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Enabling Flexible 3D Laser Cutting

Enabling Flexible 3D Laser Cutting

There has been an increasing demand for laser cutting machines suited for high-mix, low-volume applications. Here’s one development targeted in that area. Article by Trumpf.

In the face of an increasingly volatile market, a growing number of product variants, and shorter delivery times, the picture is clear that the sheet metal industry is getting more complex and lot sizes are falling. This trend, in turn, creates a demand for machines that are suited for small and medium lot sizes and for applications where fast set up times are required.

READ: Artificial Intelligence In Bending

On the other hand, while investment costs are important, operating costs play an equally—if not even more important—role.

In line with this, Trumpf has launched the TruLaser Cell 5030, an entry-level machine for flexible 2D and 3D laser cut processing with small and medium quantities.

The TruLaser Cell 5030 features magnetic coupling that minimizes mechanical damage to the machine, enabling work to continue quickly and precisely in the event of a collision, without the need for a service technician. Although there are manufacturers who also offer magnetic coupling, the difference is that the optics for the TruLaser Cell 5030 are completely disconnected and offer a much higher degree of freedom and reduce the risk of damage. It also offers the possibility to be disconnected in the Z – direction on top of the X and Y direction.

Low-cost Production

Cut contour without
adaptive feed control.

Investment costs are important, but operating costs play an equally—if not even more important—role. Compared to hybrid and sheet-mover machines, the TruLaser Cell 5030 reduces hourly operating costs by up to 20 percent. The energy efficient and low maintenance TruDisk laser enables significant improvements in energy efficiency during production without compromising on cutting speed and productivity.

The X-Blast Technology has twice the cutting range, and the cutting nozzle can work at a greater distance to the sheet metal, which would result in fewer nozzle collisions and better edge quality as compared to conventional cutting technologies.

READ: TRUMPF Enables Automated Removal, Stacking of Parts

It possesses the flexibility that job shops require for cutting mild steel, stainless and aluminum sheets, but also shaped blanks for the automotive and motorcycle industry. The machine requires 30 percent less space, which means precious space in the production hall is made available

In summary, the time to setup a part on the TruLaser Cell 5030 will be shorter compared to a sheet moving system, which translates to additional savings.

Fast, Faster, Fastest

Cut contour with
adaptive feed control.

Apart from achieving low-cost production, owners are looking at getting their end product cut within the shortest time. But, apart from just having a quick machine that cuts fast, application is also a contributing factor in achieving fast cutting.

READ: TRUMPF Workmate: Digital Assistant for Sheet Metal Fabrication

There are many options available to choose from, for instance, if you are cutting thick materials or sheets. The Brightline Fiber enables the user to achieve high-quality cutting results while enjoying the benefits of thin sheet processing with a solid-state laser, most notable at high cutting speeds.

  1. Top cutting quality: You can create high-quality cutting edges in thick sheet with BrightLine fiber function. The optimized kerf makes part removal easier and saves time.
  2. Top part quality: BrightLine fiber combines special optics with flow-optimized BrightLine nozzles and the switchable 2-in-1 cable. The result of this is that you achieve maximum part quality. The smooth cutting edges ensure that your parts do not get caught during removal, saving you a great deal of time.

Work Smart While Cutting Fast

As for owners who are cutting mild steels, which are typically less resistant to corrosion, maintaining the optimum feed rate in cases where the thickness of the material varies within a single sheet, or where the top of the sheet is contaminated with rust or paint would lead to slag formation or interruptions in the cutting process, is no longer an issue.

READ: One Technology—Many Benefits

Active Speed Control enables constant monitoring of the cutting process with a live view through the nozzle. The sensor system observes the kerf, determines the optimal feed, and readjusts if necessary—hundreds of times per second. This minimizes cutting interruptions caused by material differences such as fluctuations in sheet thickness, rust, or coating contaminations. In the event of a potential cutting flaw, Active Speed Control stops the machine, and the TruTops Monitor software immediately informs the operator that intervention is necessary. Active Speed Control also reduces the formation of burrs and dross. The minimized reject rate leads to lowered parts costs and improves process reliability, while only requiring minimum operator involvement with the machine.

