The automotive sector is facing its biggest existential crisis since the 2007-2009 financial crisis with 97 percent of light vehicle (LV) manufacturing plants in Europe and North America temporarily shut down, says GlobalData.
Calum MacRae, Automotive Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “In Europe and North America, GlobalData’s latest estimates show that some 2.5 million LVs have been removed from production schedules at a cost of $77.7bn in lost potential revenue – if it is assumed the stoppages last at least up until the end of April.
“This time, the threats are not the one-dimensional threat to demand precipitated by the financial crisis. Supply chains are affected and workforces are affected. It is challenging to manufacture vehicles and components without endangering a workforce. Safe manufacture, if possible, can only be achieved at a reduced capacity.”
Efforts to suppress the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), with social lockdowns widely implemented affecting 20 percent of the global population, have decimated vehicle demand overnight.
MacRae added: “In response, 168 out of 173 LV manufacturing plants in Europe and North America have called a halt to operations for varying amounts of time during March and into April. Additionally, production stoppages are not limited to North America and Europe, the virus is roiling the industry from Detroit, to Dusseldorf to Durban.
“What’s more, the shocks will ripple through the supply chain with supplier plants also being furloughed. It really is an unprecedented crisis, the in terms of its speed and scale. The auto sector faces its biggest existential crisis since the financial crash and subsequent recession of 2007-09.”
Robert Puschmann of DKSH and Mitchell Beness of HP speak about 3D printing, automation and Industry 4.0. Article by Stephen Las Marias.
Technology advancements have continuously been redefining design and manufacturing processes, production facilities, distribution systems, and global supply chains. As we move toward Industry 4.0, manufacturers recognise that current business models are no longer sustainable, and that the time has come for them to start adopting smarter manufacturing processes and solutions.
One such technology is 3D printing. 3D printing is a ground-breaking and innovative technology that has the potential to bring intermediate changes in manufacturing, society and business. As a crucial medium connecting the virtual and actual world, 3D printing enables the transformation of digital files into tangible objects. According to market analyst firm Inkwood Research, the global 3D printing market is expected to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17 percent from 2019 to 2027 and reach a value of US$ 44.39 billion at the end of the forecast period. While North America is the dominating region, Asia Pacific is the fastest growing market for 3D printing.
Mitchell Beness, Category Product Manager Lead for 3D Print and Digital Manufacturing, APJ at HP Inc., says the overall growth in terms of revenue for the industry has been positive, double-digit growth year-on-year, globally, for additive manufacturing or 3D printing. “For us at HP, we see very exciting growth. If you look at the growth of the number of parts that we are producing, this is significant. If you look at the growth of our installed base and powder usage, it is very positive,” he notes. “I think, overall, it is an encouraging story for the industry and for us. Since entering the market, we have seen a lot of people rethinking their decision to move into traditional manufacturing and looking very carefully at what digital manufacturing can offer. I think this change in mindset has been an upward trajectory.”
HP and its partner DKSH Singapore were at the recent Industrial Transformation ASIA PACIFIC (ITAP) 2019 event in Singapore to showcase the latest HP Jet Fusion 580 System, a 3D printer developed specifically for lower volumes as an entry point. The Jet Fusion 580 System is the first of its kind in using a functional material—an engineering grade Nylon polymer—which can incorporate colour within the printer. It is a good example of an all-in-one machine, where it is printing, collecting powder, recycling powder, and redistributing powder, all in one very small unit.
Inkwood Research notes that 3D printing has achieved significant progress from the initial stages of production of simple plastic models to producing useful components, in the fields of surgical implants and prosthetics, batteries, robots, and among many others.
“I think the key area is prototyping, which goes throughout the different industries. We also need to differentiate between replacing and complementing the existing manufacturing process,” explains Robert Puschmann, Managing Director for DKSH Technology Business in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. “If you look at different industries, research is at the forefront. Researchers are looking into how 3D printing can be adopted, which is a very crucial progress because that will help create a new generation of mechanical engineers who are able to design in a totally different way than before. This will be used in more industries over time.”
3D printing or additive manufacturing offers a change in the traditional manufacturing processes, according to Beness. But convincing manufacturers to adopt the technology requires changing their mindset.
“It is an area that Southeast Asia is uniquely positioned to take advantage of considering its relatively young engineers. There are a lot of younger people in these countries, who are able to get access to quality education better than ever before,” he says. “Singapore is an excellent hub for education, and we see partnerships with dynamic clusters, such as Nanyang Technological University (NTU). Many of these types of educational institutions are fundamentally starting that design journey in the engineering space, with additive manufacturing in mind. I think the biggest challenge as well as the biggest opportunity is for people to change the way they design and engineer.”
