Google Cloud and Siemens has announced a new cooperation to optimise factory processes and improve productivity on the shop floor. Siemens intends to integrate Google Cloud’s leading data cloud and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) technologies with its factory automation solutions to help manufacturers innovate for the future.
Data drives today’s industrial processes, but many manufacturers continue to use legacy software and multiple systems to analyse plant information, which is resource-intensive and requires frequent manual updates to ensure accuracy. In addition, while AI projects have been deployed by many companies in “islands” across the plant floor, manufacturers have struggled to implement AI at scale across their global operations.
By combining Google Cloud’s data cloud and AI/MLmachi capabilities with Siemens’ Digital Industries Factory Automation portfolio, manufacturers will be able to harmonise their factory data, run cloud-based AI/ML models on top of that data, and deploy algorithms at the network edge. This enables applications such as visual inspection of products or predicting the wear-and-tear of machines on the assembly line.
Deploying AI to the shop floor and integrating it into automation and the network is a complex task, requiring highly specialised expertise and innovative products such as Siemens Industrial Edge. The goal of the cooperation between Google Cloud and Siemens is to make the deployment of AI in connection with the Industrial Edge—and its management at scale— easier, empowering employees as they work on the plant floor, automating mundane tasks, and improving overall quality.
“The potential for artificial intelligence to radically transform the plant floor is far from being exhausted. Many manufacturers are still stuck in AI ‘pilot projects’ today – we want to change that,” said Axel Lorenz, VP of Control at Factory Automation of Siemens Digital Industries. “Combining AI/ML technology from Google Cloud with Siemens’ solutions for Industrial Edge and industrial operation will be a game changer for the manufacturing industry.”
Using automation, businesses can perform processes with limited or no human intervention. By Dario Mulazzani, DAVI Product Manager Automation.
Using automation, Corporations can perform processes with limited or no human intervention. Automation is able to power a range of equipment, which is then able to fulfil a variety of objectives in a wide array of manufacturing environments.
It is so effective because it increases quality, repeatability, output and efficiency by reducing human assistance, thereby dramatically slashing the risk of error and scraps.
What is Factory Automation
Automation in industrial settings uses a centralised control system (typically referred to as Manufacturing Execution System or MES), and vast quantities of data to manage equipment and processes within a manufacturing environment. Businesses are always striving to increase output, productivity and efficiency; automation keeps machinery in a specific measurable and, thus, optimisable state.
Automated production lines consist of workstations and a transfer system that moves an item through numerous production phases, using a variety of different tools to manufacture the intended product. A logic controller (typically referred to as Computer Numerical Controller or CNC) oversees this process by managing the sequence in which the machinery is used and the how long each machine must work on the product. Businesses may use automation infrastructures for manufacturing, refining and the production of individual parts, as well as the assembly of the final product, where necessary.
The world’s largest car manufacturer is getting ready for the future. Over the next few years, Volkswagen will make a radical transition to e-mobility, and the Volkswagen plant in Zwickau, Germany, will play a key role in this process. With the ID.3 model, the blueprint for the new generation of electric cars is being created here. And the bending experts from Bystronic are also on board. Article by Stefan Jermann, Bystronic.
Much of what happens in the automotive industry goes on behind closed doors. This includes the realignment of the manufacturers towards e-mobility. But when German Chancellor Angela Merkel herself fires the starting signal for the production of the new Volkswagen ID.3, everything is already very much in the open. This was the case in Zwickau, Germany, where the production lines for what could be the most ambitious current project in the entire automotive industry kicked into motion.
The ID.3 is more than just a new model; this new electric car embodies the future of Volkswagen and is intended to usher in a new era. The group has set itself the objective of becoming the leading global manufacturer of e-vehicles. And this mission is being pursued with a vengeance. With investments of €1.2 billion, Volkswagen wants to turn Zwickau into the home of Europe’s largest e-mobility factory. This year, more than 330,000 electric cars are scheduled to roll off the production line—a total of six models from the Volkswagen, Audi, and Seat brands.
