Brian Smith, president, and KC Lesch, COO, at Albina Co. Inc. discuss the reasons why they selected DAVI Promau for their steel bending, rolling and fabrication processes.
Albina Co. Inc. is a family owned business servicing the steel industry since 1939. Located in Portland, Oregon, they serve all United States and Canada. Steel bending, steel rolling and steel fabrication are their bread and butter, since they curve structural steel members, various sizes of round pipe and HSS material, and plates.
With a big angle roll (MCP) and a 3 roll variable axis plate roll (MAV) purchased in the last two years, Albina started partnering with DAVI. This led us to the chance of talking with Brian Smith, president, and KC Lesch, COO, at Albina.
For starters, Brian told us about the history of the company and the recent rolling needs. “Our first angle rolls were homemade and started us on our 81-year adventure as a bending company. After many years, when we started rolling plate, our equipment allowed us to bend small and medium sized material. Last year, then, we decided to take the leap and go into the large plate rolling market and purchased a DAVI MAV, allowing us to bend 64 mm x 3 mt wide plates,” he said.
Then, he explained which criteria they use when they select a new rolling machine. Being downtime a schedule and reputation killer, quality is the first feature, since the equipment must be dependable and operational 24/7, as well as it needs to be innovative in some way. Secondly, an unmatched customer support—that is, they look for a company wanting to team up and having longevity in the industry. Moreover, easy access to spare parts and tooling and, last but not least, price (reasonable and within budget).
Due to the high transportation costs of the supplies, long delivery times and geographic distance from the dished-head supplier, Industrias Metalúrgicas Serrano was forced to increase its products’ final price, decreasing consequently its competitiveness in the market. The company decided to establish a new long-term business strategy: the acquisition of a high-quality metal dished-head manufacturing combo line that would allow it to excel in the region offering products at competitive prices and with the quality standards required by the most prominent manufacturers of tanks nationwide.
When Industrias Metalúrgicas Serrano discussed the project with the Faccin Group, they were offered a very interesting solution that perfectly suited their long-term strategy, budget, and future benefits.
They knew about Boldrini for a very long time from word-of-mouth by other companies, and when they approached Faccin Group, the company was offered a very interesting solution that perfectly suited its long-term strategy.
During the decision process Industrias Metalúrgicas Serrano was supported by a very professional team from Faccin Group who gave them the confidence to continue with the project with excellent results.
The products proposed by the group were the Boldrini Hydraulic Press paired with a manipulator and a Faccin flanging machine, a line that gives them excellent results, so much so that its new customers highly value the quality of the final product.
Thanks to the advanced numerical control system installed on both machines, the company is seeing constant improvement in terms of the time of dished-head forming, which translates into cost reduction and, consequently, providing a product with superior quality at a more competitive value.
Industrias Metalurgicas Serrano soon hopes to make the acquisition of an even more powerful flanging machine and they do not doubt that they will trust Faccin Group again for future investments.
Faccin S.p.A. is a very powerful group which combines the best brands – Faccin, Boldrini and Roundo – in plate rolling, profile bending and dished-heads manufacturing, all united under one roof and offering the widest range of high-quality options available in the metal forming market.
With over 250 installations worldwide and approximately 60 percent of the overall wind energy rolling machines market share, DAVI is a key player in the global wind energy industry development. Article by Dario Mulazzani, DAVI-Promau.
The wind energy sector has been experiencing a solid growth in the recent years, with a total installed capacity increasing over threefold in the 2010-2018 period, passing from 185 GW to 600 GW. While the on-shore wind Industry reached its maturity and it is expected to keep delivering a steady 45-50 GW of additional capacity each year, the off-shore wind sector is surging.
According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) the off-shore installations should account for over 20% of the total added yearly capacity by 2023, reaching a total capacity of 63 GW, compared to 23 GW in 2018.
The main drivers could be summarized as follows:
The off-shore installation allows for the deployment of larger turbines (both in terms of capacity and physical size), mostly due to constraints related to on-shore transportation of the relevant heavy and expansive equipment. A wind farm comprised of larger turbine will necessarily require lower CAPEX & OPEX per installed capacity, hence decreasing the Project LCOE.
Off-shore winds tend to be steadier and have higher average speeds. This means that more energy can be generated during the year compared to a similar on-shore installation.
Coastal areas typically have high energy needs, with both population and industry concentrated in major coastal cities.
However, compared to on-shore installations, building off-shore farms presents several technical difficulties. In particular, it is very challenging to provide large and very large turbines (nowadays reaching up to 12MW) with a solid anchoring to the seabed.
According to the Norwegian Energy Partners Global Off-shore Report 2018, off-shore foundations accounts for approximately 14% of the total Project LCOE (levelized cost of electricity) in Europe. This figure is likely to be even higher in other markets where seismicity forces the developers to design heavier foundations, (such as for countries surrounding the Pacific Ocean—the so-called Ring of Fire). The same report states that the towers contribute for approximately 4% of the aforementioned LCOE.
It is, hence, likely to assume that in certain markets, foundations and towers combined would account for approximately 20% of the total Project LCOE. This is why reducing the cost of such heavy equipment becomes of critical importance.
Leading the Wind Energy Market
Both towers and foundations are comprised of large plates rolled into cans and cones. Such workpieces are then welded together in large sections which, in the case of pin-piles or monopile foundations, can reach up to 100 m. With plates thicknesses often exceeding 140 mm, increasingly large diameters (>12 m) and very strict dimensional tolerance requirements, the fabrication of off-shore foundations is certainly the most challenging and time consuming rolling operation.
