EuroBLECH Bulletin

News from the Organisers

EuroBLECH 2016 reflects trend towards smart manufacturing in sheet metal working

From 25 – 29 October 2016, EuroBLECH 2016 will open its doors in Hanover, Germany. The exhibition will once again be the meeting place for sheet metal working professionals from all over the world looking to find enhanced machinery and innovative production solutions. Visitors will be able to discover an extensive variety of products, from conventional systems to high-tech solutions, and gain an insight into the latest technological advancements in sheet metal working. With this year’s theme “The New Generation of Sheet Metal Working”, EuroBLECH 2016 reflects the trend towards digitalisation and smart manufacturing in modern sheet metal processing. Five months ahead of the show, the organisers, Mack Brooks Exhibitions, announce a further increase in exhibition space of the world’s leading trade show for this industry sector.

A total of 1,410 exhibitors from 40 countries have already secured their stand space at this year’s EuroBLECH, the 24th International Sheet Metal Working Technology Exhibition, covering a net exhibition space of 89,000 square metres across eight halls at the Hanover Exhibition Grounds. This represents an increase in net floor space of 3% compared with the previous exhibition and reflects the fact that exhibiting companies have booked bigger stands to demonstrate an even larger choice of enhanced machinery and cutting-edge solutions. Major exhibitor countries are Germany, Italy, China, Turkey, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain and Austria. EuroBLECH is traditionally renowned as a highly international event. The previous exhibition was more international than ever, with 52% of exhibitors and 37% of visitors coming from outside Germany. A total of 59,618 trade visitors from 105 countries attended the event in 2014.

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Join the EuroBLECH Community

Survey of the month

With this EuroBLECH Bulletin, we will start a new series of surveys about recent topics and challenges of the industry. All readers of the EuroBLECH Bulletin and all sheet metal working professionals are invited to share their thoughts and experiences in our monthly surveys. In each issue of the newsletter we will introduce a new question which is addressing a current challenge or subject of the industry sector.

Our first survey is focussing on the main current topic of sheet metal working, smart manufacturing. Complete the short survey and tell us about your experience with Industry 4.0! The results will be announced in the next issue of the EuroBLECH Bulletin. Have you got a suggestion for the next survey? Then send us an email!


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In which phase is your company regarding the implementation of Industry 4.0 projects?

a) Not started yet / not relevant
b) Planning phase
c) Implementation phase
d) Already fully implemented

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The EuroBLECH 2016 Online Competition starts soon

The first EuroBLECH Online Competition, which took place during EuroBLECH 2014, was a great success. This year, the organisers of EuroBLECH will initiate this online competition for the second time, to reward outstanding performance in sheet metal working. The competition will take place in six different categories, these will be announced on the EuroBLECH website soon. The entire sheet metal working community is invited to participate in the voting for winners on the EuroBLECH website, starting in summer. Take a look at the 2014 winners in our EuroBLECH picture gallery!

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Always up-to-date – with Social Media

Would you like to receive the latest news on EuroBLECH 2016? Then visit the EuroBLECH Social Media channels and receive regular updates for visitors, but also for exhibitors and the press. You can find EuroBLECH on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Take a look at our channels and follow EuroBLECH 2016! #euroblech

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For Visitors

EuroBLECH Visitor Brochure available now

The new EuroBLECH Visitor Brochure is now available! Gain an insight into this year’s event and the main trends and find out what the show has to offer. In addition, the brochure includes useful tips for your visit to the exhibition, travel information, details on ticket prices and services available for visitors ahead of and during the show. Request your personal copy via the EuroBLECH website now! The Visitor Brochure is available in twelve different languages.

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Industry and Technology News

Bihler’s Leantool concept delivers new tools faster

Otto Bihler Maschinenfabrik is introducing their new concept “Leantool” for more efficient stamping and forming. Leantool is the first modular tooling for the servo stamping and forming machines RM-NC and GRM-NC. Leantool is going to facilitate and speed up the entire process, from the initial planning through to the manufacturing of new tools. Due to the small number of tool components and the quick and easy implementation, the costs of new tools on the models RM-NC and GRM-NC can be significantly reduced. This leads to a saving of more than 50 percent, compared to forming tools on mechanical equipment. Furthermore, with the Leantool concept new products can be brought to market faster, even in very small batch sizes.

