Page 27 - MetalForming June 2016
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Hence the development and adop- tion of automatic tool changers, equipped with Amada’s ID tooling— so-called “smart tooling.” Each piece of ID tooling features a unique QR code etched into its shank, which can be scanned in the tool changer and the turret. That practice allows for the col- lection of detailed tool-use data, and subsequent data analysis. Tool tracking via the QR code even can occur at an automated tool grinder—an Amada Togu III, in the case of EVS Metal.
“Once a tool moves into the tool changer or the turret, our software knows where it is and what it’s working on,” says Berkowitz. “Same goes for the tool grinder—it’s all part of a next- generation tool-management system that applies across the entire shop.
“Our tool database is accessible over the network,” he adds, “so program- mers can see where all of the tools are at any given time, and can check on their condition based on hit counts. We can more-effectively manage tool maintenance, ensure optimum per- formance from every tool, and even keep track of how many times each tool has been sharpened. That sharp- ening data, from the Togu, then enables automatic die-height adjustment at the press—no need to manually shim the tools.”
One Press Does the Work of Three
In just less than one year of adopting the new press and tooling, Berkowitz has been able to use the machine to replace three older presses, which he sent packing to the company’s other fabrication plants. Green-light time on the EMZRT has surged to more than 90 percent, and the only production lim- iter now is the six-shelf storage unit. “I wish I had gone with a bigger storage tower,” Berkowitz shares. “That machine just flies through material.”
The press also features “scratchless” technology, as its lower turret remains constantly underneath the brush table; only the required die lifts up through the brush bed.
EVS Metal processes primarily alu-
The new turret press at EVS Metal is equipped with a 300-station automatic tool changer. To squeeze every bit of pro- ductivity from the press, EVS filled it with new ID tooling. The tools are etched with QR codes to allow the firm to gather pro- duction data from the shop floor and ide- ally manage its tool-maintenance program.
minum and mild steel sheet as thick as 14 gauge. Its equipment list in Riverdale includes, in addition to the facility’s three turret presses, two 4-kW laser- cutting machines and a robotic press brake.
As far as the EMZRT goes, Berkowitz does admit that programming and run- ning such a high-volume producer takes a different approach than running a more traditional turret press.
“Our learning curve on the machine was probably six months,” he says. One of the bigger challenges: the turret. Since space is needed between tools to accommodate the tool-change mech- anism, the turret holds only 32 tools, rather than the 58 tools it otherwise could hold on a standard turret press.
“That means that if we’re not careful in how we stage our jobs, we could wind up with dozens of tool changes— made between the tool storage unit and the turret—per shift. Even though that process is automated and occurs while the machine runs, it still could hamstring us. So our operators and programmers just need to think ahead, and think differently about how they load the turret and schedule the work.”
Regardless of the added need for expertise, there’s no denying the pro- ductive press time gained by automat- ing tool changes. In fact, Brady adds, by
having two different dies (and two dif- ferent die clearances) associated with each tool, fabricators like EVS Metal can accommodate a wide range of material thicknesses without tool changes, in some cases.
A Catalyst for Growth
“This is no ordinary turret press, there’s a lot going on there,” summa- rizes Berkowitz. “But with special con- sideration given to how we program the machine, and considering all of the automation and the way the ID tooling system collects data from the shop floor, we’re able to leverage the technology to gain a competitive advantage.
“The technology eliminates road- blocks that otherwise could inhibit our ability to meet customer requirements for short turnaround and lead times,” Berkowitz continues. “We’re better at doing what we need to do to compete, we’re more efficient and thanks to the ability to run unattended over an entire weekend, and we’ve got much more machine time available to take on new- work, and new customers.” MF
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