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Plate Roll Technology Addresses Wind Tower Manufacturing Challenges

Plate Roll Technology Addresses Wind Tower Manufacturing Challenges

Here’s how one company addressed the challenges of wind tower manufacturing. Article by Stefano Santoni, DAVI Promau.

MAM Maschinen, part of the ENERCON Group, processes more than 33,000 tons of steel per year. Employing around 300 people, MAM Maschinen is currently one of the most relevant players for the fabrication of heavy-duty components for several industrial sectors, in particular, wind towers and steel bridges.

In line with the trend towards higher efficiency in manufacturing, MAM has been improving its degree of automation as well as internal know-how to provide the highest quality products to their customers with the maximum respect for the environment.

In this framework, MAM Maschinen became in need of a plate roll technology partner that could support their serial and intensive production of wind tower sections. Evaluating different plate roll manufacturers, the company aimed at identifying the optimum technology in terms of performance, repeatability, and reliability to comply with the strict tolerances imposed by the end-users.

“From the initial contact in 2017 to the final purchase, dealing with DAVI has been satisfying in every respect,” says Andreas Kühn, Innovation Leader at MAM Maschinen. “The negotiation with the company was fair and they managed to meet our requirements. Now, we are happy with the machine that is working properly and quick. We are carrying on the foreseen works on our DAVI plate roll that entered our production flow, making it smoother and with no issues caused.”

MAM Maschinen selected a four-roll plate rolling machine with a capacity of 3,000 x 96 mm, equipped with dedicated accessories for the highest level of flexibility. The DAVI machine now constitutes a major fabrication asset to MAM, being utilized to roll wind tower sections as well as other components for the mechanical industry, in general.

 

Leveraging 50 Years of Experience and Know how

With over 50 years of experience in delivering high quality three- and four-roll rolling machines, DAVI’s R&D developed high-value patents deployed in unique product lines specifically designed for the wind energy industry. DAVI also developed a proprietary Wind Energy control system capable of providing full automation as required by the Industry 4.0 standards.

DAVI’s High Productivity Line introduced to the market innovative CNC-controlled features such as the possibility of executing exacts first pre-bending at the beginning of the rolling process, thanks to the patented infeed lifting conveyor. By lifting together with the bending rolls, the conveyor supports the plate while pre-bending, completely eliminating the distortions which would otherwise occur due to counter bending forces generated by the plate own weight.

While rolling large diameter workpieces, the front edge would “close” under its own weight and adjustment operations would be needed in order to avoid overlapping with the trailing edge. As part of the High Productivity Line, DAVI’s patented pushers with hooking fingers installed on the lateral supports completely eliminate the risk of overlapping as well as allow for perfect positioning and alignment of the two plate edges at the end of the rolling process in preparation for on-machine tack welding. The two features combined can increase the operation speed by 25%/30% (compared to manual process).

 

Addressing the Cone Forming Challenge

Cone forming is recognized as the most challenging rolling process. Forcing the plate edges to travel at two different speeds, the process generates high stress on the rolling machine as well as on the plate itself. On a typical wind cone application, it is of paramount importance to protect the integrity of the bevels, which must be realized prior the rolling process (due to high costs involved in beveling the plate after it is formed into a cone or can). For this reason, the state-of-the-art Wind Towers & Foundations cone rolling involves a step-by-step forming process where, at each step, the plate must be repositioned in order to make sure that the cone generatrix overlaps the top roll axis. Depending on accessories installed, this repositioning would both take a very long time, deplete the final workpiece tolerances and potentially put the operators at risk

DAVI responded to the industry needs by introducing a ground-breaking fully automated cone forming system. This is achieved by positioning and guiding the plate while cone forming without damaging the bevels (wide contact surface) for plates up to 100mm. This system allows for a complete cone forming executed by a single operator, with maximum repeatability, highest accuracy and the shortest possible floor-to-floor time (30 percent–50 percent faster compared to manual process).

The whole process—consisting of plate positioning, squaring, pre-bending, rolling and aligning for tack-welding—can be completed in less than 20 minutes, even for high-thickness plates.

“The positive experience we are having with DAVI leads me to believe that, for future needs, we will certainly make contact with them again. The plate roll shows a high quality and an impressive mechanical stability. A relevant aspect we really appreciated about DAVI was the customer support we can receive in our own language, that made the troubleshooting easier and faster. The aftersales care we received from DAVI is really appreciated,” says Kühn.

