LS Mtron uses AI to ease labor burden

March 29, 2022
New proprietary software upgrades AI Molding Assistant and Smart Weight Control improve set-up process, ensure part-weight reliability and reduce waste.

By Karen Hanna 

An injection molding machine (IMM) with the brains to improve the setup process and automatically respond to deviations from specifications could help molders compensate for a shortage of experienced technicians.  

LS Mtron will show how it’s leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) when it demonstrates its new Smart Injection System April 12-14 at Plastec West in Anaheim, Calif. 

Available on all new IMMs, as well as all older LS MTron presses other than the WIZ-TA servo hydraulic machines, the proprietary software features the company’s new AI Molding Assistant and Smart Weight Control.  

“This technology is the next step that LS Mtron is taking towards creating the smart injection molding factory of the future,” said Peter Gardner, the business director for LS Mtron Injection Molding Machine North America. “It will help molders achieve improved part quality, reduced costs, higher productivity and faster deliveries.”   

Designed to mimic the actions of highly skilled molding specialists, the AI that powers the AI Molding Assistant facilitates faster stabilization of the initial setup process. Because it’s normally dependent on the proficiency of the operator, setup process time can vary greatly. With AI, molders can address the variability and ensure part quality. 

According to the company, the AI Molding Assistant can learn optimal conditions, allowing it to set up the best process with minimal operator intervention. This can help molding shops whether they have skilled molders on hand or not.  

“Because the system learns and imitates the pre-set optimal molding conditions, it can implement consistent processes regardless of the machine operator’s
work proficiency, as well as reduce time,” Gardner said. “A recent lab test at LS Mtron showed that operators who used the AI Molding Assistant were able to set up the optimal conditions for good products 23 percent faster on average than the highly skilled operators who did not use the system.”

For shops that are struggling to find molders, the AI Molding Assistant could be especially appealing. 

"In the current situation where we are seeing a serious labor shortage, the AI Molding Assistant will be an attractive solution in the field," Gardner said. 

Like the AI Molding Assistant, Smart Weight Control is designed to remove variability from the molding process. It calculates weight differences between parts, and automatically alters molding parameters to offset issues that might arise because of injection pressure fluctuations or inconsistencies between resin batches. This system, which works even with compounds made of up to 100 percent regrind, reduces part defects and conserves resin. 

LS Mtron’s IMM portfolio includes both electric and hybrid presses, with clamping forces ranging from 20 tons, for a prototyping model in the electric WIZ-E series, to 5,000 tons for a model in the hybrid WIZ-PLT pallet-building series. One series in the portfolio, the WIZ-VR, features a vertical configuration. 

Other than WIZ-TA models, all LS MTron presses run on controls from Keba, Linz, Austria.

Karen Hanna, senior staff reporter

[email protected]


LS Mtron, Duluth, Ga., 678-395-4389,    

About the Author

Karen Hanna | Senior Staff Reporter

Senior Staff Reporter Karen Hanna covers injection molding, molds and tooling, processors, workforce and other topics, and writes features including In Other Words and Problem Solved for Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing, Plastics Recycling and The Journal of Blow Molding. She has more than 15 years of experience in daily and magazine journalism.