Industry 4.0 concepts are applied in practice in the ST BlowMoulding machine, which is equipped with IO-Link components from Bosch Rexroth. Proportional valves, on-off valves and sensors are controlled via digital communication, optimizing production efficiency and making the machine ready for predictive maintenance.
by Elena Magistretti
ST BlowMoulding chose Bosch Rexroth’s IO-Link valves to create a fully digital machine: it’s the first “Made in Europe” machine with IO-Link components. Proportional valves, on-off valves and sensors are controlled via digital communication.
An Italian-Swiss company specialized in the production of machines for the processing of plastic materials, ST BlowMoulding designs and manufactures extrusion and blow moulding machines all over the world.
The collaboration between ST BlowMoulding and Bosch Rexroth began in the early 1990s and has been consolidated with the introduction of Bosch Rexroth 4.0 components into the blow moulding machines.
The first machine equipped with this technology was built at the end of 2018 to undergo a series of functional tests. The new machine will be capable of producing “3D” ducts with very complex shapes, especially for the automotive sector.
Predictive maintenance stands out of the main advantages
The IO-Link valves from Bosch Rexroth offer plenty of advantages, including the reduction of electromagnetic interference and the possibility to implement predictive maintenance.
The data generated from the IO-Link valves provides in-depth knowledge of the behaviour of component and the wear level.
Bosch Rexroth’s 4WRPEH and 4WRLE high dynamic valves with IO-Link interface are used for the control of hydraulic axes: the core of the machine: extrusion and parison thickness adjustment, press closure and PWDS are managed for the first time by IO-Link.
ST BlowMoulding is focusing on the digital transformation of its machines, to meet the demands of Industry 4.0-oriented companies. The results of the tests carried out on the machine are extremely good: zero electromagnetic interferences and a better production efficiency are the expected goals.
IO-Link valves from Bosch Rexroth are an alternative solution to traditional analog valves.
Besides the reduction of electromagnetic disturbances, they offer simplified wiring and enable reliable monitoring of machine operations.