Apart from the change in mindset, the business case also needs to be there so that people will understand more the benefits of integrating additive manufacturing in their processes.
“Overall, the return on investment (ROI) needs to be understood by the customer,” Puschmann says. “That is something we continuously educate the market with. Also, having a different mindset and knowing to design parts for 3D printing compared to conventional manufacturing are other decisive factors.”
One way of educating the industry is through exhibitions such as ITAP. “The ITAP 2019 exhibition is an educational platform for a lot of people to know that 3D printing exists—I think that’s the first part,” says Puschmann. “On top of that, we conduct test printings with our demo machines to show customers that 3D printing is possible. We also run specific seminars on selected industry focus groups.”
It is also a lot of on-site work, according to Puschmann, where salespeople and applications specialists go from door to door and introduce the new technology and product directly to the customers.
One aspect of Industry 4.0 is the synergy between the physical and cyber-physical world. And 3D printing is in this unique place between the cyber-physical world—which is the data—and the physical world—the output of the 3D printer.
“3D printing takes the digital world and makes it physical,” says Beness. “It has a very important and challenging role because it must address multitudes of data that are potentially for traditional manufacturing, and then try and make that into a physical product using additive technologies. I think that is the best way to describe industrial transformation. 3D printing takes digital files and turns them into physical objects. This is a critical part of Industry 4.0.”
Apart from this, 3D printing also enables distributed manufacturing. “You don’t need to produce all the parts and all the products at one place. Instead, you can distribute based on knowledge and available resources and bring them together,” explains Puschmann. “It’s not only a transformation with regards to new technologies, but also the transformation of existing manufacturing processes and infrastructures themselves.”
Future of Automation
The outlook for Southeast Asia needs to be in the perspective of the different markets in the region, as each is in its different stage of development when it comes to automation. “You have Vietnam becoming a new manufacturing powerhouse probably over the next few years,” says Puschmann. “Singapore is positioning itself very well in terms of industrial transformation and automation. In general, for automation to be implemented in Southeast Asia, I believe there needs to be a lot of education on the customer side as well as in universities so that there is more talent available in the market to drive the transformation.”
There is no way around it, according to Puschmann, as the industrial transformation process is going to happen. “The question is more about which industries will be first. I believe the manufacturing sector is probably one of the more difficult ones for adoption. The transformation process might take place more in the logistics space and in food production first, before it moves on to manufacturing,” says Puschmann. “Manufacturing is always unique—what is manufactured on the metal side on the one hand, and on the plastics side on another, always require different machines.”
And when it comes to automation, it can be a step-by-step process, or a transformation in one go.
“You can do it step by step, by looking at what you are manufacturing today and by potentially automating certain modules of your manufacturing process. Or, if you have the capability, the knowledge, the budget and the breadth to implement it, you can do it in one go—which bears a higher risk, of course, but also results in a faster return,” explains Puschmann. “However, if you are a medium-sized company today and you are not looking into automation at all, you might risk not existing anymore in five years’ time.”
Industry 4.0 is a very big word, which might scare a lot of people, according to Puschmann. “To really achieve Industry 4.0, you must do much more than just automate. While the first step is getting into automation, how you get into it is through education, which means taking away the apprehension of the product and helping the customer with the application. There is also a need for support on having a common understanding with the customer and on taking away the general fear by underlining that automation is not about replacing, but about giving the opportunity to businesses to upskill their people and giving them more value-added opportunities and tasks. Once you have these companies interested in automation, the next step would be integrating the automation processes into their existing platforms,” he says. “What is going to be interesting and important for us is tapping into different ecosystems of knowledge platforms and manufacturers and bringing this network effect to life. This ensures that the customer can really utilize all the different products and equipment and knowledge out there to get the best solution for them. Automation and Industry 4.0 are very complex, and I think one party alone would probably not be able to handle it. Leveraging that network effect is where DKSH can play an important role for our customers.”
Vincent Chai of Bichamp Cutting Technology talks about the landscape for bandsaw products in Southeast Asia, the latest challenges facing manufacturers when it comes to cutting, and how they are helping customers improve their processes.
Established since 2003 , Bichamp Cutting Technology (Hunan) Co. Ltd manufactures high-performance bandsaw blades. Based in Changsha in Hunan Province, China, the company—one of the leading bandsaw manufacturers worldwide—is the only bandsaw maker in China that is listed in the stock exchange.
The company manufactures blades in its latest advanced production equipment and facilities in Changsha, Hunan. Bichamp uses top global raw material components and currently have the biggest production capacity in China.
In an interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News, Vincent Chai, Regional Sales Manager ASEAN at Bichamp Cutting Technology, talked about the landscape for bandsaw products in Southeast Asia, the latest challenges facing manufacturers when it comes to cutting, and how they are helping customers improve their processes.
WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE YOU SEEING IN SOUTHEAST ASIA?
Vincent Chai: The Southeast Asia market is not as big as China or Europe, or even Japan, but we can see that over the past decade, there has been consistent growth in this market. That means there is potential for further growth here—not to the extent of what you are seeing in North America or Europe—but it is still a reasonable market.
I would say that Bichamp now is in the same stage as the other players worldwide. We are providing sawing solutions, and we are growing our technical team in this region to better service our customers. One concern with Southeast Asia is that you need to work with the right distributors in each country, and assists them in building their customer base moving forward.
Vietnam is now the fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia. Due to affordable labour and government incentives, investments are coming in more and more, especially from Japan, Singapore, they are setting up more factories and manufacturing here.
The automotive industry is also growing. Big automotive companies are setting up manufacturing plants here, as a duplicate of Thailand, and even Indonesia. I would say, maybe in five to 10 years’ time, we would see Vietnam overtake certain countries in ASEAN. As we know, Thailand is still the number one in automotive sector, followed by Indonesia.
WHAT TECHNOLOGY TRENDS ARE IMPACTING THE BANDSAW INDUSTRY?
VC: Bandsaws have been here for a few hundred years already. There are not too complicated in terms of investments in technology. The only thing is that we are now seeing different types of sawing application—from bandsaw, people are shifting to circular saws as an alternative, which we might be looking into this application in the future as we do see these kinds of trends moving toward circular saws. Of course, circular saws and bandsaws are two different things. They both have limitations—there are things bandsaws can do, which circular saw can’t, and vice versa.
It has been said that circular saws will take over bandsaws in the future. But I have been hearing this since I first started in the industry. And bandsaws are still moving up, and sales have been increasing. I don’t think there will be much difference for now but who would know what future lays ahead.
In circular saws, the limitation is the thickness of the size you can cut. At the moment, we would say that the most common size are below 200 mm in diameter; but with bandsaws, you can cut up a wide range of sizes and shapes. The range is unlimited; it depends on the type of machine you have. The bigger the machine, the bigger materials it can cut. In South East Asia, we don’t have very large cutting capacities compare to China.
But with circular saws, the bigger the machine you use, the higher costs you have. There are limited companies that would invest in this kind of big circular saws, unless they are steel manufacturers. If they produce steel, yes, I do see circular saws as big as 3m to 5m. But in the manufacturing industry, circular saws are used for machining parts, where you have consistent parts of, like, diameter 80, and you need thousands of pieces per month. Then you use circular saws—they are faster and cost effective. But if you are in an industry where you process multiple sizes to cut, and multiple materials, bandsaw is still the best.
WHAT ARE THE USUAL CHALLENGES YOUR CUSTOMERS EXPERIENCE?
VC: At present, we now have more advanced technologies, so the materials used to manufacture a product are getting more advanced as well. They get tougher and more wear-resistant. So, workpiece materials tend to be harder to cut, especially in industries like oil and gas and aerospace; they have titanium, Inconel and other superalloys. Also, we usually hear people saying they still don’t understand a lot about bandsaws. They always think that bandsaws are just simple pieces of band that cuts materials. We are here to educate users the right way to maximize their sawing operations.
VC: It’s not as technical as compared to cutting tools. We already have products that are suitable for cutting superalloy materials. Besides provide the right cutting parameters; to understand further their sawing operation, we would arrange appointments to learn more and gathered details information from machine type, workpiece materials and sizes as well as other requirements so we could further assist their operation.
WORKING CLOSELY WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS IS A VERY BIG FACTOR TO SUCCESS.
VC: Yes, and also with distributors, because they are the frontliners. We don’t do direct sales. Most of the bandsaw manufacturers appoint distributors, they are the frontline. They go out to do the selling and servicing . How we support them is by constantly doing joint visits with them, as well as updating their training to improve their technical competency. The more I get involve in the market, the more we could understand the market demands.
DO YOU HAVE ANY FINAL COMMENTS?
VC: In the future, I would believe that companies from China would be a very strong competitor to those forerunners because bi-metal bandsaw is not a sophisticated technological advance product. It is more about customer service. I am sure that we would be strong globally moving forward, because we have a team of global sales that understands. Bichamp believes in investing in the right people.
The machines may not be running, but you need to monitor and maintain your metalworking fluid anyway. A production stop, triggered by a virus or anything else, may also be a good opportunity to clean your machines and fill them with new coolant.
Chemistry and microbiology continue to be active in your water-miscible metalworking fluid even when the machines are not running. The fluid doesn’t circulate anymore and there’s no supply with fresh emulsion. All this can lead to severe problems such as bad smell, corrosion of machine parts and splitting of the emulsion.
