Ultrasound provides see-through look at barrier screw

Oct. 19, 2020
Engel has expanded its optional e-connect.monitor remote-maintenance system with the ability to monitor barrier screws.

By Karen Hanna 

A preventive-maintenance system that monitors Engel machines now provides a look right through the barrel to the barrier screw 

In conjunction with the company’s live e-xperience in mid-October, Engel announcethat it has added to its optional e-connect.monitor with the ability to monitor barrier screws, using sensors mounted easily on the outside of the barrel. It is available for use with both new and existing machines.  

With the new capability, users can assess the condition of a barrier screw without having to stop production and remove and dismantle the screw. The complex geometry of barrier screws, which come in a wide range of variants and offer different flight pitches, has previously made them especially difficult to assess. Because the job is onerous, requiring significant effort and time, especially with bigger machinesoperators tend to put off the procedure; however, failure to perform regular screw maintenance can lead to quality problems and force unplanned shutdowns, Engel said. 

With barrier screws in use in big machines that often run around the clock to make high-volume, large products, such as automotive parts, shutdowns can be especially costly and take up to two full days. 

By providing a previously unattainable level of insight into barrier-screw condition, the update to e-connect.monitor can reduce maintenance costs and increase machine availabilityThe new system relies on ultrasound to measure the distance between the screw flight and barrel liner, which increases over the period of the machine’s operation. Process fluctuations can occur if the gap becomes too wide, leading to part-quality problems.

The data is collected within minutes and transferred by secure link to Engel, where a company service technician leverages proprietary algorithms to analyze it. With regular analysis, personnel can establish trends involving wear, so they can make best use of the screw while planning for its replacement in a way that least hampers operations. 

E-connect.monitor’s insight into wear conditions allows users to identify critical process settings that accelerate wear. With this information, they can make appropriate adjustmentto avoid these settings and prevent wear. 

In addition to its ability to monitoring screw condition, e-connect.monitor has modules for three other critical equipment components: hydraulic pumps, hydraulic oil and the ball screws in high-performance electric machines. 

Overall, the package can help users schedule maintenance and manage their inventory of replacement parts, said Harald Wegerer, VP for the company’s customer-service division in Lossburg, Germany. 

With the predictive maintenance tool e-connect.monitor, you can proactively detect critical conditions for the most process-critical components,” he said. “[The] plasticizing screw, hydraulic pump or oil conditionas well as ball screw spindles for electric machines, are wear items and will fail sooner or later.”  

Karen Hanna, associate editor

[email protected]


Engel Machinery Inc., York, Pa., 717-764-6818, www.engelglobal.com