Platform for the Whole Family
So far, sales of electric cars have been sluggish. The ID.3 is designed to change this—thanks to an attractive price of below €30,000, rapid charging capability, and a range of up to 550km. Jürgen Stackmann, a member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, promises, “The size of a Golf on the outside, the space of a Passat on the inside, and the acceleration of a GTI.”
The ID.3, the first model in the ID. family, forms the basis for a zero-emission generation of vehicles. The modular electric drive matrix—MEB for short—offers the necessary scalability from the compact car to the bus. By 2022, it will be incorporated in 27 models of four Group brands. The “ID.R Pikes Peak” prototype has already proven that the sky is the limit. On June 24, 2018, at the mountain race in the United States bearing the same name, the supercar with its 680-horsepower electric four-wheel drive made motor racing history and beat the previous record set by rally legend Sebastien Loeb by a large margin. This sports car will remain a racetrack dream, but it shows in an impressive way what the ID family can achieve.
76-second Cycle Time
Kati Langer stands in Production Hall No. 12. She is inspecting the Xpert 40, which is connected to two Kuka robots in a production cell. The passionate Bystronic saleswoman, who has accompanied the ID.3 project with Volkswagen from the outset, is proud of the system. In order to seamlessly integrate the bending systems into Volkswagen’s workflows, we had to overcome a number of structural challenges,” she explains while we watch the two bending robots at work.
The first robot removes the part from the container station and deposits it on the centring system. The second robot picks it up, swiftly feeds it to the bending machine, and performs the first of two bending steps. Then it returns the part to the centring system and the first robot completes the remaining bending steps. Subsequently, a stationary system welds two ball nuts to the part. The gripper then picks up the part and places it on the conveyor belt.
The entire process takes exactly 76 sec. Watching the robots perform their bending sequences is a genuine delight. If you hadn’t seen it with your own eyes, you would hardly believe how elegantly and nimbly the two robots work hand in hand—or rather, gripper in gripper. Subsequently, the bent part is installed in the support structure of the chassis where it stabilizes the undercarriage. A second fully-automatic bending cell manufactures a component that is installed at the front of the car chassis.
The carmaker Henry Ford once said that, “Auto racing began five minutes after the second car was built.” Adaptability and automobiles go hand-in-hand, but precision parts manufacturer Don Schumacher Motorsports (DSM) has taken this idea into pole position. The company is winning on the racetrack, was awarded the ISO 9001:2015 and has expanded into industries as diverse as aerospace and defense — all within the last two years. But it needs the right machine tools to support these objectives, which is why it turned to Sandvik Coromant.
In September, Matt Hagan gave Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) its 350th victory in the final round of the Lucas Oil National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Summernationals at the Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Indiana, US.
Hagan raced to victory in his drag racer, or Funny Car, which can race from zero to 330 miles per hour in less than 3.7 seconds. His win also happened to coincide with the 50th anniversary of company founder Don Schumacher’s own legendary victory at Indianapolis in 1970.
Today, DSR has cemented its position as one of motorsports’ elite teams. All four of DSR’s Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat drivers have claimed at least two victories throughout the nine races that have taken place in 2020, so far. DSR is the only team in NHRA history to have gone undefeated for 12 consecutive races in a single category, dating back to October 2019. Previously, DSR set the consecutive win record in a single class at 10 races during the 2017 season with the same line-up of drivers.
Meanwhile, DSR has also been notching-up victories behind the scenes, specifically at DSM Precision MFG, also located in Brownsburg. A recent milestone was awarded in 2018, when the company acquired the ISO 9001:2015 certification in recognition of its quality management and sustainability initiatives. The benchmark also demonstrates that the company’s operations fit-in with United Nations (UN) sustainability goals.
The shop’s other win has been a victory against the challenges of COVID-19, of sorts. In just two years, the machine shop — founded in 2005 solely to support the company’s drag race program — has successfully diversified into a range of new sectors. They include defense, aerospace and commercial applications.
