EuroBLECH Bulletin

News from the Organisers

EuroBLECH 2016: Focus on Smart Manufacturing

With “Industry 4.0” as the current main topic of the manufacturing industry, EuroBLECH 2016 is focussing on the smart manufacturing approach. With this year’s theme “The New Generation of Sheet Metal Working”, EuroBLECH 2016 reflects the trend towards digitalisation and automation in modern sheet metal processing. Data exchange along the entire production value chain paves the way for optimised manufacturing processes, improved planning reliability, more flexibility and higher product quality.

Sheet metal working professionals are currently seeking to adjust their production lines in order to stay competitive. The smart manufacturing approach is, to some extent, already implemented in large corporations, but in most small and medium-sized companies, this new trend has not been realised yet. Therefore, it is more important than ever for companies to gain a comprehensive overview of prevailing trends and innovative processing solutions.

At EuroBLECH 2016, leading suppliers of sheet metal working technology will introduce their first applicable systems for this new approach in industry production. Discover the entire spectrum of cutting-edge technology for the new generation of sheet metal working – at the world’s No. 1 exhibition for innovations in sheet metal working. From 25 – 29 October, more than 1,500 exhibitors from 40 countries will show their latest developments from all areas of sheet metal working.

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Results of the survey No. 2: What is the importance of the increasing demand for machines and systems for the production of smaller batch sizes?

The second survey in June focussed on the trend towards decreasing batch sizes and more flexible production processes.

The analysis of the results shows that around 70% of respondents consider the trend towards smaller batch sizes as very important, while 30% consider it important. The answers demonstrated once more: the growing demand for individualised products and smaller batches increases the importance of machines and systems for flexible production processes.

Around half of the participants of the survey came from companies with more than 250 employees, while the rest of the respondents were spread equally across small and medium-sized companies.

The respondents came from different countries, for example Germany, Belgium, Finland, Great Britain, Ireland, Portugal, Turkey and India.

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. 3

In the next five years, which regions of the world do you consider the ones with the greatest potential for the sheet metal working industry?
1. Europe
2. America
3. Asia
4. Middle East / Africa

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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 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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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

Visa and Travel Information

EuroBLECH 2016 visitors who require a letter of invitation for their visa application should contact the relevant foreign representative. For the contact details of the representatives as well as more information on invitation letters please visit the travel pages of the exhibition website.

Hanover, with the world’s largest exhibition grounds, is famous for hosting leading international trade fairs. This friendly, cosmopolitan city has an excellent infrastructure and an efficient transport network in place, ensuring easy access for visitors from all over the world.

This year, there are several travel packages available from Deutsche Bahn, the German railway company, and Lufthansa Group Partner Airlines, as well as special offers for visitors from Prague. The Hannover Express also provides one-day return flights from Bergamo. Please visit the EuroBLECH website for further details.

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Ticket Shop opens in August: Get your entry ticket in advance!

Entrance tickets for the next EuroBLECH are available via our Ticket Shop from August 2016. Tickets can also be purchased on-site during the exhibition.

Buy tickets in advance and save: A day ticket purchased in pre-sale via the Ticket Shop costs €30 instead of €38 on-site, and a 5-day season ticket costs €50 instead of €58 on-site.

Further important information and tips about visiting the show are available in the visitor area of the organisers' website.

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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.

On the first day, there will be seminars providing informative presentations about state of the art technology. On the second day, visitors will be able to attend circle trainings with a hands-on character.

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

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Industry and Technology News

TRUMPF is building a demo factory for Industry 4.0 in Chicago

Industry 4.0 in its purest form: The machine tool and laser manufacturer TRUMPF is building a demonstration factory in Chicago that is designed from the ground up as a flexible, digitally connected production plant. The entire “sheet metal process chain” – from the ordering of a sheet metal part to its design, production and delivery – is intelligently interlinked according to the very latest principles. Unlike the classic show rooms of the TRUMPF Group, where the emphasis lies on individual machines, the Chicago plant will be focusing on the entire customer process, complete with material and information flow. Covering an area of roughly 5,500 square meters, the new site is aimed at demonstrating the interaction of people, machines, storage equipment, automation, software, and Industry 4.0 solutions.