The realisation process of tools starts with the planning: A clearly defined bending space, efficient planning of bending sequences and plausible calculation due to simple tooling allows for a fast feasibility study. For the design, the machine environment and Lean standard parts are pre-set; all standard parts are specified in the reuse library. The Leantool model is simply adapted to the finished formed part and saves examples of typical applications in the process. This particularly simple design method reduces the number of different tools and, as a result, reduces expenses. In addition, stock keeping and tool manufacturing can be adapted to this standard. The Leantool concept still includes individual, special tool solutions as an option, should they be required.

The assembly and setup of tools is fast and straightforward as well, allowing for the immediate correction of bending results. Due to the standardisation of tool manufacturing, the simple design and the universal application possibilities lead to short reaction times, from the initial request through to the finished new tool. Fast speed cycles, short setup times, automatically reproducible setup and full tool accessibility ensure highly efficient production. In addition, Bihler offers a special seminar on the new Leantool concept in order to give instructions how to achieve a structured approach for the design of bending tools by selecting appropriate standardised tools.

Picture: With the Leantool concept, manufacturing of many tools can be standardised.

Photo: Bihler

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Innovative developments by Transfluid make processing of tubing more cost-effective

Transfluid has achieved yet another success. The latest innovation in the field of continuous shaping of tubing involves the use of an 'SRM'-type machine to expand tubing (T-pieces) with the help of very simple tools. This continuous shaping machine can produce items in both horizontal and vertical designs to meet the needs of individual applications and requirements. All functions are operated servo-electrically and can be CNC-controlled as necessary.

These new developments provide flexible manufacturing solutions. Stefanie Flaeper, CEO of Transfluid, stated that the SRM machine for continuous shaping of tubing was easy to modify and highly flexible, irrespective of whether it was employed for non-tool-based shaping or, as shown here, for the expansion of tubing. In terms of new development concepts, Transfluid considers flexibility an important feature which customers value in particular.

Furthermore, the company achieved other innovations regarding axial tube forming, specifically in tool technology, resulting in an improved quality and output. Transfluid’s tools are equipped with a pneumatic system that controls and opens elements and can verify their positioning. This way, a tube end can be shaped in multiple ways, as Stefanie Flaeper explained. She stated that the company’s special tools for tube forming ensured that the external surface of tubing remains untouched during the shaping process, with the tools opening and closing according to the required position in order to prevent scratches or friction deposits to the surface.

Transfluid’s cost efficient tool system provides an economic solution in terms of flexible manufacturing methods and light-weighting concepts, which are frequently required especially in the automotive industry. It can be used to prepare tubing in specific wall thicknesses, so that thinner tubing can be applied to start with and the required wall thickness can be created later, depending on the application.

Making processes more flexible also means that the tube shaping process can take place before the bending process. This approach relies largely on the availability of suitable tube bending technology. With this money-saving technique, it is no longer necessary to use expensive spanning devices for forming; at the same time, outgoings for internal logistics operations, handling and loading are reduced. In addition, Transfluid provides tube bending machines with an automatic clamp set changer. This is beneficial when multilevel tools are applied. The company intends to continue their development of tube shaping and bending technology systematically, aiming to make tube processing even more efficient.

Picture: The Transfluid continuous 't form' shaping technique provides for a wide range of different options for forming tubes.

Photo: Transfluid

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Full flexibility with press line from Schuler

Karosseriebau Wagner (KBW) from the Bavarian town Rohrbach relies on Schuler press systems. So far, the largest system at their manufacturing plant had a press force of 1,200 tons. As part of a plant expansion, KBW added a machine with more than twice as much power: For the manufacturing of car parts for prototypes, KBW is employing a hydraulic tryout press from Schuler with 2,500 tons press force. This will enable KBW to form considerably larger parts and maintain full flexibility at the same time.

The production of prototypes for different automobile manufacturers and suppliers calls for low batch sizes, at the same time applying dies that have not been optimised yet. Hydraulic tryout presses offer a practical solution for this challenge: The operator can freely program the required speed and force of the hydraulic tryout press, while the system provides full press force at all times. It also facilitates the incorporation of different dies and thus benefits car manufacturers who implement their dies or produce small series on the press line.

Compared to similar presses, the clamping surface of Schuler’s system is considerably larger, covering an area of 5,000 x 2,500 millimetres. The press is equipped with so-called Dynamic Force Control (DFC). With this press control system, the slide cylinders can be switched on and off in order to increase the working speed. A special servo-hydraulic control directs the entire flow of oil from the main pumps to the required cylinder surfaces, ensuring an optimum utilisation ratio of the main drives. This way, the system achieves higher working speeds at a lower driving power.

