Page 23 - MetalForming November 2022
P. 23

   be capable of being picked up and removed by the automation.
• The part should be lifted by the tooling in the upstroke to make it easier to grip and lift, saving cycle time.
• Where possible on existing and on all new tooling, remove anything in path of the automation to allow shorter, faster movements. This may require, for example, moving tool guideposts.
• The tooling must provide “nesting” guidance for the part so that it can be released and then located precisely as it drops into the tool.
Also be aware, Wenzel says, that part-transfer automation is sensitive to the location of the die in the press. With manually tended press lines, the die need not be precisely and repeat- edly located in the press from run to run; the operators can adjust. However, automation requires precise, repeatable die locating every time a job runs. This typically requires stampers to modify the tooling by adding some sort of die- locating mechanism.
“We also see the need to upgrade press controls in some cases,” Wenzel adds. “Stampers with older controls on
their presses may find them unsuitable for integration to automation. Confer with your automation supplier regarding the required I/O and functions to learn if your press controls are up to the task.
“And, think about the guarding when adding automation,” he contin- ues. “Automation brings safeguarding concerns beyond those related to the point of operation; you also must guard the automation itself because it moves and can cause injury. Additionally, the automation moves stamped parts potentially weighing dozens if not hun- dreds of pounds, quickly in and out of the press, and sometimes from press to press separated by potentially 40 or more feet. The automation losing con- trol of the part mid-move creates another hazard.
“What metal formers sometimes miss in their initial layout work,” Wen- zel adds, “is that often the automation will require fencing well out from the press(es) to encapsulate the fast-mov- ing automation and the parts being carried. It’s important to thoroughly understand the OSHA and ANSI guard- ing standards that must be followed
Stampers can automate coil-line setup functions to reduce setup times, ensure consistency and improve operator safety by eliminating manual tasks. On the straightener shown in these photos, the computer automatically calculates the proper depth of each work roll based on material data. In addition, when a new job is recalled, hydraulic motors raise and lower the rolls to their programmed posi- tions, monitored by encoders. Photo courtesy of Coe Press Equipment.
when adding automation.”
Where Else Can
Metal Formers Automate?
While material-handling automa- tion will increase throughput, let’s not forget automation designed to speed equipment setup and minimize changeover time, improving overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). Here we’re talking about automated adjust- ments included with each job recipe— press shut height, feed-line parameters, cushion pressure and more. These adjustments, not long ago, typically required an operator’s attention—turn- ing a hand crank for example.
While stampers can retrofit, in some cases, their existing mechanical presses with automated setup features, when it comes to coil lines, Wenzel explains, in nearly every case stampers opt to purchase a new, state-of-the-art line with these automated setup features. “Here,” he says, “we follow the ‘Missouri test’—show me. We’ll replace one aging coil line in the plant with a new one to prove out the results, to then help jus- tify further investments.”
Yet another setup function often automated: die clamping. Traditionally operators turn wrenches on bolts to clamp and unclamp dies, which takes time and can be a safety concern.
“Now we see magnetic clamping that can clamp an entire die in 20 sec., maybe less,” Wenzel says, “compared to 5 min. or more manually.”
Robots/Cobots on the Move
Finally, metal formers have begun to add robots and cobots to their oper- ations at an accelerated pace. Just be
20 MetalForming/November 2022

   21   22   23   24   25