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BRANKAMP and SACMA

Electronics Meets Mechanics

Towards the end of 2000, SACMA LIMBIATE requested BRANKAMP to commit itself to the development of a force monitoring system, based on a modular concept, capable to meet the increasing and multifaceted demand for security and control in the different forming and rolling operations. In addition to monitoring accuracy, SACMA also requested the design of a simple operator interface and a rapid procedure for adjusting the parameters of monitoring, so as not to further weigh on the machine operators’ tasks.

The decisive factor in the practical realisation of such a project was also the perfect and synergic interfacing of BRANKAMP’s control functions with the electronic controls of the progressive headers, especially with regard to combined headers. Thanks to the use of the most advanced electronics and the most efficient programming technology, BRANKAMP’s engineers succeeded in gradually meeting SACMA’s requirements with a complete set of devices, which on the basis of specific customer requirements, can fulfil complex automatic monitoring functions, protect machines and equipment, and monitor the quality of manufactured parts.

Initial Advantages Gained through the First SC 500 Devices

Initially, the SC 500 device was put on the market to monitor, in tons, the total load on the shoulders (sides) of the press. In the months following its introduction to the market, the SC 500 device proved that, along with general security and adjustment support functions, it was also able to offer detailed process monitoring functions. In fact, thanks to the improved monitoring of the entire force curve, it is also possible to detect anomalies in connection with load variations by far smaller than the maximum workload. For example, marked alignment errors during the insertion of the part in the die, the loss of the component during transportation, etc. Furthermore, a special, self-adapting software package allows keeping continuous control accuracy over time, with no need to continuously adjust the limits manually. This occurs for example during ordinary temporary production, in the morning as soon as production starts, or at the end of the lunch break when the press is restarted. In the years following its introduction, the SC 500 device was further improved, even from the point of view of graphic display, with the provision of a colour graphic screen.

Adjustment Support Based on Indicators Expressed in kNewtons

The exact measurement of the total load expressed in kNewtons has allowed to support the set-up phases of the press, and to point out any incorrect adjustments or imbalance of the total load on the machine ram. This support has been valued both on the headers equipped with traditional tools change system as well as on the headers equipped with the Quick Change system. In particular, on the new ‘series 6’ headers with a nominal work load of 5.500 kN, the SC 500 system provides valuable help by giving calibrated reference signal curves which operators can use as reference indicators, in order to reduce the costly machine set-up times to a minimum.

Monitoring of the Rolling Process using SC 600 at SACMA LIMBIATE and INGRAMATIC Works

After the completion of the SC500 unit, particular attention was paid to the development of the SC600 device, which was conceived and designed to carry out quality monitoring and support the adjustment of the rolling process on combined headers. A further planning drive was given to the system monitoring the rolling process by the SACMA group acquisition of the company INGRAMATIC.

At INGRAMATIC, which has always built renewable thread rolling machines, BRANKAMP has further customized monitoring and adjustment techniques, which have been improved and adapted to the requirements of the market. This ensures even more accurate quality control, and, as it had already happened in the case of headers, also the possibility to measure the forming force exerted on the setting screws of the flat dies, expressed in tons.

Calibration in kNewtons of the Load of the Thread Rolling Process on the Setting Screws

An important option, which can be installed on the INGRAMATIC rolling machines, is the measurement unit of the load on the setting screws of the dies, expressed in tons.

This feature allows cutting down tool change times, by informing the operator on the current load exerted by the individual setting screws, which can then be adjusted until the correct workload is reached in order to monitor the manufacturing process. These data, expressed in kNewtons, can be, for example, noted down on the product data sheet, and used as a reference during each adjustment stage.

Adjustment of the Die Match Basing on Vertical Force

Besides the monitoring of the horizontal force exerted by the setting screws while in operation, a team of INGRAMATIC and BRANKAMP engineers have closely examined the vertical components of the stresses produced by the rolling process. In fact, these stressbearing components are tightly linked to thread adjustment.

The minimization of the vertical stresses of the rolling process is an indicative of optimum adjustment and a synonym of minimum wear and crack of the dies. By identifying the stress level it is possible, in addition, to determine the correct adjustment of the dies to be pinpointed, thereby saving precious time during the set up phase of the machine.

The adjustment of the phase, based on the indication of the vertical force, takes into account the influence of speed (for example the variance of the oil film on the slide, rather than the dynamic influence of the introducer), and maximizes tool life. In practical situations concerning tempered components, it has been noted that, compared to the adjustment phase carried out through traditional methods, the dynamic adjustment phase based on vertical force has more than doubled tool life.

Monitoring Alignment Errors

In order to monitor irregularities and quality defects, which cannot be detected by the sensors located on the shoulders (sides) of the press, specific solutions have been developed, in a third phase, providing for appropriate monitoring units, equipped with specific sensors for the most critical presswork stages.

In particular, the SC 700 unit has been developed for monitoring alignment errors in the production of extruded, flanged headed screws, thus allowing to monitor even minimum alignment defects. Thanks to customized adjustment electronic equipment, the SC700 system is capable to provide an accurate monitoring that by far exceeds standard systems, by carrying out automatically the required adjustments during a short self-learning stage. This function allows reaching the highest levels of accuracy,without any need for particular manual adjustment procedures.

Integration of the Devices into SACMA’s PCs

In order to simplify the control logic, and to make it quicker and more intuitive, SACMA LIMBIATE realized it was necessary to develop a technology aimed at centralizing into a single terminal the main control functions of all the machines.

The pursuit of this goal immediately involved also the BRANKAMP engineers, who ascertained the possibility to integrate the control and monitoring devices into the SIEMENS CE PCs chosen by SACMA LIMBIATE. Up to then, such a complex integration into SIEMENS industrial PCs withWindows CE operating systems had never been carried out in the world, and consequently, it would have been an unprecedented experiment... Motivated by this goal and thanks to the close cooperation established with SIEMENS’ research and development centre in Erlangen, Germany, BRANKAMP’s programmers succeeded in developing an extremely efficient unit. Based on a completely redesigned BRANKAMP electronic monitoring system, this unit permits a visual representation and control of the monitoring devices, operating directly from SACMA’s control centre.

The integration of the force monitoring systems has fully met SACMA’s happy intuition aimed at simplifying the control logic which, thanks to the accurate graphics of SIEMENS’ terminal, combines very well the visual display of the load indicators with that of the key data of the machine.

The operator now has on hand a single control interface, equipped with the same user logic and can quickly switch from stress analysis to the control of mechanical functions, while remaining on the same computer screen.A uniform control logic and optimum interfacing of the various functions are therefore, the result of this integration, which turns, in everyday practice, into improved and more efficient work conditions.

 

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