Sunday, October 24, 2021

IoT Solution leads to better output: supplier MAT relies on IoT solution from EMAG and perfects housing production

The EDNA Lifeline Dashboard was developed to specifically meet the requirements of MAT. Production planners, shift supervisors and machine operators always have the current production data in view.
The EDNA Lifeline Dashboard was developed to specifically meet the requirements of MAT. Production planners, shift supervisors and machine operators always have the current production data in view

For many production planners, IoT in production is still a visionary principle: machines form a fully integrated system that production planners monitor, control and evaluate from a central location. This approach is no longer a vision of the future as is demonstrated by an impressive production solution at MAT Machining Europe GmbH, headquartered in Immenhausen. The automotive supplier manufactures complex differential gear housings on fully automated EMAG production lines – including extensive data monitoring and evaluation of machine data.
The aim is to significantly increase line output and significantly improve process reliability. The overall system is already firmly implemented in the workflow.

The production process at MAT Machining Europe GmbH for the differential gear housing is impressive: The company has a total of five large production lines, each with seven EMAG machines, which are linked via TrackMotion from EMAG.

The production process at MAT Machining Europe GmbH around the differential gear housing is impressive: The company has a total of five large production lines, each with seven EMAG machines interlinked via TrackMotion from EMAG
The production process at MAT Machining Europe GmbH around the differential gear housing is impressive: The company has a total of five large production lines, each with seven EMAG machines interlinked via TrackMotion from EMAG

A so-called TransLift unit travels “through” the machines on a rail system and transports the component from one pick-up station to the next. Various preliminary processes are carried out on the housings: turning of the first side, including machining of fits and bores, turning of the second side and the outer contour, and – in the final set-up – internal machining of the spherical shape and fitting bores. Finally, washing, measuring and marking follow. In total, almost 2 million differential gear housings are produced at MAT per year at the Immenhausen location alone.

Win-Win-Situation

Why has the company now decided to digitize this highly automated solution and make innovative use of the production data it generates? “We generally rely on highly efficient state-of-the-art production solutions, which we are constantly developing further. Digitization is naturally an important topic here,” says Axel Dräger, Head of Engineering at MAT Machining Europe GmbH. “At the same time, we knew that EMAG has made great efforts around IoT in recent years and is quite interested in testing new IoT solutions with users and getting qualified feedback. So for both companies, the whole thing is a win-win situation.”

The EDNA Lifeline Dashboard was developed to specifically meet the requirements of MAT. Production planners, shift supervisors and machine operators always have the current production data in view.
The EDNA Lifeline Dashboard was developed to specifically meet the requirements of MAT. Production planners, shift supervisors and machine operators always have the current production data in view

Due to this partnership, the project initially started with workshops in spring 2019: MAT managers introduced the IoT experts from EMAG and the partner companies EXXETA, intuity and anacision to the production processes surrounding the differential gear housing. Subsequently, they defined conceivable use cases and developed technological solutions, which included the EDNA Cortex software and various prototypes of the apps used today (the system here is similar to the basic principle of smartphone operating systems). At the same time, the EDNA Core – an industrial PC – as well as the acceleration sensor, EDNA Neuron 3DG, were installed in each machine. It is important that EMAG’s solution has a completely modular software and hardware architecture that can be easily implemented in the users’ IT infrastructures and most EMAG machines (even older types). Connecting additional sensor technology is also no problem.

Output increase of 11% – process reliability improved

The handling of the data by the customers is again done with the help of the EDNA Lifeline Dashboard, on which the mentioned apps for different applications are installed – the customer can decide what exactly can be seen and in which arrangement. In the case of MAT, this includes the “Part Quantity Forecast” for a forecast of the output quantities per shift, the “Cycle Time Monitor” with information on the current cycle times of machines or lines, the “Smart Tool Change” with information on the remaining tool life, the “OEE Monitor” for a detailed breakdown of the current OEE and the “Health Check” on the machine condition. “Overall, the amount of data is actually so diverse that we have only analyzed a portion so far,” explains Dräger. “Nevertheless, the initial results are impressive. For example, we have already eliminated various ‘time wasters’ and are well on the way to an increase in output of eleven percent. That is, of course, a tremendous value.” The specialists at MAT also benefit from ongoing sensory monitoring: the system determines a precise “health value” of the drive as well as the spindle and indicates any wear at an early stage – a major plus for the process reliability of the production lines. The same applies to the precise prediction of the right time for tool changes.

The digitalization of MAT production continues apace, with the next lines already being equipped with the EDNA system from EMAG
The digitalization of MAT production continues apace, with the next lines already being equipped with the EDNA system from EMAG

In addition, the EDNA system is firmly implemented in MAT’s workflow: On the one hand, production planners or shift supervisors use the dashboards to determine the quality of parts that are currently being produced. On the other hand, operators can plan their workflow better with the help of the software because they are back at the machine on time after a break or always have the “right” tools ready when a tool change is due.

MAT is setting the course for a digital future

“Many are talking about it, we are building the digital factory right now!” “That sums up one of the main topics that drives us. While everyone is talking about digitalization, MAT is in the middle of implementing it and making sure that machines communicate with each other. Only through consistent automation and autonomization of production processes, can manufacturing costs in the automotive sector be kept in line with the market,” explains the responsible Managing Director of the MAT Transmission Division and CEO of MAT Europe, Ingo Bitzer.