You therefore need to decide whether you maintain your coolant during the production stop or whether it’s a good opportunity to dispose your old coolant, clean your machines and get them ready for future production.
Two options – maintain or dispose
Water-miscible metalworking fluids cannot be left on their own. They need to be monitored and maintained regularly to ensure the stability of the emulsion. Cutting and grinding oils do not need any specific precautions. However, the production stop may be a good opportunity to clean the machines and change to a new oil.
Blaser Swisslube has compiled knowledge and recommendations for coolant care and machine cleaning and will help you find the solution that is best for you.
What is the most accurate way to check if a measuring tool works within its specifications? Guillaume Bull, product manager at Creaform, explains in this article.
When replacing old measuring equipment, it is common to validate that both the old device and the new device measure the same data and provide quality control (QC) with the same results. To do this, correlation tests are performed.
To facilitate and speed up the work, it is tempting to test a regularly manufactured part. After all, its specifications are well known. However, this choice of part may lead to a false diagnosis and an incorrect conclusion regarding the accuracy of the new measuring device.
Therefore, the most accurate way to check if a measuring tool works within its specifications is to use a calibrated artefact for which measurements have been previously validated and the data is traceable.
Using a common artefact for the old device and the new device helps to minimize the variables that can influence the correlation tests. Among these variables, which will induce measurement differences, are the extraction methods that are different from one technology to another, the alignment methods that are rarely the same, software that does not process or calculate data in the same way, the setups that are generally different depending on the technologies, and the environment that, if not maintained exactly the same, will greatly influence the measurements.
Using a calibrated and traceable artefact enables operators to validate that both devices work within their specifications. As a result, if the measurements taken on this calibrated artefact give the right value, we will know for sure that the measuring devices work properly.
A manufacturing company working in the automotive industry wants to replace its CMM with a 3D scanner. In order to validate the new equipment, a correlation test is performed between the two devices—the old and the new. When the two measurements are compared, there is a difference; the instruments do not correlate with each other. Why? Should we not get the same measurement on both instruments? What is causing this difference? Since we know that the old equipment has been accurate historically, should we conclude that the new equipment has an accuracy issue?
When testing for correlations between two types of equipment (i.e., comparing the measurements obtained on the same part with two instruments), there are many variables that can induce errors in the measurements. These variables include extraction and alignment methods, software calculation, setup, and environment.
We measure the same part, but we do not extract the same points with one measuring tool as we do with the other tool. The consequence is a difference in measurement due to the imperfection of the geometry of the part. Indeed, when we probe a surface plan by taking a point at the four corners, this method does not consider the surface defaults of the plan. Conversely, if we scan this plan, we measure the entire surface and get the flatness. Therefore, if the surface has a slight curve, the scanned plan might be misaligned compared to the probed plan. Thus, there will be a difference in measurement between the two methods.
We measure the same part, but we use two different methods of alignment. The consequence is a slight difference in the alignment method, which can lead, due to leverage, to large deviations at the other end of the part. Even if the same method of alignment is used, as mentioned above, a difference in the extraction method of the features used in the alignment can lead to a misalignment of the part. The positioning values are based on the alignment, which must not differ from one instrument to another, neither in the construction method, nor in the way it is measured.
We measure the same part, but we use different software that does not use the same algorithms for data processing. The consequence is a difference in the calculation of a feature from the software, even though the measured data is the same. The more complex the construction of the measurement is, the more likely it is to have deviations between calculations.
We measure the same part, but we do not have the same setup on both instruments. The consequence is different measurements of this same part. For example, a part of large dimensions is measured on a CMM. The marble on which the part is placed has an excellent flatness (30 microns). The same part is then measured with a 3D scanning system. But the surface on which the part is put has a different flatness (800 microns). As a result, the part twists and deforms slightly when placed on the second marble. Although the same part is measured, the two setups give different measurements because the support surfaces have different degrees of flatness.
We measure the same part but under different conditions. The consequence is a difference in the measurements. Indeed, if we measure an aluminium part of one meter on a CMM at an ambient temperature of 20 deg C and we measure the exact same part at 25 deg C, then the difference in temperature will result in a lengthening of the part by 115 microns at 25 deg C.
It is crucial for quality control to minimize these different variables that could lead to correlation errors. The easiest way is to use, on both instruments, a common artefact for which measurements have been previously validated and the data is traceable.
Artefacts have the distinguishing characteristics of being calibrated and traceable. All features have been previously measured and verified in a laboratory, eliminating any doubt and uncertainty regarding measurements.
A value commonly obtained with a traditional measuring instrument is not a reference value that can be relied upon 100%. The reason for this is that equipment is not an artefact. There is always uncertainty associated with any measuring instrument. Therefore, the verification, validation, or qualification of a measuring instrument cannot be done with any part for which dimensions have not been previously validated.
