Production of the diagonals at NEDCON will not be the only story of roll-forming.....
When during the night walk we turn our eyes to the sky, we will sight the familiar image of stars and constellations. Being more fortunate, it can to us also travel the first light of once upon a time a newly born sun, of the new star. When during the walk through somewhat more specifically defined space, through our production plant, we turn our eyes to the roll-forming department, we see in the near past born new technology for the production of the diagonals.
We cannot overlook it, it is in any case very modern line and it shines with novelty, however we will get the view of relatively “only” a few cutting-edge innovative technological novelties. Technology is at first glimpse more robust, what predetermines it to the production of the so called OB (OpenBox) diagonals, in the future up to the material thickness of 2.5 mm by the fairly interesting technical speed of 24m/min (current obsoleting technology reaches roughly half of that speed and has considerable difficulties already with thickness exceeding 1.5 mm).
High-speed hydraulic punching with pulling material feeder (see Fig.) has already for the second time forced out traditional eccentric press with the front feeder. For the irregular perforation with long feeding step it is ideal technical solution for less money. Roll-forming section copies already ones successfully implemented DUPLEX concept (see Fig.) for one configurable product family, in this case applied on to the family of C and U profiles. Term DUPLEX we use for the roll-forming concept, when the profiling sections are symmetrically doubled (duplexed) and repositionable to the exact dimensions within configurable product range. In the case of our “roll-forming star” is this repositioning not only motorized, but fully numerically controlled and precisely tuned positions stored in the memory. Duplex repositioning e.g. from the profile U503015 to C904020 (OB904020) is executed in order of 1-2 minutes, rather substantial difference from hours lasting setups on our current obsolete conventional technology. Individual DUPLEX section are furthermore placed on cassettes, what makes the technology eventually open for the future modification to the other product. It seems that our new technology can be rightly ranked among the “stars” and not only figuratively, but also literarily in the context of overall technical maturity. Flying table concept certainly doesn’t degrade technology performance, at least not for 97% of the production of the diagonals longer than 800 mm and is fully in accord with our manufacturing philosophy of quick-exchange and setup. Modern safety standards and CE certification are already absolute matter of course and machine construction in this regard was designed without any concession.
Unfortunately, there was set in certain paradox. The limiting factors is not anymore the machine, but human, to be more specific, on product stacking and packing. From the ergonomic reasons, by such a high production speed, it was a must to double the cycle time (from 3s to 6s) and therefore to split output mechanisms into 2 tilting side-discharge sub-systems (plus one for products shorter than 800 mm). For variable product lengths and batching this run-out device is again fully configurable, both its kinematic and also dynamic acceleration parameters (see Fig.). Topic of ergonomics on this output device is still not fully closed, we gave preference to process based on empirically collected experiences.
.........THE OBJECTS ARE BETTER DEFINED BY, HOW WE THINK ABOUT THEM, RATHER THAN HOW WE SEE THEM.
