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Automation On Demand

Automation On Demand

Bystronic’s Bendikt Kreisel describes the benefits of a fully automatic bending cell in today’s sheet metal processing. 

Not long ago, automation was associated only with repetitive tasks. High and consistent quality as well as reliability over very long periods are decisive factors that ensure the profitability of automation in production environments. However, more complex jobs that require a high degree of customisation in the manufacturing process are still often performed manually. This is currently a widespread approach in the sheet metal processing sector.

Our industry has experienced a major transformation over the past five years–indeed, one could say it has been forced to transform. Increasing price pressure in the markets and the lack of skilled personnel are just two of the reasons for this, in addition to increasingly dynamic and uncertain business environments.

Automation Backlog

However, the unique advantages and disadvantages of manual processing by a human operator and automated manufacturing cannot be dismissed. Every decision in favor of or against automating a process is a balancing act involving many production-relevant variables. Besides productivity and quality, flexibility is another undeniable competitive advantage of any supplier in the manufacturing industry, especially in view of increasingly dynamic business environments. 

This is a dilemma that has led to a backlog of automation, especially in the sheet metal processing industry. However, when users do not wish to accept any compromises in terms of flexibility, productivity, and consistent high quality, the demands on the machines increase.

Intelligent Technology Solution

Bystronic’s Mobile Bending Cell addresses these demands and implements them by applying intelligent technology. The users’ requirements are particularly wide-ranging when it comes to bending technology. Being able to bend parts with extremely complex geometries in small batches while simultaneously being capable of handling the high-volume processing of simple geometries is a major challenge that many companies are currently facing. Also known as automation on demand, the Mobile Bending Cell is capable of overcoming these challenges—ensuring high flexibility as well as high quality and productivity. 

This is achieved by means of the Mobile Bending Robot, which can be positioned in front of the press brake or detached to allow manual operation. Thanks to an intelligent and fully automated measuring system, the robot references itself in front of the press brake without requiring manual intervention. Laser sensors measure the precise position of the robot relative to the press brake and it is referenced accordingly. This allows the press brake to be converted from manual bending to fully automated bending in less than ten minutes. The relative position of the press brake to the Mobile Bending Robot is determined so accurately that the need for manual calibration is completely eliminated. 

Once individual parts have been bent automatically, the process can be repeated without adjustments once the press brake and the Mobile Bending Robot have been connected. Depending on the requirements, the system can either be operated completely manually or fully automatically.

However, the “marriage” of press brake and Mobile Bending Robot is not the only critical factor for an efficient production process. The preparation of the parts that are to be bent is another process that incurs costs in every production run. For the automation on demand concept to really pay off, the process of programming the robot automation needs to be innovative and fast. 

With the Mobile Bending Cell’s programming system called Robot Manager, the robot’s movements are programmed using algorithms that factor in comprehensive collision models for each relevant application. All that is required is the definition of basic positions and all the other movements are automatically defined by the software. This increases quality and reduces process idle time.

Automatic measurement of the press brake and bending automation system in combination with intelligent robot programming makes the Mobile Bending Cell the ideal solution for bending automation on demand.

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First Trading Day As Bystronic On SIX Swiss Exchange

First Trading Day As Bystronic On SIX Swiss Exchange

At the Annual General Meeting on April 21, 2021, the share-holders of Conzzeta AG (“Conzzeta”) approved the change of name to Bystronic AG (“Bystronic”). The name change is the result of the strategic realignment of the Conzzeta Group. The shares of Bystronic (ticker symbol: BYS) are being traded for the first time on SIX Swiss Exchange.

By pursuing its growth strategy, Bystronic aims to further expand its leading position as high-tech solutions provider for the sheet metal processing industry: New smart factory software solutions meet the growing demand for automation and digital processes and support customers with the networking of their manufacturing processes. The company intends to open up new fields of application, strengthen its position in the individual regions and increase its focus on services. As a result, Bystronic’s market share is to continue to grow organically, by means of strategic partnerships and based on targeted acquisitions.