Diversification is a real goal for manufacturers in 2020. Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ (PwC) recent COVID-19: What it means for industrial manufacturing recommends that companies expand into new industries, and take advantage of fresh revenue streams, either because they are forced to by defunct markets or because they simply spot an opportunity.
Now, says Chad Osier, Vice President at DSM, the Brownsburg machine shop is the only of its kind in the Midwest that offers such a high degree of precision engineering, for such a wide a range of sectors.
“We’re all racers at heart,” explains Osier. “Racers are engineers, and precision engineering extends to everything we do. This expertise and the right tools allow us to hit the required levels of precision and quality when building nitro blocks for drag racing that produce 11,000 horsepower.
“Now we can bring that same precision to bear on competitive quality and scalable solutions for the defence, aerospace, commercial, motorsports and automotive industries.”
Henry Ford would surely be proud. But how has DSM achieved all of this in such a short time, and what can other manufacturers learn from it? As it turns out, a large part of the answer lies in DSM’s choice of machine tools. The name of their chosen tooling partner has adorned the side of Hagan’s Funny Car since the 2017 racing season, and can now be seen on the Top Fuel dragster raced by Hagan’s teammate, Tony Schumacher — son of Don Schumacher. The sponsor is Sandvik Coromant, co-branded with the machine manufacturer Okuma America.
“We’re obviously in the business of racing,” says Osier, “but we are also in the business of making profit. Tool wear is a big part of that. We want to make sure we’re minimising as much waste and scrap as possible. The tooling and equipment we use from Sandvik Coromant goes hand-in-hand with how we operate.”
Racing to precision
DSM’s relationship with Sandvik Coromant goes back to 2012. Successful projects include helping the customer to move its production of aluminum engine blocks in-house. This has enabled it to produce more precise and better-performing components that win victories at events like the Gatornationals.
DSM then sought help from Sandvik Coromant with its objective to become, what Osier describes as, a “full-on kind of general engineering machine shop.” That is, one that can build project products ranging from small specialty fasteners and the right-mass nitro engine blocks, to bespoke aluminum parts for defense and aerospace. From rapid prototyping all the way to mass production.
“When relying on an outside partner for anything, there is a question of trust,” says Osier. “Sandvik Coromant has consistent products that are high quality and long-lasting. It offers the engineering support to help us tackle any project.”
Brian Flores, Channel Manager for the Eastern United States at Sandvik Coromant, agrees: “We help DSM in several ways, from supporting the local sales engineers to helping DSM’s automotive specialists and process improvement experts. That includes working closely with its team of specialist programmers to develop precision parts like piston heads or engine blocks out of tough-to-machine solid aluminum billets.”
“These machining processes are very complex,” explains Flores. “Sandvik Coromant’s tooling is used in the lathes and mills we use, made by Okuma America, which allow us to get the machined parts up to the necessary quality standards. This is where harder-wearing tools prove critical.”
For these applications, DSM relies on tools like the CoroMill 390 shoulder milling cutters designed for versatility, with ramping capability for mixed production. With light-cutting insert geometries, the high-performance CoroMill 390 is designed for low cutting forces and vibration-free machining, for secure milling with all materials.
These properties are particularly advantageous when machining aluminum, which has a tendency to move if aggressive, deep radial cuts are used at high speeds — because of the high stress levels of the material. Sandvik Coromant works extensively with DSM’s CAD designers.
“It really comes down to quality and attention to detail, whether it’s a drawing for an engine block or an aerospace part,” says Osier. “That’s what ensures we have the engineering expertise to deliver the quality that the aerospace industry needs. We also need the right equipment and tools to do that.”
That’s the quality and precision taken care of, but what about sustainability? To meet the ISO 9001:2015 standard, a company must demonstrate its capabilities in two major areas. First, its ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.
Second is enhancing customer satisfaction by applying the system. For the shop floor, this is inherently linked to DSM’s quality management system, but it also equals sustainability.