 

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Global Semiconductor Equipment Sales Forecast—2020 Rebound, 2021 Record High

Global Semiconductor Equipment Sales Forecast—2020 Rebound, 2021 Record High

Global semiconductor manufacturing equipment sales will drop 10.5 percent to $57.6 billion in 2019 from last year’s historic peak of $64.4 billion but stage a 2020 recovery and set a new high in 2021, SEMI, the global industry association representing the electronics manufacturing and design supply chain, reported in its Year-End Total Equipment Forecast.

Released at SEMICON Japan 2019, the forecast shows equipment sales registering a 5.5 percent increase to $60.8 billion in 2020 and continued expansion into 2021, with record revenues of $66.8 billion as leading device manufactures invest in sub-10nm equipment, especially for foundry and logic.

The SEMI year-end forecast shows sales of wafer fab equipment – consisting of wafer processing, fab facility and mask/reticle equipment – falling 9 percent in 2019 to $49.9 billion. The assembly and packaging equipment segment is on track to decline 26.1 percent to $2.9 billion in 2019, while semiconductor test equipment is forecast to drop 14.0 percent to $4.8 billion this year.

Taiwan will dethrone Korea as the largest equipment market and lead the world with 53.3 percent growth this year, followed by North America with a 33.6 percent uptick. China will maintain the second spot for the second consecutive year, and Korea will fall to third after throttling back capital expenditures. All regions tracked except Taiwan and North America will contract this year.

SEMI expects the 2020 equipment market recovery to be fuelled by advanced logic and foundry, new projects in China, and, to a lesser extent, memory. In Europe, equipment sales will surge 45.9 percent to $3.3 billion. Taiwan is forecast to remain the top equipment market next year on the strength of $15.4 billion in sales, with China second at $14.9 billion and Korea third at $10.3 billion. More upside is likely if the macroeconomy improves and trade tensions subside in 2020.

In 2021, all sectors tracked are expected to grow and the memory spending recovery will hit full stride. China is expected to ascend to the top position with equipment sales of more than $16 billion, followed by Korea, and Taiwan.

The Year-End Total Equipment Forecast is based on SEMI’s industry-recognised World Fab Forecast database and input from equipment manufacturers. Total equipment includes wafer processing, fab facilities, mask/reticle, total test, and assembly and packaging equipment.

 

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Automation To Take Center Stage In The Global Welding Equipment Market

Automation To Take Center Stage In The Global Welding Equipment Market

According to report by Persistence Market Research, the global welding equipment market expects the market to witness strong growth during the forecast period 2017-2024. The global market for welding equipment is estimated to reach close to US$ 19,200 Million revenue.

The manufacturing and fabrication industries are evolving constantly. This is resulting in the companies seeking out new technologies to stay ahead of competitors. Use of new materials in various industries is driving the need for welding automation. Companies are also moving towards acquiring new solutions to offer quality product and increase productivity. In response to this, welding equipment manufacturers are bringing in advanced technologies to help companies’ better serve their customers. Manufacturers are developing welding solutions that can serve both small scale and large-scale companies. Modified short-circuit MIG is being integrated into welding machines, ensuring better control and to create high-quality and uniform welds.

New materials such as high strength steels, advanced high strength steels, and increased use of stainless steel and aluminum in fabrications are creating the demand for new welding technology as per the material being used. Hence, a welding system for specific materials is also being developed by manufacturers in the global welding equipment market. Rising trend towards automation is also resulting in the development automated welding equipment for wide range of application. Information management system for welding is also gaining popularity. This system collects and provides information arc-on time, and performance based on voltage and amperage. This help companies to collect data on the performance of welding in real-time and track both quality and productivity.

 

Arc Welding Technology to Lead the Global Welding Equipment Market

Based on the welding technology, arc welding technology is expected to see a significant growth in the market. By the end of 2024, arc welding technology is projected to surpass US$ 8,500 Million in terms of revenue. Meanwhile, resistance welding is also projected to witness impressive growth during 2017-2024.

On the basis of a level of automation, compared to the manual welding equipment, automatic welding equipment is likely to register the highest growth during 2017-2024. Automatic welding equipment is expected to exceed US$ 13,000 Million revenue by 2024 end.

Based on the application of welding equipment, automotive & transportation sector is expected to gain maximum traction in the global market for welding equipment. Towards 2024 end, the automotive & transportation sector is estimated to reach nearly US$ 3,800 Million revenue.

