EuroBLECH Bulletin

News from the Organisers

EuroBLECH 2016 presents online competition “The New Generation of Sheet Metal Working”

After the great success of the first online competition “Champions in Sheet Metal Working” in 2014, EuroBLECH 2016 is presenting this year “The New Generation of Sheet Metal Working”. The online competition will reward six organisations or individuals in the sheet metal working industry for best practice, innovation, excellence and outstanding performance in six categories.

Following this year’s main theme at EuroBLECH, “The New Generation of Sheet Metal Working”, the competition categories are focussing on recent developments and trends in the sheet metal working industry. The first category, “Factory of the Future”, will reward organisations or individuals for the clever implementation of smart manufacturing methods. The second category, “Women and Innovations”, is focussing on cutting-edge projects and accomplishments initiated by women in sheet metal working. The best university projects in science and engineering involving sheet metal technology can compete in the category “Academic Excellence”. The category “Original Design” is open to companies producing unusual products made from sheet metal. Finally, “The Young Generation” is seeking for outstanding performance of junior employees and young inventors, and “Clean Technology” will reward eco-friendly solutions and sustainable manufacturing methods.

Submission of entries is possible from now until 31 August 2016 via the EuroBLECH website. The entire sheet metal working industry can participate in the online voting, which will start on 1 September. Detailed information about the competition and the entry requirements are now available on the show website.

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Results of the survey of the month No. 1: In which phase is your company regarding the implementation of Industry 4.0 projects?

With the last EuroBLECH Bulletin, we started 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 were invited to share their thoughts and experiences. Here are the results of the first survey:

The analysis of the results shows that none of the companies have fully implemented an Industry 4.0 project so far. Around 40% stated that they had not started any of such projects yet, or that this approach was not relevant to them. Another 40% are currently in the implementation phase and around 16% are in the planning phase of Industry 4.0 projects.

Around 50% of survey participants came from companies with 51 to 250 employees. The rest of the participants of the survey came from small enterprises (33%) and large enterprises with more than 250 employees (17%). The respondents came from different countries in Europe, for example Germany, France, Finland and Spain. Other participants taking part in the survey came from Canada, the USA and Mexico.

There will be a new survey of the month in each issue of the Bulletin. Do you have a suggestion for the next survey? Then send us an email!

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Survey of the month No. 2: What is the importance of the increasing demand for machines and systems to produce smaller batch sizes in your company?

The second survey of the month is related to the trend of decreasing batch sizes and more flexible production processes. Tell us your opinion!

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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

The new EuroBLECH Visitor Brochure is available to order! 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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Grundig Akademie Seminar at EuroBLECH 2016

EuroBLECH 2016 will host the 8th Training Center for Hot Stamping Technology and the 5th PHS Suppliers Forum, which will take place on 26 and 27 October 2016 in the Convention Centre.

The program will consist of selected contributions from key players and experts who have extensive background knowledge in PHS technology, and will be published in July 2016.

Further information on the seminar and hands-on training is available on the organiser’s website, where you can also register as a participant.

Please note that registration for this seminar is only valid in conjunction with the purchase of an admission ticket to EuroBLECH 2016. These will be available via the EuroBLECH Online Shop from August 2016 or on-site during the exhibition.

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Industry and Technology News

TRUMPF introduces condition and trend analysis for lasers in connected manufacturing

An essential prerequisite for success in Industry 4.0 and connected production is the availability of a flexible production resource that can handle all manufacturing processes. In other words, lasers are the ideal tool for Industry 4.0 applications. Whether for casting, reshaping, cutting, joining, altering material properties or coating, lasers can be universally deployed to all facets of industrial manufacturing. Efficient and economical laser manufacturing requires stable and robust laser processes. Here, a wide range of sensors work to collect condition data and process parameters. With its new Condition Based Services, TRUMPF provides a way to read out sensor data and further increase the technical availability of lasers.

