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Increasing Productivity With High Speed Automated Transfer Systems

Increasing Productivity With High Speed Automated Transfer Systems


To achieve greater speed and versatility from production lines, extending beyond press machines to include the development of automated transfer equipment is vital. Article by AIDA Engineering.

In recent years, metal formers have come to demand even greater speed and versatility from production lines. Relying on the capabilities of presses to meet all of these demands, however, is impractical. It is vital to extend beyond press machines to include the development of automated transfer equipment like material feeders, industrial robots, and even research on processing approaches.

Today’s manufacturing trends particularly in the automotive industry, required press makers to produce complex parts from thinner yet stronger materials. Press line automated transfer equipment systems are flexible, allowing press maker to manipulate the part during production and reducing material waste when compared to progressive die, coil-fed applications. In addition to dedicated transfer presses, automated transfer equipment systems can be incorporated with straight side presses and gap frame presses, too.

Deciding on which automated transfer equipment systems is appropriate depends on two basic criteria; 1. part complexity and 2. production volume. It is also important to find a press builder that can act as a single source for the press, the automation, the axillary equipment, the integration services, the installation, the runoff and the post-installation support. The AIDA Group manufactures not only presses with material feeders and transfer robots but also the various types of peripheral equipment required for press automation systems. This enables easy synchronisation with presses and ultimately leads to higher productivity.

Compact High-Speed Servo Tandem Line For Small Spaces And High Productivity

A flexible production line composed of multiple general-purpose presses with conveyance robots positioned between the presses. Small general-purpose servo presses and press-to-press NCAH-III high-speed conveyor robot does not require major infrastructure equipment to install the equipment, and its small size also enables installation in factories with limited headspace. This is a solution that enables high-performance press metal forming even in a constrained environment.

Presses and robots are used in one-to-one pairs. This line can be freely used in combination with material feeders by adjusting the feed pitch and the transfer direction. And despite their small footprint, they equal or exceed the productivity of transfer presses. Compared to large presses, installation costs are 20–30 percent lower, delivery is at least 50 percent shorter, and the high costs of transfer dies are avoided entirely.


DSF-N1-2000A + NCAH III (s) Transfer Robots

DSF-N1-2000A + NCAH III (s) Transfer Robots


Multi-Pacer: NCAH III (s) Transfer Robots

Multi-Pacer: NCAH III (s) Transfer Robots


Crossbar Transfer Systems

Crossbar transfer systems directly transfer materials at high speed between presses in servo tandem lines. These systems were developed for automotive body panel forming systems. Using cutting-edge synchronisation control technologies and lightweight high-acceleration transfer arms, AIDA succeeded in setting a new world production speed benchmark of 20 spm for a deep draw-forming system (20 products per minute) thereby achieving one the

world’s fastest productivity rate for press-formed automotive body panels. major challenge of high productivity, a new synchronisation system for the high-speed press-to-press transfer robot system was developed. Despite the necessity of slowing the press speed in the forming portion of the stroke to achieve the required high-level deep drawforming, AIDA was still able to achieve one of the world’s fastest speed. As a forming systems builder, the Company was able to fully leverage its advanced knowledge of and experience with many types of automation.

Crossbar transfer systems

Crossbar transfer systems


High-Speed Transfer System Development

The most striking difference between a servo press and a conventional mechanical press is the ability to freely program the slide motion and speed on a servo press. This heretofore impossible optimisation of press slide motion to match each metalforming application has become an important factor to enhance value-added benefits such as increased productivity and improved formability achieved through press metalforming technologies.

There’s a demand from automotive air bags manufacturing industry to develop a transfer system that could be used together with “pendulum motion.”

Pendulum motion is a unique motion only possible on servo presses, equipped with AIDA’s independently developed direct drive mechanism. The top dead center of the stroke is set as close to the product height as possible, and the motion of the press looks just like the motion of a pendulum. The shorter the stroke length, the faster the per-piece production speed becomes, and in some cases, it has resulted in a nearly 50 percent leap in productivity.

