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Forming Technology Meets Edge Computing

Forming Technology Meets Edge Computing

German Edge Cloud (GEC), which specialises in edge and cloud systems, is cooperating with Schuler, a machine and plant building company. In this context, Schuler is offering a track-and-trace solution for press plants within the Digital Suite, based on technology from German Edge Cloud. The Schuler Digital Suite with the “track-and-trace application powered by GEC” is being used, among other things, in the Smart Press Shop, a joint venture between Schuler and Porsche.

The ability to trace components, driven by the automotive and aircraft industries, is rapidly gaining in importance. Through their cooperation, Schuler and German Edge Cloud are combining expertise in forming technology with skills in edge and cloud technology to achieve greater transparency and networking in production and across the entire value chain. This joint solution is already being employed in a pilot project: Smart Press Shop GmbH & Co KG, a joint venture between Porsche and Schuler with a fully networked press shop in Halle an der Saale, Germany, which is being used for the flexible production of body parts for Porsche and other producers.

“With our data-driven press shop and the associated Schuler Digital Suite track-and-trace system, we are responding to our customers’ call for easy-to-use total solutions,” explains Domenico Iacovelli, the Schuler Group’s CEO. As a companion on the path to digitalisation, the company is thus ensuring complete transparency in production: “In the event of any product recalls, for example, the entire supply chain can be traced – without any gaps – and the cause of the fault can be quickly identified.”

GEC supplied a central software module for the track-and-trace system while Schuler is also developing additional modules based on the “user-centred design” approach. The front end can be run on various mobile devices. This allows the two companies to optimally pool their resources.

“Both Schuler and the Friedhelm Loh Group with German Edge Cloud are driving innovation in industrial SMEs,” says Professor Friedhelm Loh, owner and CEO of the Friedhelm Loh Group. “Together, we are now combining state-of-the-art press technology with future-oriented edge and cloud expertise from a single source to achieve added value for our customers.”

Track-and-trace meets edge cloud appliance

German Edge Cloud brings its many years of expertise in the development and project planning of integration projects in manufacturing to the new collaboration and future-oriented industrial solutions based on Premise Edge ONCITE. One key benefit for users is full data ownership and sovereignty so that expertise and critical production data remain in the right hands. Furthermore, the track-and-trace system is compatible with the public clouds of major OEMs as well as hybrid clouds, such as the private Schuler Cloud.

Complete proof of quality

The joint solution from Schuler and German Edge Cloud is designed for complete production traceability. One key component is a track-and-trace system that guarantees full traceability within production processes, based on consistent data.

The track-and-trace system provides quality data and it enables continuous production status queries and full transparency of the current production process, among other things. Furthermore, parts can be identified rapidly in the event of a fault.

The scalable “Track & Trace powered by GEC” solution, which runs on Schuler systems and other presses, results in specific added value in quality, scalability, cost efficiency, and transparency during production. In the first stage, the application enables traceability. In the future, it is also to be designed for connection to such overarching systems and programs as SAP ERP and it will form the basis for artificial intelligence (AI) for production optimisation.

Implementation on a greenfield site: the “smart press shop”

The joint track-and-trace solution from Schuler and German Edge Cloud is already being tested in the Smart Press Shop, an intelligent, fully networked press shop for the flexible production of car body parts. The plant was built on a 13-hectare site in Halle an der Saale and started operation this June.

The project aims to raise to a new level the production efficiency and digitalisation of important process stages in automotive production for forming technology. In addition, shorter logistics routes reduce production-related carbon emissions and will, eventually, permit a “zero impact factory”. Parts are pressed and assemblies are manufactured for Porsche and other brands of the Volkswagen Group in the Smart Press Shop. Other OEMs are expected to follow suit.

 

Discovering The ‘Digital Suite’ In Action

Discovering the ‘Digital Suite’ in Action

In the beginning of this year, Schuler presented its “Digital Suite” solutions for networking forming technology. At the Blechexpo trade show from October 26 to 29 in Stuttgart, users can see for themselves the practical benefits of this technology on the example of a C-frame press type CFL 160.

“Schuler is the first press manufacturer to also offer fully networked C-frame presses,” clarifies Managing Director Frank Klingemann, who heads the Industry Division. “This means that we have now digitised almost our entire product range.” However, operators who want to prepare for the Industrial Internet of Things do not necessarily have to replace their presses: “We also offer many solutions that can be retrofitted for existing systems,” adds Service Managing Director Torsten Petrick. “They help with the start of production, ongoing operation, and maintenance.”

Schuler will also be showcasing its mechanical transfer presses, which are available both with and without servo drives, and its hydraulic lines for the production of parts for lightweight automotive construction – be it with hot stamping, hydroforming or fiber-reinforced plastics (composites). For many applications, Aweba provides the appropriate dies. The Schuler subsidiary also supports its customers from the automotive and supplier industries in the transition to e-mobility: with dies and die casting molds for electric motors or battery housings.

