Extrusion 4.0 - Welcome to the next level

From additive manufacturing, Assisted Reality and intelligent machine control to highly-networked, integrated applications for Industry 4.0 - Hans Weber Maschinenfabrik GmbH will be showcasing the future of extrusion technology at the K-Messe 2019. Not only is it smart and effortless to handle, it is also sustainable.

“The future of extrusion technology is digital and highly networked. Here at Weber we go one step further and combine Artificial Intelligence with user-friendly, intuitive functionality, the highest quality, extraordinary durability, excellent energy efficiency - and all that with sustainability,” explains Dr Markus Weber, member of the management board of the Bavarian-based machinery and plant engineering company, Hans Weber. “This is the next level of extrusion technology: Extrusion 4.0.”

As part of the leading international trade fair for plastic and rubber, the K-Messe 2019 in Düsseldorf, Hans Weber Maschinenfabrik - one of the main technology drivers in the field of extrusion - will be exhibiting pioneering innovations.

Manufacturing in the third dimension: WEBER Additive Manufacturing.

Thanks to digital 3D design data, even

complex and high-volume components can be manufactured quickly and cost effectively by direct extrusion (DX). WEBER Additive Manufacturing represents maximum design freedom, function optimisation and integration, even with complex geometries - and with small batch sizes and highly individualised components for added efficiency at that!

How does it work? In contrast to conventional erosive manufacturing processes, additive manufacturing involves adding material. WEBER Additive Manufacturing builds components layer by layer from granules in a specially designed manufacturing cell. The highly sophisticated WEBER extrusion process with single-screw extruder allows both highly-filled, fibre-reinforced and soft materials to be processed. Even complex internal textures can be manufactured with ease and maximum stability. This reduces weight and saves material.

Dr Markus Weber remarks: “With WEBER Additive Manufacturing we are rethinking modelling and series production. Our technology is showing its strengths where conventional production methods reach their limits.”

Smart control with line capabilities: WEBER Operating System 5.

The intelligent extruder control WEBER Operating System 5 (WEBER OS5) is the latest generation of extruder controls by Weber. It combines modern, robust automation with the innovative interfaces of Industry 4.0.

WEBER OS5 is controlled intuitively by touchscreen and scaling is effortless. It offers line capabilities, diagram functions, recipe management and user administration - including via RFID - as well as MES connection. And Weber even provides the right MES (Manufacturing Execution System).

The digital future of extrusion: NEXXT.

With NEXXT (networked intelligence for extrusion) Weber has gone one step further and redefined the MES integrated Manufacturing Execution System and central machine control. The user can keep an eye not only on their manufacturing resources, but also on efficiency and product quality. NEXXT allows for quick, secure data transmission for extra process reliability and quality.

The system identifies discrepancies immediately and can even correct complex processes with an OPC-UA interface. In addition, NEXXT allows you to create flow charts and checklists and even assign the relevant tools to the different work steps. MES functions ensure order-specific line control and smooth production. And in real time at that.

Dr Markus Weber remarks: “NEXXT offers stable performance and maximum process reliability and efficiency. The control is a major building block for digitalisation to manufacturing 4.0.”

Setting our sights on the present and future: WEBER Visual Support.

Gone are the days when service engineers had to travel out to the customer for repairs and maintenance. Weber is with the customer at the touch of a button via data link-up when systems need to be checked or other assistance is required. Thanks to Assisted Reality, a Weber expert can guide the customer safely and skilfully through the control unit and system so that the customer can easily undertake maintenance themselves, even without any specialist technical knowledge. This saves precious time and resources.

To this end, Weber has developed - together with oculavis, one of the leading suppliers in the field of Assisted Reality – WEBER VSU (WEBER Visual Support). Weber’s service engineer can see exactly what the customer sees via smartphone or smart glasses and the relevant software. This shared view immediately indicates what, if anything, needs to be done. What’s more: Weber’s service expert can draw helpful markers on the screen and if necessary import data sheets, circuit diagrams and other relevant information. Thanks to the smart glasses, the on-site worker has both hands free to work on the system.

“We will be presenting a selection of our services at the K-Messe 2019. Our sophisticated extruder technologies show how artificial intelligence and engineering mesh perfectly together in machine construction. At Weber Extrusion 4.0 also means sustainability. Thanks to our manufacturing expertise at our headquarters in Kronach, we are able to fulfil individual customer demands at all times - and even produce spare parts and upgrades without the need to buy a whole new system straight away. And that’s how it’s been for decades. As a family business, this is what we’re all about,” emphasises Dr Markus Weber.