Comparison Between Laser Cutting With and Without Feed Control

Cut contour without adaptive feed control

Material bulging can easily happen when flame cutting mild steel without Active Speed Control. This will lead to unclean cuts in certain areas. Ultimately, the feed needed to be stopped entirely, as a cutting flaw had occurred. This results in faulty parts and rejects.

READ: TRUMPF Discusses Opportunities For Growth In Vietnam

Cut contour with adaptive feed control

Active Speed Control creates a clean cut, largely without a large amount of spatter or spatter residue. As rust and surface contaminations lead to automatic control and adjustment of the cutting head feed, cutting flaws are prevented effectively.

The World of Sheet Metal Processing

Nothing sums sheet metal laser cutting up more perfectly than a Grand Prix race. The power that the car effectively transfers to the road is important in a race. The same would also apply to laser cutting—only a carefully thought out machine concept, where all components are coordinated with one another, allows the laser and machine to apply the full power to the sheet metal. So how do you win a race? By skipping the pit stops.

Eliminate Pits Stops by Cutting More With Less

With the Highspeed Eco cutting procedure, you can set speed records for nitrogen cutting with solid-state lasers. Depending on the sheet thickness, the sheet throughput is increased by up to 100 percent with consistent laser power, and you can reduce gas consumption by 70 percent.

Its benefits are as follows:

  1. Speed
    1. Productivity and feed speed increased by up to 100 percent.
    2. Shortest piercing time and maximum acceleration.
  1. Extremely economical
    1. Cutting gas can be reduced by up to 70 percent, while cutting gas pressure can be reduced by up to 60 percent.
    2. Reduced power consumption.
  1. Robust
    1. Even on uneven ground.
    2. Resistant to spatter and collisions.

Overall, Highspeed Eco enables extremely smooth and high-quality cutting process with minimal oxidation on the lower edge and minimum burr formation, even in acute angles.

 

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Industrial Companies To Present New Standard For Positioning Technologies At Hannover Messe

Industrial Companies To Present New Standard For Positioning Technologies At Hannover Messe

In an initiative led by TRUMPF, some 60 industrial companies will present omlox, the new standard for positioning technology, at Hannover Messe. This standard will serve to jointly connect tracking technologies such as ultra-wideband, RFID, 5G and GPS. With this move, these companies are responding to the rising tide of positioning solutions in industrial manufacturing.

“The goal of the initiative is to make it easier for industrial customers to use hardware and software from different vendors. This saves the end customer time and money,” says Thomas Schneider, Managing Director Research & Development at TRUMPF. Many of today’s radio technologies only work on their own. Now all positioning data are to be displayed in a uniform coordinate system. This will facilitate industry customers’ efforts to integrate solutions from multiple vendors.

A quick, affordable way to connect solutions from different providers

omlox is very much about connecting the heart of the supply chain, the factory. To determine distances with accuracy on a centimeter scale, positioning solutions have to cope with disruptive factors such as metal that deflects radio waves. Ultra-wideband (UWB) has proven its merits as a highly robust radio technology. Take, for example, automated guided vehicles and drones. They find it easier to calculate their positions and are better able to navigate with the help of these radio waves. To date, it has not been possible to connect solutions from different suppliers. The new standard will change that. Much like plug-and-play USB and Bluetooth consumer technology, it provides the means to directly connect and combine devices from different vendors.

Industry partners from Europe, the USA and Asia

Industry partners from all over Europe, Asia and the USA have committed to the new UWB standard. These companies include the software vendors and IT service providers GFT and T-Systems, the sensor manufacturers SICK AG and Pepperl+Fuchs AG, the research institute CEA Leti, the software vendor Heidelberg Mobil and the tracking solutions provider BeSpoon. Some 15 of these enterprises will be at Hannover Messe to present the omlox initiative at its public unveiling. At booth D34 in hall 17, they will demonstrate how multiple vendors’ positioning solutions can work together. Companies are welcome to join the omlox initiative. Once the fair is over, an independent organisation will be tasked with continuing to develop the standard while treating all the project partners equally and fairly.

 

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Artificial Intelligence In Bending

Artificial Intelligence In Bending

Manufacturers are now adopting artificial intelligence (AI) to further create value for the customers. But how would AI be applied to sheet metal bending? In this article, Melvin Tham, Regional Technology Expert – Bending, for TRUMPF, explains.

