25 years of Arburg host computer system ALS
- Anniversary celebrations at Arburg locations in Lossburg, Rednitzhembach and Radevormwald
- Pioneering achievement: first host computer software for injection moulding sector
- ALS provides networking, monitoring and documentation
In 1986, the invention of the Arburg host computer system ALS - the first ever software intended specifically for injection moulding plants - was a pioneering achievement. It enables the networking of machines, the monitoring of processes and the documentation of settings data. Today, ALS is a valuable tool with which injection moulders can achieve consistently high product quality and optimum production capacity utilisation, as well as minimise downtimes, significantly enhancing production efficiency.
In November 2011, on the occasion of the anniversary "25 years of ALS", Arburg invited interested parties to its German locations in Lossburg, Radevormwald and Rednitzhembach. Experts provided information on the application capabilities of the host computer system and demonstrated how it can be used to optimise efficiency in moulded part production. Some 80 managing directors, production managers and responsible ALS staff took advantage of the opportunity to share their experience and engage in individual consulting. Specialist presentations on the ALS milestones, its application for medical technology and new mobile developments completed the programme.
In 1954, Arburg developed its first injection moulding machine, initially for the company's own use. Demand was so great, however, that series production began two years later. In 1961, the Allrounder principle was then invented, enabling an injection moulding machine that could operate in several positions and paving the way for groundbreaking applications such as multi-component injection moulding. The first electronic control system for injection moulding machines worldwide was introduced onto the market by Arburg in 1972 and was followed by microprocessors three years later. From the idea of achieving "flexible automation of injection moulding" (German: FADS), the medium-sized machine manufacturer initiated in 1985 a joint project with the then German Federal Ministry of Research and Technology (BMFT). In 1986, Arburg finally launched the groundbreaking host computer system ALS onto the market, merely five years after the PC had started to make its way into offices and homes. Up until then, no interfaces were available in the injection moulding sector, let alone software solutions for communication between machine, automation solution and peripherals.
Machine, control system and software from a single source
ALS customers benefit from the extensive Arburg know-how in injection moulding technology. The machines, control systems and the host computer system are developed and produced in-house; sales and support are from a single source. Arburg has designed the practice-oriented software solution precisely in line with injection moulders' requirements regarding flawless process and part quality. Since 2009, ALS has also been SAP certified.
Managing complex injection moulding processes
With the growing complexity of injection moulding processes, a higher level of qualification is necessary for order planners, machine installation technicians and operators. A modular, high-performance production management system (MES) ensures transparency of production. ALS is a valuable tool for the central planning, fast acquisition and straightforward management of machine and order data.
The major advantage of ALS is its modular structure. Starting from a basic platform, the system can be expanded in accordance with a company's individual needs. The individual expansion modules can be matched to the relevant configuration. As a result, systems can be created to suit every requirement. The basic expansion stages for machine and operating data acquisition (MDA and ODA) form the basis of all individually configurable Arburg host computer systems. These can be freely combined and expanded.
Today, some 5,000 Allrounders and injection moulding machines from other manufacturers are connected to an Arburg host computer system. The Arburg solution satisfies the trend towards the automation of injection moulding processes and the increasing demands with regard to seamless quality assurance. In addition to robotic systems, an increasing number of peripherals and the automated selection of good and reject parts are being integrated into a central control system in the case of production cells. With the host computer system, the machine and equipment can be easily interlinked, efficiently controlled and all processes continuously documented. Various orders can be directly allocated to individual machines. The order status, production schedule and unit volumes are all visible at a glance. Thanks to the automatic monitoring and documentation of changes in the production process, product quality can also be actively improved.
For modern information management, it is not always enough to have the latest production data available only on the office computer. Stationary devices are being increasingly replaced with mobile applications. Arburg has recently introduced a new solution for smartphones. With "ALS Mobile", decision-makers can call up current production data in real time from any location, permitting an extremely flexible response. In order to continuously measure and control performance in production planning, the current OEE values, for example, can be transmitted via a smartphone. This "Overall Equipment Efficiency", a quotient based on quality, efficiency and availability, provides an indication of added value. Furthermore, the ALS analysis tool provides insights into current cycle times, running orders, shifts, batches, unit volumes and the current utilisation level of the machine fleet. In addition to smartphones, PC terminals, the relevant scanners and other web-capable devices can also be equipped with the new functionality.
About ARBURG GmbH + Co KG
Arburg, a German machine construction company, is one of the leading global manufacturers of injection moulding machines for plastics processing with clamping forces between 125 kN and 5,000 kN. Fields of application include the production of plastic parts for motor vehicles, communications and consumer electronics, medical technology, domestic appliances and packaging. The product range is completed by robotic systems, complex projects and other peripherals. Arburg's operations are coordinated by an integrated management system and are DIN EN ISO 9001 and 14001 certified. Arburg is represented by its own organisations at 32 locations in 24 countries and by trading partners in more than 50 countries. However, production takes place exclusively in the parent factory in Lossburg (Germany) - with the mark of quality "made by Arburg - made in Germany". From a total of around 2,150 Arburg employees, 1,800 work in Germany. A further 350 employees work in Arburg's organisations around the world.
Further information about Arburg can be found at www.arburg.com.