Automate vs. Train

May 27, 2020

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Technology Focus: Pressroom Automation
MetalForming brings you the May installment of our monthly Technology Focus newsletters as we highlight Pressroom Automation.

Next Month: Press Feeds

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Automate vs. Train
The ever-tightening skilled-labor market has many metal forming company executives closely evaluating where to devote resources to hiring, training and retaining workers, and where to invest in automation.

To gauge the pulse of the metal forming and fabricating industry on the question of where to invest in building the next-gen skilled-labor force vs. investing in automation, MetalForming reached out to leaders at five metal forming companies for their thoughts. Read on for their insightful takes, including this from Chris Fagnant, president of Qualtek Manufacturing Inc.: “There’s simply no way to inspect every part without automation. We no longer have the option to train and hire people for this.”

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ATI Robotic/Automatic Tool Changers
ATI Industrial Automation Tool Changers allow for quick and easy changing of press tooling and transfer equipment. ATI offers a wide selection of Tool Changer models to cover a variety of applications. Key features include: Excellent repeatability, high rigidity, and a lightweight and compact design.

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Next-Level Automation—Benefits and ROI
Automated loading/unloading, along with the incorporation of material-storage towers, represent the most common laser and CNC punching machine automation found in fabricating operations, and time-tested ROI investigations have proven their worth. Next-level automation, on the other hand, remains less familiar, with ROI determination a trickier prospect.

A next-level example, automated systems provide for part removal from sheet nests and subsequent stacking—a significant improvement over manual operations. Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and automated warehousing also are making headway into fabricating operations, with AGVs used primarily for material transport and reducing the need for forklifts.

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MJC Engineering & Technology now offering Robotic and Automation to Press Lines
MJC Engineering & Technology is now offering solutions to fully automate your press line.  MJC offers robots from the following leading robot manufacturers, ABB, Fanuc, Kawasaki and Yaskawa. Integrating robots and presses into a turnkey workcell will result in better output, quality and reliability without compromising safety.

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One-Fourth of U.S. Manufacturers Considering Automating Due to COVID-19
According to the April 2020 Thomas Industrial Survey, one in four U.S. manufacturers are considering expanding their industrial-automation efforts due to COVID-19. In addition, 64 percent report they likely will reshore manufacturing production and sourcing back to North America a 10-percent increase from the same sentiment reported in the March survey.

"The COVID-19 pandemic will fundamentally redefine how industrial companies approach their supply chains and will further advance the digital transformation of manufacturing,” says Tony Uphoff, president and CEO of Thomas.

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Get the Control You Need to Improve Press Production Systems
Link Systems engineers controls that increase the performance of every machine in a unique, integrated stamping press configuration. Intelligent press and automation controls give manufacturers a real-time window into their press production systems. These controls are increasingly important with automation, robotics, IOT connectivity, and shop floor data collection. Read the whitepaper on how intelligent press and automation controls can increase production, extend product life, reduce stress in operations, and provide room to grow.
Download Now

Metal Forming Strategies for Overcoming Economic Crises
How should metal formers address capital-equipment concerns and investments during trying times? Stephan A. Robertson, general manager/vice president of sales and operation for Simpac America, offers answers in this Q&A piece.

Answering one question on how a purchasing department can work with its manufacturing team to continue investing in new technology, Robertson offers the following: “There are four key factors when considering capital investments: price, performance, delivery and the ability to provide turnkey solutions. In a challenging economy, stampers should evaluate their current equipment and focus on two age groups. For presses within the 5- to 15-yr. age range, consider upgrading controls and automation—feeds and transfers. For older presses, one new machine, especially a servomechanical press, may allow a stamper to replace two or three aging presses. Efficiency skyrockets, as you conserve floor space and human capital.”