Using conventional press brakes to achieve high accuracy for sheet metal is challenging due mainly to the property of the material, where its elasticity varies according to its composition and grain direction. Therefore, the process would usually take a longer time as it requires more knowledge and skill in order to achieve higher accuracy.

In today’s industrial environment, machines are loaded with functions to ensure that the manufactured parts are precise and consistent with minimal human/operator intervention, and manufacturers are now adopting artificial intelligence (AI) to further create value for the customers. But how would AI be applied to sheet metal bending?

Automatic Set Up

Given the current high-mix, low-volume market demand, the system must be easily set up within minutes to cater for a job change over. Therefore, a self-centring tooling system would be most ideal. With an automatic tool changer, there is no longer a need for alignment as the tools are automatically placed in position and integrated into the machine. It has three to four times more storage capacity than the machine’s bending length, all just to ensure a quick changeover and without the hassle of tool shortage.

Positioning and Angle Accuracy of Part

Since the bending process is now automatic, the quality of the parts has to be checked automatically as well. Such system would require high dynamic functions such as the backgauge. The backgauge with an axis tolerance of ±0.02 mm and the angle sensor tool with tolerance at ±0.5 deg are required to ensure that the part is placed accurately in position and angle tolerance is achieved by an angle checking device.

Sensors of the backagauge are necessary for the identification of the part in position. Without this, the part would not be able to achieve its desired flange length.

An automatic detection of the angle needs to be equipped to determine the correct angle to be achieved for each bend. With Automatic Controlled Bending (ACB), the total completion time to bend, calculate and adjust will take less than a second!

Identification of Parts and Positioning Compensation

The system must be able to detect the correct part to pick up and automatically determine the datum point to compensate positioning error. It is important to define the datum point so that all bending sequence and positioning accuracy can be referenced.

Although a structured stand that pre-fixed the part datum point can be achieved, the best possible solution will be with a high-resolution and precise camera profile detection that is flexible and automatic. This camera device could detect the sheet stack, height and fine profile of the part for single sheet without the need to specifically prepare sheet in a fixed position. With such function, a lot of time is saved from the preparation for defining, picking and loading of parts.

Gripper Technology

The grippers picking up the parts are of critical importance as well. Our grippers are designed with the concept of holding the parts as firmly as a human hand would. The gripper can be used for multiple parts and the suction cups can be pneumatically turned on or off to cater to different profiles and gripping area.

CAM-assisted Offline Programming

Software plays a very important role in automation. It should be able to strategically control all movement offline with intuitive graphical teaching.

In the past, robot movements are codings that are entered line by line in order to perfect a smooth travel path. With advanced software like TruTops Bend Automation, not only are we are able to graphically teach the movement from one point to another, we can also teach the robot to flip, load and unload the part. The software enables us to run a simulation prior to the actual process.

Robotic Movement and Payload

There are many robotic equipment in the market, with some having more than eight axis of movement and payload of more than 1,000 kg! So how do we know which is suitable?

In bending, it is always the working area within the press brake and robotic system. The bigger the working capacity means there is a better flexibility on the type of profile that can be bent.

The longer the trackway of the robot arm, the more parts can be prepared for loading and unloading. This is to ensure that the machine is always filled with part for continuous production and not idling or waiting for parts. There are also possibilities that the finish part can be stacked in cage or drop box.

The higher the payload means a bigger robot arm would be required. When the arm gets too big, there is a minimum distance of limitation due to the kinetic movement, therefore small parts cannot be picked up. Hence, it is important to define the size of the product before the selection of the automatic bending cell. This will make it easier to select the type of press brake and robotic arm for the job.

With all the necessary functions that are in place to ensure the output quality of the parts, the production is all ready for artificial intelligence bending!

 

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Siemens Addresses Overheating Challenges In Additive Manufacturing

Siemens Addresses Overheating Challenges in Additive Manufacturing

Siemens Digital Industries Software has released the Additive Manufacturing (AM) Path Optimizer, a beta technology integrated in NX software to help customers solve overheating challenges and help reduce scrap and increase production yield to achieve the industrialization of AM, or the use of AM at the industrial scale.

Siemens has developed this next generation advanced simulation technology to help maximize the production yield and quality of powder bed fusion manufactured parts. This latest extension of Siemens’ end-to-end additive manufacturing solution feeds the digital thread, informing each step of the industrialized additive manufacturing process.