As already communicated on occasion of the Capital Markets’ Day on November 25, 2020, Bystronic is aiming for an annual organic sales growth of five to eight percent in the medium term (baseline year: 2019). By the end of the strategy period (2025), revenues are thus projected to increase to approximately 1.3 billion Swiss francs. The company has also set itself a profitability target with an EBIT margin in excess of 12 percent. Thanks to a capital-efficient business model, a return on net operating assets in excess of 25 percent is to be achieved. The service business is to grow from 19 percent (2019) to 26 percent of total revenues by 2025.

“Today is a special day for Bystronic and all our employees. I am very proud of the entire Bystronic team and their commitment to implementing our ’Strategy 2025`. We look forward to demonstrating that Bystronic is a modern, sustainably managed and agile company, and we share this moment with our employees, customers, investors, partners, and other stakeholders,” said Alex Waser, CEO of Bystronic.

“On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I would like to sincerely thank the Conzzeta team and all employees involved and congratulate them on the successful completion of our transformation – towards a company with a focus on high-tech solutions for the sheet metal processing industry. We all wish Bystronic a great start and, as a company now listed on SIX, continued success with the implementation of its ambitious growth strategy,”said Ernst Bärtschi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bystronic.

 

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ANCA Sheet Metal Solutions Appoints Nicholas Doyle As General Manager

ANCA Sheet Metal Solutions Appoints Nicholas Doyle As General Manager

Nicholas Doyle replaces Frank Holzer as the General Manager of ANCA Sheet Metal Solutions (ASM) at a time of significant growth for the company. Nicholas brings over 25 years’ experience in leadership, engineering, manufacturing, systems and quality to help strengthen the business.

“It is an exciting time to join ASM as we continue to welcome new customers and take on exciting projects. Moving to the new facility in 2019 brought a new era of professionalism in our 20-year history. As well as a new name and brand, the changes that Frank led in 2019 set up ASM with the capabilities to grow our manufacturing capacity and offer our customers even greater quality solutions,” said Nicholas Doyle, ANCA Sheet Metal Solutions General Manager.

ASM are an Australian owned business and offer a comprehensive set of services integrating cutting-edge sheet metal fabrication equipment with a workforce of qualified manufacturing engineers, technicians and welders. The skilled team, based in Thailand, are practiced in transforming a concept into a well-priced, high quality product.

“We offer a premium service with capabilities in engineering; laser cutting; waterjet cutting; folding and forming equipment; welding and painting; assembly and testing and take a lean manufacturing approach. It is a pivotal time to join ASM, as we build on our foundations to produce high quality metal fabrication products – growing our product ranges and manufacturing team,” Nicholas concluded.

Nicholas, a qualified Engineer, worked as a Mechanical Engineer at Bredo Mators in Melbourne, Australia before joining the ANCA Group as a CAD CAM Engineer. After four years working for ANCA Australia he moved to ANCA CNC Machines Thailand to manage the factory transition into a larger facility and subsequently became the Manufacturing Manager for that new Thailand facility.

Bringing over 25 years’ experience in CNC machining and automation, Nicholas will focus on cost reduction and process improvements and aims to develop a strong ASM team focused on customer satisfaction.

 

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EuroBLECH Launches Digital Innovation Series For 2021 In April Focusing On Forming Technology

EuroBLECH Launches Digital Innovation Series for 2021 In April Focusing On Forming Technology

EuroBLECH is launching the Digital Innovation Series 2021, providing an essential marketplace and business platform for the international sheet metal working industry which has been impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. The event series will deliver a set of targeted curated digital events to allow companies from across the globe to come together on one platform to exchange knowledge and expertise, discover innovations as well as conduct business meetings to discuss manufacturing solutions. The series of events will take place during the course of this year.

The organiser of EuroBLECH, Mack Brooks Exhibitions, has announced a new online event series for the international sheet metal working community. The event series provides a dedicated virtual market place for innovative manufacturing solutions, knowledge transfer and worldwide business contacts on a brand-new online platform. The EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Series is a much-anticipated trade and networking event for the global sheet metal working community, presenting a broad programme for trade professionals including virtual product presentations, expert webinars, and a new meeting option. Visitors can participate for free and register online now.

Hosted online from 27 – 28 April 2021, the first event of the Digital Innovation Series will be focussed on Forming Technology including Sheet Metal Parts & Materials as well as Tool Technology and will offer visitors the opportunity to discover latest developments and innovations of exhibitors. A webinar series will address challenges and provide fresh inspiration to boost productivity and efficiency, increase margins and present new technology solutions.