The only way to certify that a measuring tool works within its specifications is to compare it with an artefact whose dimensions are calibrated in a known laboratory. Only an artefact makes it possible to correlate measurements between equipment because only an artefact can subtract all the variables that could interfere with the measurement. Thanks to an artefact, there is no doubt; the equipment measures accurately.
If two devices get the same measurement with an artefact, but do not correlate on a specific part, then the difference is not attributable to the instruments. Rather, it will result from measurement processes that will need to be checked and scrutinized further to obtain the desired measurement.
Here are some of the latest developments in magnetic clamping technology. Article by Schunk.
The clamping status of the SCHUNK MAGNOS square pole plates is displayed on the patented status display (green). The status can also be monitored and transmitted to the machine control system via the SCHUNK KEH plus control unit.
The electrically activated permanent magnetic clamping technology is considered an insider tip when it comes to reducing set-up time and low-deformation clamping of workpieces. With a bit of design finesse, even large-sized components can be clamped deformation-free in a matter of seconds and machined from five sides. Even in the field of standard modules, development is not standing still: Modern magnetic chucks allow visual or automated monitoring of the clamping process.
The secret of deformation-free workpiece clamping by means of a magnet lies, on the one hand, in the movable pole extensions and, on the other, in the optimized interfering contours. Comparable with a waterbed, the movable pole extensions flexibly attach to the workpiece in the case of electrically activated square pole plates and compensate for workpiece unevenness in the first set-up. Ferromagnetic raw parts can be clamped in this way deformation-free and machined in a single operation from five sides.
In the second set-up, workpiece smoothness that cannot be achieved with any mechanical clamping device is possible: plane parallelism of up to 0.02 mm is not uncommon in practice. Unlike conventional set-ups with chuck jaws or clamping claws, punctiform damage and workpiece deformation are avoided. Instead, users benefit from maximum clamping precision and achievable workpiece smoothness. This advantage comes into play especially with large-area steel plates or other deformation-sensitive workpieces.
Clamping over a large surface area minimizes vibrations, and protects the machine spindle as well as the cutting edges. Operation is very simple: the ferromagnetic workpiece is placed on top and the magnetic chuck is activated by a short current pulse. Within a few seconds, the permanent magnet ensures a long-lasting secure hold, without the need of further energy input.
Magnetic Chucks Report the Clamping Status
Figure 3: The SCHUNK MAGNOS force measuring system detects both the position of the workpieces placed on the magnetic chuck, as well as the respective clamping force. The technology study shows what intelligent magnetic clamping solutions will do for industry 4.0 in the future.
On such technology is SCHUNK’s MAGNOS square pole plates, which are now equipped with a patented status display that permanently signals the current clamping state—even if the magnetic chuck has been decoupled from the control system. This leads to zero operating errors and increased process reliability. With this technology, the machine operator always has full control no matter if the magnetic chuck on the machine table has been activated.
Another aspect is that the higher the degree of automation, the more frequently magnetic chucks are now pre-equipped, and stored like pallets in workpiece storages. Using the display, machine operators can now check at any time whether all magnetic chucks in the tool rack are properly activated.
Automated Clamping Procedure
SCHUNK also pursues the idea of simple control and monitoring of the clamping state in the modular control unit SCHUNK KEH plus. Depending on the basic version, one, two, four, or eight square or radial pole plates can be controlled with it—either directly or by using connection boxes via the control unit. The control unit provides information about the current clamping status of the magnetic chucks at any time. A 16-step holding force regulation process facilitates the alignment of the workpieces and allows the clamping of thin components.
In addition, the magnetic chucks can be operated in automated applications via 78-pin PLC connection directly from the machine control system. To ensure process reliability, a detailed monitoring of each magnetic chuck is possible. To do this, the individual clamping state is transmitted via a PLC interface to the higher level plant control. The hand remote control SCHUNK MAGNOS HABE KEH plus, in turn, allows convenient manual control of up to eight magnetic chucks as well as their individual, 16-step holding force regulation. The control continuously provides information to the operator on the individual clamping status of the connected magnet chucks via LCD display and LED. Faults are shown on the display in the form of error codes.
App for Simulating the Clamping
Via an app that SCHUNK will soon provide for iOS and Android, registered users can simulate different clamping situations on SCHUNK MAGNOS square pole or radial pole plates free of charge. For this, only the basic data on the workpiece, the cutting parameters and the type of magnetic chuck have to be entered; the app already determines whether the holding forces are sufficient for machining. With the digital tool, SCHUNK enables a very fast assessment of machining operations. In addition, users can fully use the potential reserves of magnetic clamping technology.