Building on the Simcenter Additive Manufacturing Process Simulation solution announced in November 2018, AM Path Optimizer complements Siemens’ strategy for the digital twin of the manufacturing process and addresses errors originated from suboptimal scan strategies and process parameters. These can lead to systematic failures due to overheating, which can cause scrap and inconsistencies in component quality. The company has had success demonstrating this beta technology with TRUMPF as a partner.

“With the AM Path Optimizer, Siemens and TRUMPF can push industrialization of additive technologies further forward,” said Jeroen Risse, AM Expert at TRUMPF. “In our demonstrations, we saw an improvement of geometrical accuracy, elimination of re-coater errors caused by overheating, as well as a more homogenous surface quality. Also, the scrap rate is expected to be reduced significantly.”

The technology uses an innovative approach combining physics-based simulation with machine learning to analyse a full job file in few minutes before execution on the machine. This technology is expected to help achieve “first time right” prints and drastically reduce trial and error. It can also help reduce printing costs and enable the printing of components that are nearly impossible to achieve today.

“AM Path Optimizer is the latest innovation in Siemens’ end-to-end additive manufacturing solutions, and one that we feel will have a great impact on the use of additive manufacturing for powder bed fusion manufactured parts,” said Zvi Feuer, Senior Vice President, Manufacturing Engineering Software of Siemens Digital Industries Software. “The combination of NX for AM and our Simcenter AM technology within the Xcelerator portfolio provides our customers with key capabilities to assist manufacturers in designing and printing useful parts at scale, which is unmatched in the market.”

 

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TRUMPF Enables Automated Removal, Stacking Of Parts

TRUMPF Enables Automated Removal, Stacking of Parts

TRUMPF’s TruPunch 1000 punching machine and the TruMatic 1000 fibre punch-laser machine can now be upgraded to remove and stack parts automatically by equipping them with a SortMaster Compact. This enables users to boost the quality of parts and operate the machines over extended periods in automated mode.

TRUMPF has opted to conceal the SortMaster Compact under a movable hood in the machine. Its suction cups travel over the metal sheet and remove parts from the scrap skeleton on the machine table. They also hold sheet-metal parts in place when the machine makes the final separation stroke.

The suction cups vary in size and can be controlled individually to reliably remove even smaller parts. These can be as small as 70 by 30 mm and as large as 600 by 400 mm. The SortMaster Compact places the parts on a pallet that is carried on a standard cart. When all parts are finished, SortMaster Compact opens its hood and the operator can move the cart to the next station down the line.

TRUMPF’s SortMaster Compact complements existing automation solutions for these systems. The SheetMaster Compact automates the task of loading blanks into the two machines and unloading scrap skeleton and microjoint sheets. The built-in sorting function can also convey small parts to boxes underneath the machine. Users who initially opt for the automated sheet and skeleton sheet loading and unloading option can retrofit the SortMaster Compact. The TruPunch 1000 and TruMatic 1000 fibre’s compact footprints stay small with the SortMaster Compact.

 

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TRUMPF Workmate: Digital Assistant For Sheet Metal Fabrication

TRUMPF Workmate: Digital Assistant for Sheet Metal Fabrication

TRUMPF has unveiled its new Workmate software solution at the recently held Blechexpo 2019 in Stuttgart, Germany. Using a tablet, machine operators and assembly workers can browse information designed to make their daily work easier—from advice on setting up machines to recommendations on how parts should be packaged. By ensuring people can always access the key information they need without having to search for it, this software solution saves time and helps both experienced and untrained employees work independently and efficiently.

TRUMPF‘s Workmate helps users organize their day’s work more efficiently by providing a list of all pending jobs. It also offers a dedicated user interface for preparing jobs. Among other things, this shows the user where the parts required for the job are stored. If the parts have to be fetched from the warehouse, the operator can allocate them to the job directly in Workmate to keep stock records updated.

Workmate also provides assistance in setting up laser, punching, punch-laser and bending machines. The software tells the operator which tools the system should be equipped with to process each job. Workmate also specifies which process parameters the operator can use to configure the machine, and it allows users to track job progress while the machine is working. Once the parts are finished, Workmate helps users to remove the parts correctly and stack and label them in accordance with the job requirements.

Workmate also assists workers with manual tasks such as welding or assembly by providing detailed work instructions and safety information. What’s more, Workmate can tell users where fixtures are stored and how the parts processed for a job should be packaged. Workmate will be available from spring 2020.