The Industry 4.0 offerings at TRUMPF are all subsumed under the name TruConnect. All key TruConnect modules will be operated at the Chicago plant, enabling comprehensive demonstration of production according to the principles of Industry 4.0. The production line is designed in such a way that entire real production processes can be carried out – this means that customers at TRUMPF in Chicago can dispatch their own orders. The demo factory, with its initial staff of around 30 employees, is aimed at everyone working in sheet metal fabrication; the main target group is small and medium-sized job shops which are just starting out with digital connectivity. Their requirements, and findings from production, will be collected in the development offices on-site and then be made available to the central R&D departments of the TRUMPF Group. Also important in this regard is the experience of entirely new Industry 4.0 business models, such as capacity pooling, which can be systematically gathered within the fully connected factory.

Chicago was purposefully chosen as the location for the new demo factory because it lies at the heart of the North American market for sheet metal processing. The directly adjacent states contain around 40 percent of the country’s entire sheet metal working industry. Its proximity to the second-largest airport in the US also makes the new TRUMPF subsidiary easily accessible, both nationally and internationally. TRUMPF Chicago is regarded an international center of excellence for Industry 4.0 solutions, and has the architecture to match. The “Control Center” - a command center with large display areas – makes various process parameters available to visitors in real time. A bird’s-eye view of the factory reveals a catwalk, the so-called “Skywalk”: Spanning the full length of the 55-meter-long hall, with its material and information flow, it emphasizes the fact that the production facilities constitute a single, overall system. The Skywalk is part of the cantilevered ceiling structure that is being manufactured by a TRUMPF customer in Atlanta.
With construction costs estimated at about 13 million euros, the demo factory was designed by the Berlin architectural office of BarkowLeibinger, and its official opening is planned for the summer of 2017.

Picture: On an area covering 5,500 square meters, TRUMPF demonstrates the interaction of people, machines, storage, automation, software and Industry 4.0 solutions.

Photo: Trumpf

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Available now: The Pegasar 500 accu by HBS

With the Pegasar 500 accu, HBS has developed a battery-powered stud welding machine that enables mobile stud welding with capacitor discharge for diameters of up to M6, and does so with constant welding capacity, since the capacitors are completely decoupled from the battery during welding. The extremely powerful battery can handle up to 400 M6 studs without recharging. The Pegasar 500 accu functions independent of mains voltage and mains connections. Thanks to the built-in hybrid technology, it can alternatively be operated using a 230V plug socket. Weighing in at just 12kg, the device is extremely light, and is particularly suitable for any kind of installation work because of its mains-independent, mobile and flexible use.

Not only are the outstanding welding results especially impressive, the operation is also exceptionally simple: Thanks to the quick access buttons with stored welding parameters (see image for details), the Pegasar 500 accu can be operated intuitively. This is supported by the likewise simple operation of the C 06-3 stud welding gun, which requires no adjustment of lift and spring pressure.

The Pegasar 500 accu was awarded the Red Dot Award for Product Design 2015 and the “Best of Industry 2016” award, thanks to its high level of innovation and its design.

Picture: Pegasar 500 accu by HBS

Photo: HBS

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Schuler: Pit stops for the Crossbar Feeder

A decisive factor for the high output performance of Schuler press lines with ServoDirect Technology is the Crossbar Feeder. This automation solution developed by Schuler ensures the fast and safe transfer of parts from one forming station to the next. In order to increase its lifetime and to avoid unscheduled press downtime, Schuler Service now offers customers in China a standardized, on-site maintenance concept for Crossbar Feeders.