For this, DSM also makes use of the CoroMill 790 cutter for ISO N materials, designed for high precision work. The CoroMill 790 cutter is a “super remover” for which effective chip removal is integral to machining product quality.
“We look for tools that will produce consistent and repeatable parts, and minimise our scrap and our cycle time,” explains Osier. “So, the biggest thing I get on sustainability is how we’re able to maximise our output and reduce our material scrap in automated processes.”
“This is a real challenge when manufacturing aluminum racing engines,” Flores adds. “The amount of material removed is really quite amazing. It requires very intense and specific programming
techniques and paths. That’s where I believe Sandvik Coromant really shines, in helping DSM to find the most productive way to approach these parts.”
As a high-tech machine shop, DSM understands that tool wear goes beyond the tools and includes effective monitoring to use them to their fullest.
To achieve this, DSM uses Sandvik Coromant’s CoroPlus Machining Insights platform, an expansion of the company’s CoroPlus suite of connectivity software. The platform is designed to give manufacturers greater visibility of CNC machine tools and machining processes. Furthermore, the shop was able to integrate the system seamlessly into its existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
“We are able to track the performance of the tooling, which is also important,” said Osier. “The tooling and equipment work hand-in-hand with our automation and technology.
This high-tech approach doesn’t extend only to tooling but also to training. Since 2016, Sandvik Coromant has operated a 5,000 square foot dedicated training facility on DSM’s shop floor, which symbolises the relationship between the two companies. Trainees gain hands-on experience of modern machining, tools and techniques and DSM hosts Sandvik Coromant’s customers in the regional area.
“It’s an excellent partnership and mutually beneficial for both companies — including as we reach further into the aerospace, automotive and defense industries,” says Osier. “It has also exposed Sandvik Coromant to our own large Tier 1 customers so they can experience first-hand the benefits and value of Sandvik Coromant products.”
Osier estimates that DSM’s production is now divided roughly 50-50 between its racing obligations and its general precision engineering contracts. The manufacturer will continue to build on this going forward, including investing in 3D metal printers. It also plans to expand its training and education center into new industries beyond racing and automotive. This includes adapting its training facilities for COVID-19 and exploring the possibilities of Webex conferences or videos.
“We’re always looking for new ways to satisfy our customers and sponsors,” says Osier. “The ISO 9001:2015 accreditation has really opened doors for us and, going forward, we will take this further by acquiring the AS9100 standardised quality management system for the aerospace industry. This is very much an extension of the ISO 9001:2015, in terms of sustainability and is made possible by Sandvik Coromant’s continued support.”
“Sandvik Coromant has consistent products that are at the top of the market and it offers the engineering support to allow us to tackle any project,” says Osier.
“Precision and quality are critical in everything we do, and we use these Sandvik Coromant tools to meet those precision needs, both in the motorsports industry and the rest of the industries we work in,” explains Osier. “Their high quality and long-lasting tools and support deliver sustainability for us. Without that, we can’t meet our obligations to our customers.”
Auto racing may have begun five minutes after the second car was built. But, with its continuing entrepreneurial flair, the addition of ISO 9001:2005, and Sandvik Coromant’s tooling solutions, it looks as if DSM will continue leading the race in a range of industries for many years to come.
AMADA WELD TECH, INC. has released the CD-A1000A, a 1000 watt-second advanced capacitive discharge welder, ideal for battery tab welding, honeycomb tacking, and welding of conductive terminals. This next generation CD welder is the latest in a long line of CD welders manufactured by AMADA WELD TECH.
The unit is automation-ready and features dual pulse output with control and monitoring of both pulses. The dual pulse function helps overcome surface inconsistencies –such as dirt and oil contamination – during the first pulse and makes consistent welds with the second. A built-in process monitor measures peak current for both pulses; this value is displayed after each weld. Upper and lower limits can be set for both pulses to ensure weld consistency. An option to inhibit Pulse 2 if Pulse 1 is out of limits prevents weld blow out. The process monitor helps operators assess performance with a color coded bar graph that gives operators an instant weld history of in limit/out of limit percentages.