 

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TRUMPF Reports Higher Sales, But Decline In Orders Received

TRUMPF Reports Higher Sales, But Decline In Orders Received

The TRUMPF Group recorded a renewed increase in sales in the 2018/19 fiscal year that ended June 30, 2019, while orders received and profits declined. Sales rose by 6.1 percent to 3.78 billion euros (3.57 billion euros in the 2017/18 fiscal year). Orders received decreased to 3.68 billion euros (3.80 billion euros in the 2017/18 fiscal year). This equals a reduction of 3.1 percent. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT)amounted to 349.3 million euros, which was 34.7 percent below the prior year figure (fiscal year 2017/18: 534.7 million euros). The EBIT margin was 9.2 percent (fiscal year 2017/18: 15.0 percent).

Development in the business divisions

In addition to the high backlog of orders from the previous year, the expansion of the EUV business field was a key driver of the TRUMPF Group’s growth in sales revenue. TRUMPF supplies special lasers to ASML, a customer in the Netherlands. These lasers are integrated into systems that use extreme ultraviolet radiation to expose chip surfaces for the computer industry.

The Machine Tools and Laser Technology business divisions were, by contrast, unable to maintain the high growth rates achieved in the previous year. Revenues for the Machine Tools division rose by a slight 1.2 percent to 2.39 billion euros (previous year: 2.36 billion euros). The Laser Technology division posted revenues of 1.38 billion euros, marginally (-2.1 percent) below the prior-year level of 1.41 billion euros. This decline was attributable to the slowing market in Asia (in particular in China and South Korea) as well as to the automotive industry’s reluctance to invest.

Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller, TRUMPF President and Chairwoman of the Managing Board, explains: “As a company operating in the investment goods sector, we are particularly exposed to the impact of cyclical highs and lows. That is currently the case. Given the uncertainty due to the U.S.–China trade conflict and the structural change in the automotive industry, many customers have become more cautious and are postponing investments.”

Investments and acquisitions

TRUMPF further pursued its strategy to enhance its technological expertise with new acquisitions. Effective April 1, 2019, TRUMPF completed the acquisition of Photonics GmbH from Philips, which it had announced in December 2018. As of the same date, the company set up a new business field, TRUMPF Photonic Components. In May 2019, TRUMPF acquired the remaining shares in the Chinese subsidiary JFY and now owns the company outright. To reflect this change, TRUMPF introduced a new organisational structure with a CEO China.

Investments in climate change mitigation: CO2-neutral production by the end of 2020

TRUMPF aims to achieve a CO2-neutral energy balance at its production sites worldwide by the end of 2020 and therefore intends to increase investments in measures to protect the climate. By its own reckoning, the company currently emits around 90,000 metric tons of CO2 worldwide per year. Of this amount, 80 percent is accounted for by electricity consumption. In this area, TRUMPF is pursuing a policy of concluding further green power contracts and purchasing certificates under carbon trading schemes to offset emissions from the combustion of heating oil, natural gas and other fossil fuels. A similar approach is being applied in markets with limited availability of renewable energies in the electricity mix. All TRUMPF sites in Germany already cover 100 percent of their electricity needs through green power contracts. Worldwide, 60 percent of the electricity needs are covered by green power contracts.

Between now and June 2021, in addition to efforts to close this gap and become 100 percent green, if necessary, by purchasing certificates, TRUMPF intends to invest some 6.4 million euros in improving energy efficiency.

 

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TRUMPF To Unveil Automated Mass 3D Printing Solution At Formnext 2019

TRUMPF To Unveil Automated Mass 3D Printing Solution At Formnext 2019

TRUMPF is set to present a new, patented solution that automatically changes substrate plates on the TruPrint 1000 3D printer. The company intends to unveil it at Formnext, the world’s leading trade show for additive manufacturing, which will be held in from November 19–22 in Frankfurt.

A function TRUMPF calls Multiplate prompts the system’s recoater to push the substrate plate into the overflow container at the end of the print run. The 3D printer then automatically goes to work on a new substrate plate. The system can immediately start the next print job without an operator having to open it and insert a new plate. This saves time, costs and resources. It also helps manufacturers avoid bottlenecks when job orders peak, because the machine can run overnight.

