Flexibility and efficiency are becoming crucial requirements for the industry. Salvagnini explains the impact of automation at each step of the production process.
Rapid industrial developments of recent years continue to set tough challenges. Because industry has changed: flexibility and efficiency are crucial requirements for managing increasingly smaller batches, rapid item turnover rate and tight lead times. And it is precisely in this context that automation is attracting more and more attention.
Flexible automation means transforming packs of sheet metal into a wide variety of products, in a lean environment and with no intervention by the operator, in a progressive production process, using proprietary punching, cutting, bending and panel bending technology. Automation therefore has an impact on three successive levels:
- the first level is that of the individual production phase, which horizontally exploits the potential of extremely high-performing, autonomous and intelligent systems;
- the second level is that of activities with low added value, which typically occur upstream and downstream of these individual systems, with preparatory and/or connection functions;
- the third level is that of the process which, where appropriately organised, benefits exponentially from the sum of advantages offered by the previous two levels.
In practice, the result of an automated, organised process can exceed the sum of the benefits obtained in each individual activity and by eliminating any redundant intermediate activities. How? Let’s take a detailed look at the production process.
Optimising Individual Production Phases
We have already mentioned the progressive shift from a make-to-stock strategy, with large batches, towards a lean, make-to-order, just-in-time strategy based on medium and small batches and an increasingly variable production mix. And the industrial scenario is moving increasingly towards a substantial reduction in work-in-progress, eliminating the intermediate storage of semi-finished parts.
To respond to this variability and uncertainty, the market is looking more and more to flexible production systems. Being competitive today does not merely mean having fast single part production: the challenge lies in production efficiency, the ability to move from one production code to the next with the shortest re-tooling time, whatever the geometric and mechanical characteristics of the metal sheet and the type and number of jobs. Flexible systems are a decisive factor for managing production today, but also for improving quality and reducing lead times and scrap.
Salvagnini has been designing, producing and selling flexible systems for sheet metal working for over fifty years, and flexible automation has always been part of the company’s DNA. Its solutions are targeted to increase the efficiency of a specific production phase. This includes the panel bender—a machine which more than any other represents the spirit of the Group, precisely because it combines cutting-edge technology with productivity, autonomy, and flexibility. With universal bending tools, it requires no re-tooling, and machines the whole range of thicknesses and materials, adapting automatically to the size and geometry of the part to be produced, in cycle, without machine downtimes or manual re-tooling.
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