Condition Based Services are a modular component of TruConnect, the TRUMPF technology for connected manufacturing and Industry 4.0. The aim of these new services is to increase the availability and productivity of connected laser systems while identifying potential cost savings. Condition Based Services are composed primarily of the Factory Gate, Smart View Services and Condition Monitoring modules.

Factory Gate is a software module that allows selected and approved condition and process data from lasers and their connected sensors to be transmitted to TRUMPF technical service experts in an encrypted and secure fashion. With Condition Monitoring, the service experts can then perform an algorithm-based trend analysis on the collected data to determine possible failure risks of the laser and reduce unplanned downtimes. This means that if a laser is at risk of failure in the near future due to causes such as falling coolant levels or a dirty filter, the Condition Monitoring system will signal an alarm. These analyses and forecasts form the basis of maintenance and repair strategies that guarantee high availability of the lasers throughout the entire product lifecycle.

Using graphical software interfaces known as dashboards, Smart View Services display the current status of all connected lasers at a glance. This way, it is also possible to access more detailed information, such as the current utilization level of the lasers, upcoming repair and maintenance tasks, and changes to the laser programming. For the first time, this consolidated information can be used in order to derive specific measures for increasing availability and productivity, in addition to reviewing such measures with respect to sustainability.

Data services are another constituent module of the TRUMPF Industry 4.0 product solutions. They offer a variety of versatile storage options for a wide range of data, such as process data used in quality assurance. As a result, staff can clearly track laser-processed workpieces, as well as restore and reproduce manufacturing parameters as needed.

Picture: Should a laser be close to failure, the Conditioning Monitoring system will signal an alarm.

Photo: Trumpf

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ALLFI AG: A new product with short switching times

Waterjet cutting technology is used increasingly on pipes, curved surfaces or even complex three-dimensional constructions. Such constructions require cutting heads with the smallest possible dimensions, so they can also be used in very tight spaces.

While the diagonal and straight cutting of pipes and slightly curved components is still often executed by machines with conventional linear axes, robots are usually used for complex 3D applications. The weight of the cutting head often plays a greater role in this. Firstly, the lower the weight the robot has to handle, the quicker it can move. In addition, a lighter head may make it possible to use a smaller and therefore cheaper type of robot. Another important property of a cutting head is the switching speed of the high-pressure valve that can be achieved.

In response to these demands, ALLFI AG has developed the new Type X cutting head. This new cutting head features small dimensions and a low weight. It is currently designed for a working pressure of 4,150 bar and is suitable for both pure water and abrasive use. With a diameter of 56 mm and a length of 190 mm, it weighs just 670 g. This means that it can be used with robots for 3D cutting in cramped conditions, while its compact construction also permits particularly narrow distances when being used in multiple head systems, offering exceptional axis dynamics. Another outstanding feature is its short switching time of just 0.12 seconds. The new cutting head by ALLFI is very robust and was designed to have a long lifespan, even under heavy use.

Picture: The new Type X cutting head


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Plug and Produce: Transfluid develops flexible production cells for smart tube processing

Precisely produced tubes help make energy and water flow, or are used for medical devices supporting the life-saving work of doctors. Robust, short hose connections for automotive construction or long, multiply processed tubes, e.g. used as air conditioning lines, also need to fulfil many different requirements to the proper production solution. Depending on industry and application area, they need to be specifically formed, bent, and diversely processed. In order to do so, the networked 't motion' automation systems by Transfluid are creating combined options for large series operation. Not only does this lead to new capacities, but also ensures the process safety, so parts are always produced at the same high quality.

Stefanie Flaeper, managing director at Transfluid, stated that the company used their sophisticated technology concepts for tube bending, separation, cleaning and tube forming for the automation systems, supplementing them, e.g., with loading systems, weld seam control or complete handling. With the easy-to-operate production cell coordinated in this manner, production could start right away, in compliance with the principle Plug and Produce.