“Following the launch of the EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit in October last year, we have listened to the feedback of all participants. Many wanted to see more targeted content and a much clearer focus on products and innovations”, explains Evelyn Warwick, Event Director of EuroBLECH. “Hence, with the launch of the brand-new Digital Innovation Series, we are acting upon the feedback we have received, with three curated digital events. The first one is set to take place in April, with a spotlight on forming technology. Visitors will be able to participate in live product presentations, arrange meetings and use a new chat functionality to get in touch with suppliers. In addition, a webinar programme focussed on forming technology will provide latest insights into this technology sector”, continues Evelyn Warwick.

 

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TRUMPF Acquires Lantek And Expands Software Business

TRUMPF Acquires Lantek And Expands Software Business

The high-tech company TRUMPF acquires the software house Lantek and thus focuses on software in sheet metal processing that runs independently of the machine manufacturer.

“TRUMPF is opening up to customers’ production ecosystems with this acquisition,” says Thomas Schneider, Managing Director of Machine Tool Development at TRUMPF. “Our customers’ process is our focus – with Lantek, we comprehensively cover the sheet metal process chain, even with machines from different manufacturers. In this way, we are taking another big step toward efficient and connected sheet metal production and enriching the Smart Factory solution portfolio.”

After participating in the development of umati, the open machine data interface, the development of omlox, the open positioning standard, and the cooperation with intralogistics expert Jungheinrich on automated guided vehicles, the cooperation with Lantek is a consistent step towards process optimisation and connectivity for the sheet metal production of the future.

“We are looking forward to cooperating closely with TRUMPF. Lantek has been leading the sheet metal software for 35 years thanks to its ability to bring the best manufacturing solutions to any cutting machine, and this will continue to be our goal, assuring interconnectivity and independency between machine tool builders. Our customers benefit from a close exchange in the key technologies of the future AI, data models and holistic process control. This enables us to bundle our competencies and develop software for the future of sheet metal production in an even more open and customer-oriented way in the future,“ says Alberto López de Biñaspre, CEO of Lantek.

 

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TRUMPF Opens New Smart Factory In Ditzingen

TRUMPF Opens New Smart Factory In Ditzingen

TRUMPF has opened a new smart factory at its headquarters in Ditzingen. The new facility is already producing sheet metal parts for the company’s machine tools. Designed as a fully connected manufacturing environment, the smart factory also serves as a demonstration center – a place where SMEs and other businesses can see for themselves how efficient sheet metal fabrication works.

“We have 30 machines connected to each other in our new smart factory. Connectivity helps reduce scrap rates and processing time as well as boosting efficiency. Nowhere else in the world offers our particular mix of problem-solving skills for sheet metal fabrication,” says Heinz-Jürgen Prokop, Chief Executive Officer Machine Tools at TRUMPF.

The smart factory is divided into three production halls that cover a total of 5,000 square meters. Along with Chicago in the U.S. and Taicang in China, Ditzingen has become the third TRUMPF location to have a fully connected manufacturing facility. The company now has a smart factory in each of the world’s major regions, highlighting its determination to get closer to its customers.

Assistance systems for day-to-day work

Connectivity in the new smart factory extends not only to cutting, bending and welding machines, but also to large-scale storage systems and automated guided vehicles. The whole connected manufacturing environment is managed from the control center. This is where all the key performance indicators from the production process are collected in real time – from initial order to finished product.

“The best way to improve the efficiency of a sheet-metal production line is to focus on the steps that occur upstream and downstream from the actual machining of the part. Connecting up production processes and machines gives sheet metal fabricators a decisive competitive edge – especially in our age of decreasing batch sizes, faster response times and increasingly complex parts,” says Prokop.

Workers in the new smart factory are supported by assistance systems. With the help of TRUMPF’s manufacturing execution system software TruTops Fab, they can monitor the entire manufacturing process from wherever they are using a tablet, smartphone or smart watch.