This solution is particularly well-suited for industries where orders tend to fluctuate greatly. One example is the dental sector, where employees often have to restart 3D printers in the middle of the night to meet delivery obligations. Many smaller dental labs lack the capacity for this, and have no choice but to decline orders. The Multiplate function solves that problem, helping them to avoid bottlenecks and remain competitive.

“With our solution, we are making a significant contribution to the industrialization of additive technologies in the dental industry,” said Florian Krist, product manager at TRUMPF Additive Manufacturing.

 

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One Technology—Many Benefits

One Technology—Many Benefits

Here’s a look at punching technology innovations and and the benefits like helping manufacturers toward their Industry 4.0 journey. Article by Trumpf.

Punching encompasses far more than just making holes in sheets. You can manufacture complete parts on a punching machine. Reshaping processes open up new dimensions for you. The versatility of the technology is the result of the wealth of tools used. With appropriate loading and unloading aids, you can even automate your production.

Monotool Punching Head Principle & Rotating Tools

The monotool punching head principle means that different tools can be exchanged into the punching head, and all of them can be rotated 360 deg.

It offers higher process reliability as the punches are always connected to the punching head in a form locking manner. Not only does it perfectly guide the tools down onto the sheet metal, it also guides them off the sheet metal in a controlled manner after the punching process.

Its reduced setup outlay provides easier handling. Tools can be used for multiple applications due to their rotational ability, resulting in fewer tool change and setup operations.

And fewer punching tools mean lower costs. Imagine the ability to create an oblong hole with every conceivable orientation in the sheet metal—with just one tool! This is really easy if the punching head is 360 deg rotatable, this works with all contours that you have a tool for, regardless of whether it is a standard or special tool. The ability of all your tools to rotate multiplies your processing options and reduces your tool requirements, and therefore your costs.

Tooling for Punching

With the increasing complexity of market requirements, sophisticated components can no longer be solved with standard tools. The need for manufacturing highly complex components in shorter amount of time require special tools, and using the right tooling is the prerequisite for successful punching.

For punching, there exists different tooling options. The Classic punching tool system is the leading tool system for punching machines. Due to the broad range of forms, shears, coatings, and accessories, you can use it with flexibility.

Another tooling option is the MultiTool, which integrates up to 10 different punching and die inserts in one tool adapter, increasing flexibility, efficiency, and productivity as different punching operations can be carried out by one tool. Additionally, forming and embossing can be carried out. Another benefit is the reduction of non-productive times due to reduced setup and tool change times.

Scratch Free Processing

When it comes to punching, the end result heavily depends on the right process, and it is crucial that the products are scratch free at the end of the process.

The basis for scratch-free processing is the use of brush tables, which provide soft support to the sheet and thereby preventing scratches and reduces noise. During positioning, the sheet slides over the brushes, which, due to their length, bend in the direction of movement.

Also, through raising brush field and support plates around dies, the contact between sheet and die will be reduced, leading to less scratches during the punching and forming.

  1. Solutions for punching-tools

Adhesive pads are pre-formed, self-stick polyethylene film and can be attached to dies, strippers and intermediate rings to prevent scratches on the workpiece. To avoid imprints and scratches on the sheet surface, a specially coated stripper can be used. The coating is also is wear-resistant and keeps material abrasion chips from sticking to it.

  1. Special die solutions

To reduce scratches for intermediate rings and dies, brushes or Ampco can be used. Ampco is a soft alloy that avoids scratches on the bottom of the sheet because of its softness and lubricant effect. Another option are descending dies that, by moving downwards during the positioning of the sheet, eliminate the contact of metal between workpiece and processing station. Active dies additionally operate a second punching head able to perform an active forming stroke from below, broadening the rage of processing strategies and tool usage and enabling new forming sizes and heights.

  1. Gentle material handling through intelligent automation

By using different automation solutions, scratches can be easily prevented before and after production. A conveyor belt with soft surface, where finished parts are ejected from the punching machine, ensures gentle handling.

Loading, unloading, stacking can be automated as well and by using a vacuum technology during these steps, scratches during part pick up, transport and deposit can be eliminated.

Skeleton free processing

Material usage optimisation not only boosts your production but also helps you save a lot. By implementing skeleton free processing, companies can increase their sheet utilization by 10 percent on average—thereby reducing material costs. Additionally, smaller bits of residual material simplify logistics and yield higher scrap prices.