Intelligent Magnetic Chuck with Force Measuring System
Figure 4: Using the SCHUNK MAGNOS HABE-S plus handheld remote control, SCHUNK MAGNOS magnetic chucks are particularly easy to actuate. The current clamping status is automatically displayed. The adhesive force can be set to 16 positions.
The SCHUNK MAGNOS force measuring system takes a significant step towards smart manufacturing. The intelligent magnetic clamping solution automatically records the respective position and size of the workpieces placed on the magnetic chuck, and determines the precise individual clamping force, thus, creating the precondition for continuous process monitoring as well as for automatic adaptation of the machining parameters to the size and quality of the individual workpieces. This means that in the future, the feed rate or the cutting speed can be increased on an individual basis with a large pole cover and high clamping force, or, in the case of low pole covers or low-ferromagnetic workpieces, can be reduced in such a way that process-reliable machining is ensured.
Potential fields of application of the system include the processing of small and medium batches with automated parts handling, as well as machining operations where extensive process monitoring is required. The system paves the way for first-class, highly transparent, and flexible networked processes for Industry 4.0.
Magnetic Gripper for Machine Loading
When it comes to automated loading and unloading of machine tools, the importance of magnetic grippers with electro-permanent magnets has significantly increased. Reasons for this are the high power density and energy efficiency as well as the decidedly favourable interfering contour for handling.
The SCHUNK EGM series is designed for systems with a voltage range of > 400 V. Even the smallest size (26 mm x 98 mm) of the compact SCHUNK EGM-M monopole gripper is suitable for handling parts up to 7 kg. As the magnetic surface reaches right to the outer edge, no interfering contour needs to be taken into account. The SCHUNK Bipol grippers EGM-B, meanwhile, is designed for handling heavy and complex ferromagnetic parts, which are available with either one, two or four pairs of poles in different arrangements.
Under ideal conditions, the EGM has gripping forces between 1.2 and 22.5 kN, depending on equipment, and is designed for maximum part weights up to 147 kg and material thicknesses from 3.5 mm. The compact SCHUNK EMH magnetic gripper is designed for systems on 24 V basis: as the electronics are completely installed in the gripper and it is actuated extremely easily via the digital I/O, the components require neither space in the electrical cabinet nor an external control electronics system. In order to increase process reliability, the gripper reports both the magnetization status and the workpiece presence. At the same time, errors are signalized via an LED display on the housing. Unlike magnetic grippers, no maintenance time between activations is required, meaning high cycle times can be achieved. The SCHUNK EMH magnetic gripper is available in four sizes for workpiece weights of up to 3.5 kg, 9 kg, 35 kg, and 70 kg. For handling thin components and sheets, the magnetic holding force can be adjusted in four stages.
With uncertainties arising from travel disruptions and other circumstances due to concerns of the COVID-19 situation, Informa Markets in Thailand has decided to reschedule INTERMACH and MTA Asia 2020 to Wednesday 23rd – Saturday 26th September 2020 at Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (BITEC), Bangkok, Thailand.
In a statement, the organisers commented:
“We believe these new dates will allow more time for normality and confidence to return to the marketplace, ease travel restrictions, and provide all-around better conditions for exhibitors and visitors to engage. The INTERMACH and MTA Asia teams will reach out to all participants regarding detailed arrangements in due course.
We wish to thank those who participate and support the shows and we greatly appreciate your patience and understanding. Our sole focus remains to provide an event of enhanced quality, with more exhibitors and qualified trade buyers to make your participation a huge success. We look forward to seeing you again in September 2020.”
Mats W. Lundberg, Sustainable Business Manager at Sandvik Materials Technology (SMT), evaluates the circular approach in the metalworking industry.
How old is your mobile phone? If you’re thinking about your current device, it’s likely that you change it every couple of years following the release of a fancy new upgrade.
In reality, mobile telephones as old as the brick-like, antennae inventions of the 1980s probably remain in landfills. With many of our planet’s environmental issues linked to human consumption, it’s time to rethink our ‘take-make-dispose’ economy.
Technology moves fast—even at the time of a new product launch, the next big thing is probably already in the pipeline. As a result, we’re creating mountains of obsolete devices that can take centuries before they begin to break down. Glass alone has no measurable decomposition period, meaning it can take over a million years before it degrades. The World Economic Forum (WEF) reports that 50 million tons of electronic waste is produced each year, which if left unchecked could rise to more than double by 2050.
But it’s not just digital devices that are creating a backlog of waste. As urbanisation, industrialisation and population increase around the world, the amount of waste we generate continues to rise. But what if this didn’t have to be the case?
Going Full Circle
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a circular economy is “based on the principals of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use and regenerating natural systems.” By employing reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling methods to create a close-loop system, circular systems minimise the use of new materials and keep products equipment and infrastructure in use for longer.