 

Schuler To Deliver Largest Mechanical Forging Presses To Thyssenkrupp

Schuler To Deliver Largest Mechanical Forging Presses To Thyssenkrupp

In 2022, thyssenkrupp Gerlach is expected to start production on a Farina forging press from Schuler. Internal assembly for the 16,000-ton line one of the largest mechanical machines in the world has been completed in Suello, Italy, and after the test run the components with a total weight of 1,700 tons will make their way to the customer’s forging plant in Homburg, Germany.

The Farina GLF series presses cover forces from 750 to 16,000 tons. They feature a novel direct drive concept without connecting rods. Thus, the design engineers at Schuler and Farina succeeded in reducing the machine height compared to conventional presses. One result of the optimisation for hot forging is, among other things, a very high deformation reduction and thus a significantly reduced flash thickness on forging parts.

Farina had already supplied a 4,000-ton forging press to thyssenkrupp in 2008. Schuler had acquired the Italian press manufacturer based in Suello, the leading European supplier of forging lines in the mid-price segment, in 2018.

“This order shows that we have successfully completed our product portfolio with this acquisition,” said Schuler general manager Frank Klingemann.

 

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Schuler Installs Forging Lines For Chinese Customer Despite Pandemic

Schuler Installs Forging Lines For Chinese Customer Despite Pandemic

In the middle of the Corona pandemic, Schuler has installed two forging lines in China, one of which has already been handed over and the other is about to be. This was made possible not least by remote maintenance and virtual commissioning, which allowed all functions to be simulated in advance on the computer and adapted to the customer’s needs. The screw press and the crank press forge aluminum chassis parts fully automatically. Schuler supplied the lines including the dies and furnaces.forging line

The production data of both lines can optionally be accessed via the “mySchuler” portal from anywhere and at any time. The “Production Monitor” displays the operating status and the current stroke rate. The “Press Force Monitor” provides information about the load on the machine and die, “Drive Analytics” enables operators to monitor the main drives and “Cooling Analytics” allows them to monitor the cooling circuits. “Lubrication Analytics” makes it possible to control the lubrication circuit including lubrication cycles, system pressure or oil temperature depending on the stroke rate. In this way, possible deviations can be detected at an early stage and quickly remedied.

Screw presses from Schuler feature a press force of between 250 and 28,000 tons. The water-cooled servo direct drive transmits the torque of the motor without losses and offers a high level of robustness, precision, operational reliability, and economy. The 750 to 16,000 ton crank presses are particularly suitable for mass production. Depending on the specific requirements, the press frame as well as the drive system is designed for high manufacturing precision and high production rates.

 

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Huissel GmbH Operates 800-ton Press Of Latest Schuler Technology

Huissel GmbH Operates 800-ton Press Of Latest Schuler Technology

Huissel GmbH, based in Enkenbach-Alsenborn, Germany, is Schuler’s first customer with an 800-ton press of the newly developed MSP series. Managing Director Gerald Schug was particularly impressed by the innovative concept of the lines: they use two exclusively electronically synchronised drive trains in an opposite arrangement, each consisting of a highly dynamic servo motor, a brake module, and an eccentric shaft.

“The absence of gears makes the machine much more dynamic than previous servo presses,” explains Schug. In conventional mechanical presses, a gearbox in the crown ensures the synchronisation of the motors. In addition, the pressure points on the MSP series are further out than those on traditional presses, which increases the possible eccentric load. Part of the overall concept is also a very fine electronic parallelism monitoring system for the slide.

“The knuckle-joint drive in transverse shaft design plays to its strengths particularly in the lower working range,” adds Schug. The constant forming speed shortly before the bottom dead center offers mechanical advantages, especially in embossing, bending and drawing. Huissel benefits from this, for example, when forming lids and shells for ventilation systems or an approximately 20 millimeter flat sheet metal part made of aluminum for a major automotive manufacturer.

Schug is also completely satisfied with the automation of the press, which Schuler likewise supplied. Furthermore, the scope of supply includes a “Power Line” type coil line in long design, the “Power Feed” roll feed, and the “ProTrans” modular electronic three-axis transfer with active vibration compensation. Triple oiling of the strip material ensures optimum forming conditions.

Die simulation prevents possible collisions

Huissel also invested in the DigiSim simulation solution for its own diemaking operations, among other things. Thus, the possible collision with the transfer can be detected while the die is still in the design phase. During a training course held last October with Schuler’s experts, the users learned about the extensive possibilities of the software and how to operate it.