Rising To The Challenge

However, there were many problems that had to be solved in order to achieve transfer forming methods that could accommodate pendulum motion. Transfer forming is the process of performing multistage forming within a single press machine. In order to convey (transfer) the product between stages, press mounted transfer equipment continuously performs the process of moving two “arms” (feedbars) which grab the part while the press slide is upstroking, carry it to the next stage, and then place it in the die, after which the feedbars are immediately retracted to prevent interference with the dies as the slide downstrokes.

Because the pendulum motion stroke length is shorter, the slide upstroke time is also much shorter compared to standard slide motion. The difficulty lies in how to coordinate the transfer equipment motion with the press motion within this short window of time. Moreover, in this specific case there were not just issues related to pendulum motion, there was also the issue of accommodating variable slide speeds during the stroke, as the speed in the forming portion of the stroke was 20 spm, which then increased to 60 spm in the non-forming portion of the stroke. This was the impetus for the development of a short-stroke TCS system, which was a challenge that could only be met by a forming systems builder such as AIDA, because press technologies or transfer equipment technologies alone could not solve this problem.

DSFN2-3000 with Servo Transfer Unit automated transfer system

DSFN2-3000 with Servo Transfer Unit automated transfer system

Under a conventional scenario, the transfer equipment would be synchronised with the press motion and that would then dictate the transfer feeder motion. However, as this case called for the synchronisation of the transfer feeder with the fast motion of a press with a shortened stroke, it required impossibly quick acceleration and deceleration functionality from the transfer feeder. In order to keep the transfer feeder acceleration and deceleration within attainable ranges, AIDA had to find the “optimal independent timing” for a transfer motion that was momentarily independent of the press motion. The goal was to achieve a fine-tuned timing that would just barely be outside the press motion boundary.

If the choice had been made to increase the size of the transfer equipment servo motors, it would have increased the speed of the transfer and solved the problem, but it would have substantially increased costs. Leveraging its in-house expertise in integrated systems technologies, AIDA was able to use the existing motor capacities and still achieve a system that provided 40 percent higher productivity than standard production methodologies.

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A System More Compact Than A Conventional Transfer Press

A System More Compact Than A Conventional Transfer Press

With the Compact High Speed Servo Tandem Line, AIDA Engineering has developed a flexible, more-compact system that meets the demands of tomorrow’s jobs.

The right automated press setup meets not only the requirements for today’s stamping jobs, but allows for flexibility to meet the demands of tomorrow’s jobs.

Transfer operations have been widely used in automated systems, however, since all forming processes are performed in one press, the transfer press must necessarily be large.  Such Large size brings a number of concerns:

  1. A transfer operation means major investment because of required accessories, such as floor scrap conveyors.
  2. Because the press is large, a large pit is required, increasing the initial cost.
  3. Large press size dictates high rigging and transportation costs.
  4. Larger dies mean higher costs and more storage space.
  5. Large press size makes changing the press layout difficult.

For stampers, remaining competitive requires them to make the right technology choices, to not only meet current job demands but also to have the infrastructure in place to support customers’ future requirements. Stampers can support ongoing growth and productivity by considering these primary elements when choosing new pressroom equipment:

  1. Press equipment should be flexible and have the capability to produce a variety of parts. This type of versatility means pit-less on the shop floor and less overall capital equipment costs.
  2. Press automation must be considered, to boost overall output.

On a more fundamental level, press equipment must be reliable and well maintained.

A Flexible Option

In recent years, a flexible alternative automated transfer press system called ‘Compact High Speed Servo Tandem Line’ has begun attracting attention because it can compensate the conventional transfer press systems. The system was achieved by using a general-purpose servo press at each stage and linking these presses using high-speed transfer robots—enabling a newly designed platform for dedicated robot lines.