A servo press line does around 3.4 million strokes per year – significantly more than a conventional mechanical press line. For the Crossbar Feeders, this means they have to accelerate and brake almost 14 million times to place a part in the following die and return again – representing an enormous load for the components used.
Planned preventative maintenance for the Crossbar Feeders was the surest way to raise availability of the whole line, and thus improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), said Schuler Managing Director and head of the Schuler Service division Axel Meyer. By making scheduled replacements of individual, highly stressed components in line with their expected lifetime, the Crossbar Feeders remained virtually new for a very long time, and technical innovations could also be incorporated.

In the course of developing the maintenance concept, Schuler examined the Crossbar Feeder assembly units – lifting axis, swivel arm, hand and energy chain – and defined sensible service intervals, based on expected component lifetime, according to the part manufacturer and Schuler’s own experience. The results are the so-called planned “pit stops” of varying scope, similar to a car’s service program.

The first small service, for example, is due after five million strokes, or after around one-and-a-half years of full-load operation. A specialized team from Schuler Service exchanges such elements as the toothed belts, energy chains and hoses, as well as various silencers, then performs a function test and puts the Crossbar Feeder into operation again – all at the customer’s site.

A medium service is due after a further five million strokes. During this time, the Service experts replace the customer’s Crossbar Feeder with a new or reconditioned and tested unit. At its own test stand at the Dalian facility, which has numerous parts and components in stock, Schuler overhauls various linear guides and transmissions and conducts extensive test runs – in addition to the measures of the small service.

The next small service is due after another five million strokes. It takes around six years in total, or approximately 20 million strokes, before the first large service is due. Once again, Schuler Service takes the Crossbar Feeder to its test stand in Dalian to replace further components, such as pulleys and bearings – in addition to the parts replaced during the small and medium service. After that, the maintenance cycle starts over again.

The small service of one or more Crossbar Feeders at once took just 14 hours of machine downtime, and due to the scheduled exchange of complete Crossbar Feeders, the medium and large service took a mere 20 hours, stressed Managing Director Axel Meyer. The unscheduled standstill of a press line due to the failure of a replacement part which had not been exchanged on time could take much longer, and thus incur far higher costs for the operator than the planned implementation of Schuler’s standardized maintenance concept.

Picture: Schuler’s standardized maintenance concept for Crossbar Feeders ensures minimal downtime.

Photo: Schuler

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AP&T: Simulation tool helps customers make the right decision

It is now possible for AP&T’s customers to get an exact picture as early as the tendering stage of how their planned production line will function and perform in an authentic environment. Using an advanced simulation program, AP&T’s technical sales team can visualize the production process and specify cycle times and production capacity with almost 100% precision.

What the simulation shows was basically identical with what the customer will receive, said Magnus Svenningsson, director technical sales at AP&T. For companies on the verge of investing in a production line worth millions, having the best possible basis upon which to make decisions meant making them was both easier and more secure, he stated.

The simulation program, “Process Simulate”, was developed by Siemens and is used within the automotive industry, where AP&T has many of its largest customers. Together with Siemens, distributor Summ Systems in Linköping, Sweden, helped to produce a working method for discrete event simulation in order to satisfy AP&T’s specific needs.

Together, they had produced an excellent tool for discrete event simulation, whereby the machines included in the production line could communicate with each other through a virtual control system, said Andreas Vaktel, simulation engineer at AP&T. This allowed for the companies to identify potential bottlenecks in the process early on, which otherwise would have been impossible to detect in traditional time-based simulation.

Collaboration had been important in several respects since AP&T was a very prominent supplier within the manufacturing industry and is active within several industries, said Dick Nyström, CEO of Summ Systems. He claimed that the company was now taking a step closer to the so-called ‘digital factory’, and the fact that it recognized the value of robotics simulation and programming with Process Simulate for discrete event simulation constituted continued and strong confirmation of Summ System’s delivery and offering.