At the same time, due to Efficient Hydraulic Forming (EHF), the energy requirements of the system automatically decrease during all operating phases. When no more energy is required for the forming process, a standby function switches off the main drives that are not in use. A patented start-up system bypasses the usual start-up characteristic of the drives, and thus utilises even the shortest breaks without wasting time. In addition, the intelligent speed-controlled drive supplies the auxiliary functions with energy exactly when they need it. This way, the innovative system minimises no-load losses and improves efficiency.

Picture: Hydraulic tryout presses provide the operator with the full press force at any time.

Photo: Schuler

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Bosch Rexroth: Reliable welding technology and intelligent drive technology make a successful duo

As of 2017, Audi plans to equip its European plants with Bosch Rexroth’s welding control. The new combi control links the welding control with the welding gun’s direct drive. Due to improved power accuracy and shorter cycle times, this thoroughly enhanced system provides higher process performance.

Guenther Widmann, coordinator of resistance spot welding technology at Audi, states that the car manufacturer had been using Bosch Rexroth’s combi controls with integrated welding gun drive for about three years as part of a pilot project. The companies had been working together to make the necessary modifications to the process in order to get the system ready for series production. Widmann also stressed that the solution featured a combination of advanced technology, high welding quality and economic efficiency. As a system provider, Bosch Rexroth also supplies transformers, offers training sessions and supports customers on-site during commissioning and ongoing operation.

The new welding technology meets the growing demand in terms of lightweight construction of modern cars. Nowadays, the use of aluminium, high-tensile steels, plastics and new materials for car bodies is increasing, resulting in a greater mix of materials. This poses challenges regarding secure joints, and requires high-end technology to optimise these welding spots. Bosch Rexroth’s new solution consists of the welding control PSI 6000 and the intelligent drive system IndraDrive Cs. The drive control of the welding gun is being shifted from the robot directly into the welding control.

The Rexroth welding system PSI 6000 features a medium-frequency converter and integrated process monitoring, and achieves a high level of welding spot quality, which extends the test cycles. This will cut operating costs and make the production system more flexible. By combining this proven technology with the compact servo drive IndraDrive Cs., the welding control takes over the control of the drive directly. As the drive is so close to the welding process, force builds up better, which is crucial for controlling quality. Thanks to the drive, pressure and balancing of the welding gun directly intervene in the welding control. The factors of current, time and force are synchronised optimally, making for shorter cycle times. Furthermore, the uniform operating interface facilitates programming and troubleshooting of the welding control and servo gun control. According to Widmann, this is meeting Audi’s high expectations with regard to reliable welding quality and economic efficiency.

Picture: The new combi control links the welding control with the welding gun’s direct drive.

Photo: Bosch Rexroth

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Yaskawa introduces new interface MotoLogix for robot control via PLC

The interaction between machines and robots plays a vital role in efficient industrial manufacturing. For a long time, programming, control and error elimination for both systems had to be carried out separately from one another via the PLC (programmable logic controller) and robot control. The conventional interaction between robots and machines involves a number of issues. MotoLogix by Yaskawa, the new generation of the interface Motoman Sync., provides an easy solution: It enables the integration of robots directly into the PLC in a simple way, without any previous knowledge of robots, while still providing all the benefits of a modern control system. This makes manufacturing processes more efficient. For instance, in order to use the conventional method, operating personnel had to be trained in international PLC standards and possess skills in robot programming and control; redundant programming procedures made it hard to point out sources of failure, making it difficult to eliminate errors quickly and easily.

There have been many attempts to solve this problem by integrating machine control systems into the robot control. Today, the problem is approached in the opposite way: Since PLCs are now high capacity and are expandable on a modular basis, the robot is integrated directly into the machine via the PLC, as one of many elements. Based on this technology, Yaskawa developed MotoLogix to program and control robots of the Motoman series quickly and easily via the PLC, without any detailed knowledge of robots.

This innovative solution developed by Yaskawa allows coordination of all axes of a production facility with the robot motion, comprising a hardware unit and software for programming the robot via the PLC. The platforms currently supported are Ethernet/IP, Powerlink and Profinet. The interface has a library of function blocks already prepared in all language options, so operating personnel can work directly via the library. Bit sequences for servos are no longer required. Integration of robot control in the PLC retains the full range of benefits: For instance, the robot control calculates motion kinematics, guaranteeing high motion quality and ensuring high standards in terms of precise motion sequences of the manipulators. During machine loading, picking, packaging, placing, palletizing, measuring, testing or sorting, the robots along with the relevant control systems can be applied to all types of handling. Conveyor belt synchronisation is also possible, with the conveyor belt tracking system enabling the manipulator to find objects on the conveyor belt even if they have shifted during conveyance, for example. Cameras with additional sensors allow synchronised motions to be effected as part of complex procedure systems. Currently, MotoLogix can be used to synchronise up to eight robots.