The specialists at Transfluid can integrate expansions, such as marking facilities, seam detection devices, printers, tightness tests or visual, contact-free camera systems for inspecting geometries or surfaces, brazing and welding units and auto-frettage, as optional components on request. Effective loading systems, storage systems, supply of the workpieces or complete handling by robot or in linear systems can be added as well. Transfluid was coordinating the solution specifically with the customer’s requirements, including generating the layout, to achieve optimised material flow and best utilisation, explained Flaeper.

Selection of handling also focuses on achieving the highest possible efficiency. Which devices are used strongly depends on the parts to be produced. Flaeper presented a general principle, explaining that everything that could be done to the tube in a straight condition would considerably reduce the handling effort. From the bending machine onwards, usually the robot took over. Linear handling could often be faster, more cost-efficient and easier to reach, she stated. For smooth production flow, Transfluid is developing its production systems to permit loading of isometric data online from a CAD system and to avoid elaborate programming of robots.

A quick start leads to improved efficiency. Therefore, the systems for loading and separation already contribute to the high performance of 't motion'. Components, i.e. nuts, flanges, or screws, are supplied from splitter magazines or rotation separators with presence and position checks. Additionally, supplies from the coil or the loading table, by belt, stage, plate, chain or vibration conveyor, are available to match the overall system. In strong connection with its tube forming, separating and tube bending technologies, Transfluid thus ensures high-performance automation systems, linked in a result-oriented manner, that offer individual solutions for many different tube productions.

Picture: The complete production cells are specifically coordinated with the requirements to achieve the perfect material flow.

Photo: Transfluid

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Yaskawa and Clearpath develop Mobile Manipulation Solution

Yaskawa and Clearpath have collaborated to develop a mobile machine tending and material movement solution ideal for shop floor environments. This fully integrated solution will feature a Motoman MH12 robot equipped with end-of-arm tool and vision system, mounted on Clearpath's OTTO 1500 self-driving vehicle.

Yaskawa’s partnership with Clearpath would provide the industry with a robust, tightly integrated solution for moving robots to the work in a very flexible and dynamic way, said Roger Christian, divisional leader, new product development at Yaskawa in the USA. According to Christian, this autonomous modular solution would provide users with an alternative to arranging the work at a fixed robot station.

The MH12 robot features a 12kg payload capacity, hollow wrist for reliable EOAT cable management and a 1,440mm horizontal reach. Its versatile design provides higher speed, longer reach and increased payload over current mobile manipulator products offered by competitors.

The OTTO 1500 offers a payload capacity of 1,500kg (3,300lbs.) and is built with industrial grade components to withstand the rigors of industrial environments. It was designed to increase throughput, reduce operating costs and remain flexible with the changing needs of material flow processes. The solution will provide natural feature navigation, so there is no need to add fiducials or reflectors to the operating environment. Its modular and scalable design allows for a single system deployment that can grow parallel to the customers' increased business requirements. The system is reconfigurable to accommodate changing operational preferences or a changing facility infrastructure. It can also easily be redeployed between various processes due to increase or decrease in production volume.

Picture: Mobile machine tending and material movement solution

Foto: Yaskawa

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AP&T expanding sales and service in Japan

AP&T is strengthening its presence in the Japanese market by expanding its sales and service organization. During spring, all operations will be gathered under the same roof at the company’s new office in Yokohama.

Per Josefsson, Vice President, Sales and Marketing at AP&T, explained that Japan was one of AP&T’s key markets: The technical development was extremely exciting and there were good opportunities for growth. The company was already cooperating with many of the country’s, and therefore also the world’s, leading manufacturers of cars and vehicle components. Their current reinforcement would enable them to meet these manufacturers’ needs even better, not least in terms of service and support, claimed Josefsson.

AP&T has had a sales company in Japan since 2001. Over the past decade, the company has successfully established itself as a supplier of complete production solutions for press hardening. AP&T sees a great deal of potential in the area.

At the same rate as the technology becoming increasingly sophisticated, an increasing percentage of cars could be manufactured with press-hardened parts, which increases safety and reduces weight and fuel consumption. At the same time, AP&T was working on new forming methods for other lightweight materials such as aluminum and composites, stated Josefsson.