Solution provider for end-to-end production

TRUMPF’s smart factory meets the company’s in-house manufacturing requirements. But it also serves as a demonstration center for sheet metal fabricators from Germany and across Europe, showing them how to boost the efficiency of cutting, bending, punching and welding in a real production environment. From SMEs to large corporations, companies of all sizes can discover new solutions for connected manufacturing. For example, small businesses can significantly boost their efficiency by opting for entry-level solutions such as an AI-based part removal assistant. TRUMPF’s smart factory offers the perfect example of how to connect up manufacturing step-by-step in logistics and other areas. Larger companies with more machinery can learn how to set up semi-autonomous manufacturing by studying the smart factory’s seamless integration of punching, bending, lasers and storage systems.

Solution provider with partners

TRUMPF aims to continue building its reputation as a solution provider for end-to-end production – and that means building partnerships. The modern factory transport units that carry materials to and from the various machine tools are made by one of these partners, Jungheinrich, while the storage systems come from STOPA. The smart factory also includes a levelling and deburring machine from ARKU and an inspection machine from InspecVision.

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EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit 2020: The Digital Meeting Place For The Sheet Metalworking Community

EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit 2020: The Digital Meeting Place For The Sheet Metalworking Community

The first EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit is taking place online from 27 – 30 October 2020, providing a much-anticipated trade and networking event for the global sheet metal working community, which has been impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

The EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit is a four-day online trading, networking and webinar event for professionals from the entire sheet metal working technology chain. Visitors can virtually meet relevant exhibitors, watch informative product presentations and follow webinars on current industry trends, followed by live Q&A Sessions. Similar to a live event there are several options for visitors to get in touch with exhibitors: drop their business card at the virtual stand, pre-book meetings with exhibitors or instantly contact exhibitors as they browse the virtual stand.

The opening times of the online event are from 27 – 30 October 2020, from 8am to 4pm GMT. Visitors can participate for free and the platform is now open for registration and pre-booking of meetings.

Discover latest technological innovations: Presentation Theatre and Product Showcases

Visitors can discover the latest innovations, presented in the Virtual Presentation Theatre by selected EuroBLECH exhibitors. Each exhibitor presentation lasts around 15 minutes and will demonstrate their latest product innovations and technologies, followed by a live Q&A session. Companies presenting their latest developments are Bystronic Laser, Lantek, Lumentum, Mazak, Prima Power, Salvagnini and TRUMPF Group. In addition, Virtual Product Showcases create a virtual stand experience and allow visitors to explore new products and services of EuroBLECH exhibitors in more detail.

Virtual meetings with exhibitors

The matchmaking functionality is now available to arrange pre-booked meetings, with all meetings taking place from 27 – 30 October live on the EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit platform. Arranging for a meeting is very easy and intuitive, with no third-party software required. Visitors simply login, fill in their profile with their interests and can then start searching for exhibitors to send out meeting invites.

EuroBLECH goes DIGITAL: The Webinar Programme

A daily programme of webinars by industry experts provides an opportunity to gain useful insights into the latest market developments as well as technical expertise concerning new industry applications and solutions. Key players from the industry as well as trade bodies provide exclusive insights into latest technologies and case studies on subjects such as Digitalisation, Forming and Separation Technology, Automation and Process Optimisation.

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Euroblech 2020: TRUMPF Presents Online Trade Fair And Customer Events In Ditzingen

Euroblech 2020: TRUMPF Presents Online Trade Fair And Customer Events In Ditzingen

German high-tech company TRUMPF will be presenting a whole series of new developments in sheet-metal fabrication this fall. From October 27 to 30, the company will be showcasing a range of new machines, software and services at Euroblech’s online Digital Innovation Summit 2020.

TRUMPF’s website already features a variety of new connectivity solutions for cutting, bending, punching and welding, including systems for production planning and control, sheet-metal part sorting and manufacturing logistics. But sheet-metal fabricators will soon be able to gain even more insights into connected manufacturing by paying a visit to Ditzingen.

“We’ll be using our own new manufacturing facility to demonstrate how fabricators can make parts of any shape or size while boosting their efficiency by up to 30 percent. Our plant will produce parts faster and more affordably because the whole process is connected – from order to finished part. We’re determined to pass on that expertise to our customers,” says Reinhold Gross, managing director of sales and services at the Machine Tools business division.

Customer events at the new sheet-metal manufacturing facility in Ditzingen will be restricted to a limited number of participants and comply with current coronavirus regulations in order to keep customers and employees safe at all times.

