Page 32 - MetalForming May 2016
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Feed Line
  The 72-in.-wide wide 50,000-lb.-capacity feed line incorporates a hydraulic cut-to- length production shear with a blank destacker. The setup allows continuous coil, rectangular blanks or developed blanks to feed from the same system.
stabilize our production processes, increase the capacity of our existing equipment, and upgrade or replace aging equipment to improve throughput.”
Examples include the development of standardized robotic-welding cells, a commitment to quick-die change in the pressroom and, most recently, com- pletely refreshing one of the company’s workhorse stamping lines, featuring a 2000-ton 15-yr.-old transfer press. Late in 2015, the press, whose transfer sys- tem recently was upgraded to all-servo, welcomed a new servo-feed coil line equipped to handle higher-strength steels.
Press Refresh Adds Speed, Versatility
Icon’s pressroom features three 2000-ton transfer presses, as well as eight progressive-die presses (150 to 1000 tons) and a seven-press tandem line (500-ton presses). A Komatsu transfer press installed in 2000 has been the most recent beneficiary of upgrade attention.
“That transfer line originally was designed to stamp mild-steel blanks, produced on one of our progressive presses,” says production manager Tom Roth. “With this recent upgrade project, initiated late in 2014, we sought to enable the press to process high-yield- steel coils, including advanced high- strength steels, using progressive dies. At the same time we wanted the line to be able to produce blanks inline, and destack and feed the blanks to the transfer system.”
Fast forward to August 2015 and we find the transfer press in full-out pro- duction mode with its newly installed Tri-Function feed line from Cooper- Weymouth Peterson (CWP), Clinton, ME. The 72-in.-wide, 50,000-lb.-capac- ity feed line incorporates a hydraulic
cut-to-length production shear and a blank destacker. The setup allows con- tinuous coil, rectangular blanks or developed blanks to feed from the same system. It’s freed up one of Icon’s pro- gressive-die presses from having to produce blanks, adding capacity to the company’s pressroom.
The feed line also features a servo- driven magnetic runout conveyor that transfers blanks created in the cut-to- length mode into the transfer press. The conveyor, with a 24-in. adjustment into the press, also can feed developed blanks.
CWP outfitted the line with a four- roll servo feeder to ensure optimum coil-feed accuracy. “When we worked with CWP to spec the line,” says Roth, “we had to prepare for stamping high- er-strength steels, which represented a growing proportion of the new working coming in. That includes dual-phase materials. The four-roll feeder, which provides twice the surface contact with half the air pressure of a two-roll feed, ensures that we minimize or eliminate any slippage that can cause marking on the material or lead to inaccurate feed lengths.”
Also included in the line is a coil car, holddown peeler system and two- axis servo pick-and-place destacker.
Automated Setup Plays a Key QDC Role
The feed line is equipped with a control-automation package to auto- mate setup based on preprogrammed job or part numbers. Feed progres- sion, speed, straightener-head set- tings, material width for stock-guide
location, uncoiler brake tension and magnetic conveyor settings all store in memory for each job. The control also can calculate initial straightener-roll depth settings based on material parameters, removing the guesswork. Overall, the control is a big contribu- tor to quickening the pace of die changes.
“We’re changing out dies more often than ever,” says maintenance manager Mark Harbeson. “For example, on that transfer press we change tools 10 to 15 times per day (the plant runs around the clock). The goal is to minimize working capital and increase invento- ry turns, and we’ve made a lot of progress. For example, our inventory turns have increased from an average of 13 to 23. Die-change times also have dropped dramatically, by an average of 70 percent on our transfer presses. Part of that comes from automating coil-line setup, and part comes from basic organizational changes such as standardizing tasks and ensuring that QDC team members are ready and available when called on.”
“QDC is a coordinated effort,” adds Kasey,” and the results reverberate throughput the entire facility. Not only did changeover times decrease (from an average of 40 to 60 min. down to just 10 min.), but they’re also very repeat- able and predictable now.”
Of course, higher throughput in the pressroom means that downstream welding operations can’t become bot- tlenecks. Here, the plant has been busy standardizing its resistance-welding cells and replacing outdated equip- ment with new robots and servo guns.
30 MetalForming/May 2016

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