Moulding shops react to spiralling electricity costs

Enquiries grow for FANUC’s energy-saving ROBOSHOT injection moulding machine

With the price of electricity on a steep upward climb due to a number of external market influences, FANUC is witnessing more enquiries for its latest energy-saving series of ROBOSHOT ALPHA-SiB CNC injection moulding machines. These all-electric machines consume up to 70% less energy than a conventional hydraulic powered alternative, largely thanks to the highly efficient servomotor technology deployed on ROBOSHOT models. These servomotors also allow for parallel movements and cycle time gains as standard.

FANUC is a pioneer in this technology, releasing its first all-electric injection moulding machine way back in 1985, the AUTOSHOT 50. Since then, demand for the ensuing ROBOSHOT series has soared as ever-greater numbers of manufacturers look to take advantage of the energy savings these machines deliver. Today, the need to improve energy efficiency and sustainability across manufacturing facilities has never been more urgent, both to save costs and the planet.

Electric performance

"On average, all-electric injection moulding machines use up to 70% less electricity than a hydraulic alternative of comparable size, without even accounting for the cooling requirements of the latter," explains Andy Armstrong, Head of European ROBOSHOT Sales at FANUC. "The cooling water demands of a hydraulic machine contribute significantly to running costs. FANUC's motors are air cooled, eliminating these costs."

He adds: "Generally, hydraulic machines waste electricity through the transfer of energy and movement of oil. In cases where non-servomotor technology is used, energy wastage is much higher due to the constant running of the pump motor. This is not the case for all-electric machines. In addition, the simplified mechanical complexity of all-electric injection moulding machines makes for fewer process steps and less energy loss."

Faster payback

With significant rises in energy costs across the board, actual payback periods have become increasingly short. In addition, faster cycle times, reduced maintenance costs and increased yield deliver considerable reductions in piece-part costs. Fundamentally, injection moulding machine manufacturers can no longer ignore the switch to all-electric technology. Add longevity and reliability into the equation and the long-term savings become potentially very large.

A further point of note is the power regeneration capabilities of FANUC ROBOSHOT machines. When an axis decelerates, energy returns to the power source, adding to the overall savings. Moulding shops can probably run two or three all-electric ROBOSHOT machines for the same total electricity consumption as one hydraulic model.

Proven ROBOSHOT advantages

ROBOSHOT customers also receive all the long-standing, proven advantages of these machines: precision, repeatability, part quality, quiet operation and low maintenance. The latter forms part of FANUC's number one USP: reliability and longevity. Some customers around Europe have ROBOSHOT machines that are 15-20 years old, where the annual spend on consumables is less than €200, potentially delivering the market's lowest TCO (total cost of ownership).

"Ultimately, any moulding shop that wants to remain profitable while trying to combat soaring electricity prices should refocus their investment plans on injection moulding machines with a proven ability to reduce electricity consumption," concludes Mr Armstrong. "After all, every euro cent consumed in the moulding facility is cost. Moulders should try to understand what those costs are and focus on reducing their overall cost base. This is even more relevant given today's spiralling energy costs, which could potentially remain with us for some time."