CD-A1000A offers up to four selectable pulse widths, increasing the range of welding applications and improving process optimization. Extremely efficient power electronics provide high repetition rates. 63 schedules can be stored locally when a variety of welding processes are planned at the same station.
“The CD-A1000A is the latest generation of advanced CD welders at AMADA WELD TECH.” says Mark Boyle, Product Manager. “Our previous generation units have been workhorses in the battery and aerospace industries. We are excited about this new product that will carry on that tradition and transition those products into modern manufacturing.”
ABB contract success in the Philippines metals industry continues to pave the way for productive cooperation with Tenova in the region
Global metals plant solutions provider, Tenova, has selected ABB to supply and install a comprehensive drives and automation package for Southeast Asia tinplate manufacturer, Perstima, at its new electrolytic tinning and tin free steel line in Malvar, Philippines. The new solutions will be operational in June 2021.
Project scope includes the ABB Ability System 800xA DCS (Distributed Control System), which integrates control, electrical and communication systems for optimal visibility into all processes for stable production and the efficient use of raw materials and energy, plus the compact, high-performance AC800 PEC controller, with control desks and posts.
In addition, ABB will supply its Collaborative Production Management for Metals solution to optimise all aspects of process and production planning, asset monitoring and manufacturing execution. ABB’s state-of-the-art ACS880 low voltage multidrives and motor control center (MCC) switchgear complete the package.
When installation and commissioning is complete, Perstima will benefit from a compact, fully integrated, easy-to-use control, automation and drives system designed for flexibility, durability and optimal productivity.
“ABB was the logical choice to equip Perstima’s new electrolytic tinning lines with proven technology for accurate line speed and tension control,” said Stefano Marelli, Global Sales Southeast Asia, Tenova. “ABB’s solutions matched perfectly with their requirements and will provide Perstima with a robust drives and automation system which can be expanded as the plant develops.”
“Discussions with ABB throughout the implementation phase have been hugely productive, quickly understanding Perstima’s desire for adaptability and customised set-up for ease of operation,” said Giuseppe Zanzi, Sales and Marketing Manager, Tenova. “We look forward to moving into the installation and commissioning stages in 2021, knowing we’ll have ABB support throughout.”
“This is another successful cooperation with Tenova in Southeast Asia, following projects in Indonesia, and Vietnam,” said Shailendra Dubey, Hub Industry Lead, Metals. “This is also our first involvement with Perstima, so gaining their trust and approval is a major milestone for us, and we look forward to a productive working relationship both with this customer and in the region as a whole.”
Through its suite of advanced and leading-edge technologies, Siemens not only helps companies digitalise to meet the needs of the new economy, but also empowers them to carry out smart innovations to succeed in the Industry 4.0 era.
Industrial robots have offered benefits to many organisations ever since it was first introduced, but collaborative robots (cobots) have been a game-changing force recently. Article by Darrell Adams, Head of Southeast Asia & Oceania, Universal Robots.
The Factory of 2035 will look vastly different than the factory of today. Ever since the first Industrial Revolution when mechanisation, water, and steam power started to automate work previously carried out manually, more work has been taken on by machines. Each technological advancement – from computers and robotics to the Internet – has brought about additional automation. Advancement in technologies will remain significant, but the trend of “human touch” will also be in demand in Factory of 2035.
In an interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News, Jacob Harpaz, ISCAR CEO, IMC President and Chairman of the Board, discusses the current trends in the metalworking tool industry, and how the company is helping their customers address their manufacturing challenges.
Erich Timons, CTO of ISCAR Germany GmbH, speaks with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News about tooling trends and challenges, and how the industry should move forward by improving productivity. Article by Stephen Las Marias.
New motor control systems from igus ensure a speedy start-up of linear and rotational systems.
