Schuler shows smart forming technology at Fabtech

    Whether mechanical stamping presses or hydraulic composite lines: Digital solutions can improve the productivity of every machine

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    Schuler’s “Smart Assist” accelerates the production startup by guiding the user step-by-step through the process.

    Predicting potential downtime of a press well in advance and thereby improving its availability and productivity? Sophisticated sensors and actuators in the latest Schuler machines make it possible – whether mechanical transfer presses, hydraulic hot stamping or composite lines, for instance. Visitors of this year’s Fabtech November 11-14 in Chicago will find out more at the Schuler booth D46055.

    In Schuler presses, machine components can be monitored for changes, wear, and damage to optimize the maintenance process. For this purpose, regular test runs of the system are performed in which vibration data, torque progressions, and energy consumption, among other things, are measured, stored, and compared. Sensors in the press bed and slide record the acceleration per stroke for example, enabling stampers to monitor the forming processes in detail.

    The most recent example is the completely redesigned MC 125 stamping press. Thanks to additional integrated sensors, its condition can be fully monitored at all times. This ensures the productivity of the stamping machine. The functionalities are also available on mobile devices.

    However, digital solutions can also help to accelerate the production startup significantly. Schuler’s servo presses come with a software called “Smart Assist” which guides the user through the process step-by-step with the aid of videos and graphics, optimizes the movement curves of the slide and transfer fully automatically, and transfers the data to the overall system. Compared to setting up the system manually, which can take up to eight hours for an expert, the Smart Assist reduces the process to just 30 minutes.

    Track & Trace with pinpoint accuracy

    Compared to cold forming, significantly more factors influence the production process in hot stamping, which is usually done with hydraulic presses. Here, Schuler’s process monitoring solution records the exact temperature of the red-hot blanks as they leave the furnace, the amount of time that passes before they are placed in the die, the press force applied, and many other things. All of these parameters have a direct effect on the part quality. In case there is any doubt, stampers can track and trace these parts with pinpoint accuracy.

    When it comes to composite presses and the production of parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), it is all about manufacturing costs. Within the research project "iComposite 4.0", Schuler and its partners have succeeded in reducing both costs and throughput times for a prototype part dramatically. The production line runs Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) of RWTH Aachen University in Germany.