Ergonomics forum

Ergonomics calls for innovation

At the "Ergonomics calls for innovation" forum during our 2019 Innovation Day, we presented five new innovative mold carrier systems and concept studies specifically designed for the encapsulation of large car glass panels, such as one-piece panoramic sunroofs. All types come with electric drives and offer plate widths of up to 2,500 mm and depths of up to 1,600 mm and are among the world's largest mold carrier systems for glass processing.

They have been specifically optimized for ease of use when handling these unusual dimensions. The exhibition included the BFT-P V8 and the BFT-P V10 mold carrier systems, which were designed right down to the last detail for polyurethane encapsulation with the mold being aligned horizontally. In addition, two 1:1 models were on display in which molds are secured vertically and polyurethane is injected into the closed mold from underneath. Our exhibits also included a concept study design for a further horizontal system.

Model 1: BFT-P V8 –horizontal encapsulation with tilting tower

The BFT-P V8 mold carrier system, which is designed for conventional horizontal encapsulation, ensures user-friendly ergonomics by means of a tilting tower. With the BFT-P V8, the operator can access both parts of the mold one after the other at a comfortable height. This means that operators can reach into the entire mold without any effort.

The BFT-P V8 with a closing force of 300 kN was the first new development, so it could already prove its efficiency and reliability in extensive field tests.  The version with toothed belt drive has been tested and optimized over more than one million working cycles. During the field test, the mold carrier system was completely maintenance-free, only the linear guide slides had to be regreased and the toothed belt had to be retightened.

Model 2: BFT-P V10 – horizontal encapsulation, with the shuttle moving sideways

The second model alternative we developed is the BFT-P V10, which was ordered by the automotive supplier Pilkington. This mold carrier system, which is also designed for horizontal encapsulation, includes a shuttle that removes the lower part of the mold laterally from the carrier frame once PUR encapsulation of the glass panel has been completed. This means that the upper and lower parts of the mold can be set up by two operators simultaneously. Since the system offers free access from the front and rear, feed and discharge systems for components, inserts and molds can also be integrated quickly.  If required, the BFT-P V10 can also be used for fully automatic production, for example with the aid of a robot that inserts and removes workpieces.

Model 3: Concept study K 3 – horizontal encapsulation with the shuttle moving forwards and backwards

The third model, the concept study K3, is a variant of the BFT-P V10. As before, polyurethane is fed into the K3 wíth the mold being positioned horizontally. It is also equipped with a shuttle, which however moves forwards and backwards. So the mold moves toward the operator.

Model 4: The 1:1 concept study K4 - vertical encapsulation, opening horizontally

The K4 concept study makes a complete break from the first three models by allowing for vertical encapsulation.  At the ergonomics forum, sub-components were shown in their original size. Visitors were able to move between the two mold mounting plates that are 2.5 m in height and 1.6 m in depth and that are positioned in parallel to each other at a distance of one and a half meters. The plates with the mounted molds move horizontally towards each other for the encapsulation of glass panels. The typical production plate temperatures of 80 ºC gave visitors a realistic impression of the operators' working conditions.

Model 5: The 1:1 "book model concept study" – vertical encapsulation, hinged mechanism for opening and closing

The K5 concept study, which is also designed for vertical encapsulation, opens and closes like a book standing upright and was presented at the Ergonomics Forum as a 1:1 solid model made of wood. The two mold mounting plates are attached to a vertical axle that can be opened for the purposes of presentation so that the operator can easily access all areas of the mold.