Asia Pacific to Lead the Global Welding Equipment Market between 2017 and 2024

Asia Pacific is likely to dominate the global market for welding equipment during the forecast period. Asia Pacific is estimated to reach close to US$ 6,600 Million in terms of revenue. Increasing infrastructure and construction activities in the countries like India and China are driving the demand for welding equipment. Moreover, the automotive industry in Asia Pacific is also witnessing a substantial growth, thereby, fueling the demand for welding equipment. Growth in the steel industry owing to the increasing demand for steel in for product manufacturing in different industries is resulting in the growth of the welding equipment market in the region.

Key Players in the Global Welding Equipment Market

Some of the prominent players active in the global market for welding equipment are DAIHEN Corporation, Colfax Corporation, The Lincoln Electric Company, Fronius International GmbH, Obara Corporation, voestalpine AG, Arcon Welding Equipment, Panasonic Corporation, Sonics & Materials, Inc., Rofin-Sinar Technologies, Nelson Stud Welding (Doncasters Group, Ltd.), Amada Miyachi, Inc., and Illinois Tool Works, Inc.

 

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Autodesk And Airbus Demonstrate Impact Of Generative Design On The Aerospace Industry

Autodesk and Airbus Demonstrate Impact Of Generative Design On The Aerospace Industry

Autodesk and Airbus are teaming up to fundamentally change how things will be manufactured and built in the aerospace industry of the near future. As part of an ongoing effort, Airbus is reimagining multiple structural aircraft components, applying Autodesk generative design to develop lighter-weight parts that exceed performance and safety standards. In an industry where less weight equals less fuel consumption, using this approach presents a huge opportunity to reduce the adverse effects of air travel on the environment.

Airbus is also looking beyond airplane parts to the processes and spaces for making them, employing generative design for the layout of adaptable, DGNB and LEED certified factories with streamlined logistics to facilitate improved employee work conditions and greater productivity.

Bionic Partition 2.0

Back in 2015, Airbus unveiled its first generative design proof-of-concept. The “bionic partition” is a next-generation version of the wall and jumpseat support structure that divides the passenger compartment from the galley of a plane.

The initial design was promising – 45 percent lighter than the traditional part yet just as strong. Airbus estimated the new design approach could save nearly half a million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year if rolled out across its backlog of A320 planes.

Originally the intention was to fabricate the new partition using metal additive manufacturing. But due to a range of variables in the manufacturing market and materials requirements, it became clear that an alternative fabrication process would be necessary. Fortunately, Autodesk generative design technology has continued to mature and is now capable of optimising for multiple advanced manufacturing techniques during the design phase of product development.

For Airbus, this meant they could use generative design to create a plastic, 3D-printed mold for the partition, and then cast the part in an alloy that’s already qualified for flight. Bionic partition 2.0 is just as strong and light as its predecessor and can be fabricated at scale more affordably.

“The revised design makes the bionic partition much more viable for production. The first prototype is in production, which we hope to finish before the end of the year,” said Bastian Schaefer, the designer at Airbus who has been leading the collaboration with Autodesk. “The process and technology have evolved to where we can now manufacture multiple units at a considerably lower cost.”

Airbus is in the process of utilising generative design to rethink other structural aircraft components, including the leading edge of the vertical tail plane (VTP) of the A320. The purpose of a VTP (or vertical stabiliser) on an airplane is to provide directional stability and reduce aerodynamic inefficiency caused by side-to-side movement.

Generative design is enabling the team to evaluate hundreds of design alternatives that all meet objectives for VTP stiffness, stability and mass.

Factory of the Future

Positive responses to what generative design could do for aircraft components led Airbus to explore what the technology might do for other parts of its business. Earlier this year, the team began thinking about how generative design could be applied to the building design, layout and workflows of its factories.

Generative design provided two paths that Airbus is currently considering: a bigger building with an unconventional footprint, or the same factory elements optimised to fit into a smaller rectangular footprint.

“Generative design is helping us create a more sustainable architectural design that better accounts for critical human factors and work conditions,” said Schaefer. “It has also expanded our way of thinking and our approach to design by overcoming preconceived notions and blind spots. Whichever design we choose, we know the factory will function more efficiently and will be less costly to build.”

By Raymond Deplazes

 

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The Role Of IoT Technology In The Metal Fabricating Industry

The Role of IoT Technology in the Metal Fabricating Industry

Ultimately, the metalworking industry needs differentiation and tools to help stakeholders to level up their products and services for customers. Here’s how. Article by Helen Masters, INFOR.