A circular economy covers a broad scope of areas including every industry sector, resources such as metals and minerals as well as biological resources like food and fibres. It requires a complete overhaul of product management. Instead of focusing on driving more volume, companies are rethinking products and services from the bottom up to future proof their operations across the entire supply chain.
The foundation predicts that implementing the circular economy has the potential to deliver a 48 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and material cost saving of as high as 700 million US dollars per year in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) segment.
Since 1862, circularity has been a part of what we do at SMT — although that’s not what we called the process back then. At the time, it was more of a question of resource efficiency, as we would re-melt leftover scrap material during production. We still apply this ethos today, but the process has been fine-tuned and our products consist of 84 percent recycled material on average.
More Than Sustainability
But circularity doesn’t only benefit businesses from a sustainability perspective. With the introduction of any new process, advantages are often rendered useless if they do not also satisfy the needs of the business. A circular economy is capable of addressing both global sustainability challenges while achieving business value by taking care of an issue that no customer is ever thrilled to deal with—waste.
Overseeing the entire lifecycle of a product gives the business greater control of their assets. This control means that the company can effectively review its costs, while also improving spending for their customers who will benefit from selling used products, helping the business create better and longer lasting relationships with customers. By recognising that a circular economy extends business value, those across the supply chain are able to understand the value of the model.
Making the Shift
Circularity is nothing new for Sandvik Machining Solutions (SMS), as Lars Ederström, Project Lead for Sustainability and Governance at SMS, explains, the business model and a buy-back program has been in play since the 1990s.
“In 2006, Sandvik Coromant launched a customer buy-back program that allowed customers to return their used products so that we could recycle them and reclaim key materials such as tungsten and other rare precious metals,” says Ederström.
The program has since increased in volume and it is now a valuable process for SMS’s customers and its operations.
“Our customers appreciate that we manage this end-of-life process for them,” Ederström says. “In addition to lightening the burden of managing used products, we are also helping our customers contribute to the circular system and make a real difference to the sustainability of our industry.”
Our goal at Sandvik Group is to become more than 90 percent circular by 2030. To achieve this, we’ve recognised a number of areas where we can improve our material management, including recycling steel and cemented carbide as part of a comprehensive buying back program. Achieving this goal will be tough, even for us seasoned circularity veterans, but we’re ready to evolve a process that has been part of our DNA for the past 158 years.
SMS will also be placing stricter demands on its suppliers of raw materials and packaging, requiring them to increase their use of secondary and recycled materials. This will help ensure that not only the division’s own products contribute to the circular economy, but the materials it purchases will also be based increasingly on used materials.
It’s time to make the shift. A circular economy will not only help businesses achieve sustainability goals and make a real difference to our planet’s emission levels, but switching from a linear way of working will also help achieve real business value. Making the mot of used products ultimately creates a whole new level to the supply chain and, who knows, maybe even our retro Nokia mobile phones could make their way back into the cycle.
Pat Boland, co-founder of ANCA talks about electric vehicle manufacturing, their new motor temperature control technology, and his outlook for the year. Article by Stephen Las Marias.
Founded in 1974, ANCA is one of the leading manufacturers of CNC grinding machines, motion controls, and sheet metal solutions. The company has manufacturing plants in Melbourne, Australia, and in Rayong, Thailand, as well as offices in the UK, Germany, China, India, Japan, Brazil, and the United States.
Pat Boland is the co-founder and joint managing director of ANCA. In an interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN), he talked about how their industry has changed over the past decades, trends driving the cutting tool industry, and the latest technologies in CNC machines.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MILESTONES THAT THE COMPANY HAS HAD OVER THE YEARS?
Pat Boland (PB): It’s been an interesting 45 years that ANCA has been operating, starting with some very simple four-axis machines, up to complex multi-axis machines today.
One of the key enablers for our machines is software. ANCA has pioneered several aspects of CNC tool, cutter and grinder technology, and in particular, key software features. We were the first company to integrate in-machine measurement using a probe—measuring the geometry of the cutting tool and adapting the program to regrind it.
We were the first to introduce full 3D simulation, which generates an accurate 3D model of the tool to be produced. This revolutionised the operation of machines because previously, people had to grind the part, look at it, and then make adjustments. With the simulation, it is possible to completely do that offline and be very confident of what you are going to produce in the machine.
ANCA is known for its innovation. We have our own unique form of servo motors to drive all our machines. We call them tubular linear motors—the introduction of which increased our technological capabilities significantly.
ONE OF YOUR NEW PRODUCTS, THE GCX LINEAR, IS TARGETED FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES (EV). HOW DO YOU SEE THE DEVELOPMENT IN THIS SECTOR?