The simulation program saves time at each stage. It also creates new opportunities to develop a customized production solution in a shorter amount of time. 3D layouts can be easily exported from a CAD environment to Process Simulate and vice versa. Potential adjustments can be made directly in the simulation program, which streamlines design work and results in shorter lead times.

The program is also prepared for virtual commissioning, which means that when the finished production line is in place at the factory, the simulation program can be used to start up the machines. It is possible to simply create a “digital twin” that can be downloaded to the line’s control system (PLC), ensuring that the machines run in exactly the same way as in the simulation. This saves valuable time and enables production to get under way quickly.

Picture: Simulation program by AP&T

Photo: AP&T

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Yaskawa: Robot-based spot welding system with two 7-axis units

Yaskawa has developed a compact and flexible system for high-speed robot-based spot welding. The modular solution comprises a cell with positioner and two-spot welding robots, particularly lightweight spot welding guns, a nut welding machine and a full range of accessories.

A combination of high-performance components results in significantly faster cycle times in spot welding applications than conventional solutions. At the same time, the design of the robot positioning cell is so compact that it requires up to 40% less space than a comparable unit. A high degree of rebuilding flexibility from one product to the other makes for additional flexibility in production. The frontal “robot on board” positioning of the manipulators allows simple removal of the component without interference contours.

The heart of the unit is the 7-axis Motoman VS100 with a payload of up to 110kg. The model has an additional tilting axis and offers a highly flexible working range. It can work close to workpieces and other robots, thus enabling flexible and space-saving system design. The additional axis and resulting added degree of freedom permits reorientation of the manipulator axes without changing the position of the spot welding gun. This enables the robot to reach deep into confined spaces or perform longer linear movements. The interference contour of the entire manipulator can be adapted by programming. This robot also pursues Yaskawa’s strategy by downsizing tools, extending the working range in the direction of the robot body and energy-efficient motors.

The robots are supported by a new generation of spot welding guns which are extremely light weight. They operate without a compressed air system and feature a lightweight construction, making them an ideal complement to the compact robots. Energy consumption is accordingly lower. The deliberately simple design of the gun body, transformer and motor nevertheless guarantees a high degree of robustness. The lateral routing of cables improves the turning capacity of the robot hand. The standard version can be configured in many different ways.

A nut welding machine, likewise newly developed by Yaskawa, rounds off the new range for robot-based welding processes. It consists of a welding construction that can be set in multiple positions and has an adjustable welding head. A Motoman MH5 handling robot automatically feeds the items to be welded, such as nuts, bushings and pins. This integration of all components in a standardized machine offers numerous advantages in terms of autonomy, performance, reliability, maintenance-friendliness and flexibility of the unit.

Picture: The combination of high-performance components enables significantly faster cycle times for spot welding applications than conventional solutions.

Photo: Yaskawa

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Transfluid develops a new generation of combination machines for axial and rolling pipe forming

The technical evolution is mostly targeted at designing new solutions at the state of the art to simplify work and improve results. The engineers at Transfluid followed this principle as well, developing a new generation of combination machines that effectively combine the benefits of the axial and rolling forming.

The plants are particularly characterised by their diversity regarding the forming of parts, as Stefanie Flaeper, managing director at Transfluid, explained. Geometries in pipe end machining could be formed directly on the pipe, replacing the usual complicated and expensive turned parts. She further stated that no soldering or welding was needed: The pipe and its end form were virtually made from a single cast.

The benefits of this kind of process are obvious: Implementation of the combination can be specified by the user directly, or based on the forming geometry. Flaeper claimed that, usually, up to 6 axial forming stages and at least one rolling unit were used. If trimming, axial and rolling forming were needed, two rolling stations could be required as well, said Flaeper. This was also called “powered axes”.

Pipe machining may include a simple trim or deburring at the pipe end after forming. Because this is not a demanding, process-technical challenge, it makes sense to use compact units for this. Transfluid has made it possible to equip all axial forming machines and all combination machines with one or several single-drive axes. These axes have a servo-electrical drive and can be used for the forming stages in each of the holders. This makes the system very compact and particularly flexible. Because the Transfluid combination machines have electrical drives, all forming tools are positioned very precisely and the machines can be used much more diversely.