So, how does a compact high-speed servo tandem line achieve the ability to match the size of a large press? By arranging the small servo presses in tandem for each process, it is possible to optimize different processes at a time. In transfer processing, there are various forming processes such as drawing, bending, trimming, punching, and coining, to name a few; but in the compact servo tandem line, each process can be set independently and optimum slide motion can be achieved. 

Equipped with a predictive function that avoids interference between the timing of the press slide and robot transfer motions, it enables synchronization of the entire line without slowing the line speed, thereby achieving productivity that is even equivalent to that of a large transfer press.

Compared to the conventional transfer press, which performs multi-step process operations with one slide, it is possible to bring out the features of the servo press to an even greater extent. When used in a compact servo tandem line, automation can deliver improved productivity as parts move from press to press.

With the configuration, there was an issue that the timing of process and material transportation is different in each process. Therefore, AIDA installed a transfer device independently in each press, and set up a mechanism to transfer according to each slide operation non-processing timing. This determines the optimum line speed based on the slide motion set for each press and the transportable time calculated from SPM, for the speed of the entire line.

In other words, by adjusting the non-processing area time of each press so that it can be applied to one cycle of the entire system, it is possible to synchronise the entire line without lowering the line speed compared to the past. The system also has the flexibility to add multiple presses later to change the line configuration.

Servo System Versatility

To further improve flexibility and uptime, servo technology stampers can produce a range of parts from materials such as aluminium and magnesium alloys, and high-strength steels and titanium alloys, while achieving higher speeds and working energy, and improved control and precision.

Pre-programmed motion curves and the ability to design programs unique to the job at hand, along with the ability to change from producing one part to the next quickly, also add to the system’s versatility. Operating in continuous mode can deliver even higher productivity rates.


1. Enhanced frame rigidity

Using a press frame that is symmetrical front-to-back delivers uniform front-to-back elongation and improves dynamic accuracy.

– AIDA is working towards even better durability by taking measures to reduce stress concentrations.

2. Isolating electrical components to extend service life

Electrical components are located in separate cabinets to isolate them from stamping vibration. This extends the service life of electrical components.

3. High-speed transfer robots NCAH-III (S)

AIDA has effectively increased the productivity of a conventional compact tandem line, thanks to high-speed transfer robots and high-precision synchronised controls.

As the entire line can be synchronised without sacrificing speed while still avoiding interference between the timing of the press slide and robot transfer motions, it achieves an equivalent, or even better, productivity than a dedicated transfer press.

In addition to that, a separate press slide for each stage of the forming process not only reduces the effects of off-center loading, but also enables the choice of optimal forming motion for each stage of the process. This contributes significantly to uniform product accuracy.

4. Reduction of factory equipment cost

Utilising compact presses in tandem will also change the conventional factory equipment design. Unlike larger transfer presses, the physical size of a compact servo tandem line system is relatively small. The height of the building, which was decided according to the machine height of the large press, can be kept low. The compact servo tandem line can be placed without preparing a pit for installing the press, making it possible to considerably reduce the equipment cost in the factory.

Since large buildings and deep pits are not required, factory capital investments, such as the capacities of cranes and the power of air conditioning, and equipment power, are significantly reduced too. Such system does not require any large accessory equipment, making press-layout changes a breeze.

This is a major advantage for companies that are expanding, as it significantly reduced the amount of capital investment.

5. Space-saving design

When combined with a NCAH-III (S) transfer robot system, the installation footprint of a line composed of six 2,000 kN presses is 40 percent smaller than a conventional transfer press.

6. Synchronised operation servo motion

Thanks to dedicated press slide for each process stage, forming is possible with optimal motion for each stage.

Stampers that install flexible equipment and incorporate a system-wide approach to make automation part of their operations have an opportunity to remain competitive with lower-cost labour markets.

For a more economical alternative, Mechanical Compact Tandem line is available too. For more info, please log on to


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