On the other hand, no great prior knowledge is required to control the press, as operators can select from six already programmed slide movement curves which are matched to the desired product. The “Smart Assist” also guides the operator step-by-step through the setup process for new dies, which helps shorten Huissel’s production startup.

If, despite everything, a maloperation should occur, the electronic overload protection prevents worse: it immediately registers an excessive press force and changes the torque of the main drive in the opposite direction within a few milliseconds to minimise die damage.

Thanks to an energy storage unit, the connected load of the overall system is significantly reduced. Last but not least, for Gerald Schug, the external appearance of the largest investment in Huissel’s company history to date is right: “The design of the machine is impressive,” is how the managing director puts it – especially since the MSP 800 can also convince with its internal values.

 

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MJ Gerüst Deploys Schuler’s Servo Technology For Special Forming

MJ Gerüst Deploys Schuler’s Servo Technology For Special Forming

MJ Gerüst GmbH, one of the leading scaffolding manufacturers in Germany, based in Plettenberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, has placed an order with Schuler for its third identical servo press. It is a 400-ton line with bed dimensions of 3,050 by 1,400 millimeters, which forms perforated scaffold decks and other parts from sheet metal for scaffolding.

Schuler will supply the servo press, which is scheduled to go into operation at the end of the year, including the complete automation from a single source. “MJ Gerüst also wants to rely on Schuler’s proven servo technology for this special forming requirement,” explains Area Sales Manager Olaf Klein. The machine will be located at the beginning of a production line about 50 meters of length, which also includes a profiling line as well as a welding line.

“This will enable us to further optimize the manufacturing process by eliminating the need to transport parts between production lines and making even better use of the high output capacity of the servo press,” adds Alexander Böhne, Technical Manager Die Construction / Stamping Shop at MJ Gerüst. “We also equipped all three machines with a soundproof booth and spared no expense or effort to do so.”

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ANDRITZ Strengthens Technology Leadership With Train Wheel Production Line

ANDRITZ Strengthens Technology Leadership With Train Wheel Production Line

International technology group ANDRITZ and Allegro – a subsidiary of EVRAZ and RailService established to implement the project to produce train wheels in the Titan Valley special economic zone – have signed a contract to supply a complete production line for train wheels.

ANDRITZ GROUP subsidiaries ANDRITZ Maerz and Schuler will supply the production line. The main part of the contract is expected to be booked in mid-2021, with the first consignment being scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2022.

The production process comprises several stages: The blanks produced by EVRAZ are heated to 1,250 deg C in the rotary hearth furnace, then descaled and preformed in a hydraulic press with 10,000 tons of press force. After this, the blanks are rolled in a wheel-rolling machine developed by Schuler and forged into a finished product in a crimping and piercing press with 5,000 tons of press force. This is followed by a geometric test in a laser measuring system and permanent marking in a marking press. Finally, the wheels undergo heat treatment and the running surfaces are hardened.

Allegro is investing a total of around 16 billion rubles (approximately 180 million euros) in the production of train wheels. With the new production line, Allegro will be able to produce 200,000 train wheels per year, and up to 300,000 with a further extension. Production is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2022, and the project will create a total of 425 new jobs.

“We are looking forward to reaching this milestone with ANDRITZ as the main supplier,” says EVRAZ Vice President Denis Novozhenov, who heads the Ural Division. “Production of train wheels requires highest competence and strict quality control, and this begins in production of the steel. The know-how from EVRAZ is vital to this project.”

Heinz Autischer, Head of Metals Processing at ANDRITZ: “We are very proud that we have won a railway wheel line again to be supplied jointly by ANDRITZ Maerz and Schuler. With this order, we will deliver the most advanced production line ever built in this segment and also strengthen our technology leadership in this area.”

 

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Schuler Appoints New Head Of Service

Schuler Appoints New Head Of Service

Torsten Petrick has been appointed as the new Head of Schuler Service as of July 1, 2020. Previously, he built up and managed the company’s global procurement. Graduating from the Technical University of Braunschweig and until 2008, Petrick worked in various management positions in the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) division of MTU Aero Engines AG. Graduating from the Technical University of Braunschweig

“The service is available to customers around the world around the clock to ensure the productivity and safety of both Schuler systems and third-party products,” emphasises Petrick.

Digital solutions are now intended to further improve the flexibility and agility of the Schuler Service. With the camera-based “Visual Die Protection” or the “IIoT Connector” for presses in the era of Industry 4.0, Schuler offers several products for networking forming technology.

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Schuler Develops System For Die Monitoring

Schuler Develops System For Die Monitoring

Among other things, the cameras detect the presence of foreign bodies, incorrect connections, and damage to the die or the part.

A wrench left behind in the die is every press operator’s nightmare. When the machine starts up, damage to both the die and the part being formed is inevitable. And a brief moment of carelessness like this can even have consequences for the entire system. To address this problem, Schuler has now developed its Visual Die Protection, a camera-assisted monitoring system that can eliminate costly die repairs, downtime, and even complete production stoppages.

