Barrier screw condition monitoring
In classical maintenance, the barrel is a black box. Its condition can only be assessed if production is interrupted and the plasticising screw removed. This is a time-consuming and resource-intensive process, which means that it is infrequently performed in many plants and that quality problems and unplanned system shutdowns repeatedly occur. Systematic use of machine data offers the opportunity to reduce maintenance costs and boost machine availability. e-connect.monitor is the only system on the market that allows the screw condition to be assessed without dismantling the plasticising unit.
Measurement from the outside in just a few minutes
Based on the latest sensor technology, ENGEL has developed a measuring system that can be installed very easily on the outside of the barrel. It relies on ultrasound to assess the condition of the plasticising screw through the barrel wall and the molten plastics. The distance between the screw flight and the barrel liner, which increases with increasing production time, is measured. If the gap becomes too large, process fluctuations occur, and this can lead to quality problems with the part.
The measurement is performed by an ENGEL service technician. All told, it takes just a few minutes to collect the data. The measurement results are transferred to ENGEL via a secure data link, where they are automatically evaluated and interpreted with the aid of specially developed mathematical models. The processor can discover the results of the evaluation at any time via the ENGEL e-connect customer portal. If the screw condition is checked at regular intervals, the Maintenance Department can evaluate the wear trend enabling the next screw replacement to be planned in a very precise way. This means that system downtime can be kept to a minimum while making optimum use of the screw service life.
For three-zone screws, the e-connect.monitor solution is already a reality in practical applications. Barrier screws pose special requirements for the analysis technology due to the complexity of the screw geometry, the different pitches of the flights and the wide range of variants of this screw type. They require a proprietary algorithm, which ENGEL has now developed. The new solution will be available worldwide from October 2020.
Actively avoid critical process settings
Barrier screws are mainly used on large machines and in applications with a high material throughput in 24/7 operation. Unscheduled machine downtime is particularly critical here, especially since an interruption in operation for the removal and evaluation of the plasticising screw on a large machine can sometimes take two whole workdays. e-connect.monitor offers a far faster solution here.
In the long term, regular condition monitoring supports process optimisation. Evaluating the wear parameters makes it possible to identify critical process settings that accelerate wear and avoid these settings in the future by making appropriate process adjustments.
In addition to the module for plasticising screws, ENGEL offers e-connect.monitor modules for three other critical machine components: hydraulic pumps, the hydraulic oil and ball screws in high-performance electric machines.