Conventionally, machines were programmed and controlled via the PLC in order to communicate with robots, with the teach-in (i.e. robot programming), being carried out using a teach pendant. This method of robot-machine communication required expertise in robot operation, so staff had to undergo a special training. With MotoLogix, the teach pendant becomes redundant: The robot can be fully controlled via the PLC where movements are initiated and tracked; therefore, a detailed knowledge of robot operation is not required any more. Path control takes place via the robot controller DX200. This ensures that the benefits of the control remain, in particular motion precision and speed stability. Nothing else is required for the initial start-up. The robot is connected via MotoLogix and is directly embedded in the PLC and the Human Machine Interface (HMI). Therefore, all data is saved in the PLC without any storage limit, and any data can be graphically displayed on the HMI.

The simple integration of robot control in the PLC yields many advantages even beyond operating complex production facilities. With MotoLogix, regular PLC skills are sufficient for controlling robots; special robot training or investment in retraining is no longer necessary. In addition, the system eliminates error sources, which are difficult to identify. The Yaskawa DX200 robot controller guarantees motion precision and speed stability throughout the entire process. With MotoLogix, Yaskawa robots can be operated under the same conditions all over the world.

Picture: MotoLogix by Yaskawa, the new generation of the interface Motoman Sync.

Photo: Yaskawa

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G-Bend Plus by Boschert: Bending and forming in one

With the introduction of the CNC press brake line G-Bend Plus by Boschert, users have the opportunity to bend sheet metal parts with an edge length of up to 3,300 millimetres on a smaller and cheaper press brake, instead of using a 4,000 millitmetres machine. Before the new construction line G-Bend Plus of Boschert’s Greek cooperation partner Gizelis was developed, extensive market and demand analyses took place. They showed that the majority of forming tasks involved sheet metal parts with bending lengths around 3,000 millimetres. Bending tasks involving bigger or longer sheet metal parts were the exception; therefore, investment in a bigger press brake would not be justifiable. For this reason, engineers developed G-Bend Plus, based on the CNC press brake G-Bend.

The CNC press brake G-Bend Plus is available – with the same basic structure – with a working length of 3,050 millimetres (in between the stands), and with power classes 80, 110, 140, 175, 210, and 290 tons. Due to the special construction with a throat depth of 400 millimetres, a punch stroke of 250 millimetres and an installation height of 515 millimetres, even longer tools can be implemented, so bending work of up to 3,300 or even 3,400 millimetres can be realised. This construction delivers more freedom in terms of collision free forming, and therefore yields new opportunities regarding application, usage and modification flexibility. Apart from that, implementing angle measurement systems with laser sensors was made easier, so they can be applied individually over the entire length of the tool. In addition, the back gauge system for quick positioning of sheet metal parts is fitted on the insides of the machine stand, instead of lengthwise on the wall. This results in even more space for the bending of sheet metal ‘downwards’, and avoids collisions with the gauge system from the start.

The CNC press brake G-Bend Plus can be customised with the CNC control systems Cybelec DNC 60, ModevaPAC, Modeva15T, ModevaRA (2D Touch Screen graphic control), or Delem DA-58T, DA-66T and DA-69T. Additionally, different automation applications are available, from 1-axis gauge systems (x axis), through to 2-, 4- and 5-axes up to 6-axes back gauge systems (X1, X2, R1, R2, Z1, Z2 axes) and manual or CNC-controlled crown application. Further automation applications include CNC front gauges and bending aids, hydraulic clamping systems for upper tools and lower tools, pneumatic die shifting systems, advanced tool and quick clamping systems as well as automatic measuring of the sheet metal diameter and angle measuring systems, and finally additional safety systems with manual or automatic light barrier technology. Complementary to the CNC control systems by Modeva, compatible offline programmer’s software is also available. Additionally, the CNC brake press of the construction line G-Bend Plus can be coupled as a tandem machine (two or more machines) and can be operated in a synchronised manner, offering solutions for robotic loading and sheet metal handling.

Picture: The new CNC press brake G-Bend Plus ready to use with complete equipment.

Photo: Boschert

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