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Full house at medical technology conference hosted by ENGEL
Source:Adsale Plastics Network     Editor:VC    Date:26.Feb.2020

With more than 100 guests, the medical technology conference med.con 2020 hosted by ENGEL Deutschland at its Technologieforum Stuttgart in mid-February was a huge success.

 

Patient safety through advanced technology was discussed from the various perspectives of plastics processing in the clean room and conveyed in a tangible way using live machine exhibits. Artificial intelligence and Big Data also formed one focus.

 

“The volume of data generated is increasing, but the use of the data is not”, said Uwe Herbert, IT Manager with Ypsomed, a manufacturer of injection systems for self-medication, in his keynote summing up the massive challenge.

 

In order to improve the quality of the products while at the same time reducing unit costs, Herbert advocates linking the IT systems of the individual departments in the company and giving employees the freedom they need to experiment with the new possibilities. However, the complexity of these projects is often underestimated according to Herbert.

 

"We need to shift up a gear when it comes to artificial intelligence," emphasized Christian Pommereau, Principal Engineer with pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland, who has witnessed within his own group of companies how far ahead the drug production industry is in this field. “To avoid the plastics processing industry losing touch, we need everyone around the table.”

 

Both speakers sparked lively discussions, and it became clear that the industry has long recognized the great potential that Industry 4.0 offers. But barriers often remain in terms of adapting the new technologies to reflect the specific requirements of cleanroom production.

 

For example, the validation of dynamic process control with the help of intelligent assistance, which is an essential feature of the smart factory, has to be planned in detail and designed safely.


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The mix of keynotes, live exhibits and the partner exhibition marked the success of med.con 2020. 

 

Dynamic process control despite validated processes

 

Christoph Lhota, Vice President, ENGEL medical, reported on how ENGEL's iQ weight control assistance system can be integrated into rules and regulations accepted by the auditors, based on ongoing development work.

 

The ENGEL developers have investigated various approaches to the validation process and ultimately derived a procedure which defines process windows for the parameters to be retroactively adjusted, enabling the validation of dynamically controlled processes in conformity with both EN ISO and the FDA.

 

In his keynote, Christoph Lhota gave an outlook on other topics that are gaining in importance in medical technology and on which ENGEL's developers are working intensively. They include the injection moulding of liquid silicone rubber in the clean room, efficient injection moulding of very small batch sizes and sterile injection moulding, as clean room class ISO 5 is increasingly required in plastics processing.

 

"ISO 5 is a totally different planet. The opening speed of the injection moulding machine is significant here", said Lhota. ENGEL operates its own clean room at its headquarters in Schwertberg in order to specifically adapt its machines, robots and technologies to this new class of requirements.


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Eight prominent keynote speakers offered the more than 100 guests at med.con both food for thought and practical tips for their daily work.


Greater cost-efficiency in the clean room

 

There was plenty of networking at med.con 2020. In the breaks, and following the talks, ENGEL opened up its technology centre with live exhibits and a partner exhibition. Sophisticated medical products were manufactured in highly-integrated and automated production cells throughout the event.

 

On the one hand there were thick-walled housing parts which can be produced in an 8-cavity mould using servo-electric Vario-Spinstack technology from Hack Formenbau in particularly short cycle times, and with a correspondingly low unit cost, thanks to the two-component process.

 

On the other, there were needle holders for 1 ml safety syringes in a 16-cavity mould by Fostag Formenbau with a particularly low shot weight of 0.08 grams per part. The needle holders' very thin and different wall thicknesses require extremely precise process control, which ENGEL ensures with iQ weight control.

 

The needle holders are taken off by a viper linear robot and transferred to the pipe distribution system, developed by ENGEL and made completely of stainless steel, in order to package the filigree moulded parts sorted by cavity.

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