In the intelligent and fully networked press shop of the future, it will be possible to accurately predict potential downtime with the aid of sophisticated sensors and actuators, along with the data they collect, and to avert this downtime well in advance. This helps to ensure our customers’ productivity and increase the quality of the parts they produce, while also reducing energy requirements. As a result, the Smart Press Shop delivers improved reliability and increased cost-effectiveness for the field of forming technology.
At the heart of Schuler’s digital toolkit is the Machine Monitoring System, which features six different function areas. These areas can be used to collect, analyze, store, and evaluate production conditions. The system is compatible with both new and existing machinery, and can be operated and controlled by customers directly on their plant equipment, via their servers, or over their network—and in the future also from the cloud.
Condition monitoring makes it possible to avoid both unplanned downtimes and also the unnecessary replacement of parts.
Machine components are monitored for changes, wear and damage in order to optimize the maintenance process. For this purpose, regular test runs of the system are performed in which, among other things, vibration data, torque progressions and energy consumption are measured, stored and compared. Wear is also taken into account by considering the load (load spectrum) in the actual manufacturing process ("process monitoring").
Since 2016, Schuler servo press lines have been equipped with sensors in the slide and bed as standard. These sensors measure the acceleration per stroke. This means that our customers are already able to monitor the condition of the systems and the forming processes in detail.
Sensors can also be used to measure the vibration in the engine bearings, which in turn indicates possible wear at particularly critical points such as gearwheels and axles.
The demand for electricity, water and compressed air can, of course, also be individually identified, from the blank feed and individual presses to bed cushions and blank destacking.
The gapless documentation is incredibly valuable in the event of any quality problems.
The process parameters are documented online and assigned to the workpiece. Change trends can be tracked and indicate a necessary intervention if limit values are exceeded.
Schuler has also already demonstrated its ability to fully network different production facilities with its systems for constructing train wheels.
Quality documentation has the highest priority for these safety-related components. All relevant data can be recorded and archived for each part produced. The system links the information about the raw material used and its origin with the production conditions (e.g., "press force" or "part temperature") and thus enables traceability.
Continuous parameter logging enables real-time responses that are exactly in sync with machine cycles.
The production data acquired includes all planned and unplanned downtimes including their causes, fault messages, target/actual production and the quality of the parts. In this way, the system operators gain an overview of the production status and a basis for calculating the overall equipment efficiency (OEE).
The OEE is an extremely important system-related metric. It provides information about the changes from actual to target values in the areas of availability, performance and quality. The OEE is equal to 100 percent when the system produces nothing but acceptable parts at the full programmed stroke rate over the entire time of production. Any disruptions or errors will lower the number of acceptable parts produced – and by extension, the OEE – over the production period.
At our Hydroforming TechCenter in Canton, Michigan (USA), we have already networked all our production facilities and recorded the machine statuses. The provision of the required data is the prerequisite for presenting the key performance indicators and thus for determining and increasing the overall equipment efficiency (OEE). The data is prepared by the system so that a quick glance is all it takes for the production manager to determine the total number of parts produced, how many of these parts are acceptable, and which shift had the best performance.
The aim is to increase process reliability and thus machine availability and to improve production and part quality. In addition, the setup time is shortened.
The raw data collected here is essentially the same as the data used for condition monitoring, but with one difference: Collection takes place during the actual production process instead of in a test run. Do the good parts correspond exactly to the ideas in terms of quality and quantity? Are the press force and vibration progression in order? Which parameters may need to be adjusted so that they are exactly in sync with the cycle?
Video and thermal imaging cameras provide a real-time overview of blank feeding, transfer and end of line, while the system continuously records process data in parallel. The information is collected by the numerous sensors in the press, die, furnace and cooling units. The system manages to merge and synchronize the enormous amounts of data.
The solution gives system operators a way to precisely check the production conditions of each to see whether blanks were heated to a high enough temperature, kept in the press for long enough, or were cooled in the proper amount of time. Not only does the software run on-site, it can also be used everywhere else as a Windows computer.
Power monitoring not only saves energy costs, it also helps to identify possible problems in the network quality at an early stage.
In this module, all relevant power supply and energy quality data for the system are stored and analyzed. What does consumption look like as a function of specific operating states? When does the optimal state occur? How efficient is the current consumption? When do voltage fluctuations or dips occur?
Our intelligent DC grid for press lines, the Schuler Smart DC Grid, is already in use in several press lines in the automotive industry. The background to this is that the individual presses in a line not only require electrical energy at each stroke, but also generate it during the cyclic braking processes. This energy can be transmitted via the intelligent DC grid directly to the presses, which are currently accelerating or forming and therefore need electricity.
Complex technical systems make troubleshooting difficult in case of malfunction. With "Smart Diagnostics," we collect process data along the entire production chain. This data is saved and can be exported in case of a failure. The cause can therefore be identified quickly, regardless of whether a hardware or software problem is present. The quick analysis enables an increase in availability and optimizes productivity.