Fabricators are, therefore, in need of a technology partner able to deliver high performance and reliable rolling machines capable of sustaining the demanding serial production characteristics of this industry by increasing rolling accuracy, output and operator safety while decreasing downtimes, floor-to-floor processing time and manpower requirements.
With its cutting edge technology developed by working with the most accredited towers and foundations manufacturers as well as project developers, DAVI is one of the leading players in the wind energy industry, having over 250 installations worldwide and approximately 60 percent of the overall wind energy rolling machines market share.
With over 50 years’ experience delivering high quality 3- and 4-roll rolling machines, DAVI’s R&D team has developed high value patents deployed in its unique product lines specifically designed for the wind energy industry. The company also has developed a proprietary wind energy control system capable of providing full automation as required by the Industry 4.0 standards.
Through its high productivity lines, DAVI 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 that would otherwise occur due to counter bending forces generated by the plate’s 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 its 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 to 30 percent, compared to manual process.
ABB has launched its Performance Optimisation Service for long product rolling mills, an advanced service powered by ABB Ability Data Analytics for long product rolling mills, a digital solution which applies process-specific analysis to large volumes of complex data. This helps metals producers to achieve unprecedented levels of yield, quality and productivity, with remote monitoring and support via ABB’s Collaborative Operations Centers.
ABB’s Performance Optimisation Service for long product rolling mills allows operations to be monitored around the clock from ABB’s Collaborative Operations Centers, where experts alert designated onsite staff to process deviations and disturbances and advise on corrective action, supporting faster, more data-driven decisions that will enhance process performance. To facilitate continuous improvement, ABB utilises process insights to generate regular reports identifying focus areas and recommended actions. Enterprise-level integration provides insights across multiple mills, enabling users to identify and analyse trends that could impact performance at several sites.
The solution at the core of this service – ABB Ability Data Analytics for long product rolling mills – integrates with ABB Ability Data Analytics Platform for metals and is able to collect high frequency data in real-time from data acquisition systems, such as Iba or over other industry standard communication protocols, and analyse the performance of the mill with process-specific algorithms. It uses the data to detect deviations, identify their root cause and determine trends, benchmarks and other performance factors including predicting and preventing faults before they affect production. Data is collected in real-time, stored securely onsite at the customer’s premises using the ABB Historian server, and visualised for designated users in intuitive, customisable dashboards.
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.
Today, CNC controlled machines can be found in almost all industries, from small-scale metalwork shops to big manufacturing companies. There is barely any phase of the manufacturing process that is not affected by automated CNC machines. Faccin SPA, a manufacturer of plate rolling equipment, foresaw back in the early 1980’s the need of the metal forming industry to have CNC-controlled rolling machines. Article by Faccin SPA.
After a continuous research and development, the first generation of Faccin-CNC bending rolls reached the metal forming manufacturers and for more than 30 years Faccin has been offering them all the benefits of the most advanced and powerful numerical control developed for bending rolls: the PGS-ULTRA.
The first benefit offered by Faccin’s CNC PGS-Ultra is improved automation for its plate rolls. The operator involvement linked to producing workpieces can be greatly reduced or eliminated. Therefore a CNC-controlled plate roll can run unattended during most of its rolling cycle, freeing the operator to do other tasks. This gives the CNC-controlled machine user other benefits like reduced operator fatigue, less mistakes triggered by human error and a steady and foreseeable rolling time and quality for each piece.
Since the rolling machine will be running under program control, the skill level required of the operator will also be reduced, decreasing the dependability risk of the manufacturing company on a single highly skilled operator.
The CNC PGS-Ultra, built with industrial SIEMENS hardware and a perfected user-friendly graphic interface, is so simple to use that even an inexperienced operator can program the rolling machine to produce simple circular shapes of different diameters and lengths or more complex pieces like polycentric tanks, spirals for ventilators, plates of variable lengths, and many more.
Accurate Rolled Pieces
The second major benefit of the CNC-controlled plate-rolling technology is consistent and accurate rolled pieces. Today’s CNC-controlled machines manufactured by Faccin can claim unbelievable precision and repeatability of rolled pieces. This means that once a program is verified, no matter the quantity, identical rolled pieces can be effortlessly produced with precision and consistency.
A third benefit offered by the CNC-controlled plate rolling machines is flexibility. Since these machines are run from a very “easy-to-use” program, running a different workpiece is as easy as selecting it from a different shape option on the screen. Special and unique options are available in the standard configuration like the possibility to build programs for rolling variable thickness programs, calculation of the plate developed length, cycle time, etc. Once a program has been verified and executed for a production run, it can be easily recalled the next time the workpiece is to be run. This leads to yet another benefit, fast change-over.
Motion Control Feature
Finally yet importantly, a wide range of machine accessories like feeding table, plate centering, lateral and top supports, clamping devices, can be controlled with the CNC PGS-Ultra through an easy-to-use motion control feature that manages 15 programmable directions (axes) allowing the operator to configure all the accessories required in the manufacturing process of high quality rolled plates.
Since programs can be easily loaded on the CNC PGS-Ultra, a very short setup time is required and therefore plate-rolling machines become very easy to set up and run which is imperative with today’s just-in-time production requirements.
Manufacturing companies face today huge challenges, intensified pressure and the need to reduce production time, improve flexibility and increase quality with energy reduction. Faccin is ready for Industry 4.0 thanks to its Smart Package 4.0 that offers features like Systems Diagnosis, Teleservice, Management Control, Drawing Imports, Rolling and Production Lot Statistics and Flexible Network Solutions between others, helping the manufacturers of today, face the challenges of tomorrow.