Setting up control systems to drive axes is usually time-consuming and can require software programming knowledge. To help manufacturers address this issue, igus has developed two new cost-effective and easy-to-operate control systems so that users—from all areas of industry—can quickly start up their motorised drylin E drive axes. The D3 dryve controls simple linear or rotational axes with DC motors without any software or a PC. For more complex travels such as with multi-axis robots or delta robots, igus offers the D1 dryve, which is a control system for stepper motors, DC motors and EC/BLDC motors. The motor control system can be modified live or simply operated via a web browser.
Industry 4.0, Internet of Things (IoT) and M2M are fields calling for real products and solutions that promote factory digitalisation and automation. With its low-cost automation range, igus offers myriad solutions for a variety of applications. In its drylin product range, igus has been offering lubrication-free linear axes with matching stepper and DC motors for several years. From low-cost solutions, for very simple movements, to rails made of stainless steel, igus offers a large diversity of options to suit any application requirement.
Depending on the process, the customer is supplied with the axis or linear robot that will best meet their requirements. With drylin E, users can deploy the already-configured lubrication-free linear or rotational axes, which are ready-to-install and can be motorised in different installation sizes as a single axis, or a linear robot structure in the case of format and height adjustment systems or pick-and-place applications. For easy control and operation of the axes, igus’ D3 dryve offers a motor control system for simple movement and the D1 dryve a motor control system for more complex tasks. This allows a variety of tasks to be automated without the need for advanced programming.
D3 dryve: Quickly Set, Directly Automated
The D3 control system was developed to perform simple tasks quickly and cost-effectively. The control system is designed for all standard DC motors.
“When developing the D3 dryve, we mainly focused on enabling a simple, user-friendly start-up for anyone,” explains Rene Erdmann, Head of Business Unit drylin E Drive Technology.
No licences or software are needed for installation of the control system as all functions have been integrated into the device directly. Simply connect the control system to a 24V power supply and set the operating mode, end-position switch-off, and the motor current by means of DiP switches. The speed can be adjusted with an integrated rotary controller. Current-limiting is done by means of a screwdriver with another controller. Once made, the settings are permanently stored.
Trend is generally defined in one of two ways. Firstly, it might refer to a general direction in which something is heading or developing. Alternatively, it might be seen as synonym for fashion. Here, John Young, APAC director at automation parts supplier EU Automation, looks at some of the key manufacturing trends from 2020 and assesses which of these are mostly likely to play a more prominent role in 2021 and beyond.
Here to stay (at home)
By forcing businesses to facilitate remote working during lockdowns, the pandemic has encouraged a cultural shift. As the vaccine rolls out in 2021, don’t expect companies to return to previous levels of onsite working. Aided by digital technologies, manufacturing has experienced some of the benefits of remote working and greater flexibility.
Teleoperation can take many forms, but one interesting growth area in 2020 has been remote controlled vehicles in industrial settings. For example, a forklift truck can be equipped with cameras and sensors and controlled remotely by a driver working at the desk from home.
A helping robotic hand
Robot installations continue but the key growth area has been collaborative robots, or cobots. In comparison with more traditional industrial robots, cobots are smaller and are designed to be used safely alongside human workers. The uptake of this technology in metalworking and the automobile sector looks set to continue. Ford, for example, now uses cobots to install shock absorbers, freeing up human workers for more strategic tasks.
Much of this trend is in fact being driven by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The size and startup costs of industrial robots shut out these companies from taking advantage of this area of automation. Cobots are small enough to be deployed in factories where space is at a premium and they require less initial investment, allowing businesses to increase their investment incrementally.
Smart learning about your suppliers
In a year where global values chains have faced unprecedented uncertainty, those companies that were quickest to embrace digital technologies in their supply chain management have braved the storm more readily.
Machine learning algorithms and their use in predictive maintenance is not an entirely new phenomenon, but its application continues to grow. As a supplier of automation parts, one growth area that has stood out for me is the use of machine learning algorithms to analyze supplier behavior, predicting when to expect a part from a supplier based on past patterns. This can improve inventory management and cash flow.