In Visual Die Protection, not only do cameras detect the presence of foreign bodies such as wrenches or punch scraps: The system also checks whether the die is properly connected and verifies that the blanks have been correctly inserted, formed and removed. It is equally able to recognise both cracks in the part itself and potential damage to the centering and ejector pins. If any abnormalities are found, the press is stopped to prevent the situation from getting worse.

For this to be possible, the cameras first create reference images of the relevant die before production begins. During this imaging process, operators mark critical areas that require particularly accurate monitoring, such as the centering and ejector pins. While the production process is running, artificial intelligence is then used on a separate computer to perform a real-time comparison of current images with the original condition of the die, thereby allowing an immediate response if any discrepancies are found.

 

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Decomecc Optimises Blanking Using Schuler’s Laser Blanking Line

Decomecc Optimises Blanking Using Schuler’s Laser Blanking Line

At the latest Decomecc machine, the strip runs continuously from the coil into the laser cell. The growth-oriented and family-owned company based in Genk, Belgium, is specialised in customer specific blanking of aluminum strip and has been producing shaped blanks on a Schuler Laser Blanking Line since the beginning of 2019.

The flexibility of the line has played a major role for the investment decision. Within one day, new blank shapes can be programmed and integrated for production. Also the product change can be done with a few clicks without time-consuming changing of heavy dies. Decomecc also appreciates the material savings that can be achieved by an optimal nesting of the blanks. This way, significantly more parts can be produced per aluminum coil.

Neither Elaborate Press Foundation Nor Loop Pit Required

Blanking without dies is particularly useful for service centers such as Decomecc because the number of variants and thus the number of orders does not depend on the available storage capacities for the dies. Also, the laser blanking line does not require any extraordinary building infrastructure for the handling of the dies or special foundations for a press, which significantly reduces investment costs and facilitates installations in existing buildings. The continuous flow of the strip while cutting makes a loop pit superfluous.

The so-called DynamicFlow Technology is the heart of the system and ensures not only the continuous material flow but also an optimal material support in the blanking process. “This technology enables the production of blanks in outer body quality at a speed of up to 60 meters per minute,” explains Georgios Dermentzakis, the responsible sales manager at Schuler. “For example, a premium car manufacturer that commissioned two Schuler laser blanking lines in 2016 produces more than 40 hoods per minute.” Since then, the customer has invested in two more lines.

Although laser blanking lines cannot cover the full capacity of a conventional blanking line with a blanking press, in some cases, thanks to the DynamicFlow Technology, they can already reach 60 to 70 percent of the output depending on the contour. In addition, they have an Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) of approximately 80 percent: “In many cases, new laser blanking lines offer a higher net output rate than existing conventional equipment,” says Dermentzakis.

The Decomecc system was the first Schuler laser blanking line to be installed in 2013 in Dormagen, Germany, and has been significantly optimised over a period of five years in terms of output rate and blank quality. At the end of 2018 the line moved from Dormagen to Genk. It consists of a conveyor system, a laser cell with three laser cutting heads and a robot for stacking the parts.

The laser cell consists of two laser portals in which the three lasers can move independently of each other. The continuous strip material is transported on telescopic conveyor belts through the cell and thereby supported over the entire surface. Directly beneath the 4 kW laser cutting heads, a mobile gap in the conveyor system allows the cutting slag to be discharged into the underlying separation system.

Homogeneous Blank Edges As A Result

Schuler relies on high-performance and high-precision ytterbium fiber lasers, which, in contrast to the CO2 lasers used in the past, only cause minimal edge hardening in the material. “In fact, you can see that the blank edges are homogeneous with laser blanking, while the edges with conventional blanking have a combination of compressed, cut and broken material areas,” says Dermentzakis. “In the laser blanking process, the material is melted in order to avoid burr, which can lead to increased cleaning effort in the following processes, especially with aluminum,” he continues. In this way, the laser blanking process increases the plant availability of the following forming processes.

Back to Decomecc: With just a few clicks in the visualisation, the blanking program of a laser is readjusted. Immediately afterwards, the result can be examined at the blanks, which are stacked accurately at the end of the system. The simple adjustment of the laser parameters offline or directly on line enables a good and fast process optimisation. Combined with the simple implementation of new laser programs, laser blanking is clearly recommended by Decomecc, for companies that produce a large variety of small batch sizes and need to change frequently.

Other companies have recognised this, too. Beside Europe, Schuler also has got references in China, the USA and South Africa. “The new technology opens up completely new possibilities in the blanking process,” says Dermentzakis. “With our laser blanking technology, we offer our customers significant added value and support them in securing their long-term competitiveness.”

 

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