How can Schuler Expert Assistance networking solutions in forming technology increase not only process reliability, but also cost-effectiveness in production? By Simon Scherrenbacher, corporate communications, Schuler
Many operators wish that their system can tell them exactly what the problem is. In the age of the Industrial Internet, machines that communicate are no longer something to aspire to in the future.
Guiding The Setup Process
Schuler Expert Assistance Setting up transfer presses, for instance, is often a task reserved for absolute professionals: Harmonising the press, transfer and coil line for maximum productivity calls for a high level of expertise and skill. The Smart Assist from Schuler’s Smart Press Shop makes it easier for press operators to setup presses.
The electronic assistant guides the user through the process step-by-step with the aid of videos and graphics, optimises the movement curves of the slide and transfer automatically, and transfers the data to the overall system.
“Smart Assist considerably speeds up the process of setting up transfer presses”, explained chief technology officer Dr Stephan Arnold. “It ensures that parts are always transported reliably, and the fully-automatic optimisation of the movement curves, including acceleration and setting angle, also increases the output rate.”
Smart Assist—which also runs in addition to the press control system on a tablet or similar mobile end device—requests to move the slide and the transfer to specific positions one after the other. If the press operator presses “Teach”, these positions are stored. In this way, Smart Assist records the minimum transfer lift stroke required and all other relevant data.
The Schuler Expert Assistance optimum movement curves of the slide and transfer are then calculated based on the information collected and the parameters determined are transferred to the press control system. Practically all that remains for the operator to do is press the start button.
Needless to say, professionals are still sought after: In Expert mode, free programming of the movement curves of the slide and transfer is permitted—for asymmetrical transfer movements to further minimise spacing, for example. This enables even the last percent to be teased out to provide a maximum output rate for the transfer press.
Quick Help Via Smartphone
Expert assistance is now available right at the machine with the Service app. Customers can quickly obtain answers to their questions and help in solving a problem via their smartphones, as experts assess images and videos, for example, sent to them via the app. “The Service App enables us to provide even better support for our customers, increase the availability of their systems and minimise downtime,” said managing director Axel Meyer, head of the service division at Schuler.
“In general, problems are solved more quickly by engaging in a dialog with the experts from Schuler via the software, which offers intuitive operation. Customers receive assistance from us via their smartphones, while they are still standing next to their presses,” Mr Meyer added.
The cause of the problem is relatively easily found with the aid of the photos or videos that the customer has taken on-site at the line using the app, with the problem ideally solved there and then. If a component needs to be replaced, then the user can record it using the camera on their smartphone and send a request to Service straight away with the aid of the part number.
Providing New Insights
The Machine Monitoring System (MMS) provides new insights into presses: With the aid of comprehensive system monitoring, availability can be increased, production and parts quality can be improved, and energy consumption can be lowered.
The system monitoring model combines a variety of existing solutions. An integral part of the MMS is the intelligent diagnostics, which automatically archives and evaluates physical variables and control states when specific events occur. This enables rapid fault analysis.
The state monitoring function monitors the system at regular intervals for damage and wear, using torque curves and structure-borne noise analyses, for example. Thanks to this state-based maintenance, components only need to be replaced when they have actually reached the end of their life, and not just because they have been in operation for a specific amount of time.
When it comes to process monitoring, the focus is on machine protection. Permanent logging of parameters such as press force or vibration progression enables a cycle-accurate response in real time, where necessary. Process reliability is thereby also improved.
Energy monitoring involves recording and evaluating all measured variables which are relevant for energy efficiency and network quality, such as power consumption, voltage dips or harmonics. This means that not only can system operators save energy costs, in some circumstances they can also obtain investment grants and favourable loans.
The production data acquired includes all planned and unplanned downtimes including their causes, fault messages, target/actual production and the quality of the parts. In this way, the system operators gain an overview of the production status and a basis for calculating the overall equipment efficiency.
Last but not least, all quality-relevant data is recorded and archived for each part produced. This enables the manufacturer to provide the necessary proof for items such as safety parts.
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