Singapore’s government, led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has in recent years identified four technology sectors that Singapore needs to build on; one of which is Internet of Things (IoT). For a small country with a population of just 5.64 million, Singapore has truly transformed itself into a hotbed for technology and innovation, becoming a magnet for foreign companies with regional headquarters and being an example for the rest of Southeast Asia.

With IoT technology, metal fabrication companies based in Singapore are in a position to once again lead the rest of the region with value-add to customers and streamline processes. But will adding condition-tracking sensors to equipment be enough? Is IoT technology the cure-all for tight margins, escalating customer demands, volatile pricing, and aggressive competition? Well, that depends.

The Background in a Snapshot

IoT has been generating buzz that spikes then ebbs, like the tides. Grandiose projections for potential economic impact create optimistic swells. Media pundits herald IoT technology as the key driver behind waves of digitalization. But, then, mixed feedback pops up. Some early adopters realize their tidal waves of data need to be aggregated and analyzed further in order to have practical applications. Data overload is a common issue to resolve.

As more and more projects move through proof-of-concept stages, it becomes clear that deploying an IoT plan is not as simple as flipping a switch. Often, several solutions are required in order to achieve the specific results desired. There is, though, one factor common to all successful initiatives: a foundational strategy and plan for data consumption must be in place to avoid data overload. Analytics with built-in artificial intelligence (AI) separates programs with marginal results from ones with game-changing, differentiating outcomes.

How Do Metal Fabricators Avoid Common Mistakes?

When designing programs to leverage IoT technologies, metal fabricators should focus on applications which will bring measurable impact on the bottom line. Because of the industry’s ultra-thin margins, any tactic which helps to control costs and boost productivity will be of value. Those incremental gains, though, may not be enough to be true attention-getters for customers.

Fabricators wanting to differentiate their business from the onslaught of competitors will need to aim for bigger, better, more unique gains in order to impress the highly demanding B2B customer.

Five Tips for Achieving Differentiation Through IoT

  1. Offer Servitisation. If you are a fabricator of industrial components or equipment, offering a product as a service is one of the most dramatic ways to use IoT technology. Thanks to data generated from sensors, you can monitor customer inventory levels at their location, consumption rates of your products, project needed demand, and provide a continuous as-needed supply. This service will help your customers optimize their inventory levels while building a relationship of trust.
  2. Productise Data. Data generated from sensors provides valuable insight about the way in which components are functioning in the field, how assets are performing, ways to improve field conditions, and lifecycle phases of fabricated parts and components. This data can be packaged and offered to customers. It can be a value-add service or a new revenue stream.
  3. Engage Customers. IoT technology can be used to capture and share insights with customers. IoT connectivity and sensor-generated data up-levels the ability to collaborate on component design, test results, and co-monitor fabricated parts through test stages. Even though you may be miles or continents away from you customer, the ability to collect, aggregate, analyze and share condition-based data from anywhere, brings you closer to your customers– when and where they are making decisions.
  4. Manage Volatility. IoT technology can help you monitor the location of delivery trucks, service fleets, shipments of raw materials, and inventory levels in your warehouse—or your customers. Fast changing stock conditions can be monitored in real-time, so timely decisions can be made about shifting inventory between warehouses or re-routing trucks as needed. This agility can be a marketable differentiator.
  5. Extend Asset Lifecycle. Sensors embedded in shop floor assets can be used to collect data about the physical condition of assets, like temperature and vibration, monitoring for early warning signs of maintenance requirements. Staying proactive and maintaining high-value assets properly can enable companies to extend their lifecycle, eliminate unplanned downtime, and improve productivity. This can ultimately improve the accuracy of capacity planning, on-time delivery to customers, and cashflow.

Getting Started

Each of these differentiating tips requires advanced IoT software, including cloud computing, a data lake for aggregating and storing large volumes of data, and analytics for drawing consumable insights from the data. Solutions need to tightly integrate and adhere to modern security protocols. Working with a solution provider or deployment consultant will help you leverage the benefits of experience.

As IoT technology is still relatively new, your internal IT teams will appreciate the help of professionals who are familiar with the complexities of IoT deployment. These experts can help you avoid common pitfalls and overcome any possible roadblocks that arise.

Ultimately, metal fabricators need differentiation and tools to help them level-up their products and service for customers. IoT technology can provide important abilities and help you leverage technology for insight.

But, to truly be effective and reap differentiating-level benefits, metal fabricators need to go beyond the basics. Involve experts to help plan the strategy. Set goals using advanced applications, such as the five listed here, to stand out from the competition. Most importantly, get started now.