Another advantage is the enhanced process-reliability achieved through the safe unloading of finished parts and small parts even when the part chute is open and through the automatic cut up and removal of residual pieces of sheet metal. Working without a scar skeleton also increases safety and is operator friendly.

Residual pieces of sheet metal can be sorted by material, and good parts and scrap are sorted to different containers. Other benefits of implementing skeleton free processing are savings in operational time by 14 percent on average, and the energy needed for the process itself: operating a punching machine instead of manufacturing a metal sheet consumes about 30-80 times less power, which in turn leads to energy savings equal to the power needed to operate a punching machine for 40 years.

Simultaneously, companies increase output rate through smaller workpieces and enhance their production, hence, significantly boosting their return on investment.

Programming

The software used to execute punching operations has a great impact on success and efficiency. Technology offers many different processing options and the right software should support users to make use of all these possibilities.

A good software should simplify the nestling process and thereby optimize material utilization and save costs. It should also reduce the effort required to generate the NC program for example by applying automatic repositioning and trimming. Choosing a software that has the option for offline programming can reduce machine down time as programmer can prepare the next programs already while the machine is running.

Additionally, settings can be predefined and adjusted to the specific needs of the company. If Industry 4.0 is a topic for your company, a software with the ability to automate processes and integrate systems to make use of Internet of Things (IoT) should be chosen.

Automation for Punching Machines

Automation can save costs and boost production, but it has to be reliable and safe to do so.

Automation can be applied to the loading of raw sheets or blanks and or pre-cut parts and the consequent unloading of finished parts, micro-joint sheets and scrap skeletons. Also, disposal of scrap skeletons and remainder strips and sorting of small parts and punching slugs can be automated with the right machinery.

There are plenty of benefits that automation in punching operation offers, for example, the increase in productivity due to high machine utilization, and reduced factory lead times. Additionally, automation increases process reliability, enhances efficiency, and improves safety during the punching process.

Automated systems typically perform the manufacturing process with less variability than human workers, resulting in greater control and consistency of product quality

Integrated tool management

Automation can come into play even before the punching process is carried out. Before punching, suitable tools have to be selected and set up in the machine. Tool availability, proper assembly and accuracy of tool data in the machine control have to be checked, which is all very time consuming.

With integrated tool management, these steps can be automated—reducing search and setup times. The central data management makes data available anytime, anywhere, and enables direct data transfer between machines.

Tool management automation also increases efficiency of inventory management, productivity and process reliability, as the tools and tool lengths and changes are recorded, while the punch-stripper and die combinations and tool suitability are checked by the system automatically.

The Future of Punching

Punching technology has continuously developed in the last few years, and high-quality punching tools now do not leave any punching burr. Set up, sorting and removal is easier than ever before.

The demand for customer’s quality requirements is increasing, while the batch sizes are decreasing. It is therefore important to make precise calculations, but this is not exactly easy when a part is manufactured on several machines. The solution? Combining two technologies: punching and laser cutting into a single machine. And the benefits are below:

  1. A combination that pays off

The punching head reaches standard contours and formings, while the laser cuts more complex contours, allowing you to produce a wide range of parts and even complete challenging orders on a single machine.

  1. Lean logistics: Gain freedom

Integrate cutting, punching and forming processes on a single machine will reduce your calculation risk and the floor space required. Reduced waiting times and workflows such as setup and handling allow you to make multiple savings.

  1. Combined processing: Best quality

Combining fits or forming with laser cutting not only reduces the waste you produce but allows you to manufacture high-precision components in a quality that was not possible to achieve when processing on several machines.

  1. Short process chain: Simple logistics

With the right automation, your machine handles all parts automatically—loading, producing, sorting, stacking, unloading, and storing. There are virtually no limits to its loading and unloading capacity, therefore your machine works around the clock as needed.

 

Check out these articles:

Gehring Laser Technology Helps VW Develop High-Efficiency Engine

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Bystronic “TiltPrevention” Solution Optimises Laser Cutting Processes

3D Printing The Future Of E-Mobility Tools

 

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TRUMPF Discusses Opportunities For Growth In Vietnam

TRUMPF Discusses Opportunities For Growth In Vietnam

At the recent MTA Vietnam 2019 trade show in Ho Chi Minh City, Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN) spoke with Patrick Kemnitz, General Director of TRUMPF Vietnam and Head of Business Development for Southeast Asia, and Edward Yuen, General Manager for Singapore and Vietnam, about the trends shaping the metalworking industry in the region, challenges and opportunities for growth. They also provided their insights on where the Southeast Asian market is headed in the next years.