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Explore the Difference with SIMPAC
SIMPAC can offer full turnkey solutions as its entire production process is 100% in-house. Experience a press manufacturer you can depend on for all your metal forming equipment needs:
  • Cutting & Welding
  • Annealing
  • Boring
  • Milling
  • Gear Hobbing & Grinding
  • In-house Trial Runs
  • Skilled Technicians
  • Standalone Presses
  • Press Systems with Automation

MEP Centers Receive Awards to Help SMMs Deploy Advanced Manufacturing Technology
The U.S Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) will distribute four cooperative agreement awards as part of its 2020 NIST MEP Advanced Manufacturing Technology Services Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) 2020-NIST-MEP-AMTS-01. Four MEP Centers will receive awards totaling $4 million, to help small and midsized manufacturers (SMMs) deploy advanced manufacturing technology in the areas of robotics, flexible automation and Internet of Things (IoT), among others.

Weiss-Aug Partners to Create R&D Entities
The Weiss-Aug Group, East Hanover, NJ, a precision metal former offering stamping, injection molding, and integrated component assembly, has partnered with Lupine Labs, Boulder, CO, to create a new entity, Lupine Research. Lupine Research will operate two divisions: Research and Development, led by Alex Macpherson, Ph.D., vice president of R&D; and Automation, led by John Francis, Ph.D., vice president of automation.

The Research and Development division will focus on material science, utilizing a new state-of-the-art lab for technology development in metal sputtering, plasma electrolytic oxidation (PEO), and electroplating technologies. The Automation division will develops systems and artificial intelligence for machine vision.

Tooling Tech Group Appoints Sales Manager for Automation Division
Tooling Tech Group (TTG), Macomb MI, a provider of engineered tools and automated assembly equipment, has hired Robert (Kim) Nollner as business development sales manager for its automated systems offerings. Nollner will manage the group’s sales team, elevate awareness of the company’s automation capabilities, develop new business opportunities, and create synergy with the company’s sales managers in the composites, thermoforming, metal stamping and die casting sectors.

Hot Off the Press

May 2020 issue
May 2020
Resistance Welding Guidance and Tips for Good Welds
The term resistance welding owes to the fact that the electrical property of resistance of the metal being welded causes heat generation as current flows through it. Important factors in proper formation of the molten area between the pieces of metal include the magnitude of current, the length of time that it flows and the force squeezing the parts together.

Managing Horizontal Forces in Stamping Dies—Part 1
A well-constructed, symmetrical blanking die, with no shear and a well-aligned press ram, will result in minimum horizontal loads during the cutting process. In many dies the horizontal thrusts due to punch-to-die clearances are the only side forces present. Dies that experience significant side loads often have multiple causes, including poor alignment of die components during die construction; misalignment resulting from a miss-hit or die crash; angular contact between surfaces, such as angular form steels; nonsymmetrical forms or draws where the punch and die are loaded off-center at initial contact; the use of shear or angular cutting faces to reduce cutting forces; and cutoff, trim, bending and flanging operations where forces act on only one side of the die steel.

Upcoming Issues
June/July (combined issue): Mechanical Presses, Press Feeds, Press Controls, CNC Punching, Arc Welding, Preview of MetalForming’s July online Internet of Things (IoT) Experience for Manufacturers (This issue will be mailed on June 12, and, like all MetalForming issues, will be available at www.metalformingmagazine.com)

Special July Digital IssueAutomation and Software for the New Era of Manufacturing:
MRP/ERP software, IoT and other Industry 4.0 initiatives (This issue will be emailed on July 9 and again on July 23, and will be available at www.metalformingmagazine.com)

August: Servo Technology, Tool Steel, EDM Roundup, Five-Axis Laser Cutting, Folding/Bending Technology, Arc Welding, Safety Update, Preview: Hot Stamping Experience and Tech Tour—October 6-7, Ann Arbor, MI, Preview: IMTS—September 14-19, Chicago, IL
Industry-Related Terms: Form, Gauge, Forming, Grinding, LASER, Ram, Oxidation, Bending, Blanking, CNC, Die, Download, Electroplating, Transfer, Entity
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms



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