Picture: The new generation of Transfluid combination machines combines the benefits of axial and rolling pipe forming even more effectively.

Photo: Transfluid

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Cloos: Process diversity in perfection

When the sheet metal working industry will be meeting in Hanover for EuroBLECH 2016 in October, CLOOS will be presenting many innovations and further developments in the field of manual and automated welding. As a premium manufacturer, CLOOS is a single-source supplier for the relevant robot and welding technologies.

The 200m² exhibition booth will focus on the wide range of welding processes for different materials and components. No matter if thick or thin, steel or aluminium, manual or automated – the company offers the right welding process for every product requirement. At EuroBLECH 2016, CLOOS will present the new Root Penetration Control (RPC) welding process for the first time. The controlled short arc process is particularly suitable for the special requirements of pipe constructions, for root welding or thin plate welding. The RPC process is characterised by a stable, low-spatter arc, which is resistant to external influences by the welder. Due to the low heat input, the energy requirement and the component distortion can be reduced considerably. This way, costs for possible reworking decrease to a minimum.

Cloos offers high-quality power sources for versatile applications: During live demonstrations of manual welding, trade visitors can experience the wide model range of the CLOOS welding power sources from entry to premium. The visitors can discover the new TIG GLW 502 welding machine and also the new QinTron Pulse for MIG/MAG welding with a pulsed arc.

Furthermore, CLOOS will present the QINEO Pulse for manual and automated welding. The main advantages of the powerful multi-process system are particularly versatile application possibilities and perfect welding characteristics. The QINEO Pulse is available in three capacity classes and combines five different welding processes in one machine. The QINEO Champ high-tech welding power source meets the highest demands at complex requirements in automation.

Other highlights are the new controller and the new programming surface for the QIROX robots. They offer an even more user-friendly, intuitive operation, a considerable reduction of the programming times and a very dynamic movement of the QIROX robots for efficient welding.

With the QIROX robots, positioners and special purpose machines, CLOOS develops and manufactures customer-specific automated welding systems to enable users to meet the growing requirements of the automated welding technology. The portfolio comprises simple, compact systems as well as complex, chained systems with automated workpiece identification and loading and unloading processes.

Picture: QIROX comprises all solutions for automated welding and cutting.

Photo: Cloos

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Goudsmit: Smooth conveying of sharp steel parts

At EuroBLECH 2016 in Hanover, Goudsmit Magnetics Group from Waalre, the Netherlands, will present a magnetic slide bed conveyor. These are used in the metal and sheet metal processing industry. They offer the right solution for the smooth transport of steel parts such as: punching waste, pressing scrap, trim waste, ball bearings, nails, turning, milling and drilling swarf, and other steel parts. Slide bed conveyors have no external moving parts, such as plastic conveyor belts. This makes them especially well-suited for transporting sharp steel parts. They are trustworthy and safe, require minimal installation space and little to no maintenance.

A stationary, stainless steel slide plate is mounted above magnet systems which are mounted at intervals along a chain. This chain is driven by a gear reduction motor which sets the magnet systems in motion. The magnets move the steel parts along the slide plate and smoothly carry them to the discharge end. The magnetic slidebed conveyor offers several advantages with regard to other conveyors: it requires minimal installation space, contains no external rotating parts and therefore conveying belts do not have to be replaced. The conveyor has a steep transport angle of 60°, is completely dust and liquid proof and suitable for use in an oil or water bath. This makes it suitable for oiled and abrasive products. The magnetic slide bed conveyor can be delivered in any desired dimension.

Picture: A magnetic slide bed conveyor offers the right solution for smooth transport of steel parts such as punching waste, pressing scrap, trim waste, ball bearings, nails, turning, milling and drilling swarf and other steel parts.

Photo: Goudsmit

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