Our vision is not perfect and our eye sees only tiny fragments of the visual light spectrum (for the physics enthusiasts: the visual spectrum of the electro-magnetic radiation, which is transmitted in quantum of energy by massless photons). Observing the night sky by mere vision, no matter if using optical telescope or not, we see actually too little, precious little. Equally like this it will be, when we, as passer-by passing the new technology for the production of diagonals, will rely only on very limited wavelength of our eye receptors. It’s necessary to observe on the other frequencies. The radio astronomers see the sky completely differently. In the microwave range they see relict radiation (temperature) of the very beginning of the outer space, in X-ray spectrum the high energetic space effects such as supernova explosions or mass collapsing into the black holes, and in range of the gamma-rays also the genuine extremes of the infinite cosmos depths. Let’s close for a while our eyes (only figuratively, otherwise we will not be able to continue reading this text) and have a look to our new technology via spectrum of the other wavelengths, e.g. via those, which are transmitting information about production (Order Processing). The production is not only drawing materialization, the production is also about faultless information transmission about what, how and when to produce. Our new technology for the diagonal production is already now capable of the so called production orders mass-processing. It can continuously change the program for divers assorted product lengths and without stopping to manufacture the requested amount of the product from relatively unlimited list of the production orders generated by information system SAP. Formally some stoppage occurs, but only to execute the indispensable quality inspection and to give the numbering head enough time to set new production order ID. This is absolute premiere at NEDCON and by mere eyesight you cannot see this highly dynamic function. At present there is running digital project “SFA – Order processing” (SFA stands for Shop-Floor Automation), which will uplift this function about one level higher to the full digital connectivity between ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and machine controls/sensors (called FIELD). On that interconnection will be completely executed workflow for technological production preparation, as well as the real time status visualisation of all production orders/batches in execution. It will become at NEDCON the first historical link on the so called MES (Manufacturing Execution System) automation layer. New profiling line for diagonals will serve as pilot test-bed and our ambition is to implement it by the end of the current fiscal year. Some of the functions will have also visual counterpart, represented by Plant Monitoring screens incl. mobile visualization means. We will still need our eyes ......
In the text above we mentioned Production order ID marking head. Also over here is valid, that added value we will better perceive, when reflecting upon it, rather than just stare at it. Purely visually considered, it’s just ordinary embossing head. Ordinary, but with hidden remote number selection function with fully automated setting incl. complete digital integration just over the mentioned MES layer up to the ERP system. Hardware itself was integrated into the hydraulic punching section and addressed for activation commonly with the punch entities. Operator drops out any marking related activity (2-3 min) by each product length change, and there are many – up to 10.000 miscellaneous configuration in average batch of 200 pcs.
Let’s try for our observation and contemplation about advanced functions another, by eyesight invisible spectrum, and namely frequencies on which resonate behaviour of the machine and product itself. The Universe tells us of oneself a lot, we only need to have know-how, how to decode it’s “speech”. As well as our new technology and product produced on it want to pass to us many useful information, however our eyes are not capable to unveil encrypted information. But we are smart, we know how to observe on the wavelengths of the so called Condition Monitoring (platform for monitoring of machine critical physical quantities and statuses). In order to this aim we are currently building industrial Ethernet network (PROFINET), which will enable gradual connection of machine controls (PLC – Program Logical Controls) and from them upload information the machine can pass on to us. And there are not a few, there are tens of information about critical physical quantities such as instantaneous or cumulative consumptions, drive amperage, bearing temperatures, vibration, punching forces, machine statuses – warning/error messages - alarms etc. Detected information we can display in real time trends, we can supervise threshold limits, mine information from the data, put the information into the correlations. The line itself basically tells us, how “it feels”, what “it misses” and can also suggest, how “it wants” to be maintained. Just by glimpse, without dismounting and downtimes we will not learn a lot. It is necessary to look differently if we want to move in the direction of predictive and prescriptive maintenance, effectively protect and care our production means. To the same spectrum of reflections belong integrated supervision of quality and quality data acquisition, again working on the background of the visible world. To be specific, in the case of the diagonal line, it is monitoring of the so called “ctc” (centre-to-centre) product length and fully digital data acquisition about geometrical product features (see Fig.). This data collection is again integrated via MES layer into the information system SAP for the later paperless traceability of the measuring protocols and quality control in real time. Our new technology coded as PR 20-32 will be our pilot future digital standard and our ambition is to have it implemented by the end of current business year.
Production of the diagonals at NEDCON will not be the only story of roll-forming....., it will be concurrence of many stories, on its very end will not be only modern powerful device, but cutting-edge highly innovative future digital standard of our NEDCON production. And if this, somewhat technically tuned article with cosmological parallels, didn’t attract your attention, try at least to take only very general piece of knowledge, and namely that it is always desired to look through newly opened windows.
Welcome to our world
The NEDCON head office is located in Doetinchem (The Netherlands). We also have our own production facility in Pardubice (Czech Republic) and there are NEDCON offices in various European countries and the United States.