Additionally, the Japanese car industry is very advanced regarding the development of fuel cell operated cars, and has introduced commercial vehicles to the market. AP&T is positioning itself for the future with production solutions for cost-efficient manufacturing of fuel cell plates.

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Bosch Rexroth: Productivity linearly increased

In high-volume production, users achieve a considerably higher productivity by means of lower transport times with the Linear Motion System (LMS) from Rexroth. The system is based on standard linear motors, where the workpiece carriers can be run independently. It positions workpieces precisely within 10 µm, so that processing can start immediately without correction or transshipping to another assembly platform. This reduces unproductive delivery and idle times.

In high-volume production of microchips, the LMS already proved to be extremely reliable. Now Rexroth provides the system solution also for other applications, for example in the automotive industry, and is finely scaled to cover workpiece weights from one up to 1,000 kilograms. With several motors, users flexibly assemble also longer process lines as an oval, as parallel lines or in different levels. Thereby, they can also combine the LMS later on with existing transport solutions like conveyor belts.

The system displays complex movement patterns that, for example, are necessary with different cycle times in the several process stations. The individual workpieces here follow individually defined speeds and positions. Due to high dynamics and speeds from up to 6 meters per second, the system reduces delivery times compared to conveyor belts.

Additionally, unproductive idle times decrease because processing and assembly steps can be conducted directly on the transport unit. By contrast, on common transfer systems the carriers need to be unloaded at the individual stations and transferred into a processing position. This is no longer required with LMS, whose transport units steadily remain at the defined position, without affecting the flow of other workpieces. The linear motors operate without contact and thus maintenance-free. Furthermore, LMS requires less carriers compared to conventional systems. This reduces overall system costs due to a lower number of necessary ident systems, sensors and actuators.

Picture: Linear Motion System from Rexroth reduces unproductive delivery times

Photo: Bosch Rexroth

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KR 1000 titan: Heavyweight champion from KUKA

Mannstaedt GmbH, based in Troisdorf in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, produces tailor-made special profiles. Used in the automotive industry and port construction, for example, the steel profiles can weigh up to 2.5 tonnes at a length of up to 26 meters. This is the first challenge encountered when implementing a robot-based handling solution: The handling of very heavy steel beams was previously not possible for robots. Now, six KUKA KR 1000 titan robots are installed at Mannstaedt. Following delivery by conveyor, the special profiles are stacked by the robots in a space-saving manner. The stacks are then conveyed out of the robot station for shipment to the customers.

The decisive advantage of the changeover: Thanks to the robotic automation solution, special profiles with a length of up to 26 meters – instead of the prior maximum of 16 meters – can now be produced. Six KR 1000 titan robots make this possible. The heavy-duty robots offer not only a very high payload capacity but also high repeatability even over greater distances. The changeover has enabled Mannstaedt GmbH to significantly increase the flexibility of production, which has prompted them to initiate new automation projects in the downstream production process.

Picture: Six KUKA robots of type KR 1000 titan compactly stack special profiles at Mannstaedt GmbH.

Photo: KUKA

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BySprint Fiber 6520: New XXL-format by Bystronic

Laser cutting systems in XXL-format offer users the opportunity to set themselves apart from the competition. That is why Bystronic is extending the BySprint Fiber laser to the 6520 format. The machine can optionally be equipped with the Fiber 3000, 4000, or 6000 laser sources. With the new large format, users can process sheet metal up to 6.5 x 2 meters on the BySprint Fiber. This increases productivity of the machine because cut parts can be nested more efficiently on large format sheet metal. Unwanted waste of raw material is significantly reduced. At the same time, the BySoft 7 process software supports users with intelligent nesting procedures.

In addition, the large format increases the variety of cutting applications on the BySprint Fiber. In addition to various small parts, large parts can also be cut from large format sheet metal as needed, without interrupting the machine during the laser cutting for repositioning. This is a competitive advantage not offered by laser cutting systems in current standard formats.

Picture: Bystronic extends the BySprint Fiber to the 6520 large format.

Photo: Bystronic

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