Page 18 - MetalForming-Jul-2018-issue
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                                      Fanning Controls Innovation
 not require a total retrofit. “With this one, Greenheck wanted the power of the Link process control,” says Wenzel, “but we didn’t have to retrofit and upgrade the press controls.”
Wenzel encourages fabricators to ask the following when considering a total retrofit or system upgrade:
• Is the controller safety-compliant to OSHA standards?
• Is it smart? That is, are the diag-
nostics so primitive that too much time is spent troubleshooting?
• Are parts available, even for equip- ment no longer made? Wenzel says Link makes its own parts and, therefore, makes available parts for all its machines, past and present.
“For fabricators, it comes down to evaluating how much benefit will be derived,” says James Barrett, president of Link. “Yes, replacing controls
requires quite an effort, with the press being down while performing the work. But over the course of time, this pays for itself in terms of greater efficiencies and reduced downtime.”
Industry 4.0 and Beyond
Thomas Franke, manufacturing engineer at Greenheck, says that the company’s success results largely from its commitment to staying at the fore- front of new technologies with the help of suppliers such as Link and TCR. “They’ve kept us informed of technology upgrades over the years to enable us to make informed deci- sions concerning equipment and interconnectivity.”
This interconnectivity, seen in Greenheck’s use of the LinkNet com- munications system for its presses, enables the presses, via automation controllers and tonnage monitors, to report information and status back to the PCs for display, storage and print- ing. In addition, LinkNet incorporates a preventive-maintenance module for scheduling and generating work-order reports for routine press and die main- tenance.
“We’re able to accomplish easier integration between devices in pro- duction cells,” says Wenzel. “One impact of IoT (Internet of Things) is that more and more of the equipment we install have their own IP addresses, enabling us to accomplish integration between devices in production cells using data lines, instead of having to run a hundred lines back and forth.”
As for what lies ahead for controls technology, Greenheck’s Franke and D’Acquisto look forward to incorpo- rating advanced controls systems with robotic forming cells as well as servo presses that feature complex motions.
“Greenheck prides itself on using the latest technology when it comes to sheetmetal fabrication, whether it’s stamping presses, press brakes or lasers,” says Franke.
“Advanced controls technologies,” adds D’Acquisto, “will enable us to con- tinue our push to remain on the leading edge.” MF
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MetalForming/July 2018

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