Let’s get personal
Increasing customization is being driven from both demand and supply side forces. On the demand side, customer behavior is showing preferences for greater levels of customization and personalization. The shift toward products-as-a-service business models and the ability to access and analyze large volumes of data about customer behavior is allowing manufacturers to understand this demand better.
On the supply side, there are many technological innovations that are allowing nimble manufacturers to incorporate greater customization. For example, ABB has implemented a manufacturing facility that revolves around cells of automation, in contrast to the traditional, linear production line. Instead, robots move from station to station for higher levels of customization.
Intelligence on the edge
Edge computing involves locating computer processing of data as close to the source of the data as possible. According to research by Gartner, around ten percent of enterprise-generated data is created and processed outside of traditional centralized data centers or the cloud. It is estimated that this figure will rise to 75 per cent by the middle of this decade.
Deployed intelligently as part of a blended or hybrid data architecture, edge computing can enhance predictive maintenance capabilities. For example, smart sensors deployed on industrial motors and pumps can enhance monitoring in real-time, alerting plant managers when it is time to contact a reliable parts supplier like EU Automation. By locating the AI in the sensor itself, manufacturers save on cloud subscription services, enhance their cyber security and protect their operations from power outages.
5G rolls out and rolls on
5G is being rolled out, but its full potential will continue to roll on as it enables more and more manufacturers to transition to Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things. 5G, one hundred times faster than 4G, is not just a trend in itself, but a key enabler of many other technological innovations and something that will profoundly impact manufacturing over the next decade.
Here in Singapore, an interesting early application is a project involving IBM, Samsung Electronics, Singaporean telecommunications company M1 and Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority. The collaboration is designed to pilot 5G manufacturing use cases, as part of the country’s Smart Nation Initiative.
To give just one example from this project, 5G is facilitating the use of augmented reality (AR) for factory field engineers carrying out preventative maintenance. Without the speed of 5G, these engineers would lose hours of productivity in downloading the right AR model or require several technicians on site to resolve and issue that could be tackled remotely.
Fashion trends come and go but some trends are here to stay. 2020 has seen the increasing use of many technological innovations in manufacturing that will become increasingly prominent over the next few years. From 5G to cobots, companies large and small across the APAC region are leading the world in their adoption of Industry 4.0 and automation technology.
Coils with multiple termination points can be welded at one automation station. Article by James Tod, Amada Miyachi UK.
Pulse micro arc welding is a good choice for coil termination applications, especially as coils are getting smaller and smaller. Other processes do not lend themselves as well for these applications. For example, it can be difficult for lasers to target the pins, while resistance welding is not practical due to electrode size, and soldering involves potentially hazardous fluxes. Multiple output pulsed arc welders are available that offer great automation layout flexibility and increase production line throughput.
Pulse Micro Arc Welding Basics
Pulse micro arc welding is a zero-contact process in which an electrical arc is struck between an electrode and target component. The arc generates very high and concentrated energy density, which results in high local temperatures that can be used for welding. Sophisticated closed loop power supplies are used to establish and maintain the arc under precisely controlled electrical conditions.
The micro arc coil termination process requires wire to be wound onto the pin in a uniform fashion and density. The welding process is accomplished by heating the pin and encapsulating the wire in the molten pin material. The wound pin is positioned close to a welding electrode and an arc struck between the pin and the electrode.
Operators profile the energy and current within the arc in terms of rate of rise, period of peak, and downward cooling to control the rate at which the pin begins to melt back. The process of melting the pin back creates a molten ball that causes the wire and its insulation to melt simultaneously, thus welding the wire to the pin.
Material Type is Critical to the Process
With micro arc welding, the materials must flow together based on the heat generated by the welding arc and the surface tension of the materials. Any contamination can cause the materials to fail to fuse with one another.
Wire insulation is critical because it must be broken down by the heat in the weld before the materials can fuse with one another. In the process, the pin is heated directly and the wire indirectly; if the wire insulation remains intact during the weld, the pin will be melted but the wire will not. Pulsed micro arc termination welding works best with wire insulation rated for temperatures of 180 deg C or lower.