PB: There are many changes in the sector, which have broad impacts in the wider industry. The pending move to EVs is one of those items. In some ways, the machine tool industry is going to be affected very significantly by the simplification of the drive train of the EV compared to internal combustion engine. That will impact us in terms of demand for cutting tools.
However, there are some aspects in EV manufacturing, such as a large number of very accurate, small gears required for the electric gear boxes where efficiency is absolutely critical. Among those are the internal gears. Traditional methods of manufacturing internal gears such as shaper cutters are relatively slow and have geometrical limitations. But an old concept, called skiving, is becoming very popular to manufacture these internal gears.
However, the difficulty with skiving is that every gear design requires a special cutter design, and for Class A, AA cutters, the accuracy of the cutters is extraordinarily tight.
The GCX is based on our TX7, but we have undertaken several developments such as improving the accuracy and efficiency of the machine for manufacturing skiving cutters. With software, we have a complete solution for the design and simulation of the skiving cutters, and the actual simulation of the skiving process.
So, the cutter can be designed, and the actual grinding path for that design can be generated. On the machine, we have redesigned several elements to really step up the accuracy. There is a new headstock, a new dressing technology, and other technologies such as an acoustic emission monitoring system. We also have motor temperature control or MTC (patent pending), which we developed for skiving gear tool grinding, where we actively measure and control the temperature of all the rotary motors in the machine—the dressing spindles, the grinding spindles, the axis turning the cutter.
I am proud of MTC – our constant temperature spindle control because from an engineering point of view, it is very simple, but it has a big impact on the performance of the machine. And it is something different, and to my knowledge, something unique. Just by changing the firmware and the drive system for the spindle, we were able to hold the temperature, and really have quite a significant impact on the actual stability and performance of the machine. I think it is a breakthrough.
TELL US MORE ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY?
PB: What we did is, when you run an electric motor, by changing the parameters, you can change the losses in the electric motor. And by changing the losses in the motor, we can regulate the temperature. You set a set point, say 27 deg C: if the temperature is 26 deg C, the machine will deliberately increase the losses in the motor to heat it up until it gets to 27 deg C. Then, if the temperature is over, the machine can reduce the losses to regulate that temperature.
As far as I know, it is unique. The spindle is a key component. When you get a temperature rise, you will get dimensional variation in the position of the wheel, the grinding wheel, or the cutting tool. Maintaining a very accurate temperature improves the basic dimensional accuracy of the machine.
WHAT ARE ITS BENEFITS?
PB: Typically, you must warm up a machine by running it through a cycle to get to a working temperature. That takes around half an hour. With this technology, heating the spindle up can reduce that half an hour to maybe 10 minutes. That’s cost saving. And then of course, while you are grinding, you reduce the dimensional variation.
This offers users improved accuracy and stability. We are talking about lights out manufacturing. Everything you can do to keep things stable in that lights out environment is a benefit. We are currently using it in some of our machines: the CPX and GCX Linear. When this technology goes through the rest of our machines, I think it will be highly popular with our customers in terms of improved dimensional stability.
WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THIS YEAR?
PB: By nature, I am always a bit of a pessimist, and there is a lot happening in the world to cause worry. But the world changes so quickly. China is such a large and diversified industrial market that I think business is going to be tougher there, but nevertheless, it will still be very significant business. Meanwhile, I see ASEAN countries still have a lot of opportunities for growth.
Overall, I expect probably a continuation of the cyclical downturn—but I don’t know how long that cycle is actually going to last. However, we will continue to provide innovative solutions for our customers who may be looking to diversify in response to market trends.
In response to the ongoing global health crisis caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, Siemens is making its Additive Manufacturing (AM) Network along with its 3D printers, available to the global medical community to speed design and production of medical components.
The AM Network connects users, designers and 3D-print service providers to enable faster and less complicated production of spare parts for machines like ventilators. The Siemens AM network is available globally and covers the entire value chain – from upload and simulation to checking the design up to the printing process and associated services.
“Having worked on Additive Manufacturing for years, we offer AM solutions along the entire value chain and can print 3D parts quickly according to acute demands. To help fight COVID-19, we have opened our AM Network for hospitals and other health institutions needing spare medical parts to efficiently manage their design and printing requests”, said Klaus Helmrich, Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG and CEO Siemens Digital Industries.
Siemens’ designers and engineers are a part of the AM Network so they can answer design requests and help convert designs into printable files. Afterwards, these components can be printed via medically certified 3D printers of partner companies that are also part of the AM Network.
In addition to numerous 3D printers from partner companies, Siemens’ 3D printing machines are also connected to the network and if suitable, will also be used to locally print components and spare parts for medical devices. Printing capacities from additional service providers can easily be added to the AM Network.