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TRUMPF And Fraunhofer IPA Research Alliance Ramps Up AI For Industrial Use

TRUMPF And Fraunhofer IPA Research Alliance Ramps Up AI For Industrial Use

TRUMPF and the Stuttgart-based Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA have formed a research alliance that is set to to introduce artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for connected manufacturing on an industrial scale. Running until 2025, ten employees from TRUMPF and Fraunhofer IPA are involved in the project, which will receive some two million euros of funding spread over the next five years.

“TRUMPF’s mission is to further extend its AI leadership in sheet-metal fabrication. To that end, we have already started investing in the kind of future technologies that will drive major efficiency gains within our company and boost our competitiveness,” says Thomas Schneider, managing director of development at TRUMPF Machine Tools.

Five years have passed since TRUMPF and Fraunhofer IPA joined forces to work on smart factory topics, and the two partners will be continuing to pursue these existing projects within the framework of their new research alliance.

“TRUMPF has been working with us on connected manufacturing for years because they share our view that Industry 4.0 developments represent a major opportunity. Everything depends on what happens over the next few years – so these are exciting times! We expect the coronavirus pandemic to act as a kind of catalyst: those who are well prepared will be perfectly placed to exploit the huge opportunities that lie ahead. Soon we’ll see whether we have laid the right foundations for the future in our joint projects,” says Professor Thomas Bauernhansl, director of Fraunhofer IPA.

Future projects aim to make AI explainable

One of the goals TRUMPF and Fraunhofer IPA hope to achieve over the next five years is to develop solutions for better data quality in manufacturing. This reflects the crucial importance of high-quality data when it comes to achieving efficiency gains with AI. To address this need, the two partners will be increasing their research activities in the field of explainable artificial intelligence, or XAI. Their goal is to make the operation of neural networks interpretable. New findings in this area are of great benefit to sheet-metal fabricators. The results of this kind of data analysis can boost the quality of manufacturing, save time and cut costs.

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EuroBLECH 2020 Postponed To March 2021 In Hanover, Germany

EuroBLECH 2020 Postponed To March 2021 In Hanover, Germany

EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit to take place in October 2020

Mack Brooks Exhibitions has announced the postponement of EuroBLECH, which was scheduled to take place at the Hanover Exhibition Grounds in Germany from 27 to 30 October 2020. The new dates for the next EuroBLECH, 26th International Sheet Metal Working Technology Exhibition, are 9 -12 March 2021. This decision was taken after extensive conversations with all exhibitors and partners over recent weeks and months who have expressed their preference not to hold the show in October, in light of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. Uncertainties around travel restrictions in order to maintain the truly international character of the EuroBLECH event were also a concern to many participants.

Speaking about the announcement, Nicola Hamann, Managing Director of Mack Brooks Exhibitions said: “The past months have been challenging, in particular for the sheet metal working industry and its related industry sectors. We have seen a decrease in orders of capital goods and many companies are telling us about their challenges in dealing with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although we have recently received authority approval for our Safety and Security concept to hold EuroBLECH in October this year, we have decided to postpone EuroBLECH to Spring 2021”.

As part of a recent series of industry surveys, the participants of EuroBLECH indicated their requirement to network and conduct business in order to pave the way for the recovery of the industry following the Covid-19 pandemic. EuroBLECH will therefore offer a virtual hub for the global sheet metal working industry in October: “Following feedback from our exhibitors and visitors indicating the need to participate in an event, even if not in a physical form, we will organise a Digital Innovation Summit taking place from 27 to 30 October, our planned event slot. This Digital Innovation Summit will provide our exhibitors with a platform to demonstrate their latest machines and solutions and arrange virtual meetings with international visitors. We believe it is our duty to assist the industry through these extraordinary times by offering a market place this year as a platform for innovations and a starting point for the recovery of the industry”, continued Nicola Hamann.

The EuroBLECH Team will communicate closely with customers and partners over the coming weeks and months and thank their exhibitors, partners, suppliers and visitors for their support during this challenging time. Further information on the Digital Innovation Summit containing details on the Online Presentation Theatre for exhibitors, video on demand options and matchmaking facilities, will be available shortly.

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