Making new from old – modernization at Inapal in Portugal

Dieffenbacher modernized two presses for Inapal to boost productivity.

Inapal Plàsticos in Leça do Balio, Portugal, produces components for the automotive industry. To meet customer production demand, Inapal must ensure interruption-free production each time a new component is produced using the system.

In many cases, the availability of old presses can no longer be guaranteed due to out-of-date technology and spare parts that are no longer available. This was the problem Inapal had with two of its presses. Dieffenbacher’s modernization concept provided the solution.

A polyester press from 1978 was used to produce SMC outer skin parts for the utility vehicle industry. The press valves and controls were out of date, no current plans were available, and wear and tear issues became apparent only during operation. The overall system availability was low. That was the challenge the modernization team had to tackle. Dieffenbacher replaced the valves and modernized the control. This included a new switch cabinet and improved visualization via a new control panel. Also, a new two-hand control was added to facilitate press operation. Now, the query and control of the safety functions (PLC) and the process sequence control are combined in one unit (CPU) to ensure uniform operation.

The second press—a Hoesch press from 1986—was used to produce SMC parts for the automotive industry. The valves, sensor technology and parallel motion system were out-of-date and needed modernization. Dieffenbacher replaced the dated system with a new state-of-the-art one. Moreover, the entire sensor technology and valves were refitted and the control adapted accordingly. As a result, both presses operate with greater accuracy in the production process, while the system availability is improved and better system diagnostics are provided.

Pedro Costa, Head of Maintenance at Inapal Plàsticos, summarizes the results of the modernization as follows: “We wanted to expand our production using modern and reliable systems while avoiding new investments. For this reason, we opted for a modernization with the support of Dieffenbacher. Today we can produce more complex parts with the modernized presses at reduced cycle times.”

Cooperation between Inapal and Dieffenbacher went so smoothly throughout the project

that both systems could be handed over to production ahead of schedule. Learn more