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When it comes to mold making and process integration, particularly in the field of medical technology, the slogan at ZAHORANSKY has been “We automate molds” for some time now. But what is the story behind this slogan and what does it mean for our customers? Timo Steinebrunner, Head of Global Sales Automation & Molds at ZAHORANSKY, answers the five most important questions.

Why is ZAHORANSKY increasingly focusing on the topic of automation in injection molding with “We automate molds”?

The pressure on our customers to enhance efficiency in production and reduce costs has continued to increase in recent years. This is another reason why we would like to understand our customers’ production processes holistically and offer a tailored solution. Depending on the application, this can be an injection mold, a robotic and automation solution or a combination of the two – in line with the slogan “We automate molds”.

In addition, ever stricter regulatory requirements and the growing shortage of skilled workers mean that production processes also need to be increasingly streamlined. Smart mold concepts, robotics and automation help to minimize quality problems, control production processes more flexibly and keep operating costs under control. The basis for this is a very high machine availability and as a result, high process capability. This is already focused on and implemented in the conception and construction phase.

From a company perspective, it is not least about resilience, agility and differentiation from market competitors. There are some toolmakers who meet the high precision standards, but our comprehensive expertise, from the tool to the machine, up to the machine control and process optimization is unique. ZAHORANSKY is a comprehensive system partner – our customers receive everything they need for the automation of their production line from a single source and have one central contact.

Where does this comprehensive automation expertise come from?

ZAHORANSKY used to keep mechanical engineering and mold making separate, like many other manufacturers. However, since more than 15 years, we have placed great value on the increased integration of the individual areas. We think, develop and implement mold making and automation under one roof, with expertise from profitable industrial plastics processing. Important milestones include the development of the Z.BLAST (high-performance injection molding tool for tool-related assembly), the Z.ORBIT (high-performance injection molding tool for hybrid components) and the PRIMA Z syringe (production line with 16-cavity tool for manufacturing staked-needle syringes).

How does the concept “We automate molds” affect the product and service portfolio?

To achieve the most comprehensive and effective automation possible, it is important to develop solutions for the entire production line. ZAHORANSKY offers various modules for upstream, downstream and inline automation, such as the Z.MISTRAL assembly cell or the Z.LODOS palletizing system. The simulation of the systems using a digital twin also enables us to plan and configure with a high degree of efficiency. Our cooperation with the AI start-up plus10 also deserves a special mention here. Its applications DARWIN, which can be used to identify the causes of performance losses, and SHANNON, an intelligent shop floor assistant, are already being used by ZAHORANSKY’s first customers. In this way, we offer one-stop solutions for the production of complex plastic, hybrid and glass substitute products as well as injection molds – including upstream and downstream automation, quality control and the integration of injection molding machines and system components.

How does this affect customers?

For our customers, “We automate molds” means above all: risk minimization, predictability, time savings and cost savings. Because our comprehensively automated solutions come from a single source, there are fewer interfaces where problems can arise. In addition, the customer has the complete process available as a digital twin during the design review already and can use this together with ZAHORANSKY. When it comes to the actual debugging phase, only individual modules need to be integrated, the interaction is tested and everything is put into operation together. This is a real relief for our customer. It also reduces the overall complexity of the production line and the cross-system, intuitive human-machine communication ensures simpler and safer processes. Ultimately, this concept means that the entire process, right through to delivery to the market, can be planned more easily, better and more transparently.

And what advantages does this have for production?

In addition to a higher efficiency and process reliability, sustainability in production also increases, as intermediate packaging is no longer required, for example. Companies also gain space on the shop floor thanks to the compact design of the systems. Other benefits include better planning of product launch times, optimized overall system effectiveness, reduced unit costs and efficient use of personnel and resources.