WHAT OPPORTUNITIES ARE YOU SEEING IN VIETNAM?

Patrick Kemnitz (PK): Vietnam is a strong and steadily growing market, with a GDP of around five to seven percent. Vietnamese companies have been getting more and more jobs from foreign markets, especially with the ongoing trade war between the United States and China.

This is the current situation. But in the long run, we see huge potential in the Vietnamese market. Its huge population of labour entering the workforce is also a very high potential for growth.

In almost all industries where sheet metal products are needed, such as furniture, elevators, construction, automotive, bicycle, there is an opportunity for doing these metal products locally instead of importing them. So, the increasing localisation of all the industries is a very high potential for businesses.

Edward Yuen (EY): The market now is driven by infrastructure development. You see a lot of construction happening all over Vietnam. Tall buildings, highways, bridges are built—for all these infrastructures, sheet metal works are required. Also due to the tariff issue between China and the United States, you will see a lot of these industries basically restructuring their businesses instead of putting all their eggs in one basket, and some of the international companies investing strongly in Vietnam.

ARE YOU SEEING ANY CHALLENGES IN THE MARKET?

PK: For our customers, one of their challenges is having skilled workforce for their factories.

Therefore, education needs to be tackled: Vietnam needs to have the right education on future technologies. In line with this, we are working with educational organizations like universities and technical colleges to support them with technical input from the industry as investing in people is important for future growth of the whole country.

There are other issues, but I think the opportunities are bigger than these challenges. There is also the opportunity brought by Industry 4.0 and smart factory. This is our theme in this exhibition, ‘Your Smart Factory’, which is about how we can help our customers make the first steps in the direction of a connected production process and to provide all the advantages of having a smart factory. This is really a process that will require a step by step approach. And now is the time for our customers and the industry in Vietnam, because many new factories are being set up here. They are not just expanding their existing factories, but also building new ones. If you have these greenfield projects, you have the opportunity to plan really well from scratch.

HOW IS TRUMPF ADDRESSING THE WIDE SPECTRUM OF MANUFACTURING LEVELS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA?

PK: We established our product portfolio in such a way that we have a solution for customers from all levels. For instance, our entry level machines are strategically positioned to help customers grow their manufacturing process. We also have machines which allows our customers to upgrade into a combination machine to extend their production. And on the very high-end sector we offer fully automated machines and storage systems.

HOW DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY DEVELOPING OVER THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS?

PK: Three to five years in Vietnam, or maybe Southeast Asia in general, is a long horizon. At the moment we mainly still have a positive outlook for the economy. Of course, there are signs that the global economy is slowing down, especially in the machinery industry, but so far these still might be part of the cyclical developments over time. Here in Vietnam, there is positive development. Mostly, all the industries that are relevant for sheet metal production are growing, so we are quite positive for our customers, that they can develop their business in a very positive way as there is still a lot of space to grow. In this environment, we consider TRUMPF as an enabler of this growth.

EY: For Southeast Asia, I think there are good prospects for the next three to five years. The continuing trade war between the United States and China which is not going to end soon are driving a lot of companies to move to Southeast Asia. Whatever products that you are now manufacturing in China and if you have to export it to the USA, you want to avoid getting entangle into this tariff game. Now we see lots of job-shops in Vietnam are loading up with jobs that are shifted over from plants in China. Going forward I believe more manufacturing companies in China will slow their expansion there and instead build up their expansion in SEA instead. In a way you don’t want to put all your eggs into one basket. The other impetus, the cost of manufacturing in those big northern Asian countries are not getting any cheaper and it only makes sense to capitalise on the cheaper labour force; huge available cheaper land and better infrastructure of SEA to grow a business.

 

Check out these articles:

AMendate Acquisition Helps Hexagon Minimise Time-to-Print for Additive Manufacturing

Market Outlook 2019: An Insight Into This Year’s Industry Megatrends

Trumpf Steps Up Expansion Of Smart Factory Solutions

 

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