all maintenance technicians to download Voice of the Machine Mobile to their phones, multiple people can respond to an alarm as needed. Technicians can also monitor pressure levels on the spot no matter where they are in the facility. As an added bonus, SensoNODE Blue pressure sensors also scan for temperature, allowing technicians to monitor the temperature of the hydraulic fluid running inside the machine.
Parker designs its solutions to work across multiple industries. So be sure to visit our condition monitoring website for more on how use SensoNODE sensors and Voice of the Machine software as a diagnostic solution for your mobile vehicles.
Article contributed by Marc Williams, IoT project lead, Parker Hannifin Corporation
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