 

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Laser Cutting In Manufacturing Process

Laser Cutting In Manufacturing Process

Laser cutting is a fabrication process which employs a focused, high-powered laser beam to cut material into custom shapes and designs. This process is suitable for a wide range of materials, including metal, plastic, wood and glass. Article by Ahmad Alshidiq.

Manufacturers have sought to make the manufacturing process easier and more efficient. By verifying that a design can actually be manufactured early on in the development process, manufacturers can save time and money, and speed up time to market for new products while also ensure optimum productivity.

The development of technologies such as laser cutting have made manufacturing complex products easier. Laser cutters have simplified the process of manufacturing products simpler, rather than simplifying the products themselves, thus allowing for greater complexity in less time — and increased innovation.

L.A.S.E.R

Laser is the acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, which is the main participant in this process, is a beam of heavily intensified light. This beam of light is formed by a single wavelength or single colour.

The laser machines use amplification and stimulation technique to transform electric energy into high density beam of light. The stimulation process happens as the electrons are excited via an external source, mostly an electric arc or a flash lamp.

Focusing the light beam is not so easy. The laser has to go through a specialised lens or any type of curved surface. This focusing part of the laser happens inside the laser-cutting tip. The focusing is crucial to this cutting process because if the beam is not focused concisely, the shape will turn out different.

Laser cutters can be customised to cut nearly any material of any thickness to exact specifications accurately and fast. It is a cleaner process, requires little or no secondary cleanup, can be easily adjusted to meet the changing needs of the product.

The process works by having a focused and precise laser beam run through the material that users are looking to cut, delivering an accurate and smooth finish. Initially, the beam pierces the material with a hole at the edge, and then the beam is continued along from there. The laser melts the material away that it is run over. This means that it can easily cut light materials up to tougher metals and gemstones.

Either a pulsed beam or a continuous wave beam can be used, with the former being delivered in short bursts while the latter works continuously. Users can control the beam intensity, length and heat output depending on the material you are working with, and can also user a mirror or special lens to further focus the laser beam. Laser cutting is a highly accurate process, thanks to high level of control offered; slits with a width as small as 0.1mm can be achieved.

There are three main types of laser cutting: C02, crystal and, more common, fibre laser cutting.

Fibre laser cutting machines have emerged as the technology of choice for sheet metal cutting in the metal fabricating industry. They are able to deliver unrivalled productivity, precision, and cost-effective operation when compared with the cutting technologies that came before them.

Techniques In Cutting Process

There are also several techniques involved with the laser cutting process, according to SPI Laser:

Laser cutting – This is the process of cutting a shape to create smaller sizes, pieces, or more complex shapes.

Laser engraving – The process of removing a layer of a material to leave an engraving below. This is often used for etching barcodes onto items.

Laser marking – Similar to engraving in that a mark is made but the difference being that the mark is only surface level, while an engraving from laser engraving has much more depth.

Laser drilling – Drilling is creating dents or thru-holes on or in the surface of a material.

Laser cutting allows more flexibility in the manufacturing process. A laser operates with a heat intensity, making it possible to cleanly and accurately cut virtually any material, from the strongest alloy all the way down to the thinnest polymers.

Lasers aren’t bound by geometry, so parts do not have to conform to the capabilities of the laser cutter. Because the laser itself never actually touches the part being cut, materials can be oriented in any fashion, which allows them to be cut in any shape or form. In many cases, the precision cuts made by the lasers require little to no post-cut processing, which also speeds up the manufacturing process.

There are, however, some drawbacks, as laser cutting uses more power than other types of cutters and does require more training to do properly, as poorly adjusted lasers can burn materials or fail to cut them cleanly. And while laser cutting does typically cost more than other types of processes, such as wet cutting, the benefits often far outweigh those costs.

Laser Leads the Way

The laser continues to solve more and more manufacturing problems, and process variables such as beam diameter and manipulation continue to have a meaningful impact. It’s no mystery why manufacturers constantly choose laser cutting for their prototype and their final production over any other traditional metal engraving process. With its precise cutting, smooth edge, cost and energy efficiency as well as many other profitable advantages, it seems like the use of laser cutting in different sectors and industries is not likely to decrease in next decade or so. And it is indeed a wise decision to shift from traditional expensive metal cutting technologies to this efficient process of shaping ideas. Advancements in laser technology are sure to be a key component of success in the era of Industrie 4.0.

 

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