Focus on further use cases

Overall, both partners by no means consider the entire project to be completed – on the contrary: The digitization of MAT production is continuing apace, confirms Dr. Andreas Kühne, Lead Data Scientist at the company anacision, in which EMAG holds a stake: “Our common goal is to equip further lines with this IoT solution. We also want to implement new uses, such as tool breakage detection. Because of this, we continue to exchange ideas closely.” In the end, the question remains as to the cost of such a project – and here the IoT specialists at EMAG came up with a surprise: The hardware retrofit of large production lines – for example, the integration of IPCs including cabling – is completed within a few days. In the case of a single machine, only one day is needed. This is possible because all the preliminary work is done at EMAG, where the system is configured precisely for the desired solution and prepared for connection to various machine controls. After implementation in the machines on site, the user benefits very quickly from the desired functionalities and process improvements.

Peter Strohm, Business Development Lead IoT, presents the new EDNA HMI operating panel for the control of vertical lathes to Klaus Fischer, MAT Plant Manager
Peter Strohm, Business Development Lead IoT, presents the new EDNA HMI operating panel for the control of vertical lathes to Klaus Fischer, MAT Plant Manager

“The EDNA Industry 4.0 solution consisting of the IoT core, software and dashboard has already been available to all customers for some time, is convincing more and more users, and is constantly being further developed,” Kühne summarizes the status quo at the southern German machine manufacturer. “According to initial feedback, OEE increases significantly with EDNA and we even estimate that a ‘return on investment’ is possible after about one year, when the data obtained is evaluated and used to derive actions.” Incidentally, users benefit from a comprehensive, open and future-proof IoT ecosystem. With EDNA, EMAG is laying the foundation for the intelligent production of the future.

UNI HEAT from EMAG eldec: Induction heating system scores points in motor production at Elektror

Many industrial production processes wouldn’t be possible without fans—they play a decisive role in the drying, suction or cooling of materials. Often the stability and efficiency of the entire production process may even be dependent on the fans used. The challenging task for Elektror airsystems becomes clearer against this backdrop: The company is one of the international leaders in the production of industrial fans and side channel compressors. Elektror has been relying on UNI HEAT from EMAG eldec since mid-2018 for the production of the electric motors used in its fans: The system ensures quick and precise induction heating of the empty stator housing before the joining process with the motor winding. The process reliability and flexibility of the entire sequence are essential for the rapid “one-piece-flow” at Elektror.

Air is an indispensable working medium in industrial production: It is used, for example, to extract excess humidity or dust, cool down heated materials, remove occurring gases and vapors or transport solids in an air flow. That means fans not only constitute the centerpiece of the corresponding ventilation system, but they are also exposed to extreme pressures and are relied on for decades —a set of challenges that Elektror airsystems has been facing for many years.

John Best, Head of Motor Engineering team at Elektror, Steffen Müller, Quality Assurance at Elektror, Roland Sand, Head of Production team at Elektror in front of the new UNI HEAT (from left to right).
John Best, Head of Motor Engineering team at Elektror, Steffen Müller, Quality Assurance at Elektror, Roland Sand, Head of Production team at Elektror in front of the new UNI HEAT (from left to right).

The company headquartered in Ostfildern, Germany, and with two production sites in Waghäusel (Germany) and Chorzów (Poland), produces about 60,000 industrial fans and side channel compressors per year. These are often customized solutions that stand out, for example, because of a precise pressure level, resistant materials or a particularly low-vibration design. In the end, there are countless customization options available when designing a fan—and that obviously also applies to the devices’ electricdrives. That is why Elektror produces different size motors and performance levels. Its components are configured to order and mounted within the scope of a lean process. In doing so, the ventilation specialists place the highest importance on process reliability. Fault tolerance is always set to “zero.”

Induction Heating at the Core

In this process, thermal joining of the empty stator housing and motor winding is one of the core processes: The housing is heated to a temperature of 280 to 300 degrees Celsius (536 – 572 degrees Fahrenheit) using an induction heating system. This causes it to expand allowing the motor winding to be inserted by hand. As it cools down, the housing contracts again and establishes a form-fitting and solid bond with the winding.

First step: The operator places the empty housing in the custom-fit workpiece carrier and then pushes it inside the UNI HEAT.
First step: The operator places the empty housing in the custom-fit workpiece carrier and then pushes it inside the UNI HEAT.

In 2018, the specialists at Elektror decided it was time to replace the aging heating system. How did this come about? “One of our main goals in making the investment decision was to increase process reliability around induction heating. For instance, the old system did not display the actual processing temperature that the component had reached. This pled to longer throughput times in the subsequent joining operation. Furthermore, the supply of spare parts was not secured,” explains Roland Sand, Head of the Production team at Elektror. “Therefore, we were searching for a system that guarantees very precise temperatures during heating, whose operation is straightforward for any operator and whose processes consistently run. Additionally, we wanted a local supplier who could be on location immediately when servicing is required. EMAG eldec meets these requirements with its UNI HEAT technology.”

Simple and Safe Process

After starting, the component is lifted and encloses the inductor when it reaches its processing position.
After starting, the component is lifted and encloses the inductor when it reaches its processing position.

Overall, a very safe and quick process is put into effect around the custom-designed UNI HEAT system. The operator grabs the empty housing with protective gloves, places it in a custom-fit workpiece carrier and pushes it inside the machine.
By closing a sliding door, he starts the following process: The component moves upward into its home position. This leads the induction rod to “plunge” into the empty housing enclosure. The subsequent heating process lasts only 30 to 120 seconds depending on the size of the component.

Last step: The motor winding is inserted into the heated (and thus expanded) empty stator housing.
Last step: The motor winding is inserted into the heated (and thus expanded) empty stator housing.

Once it is completed, a warning lamp signals to the operator that the component can be removed.

The component sizes change on a very regular basis. That is why the UNI HEAT is very easy to retool. Elektror has various sizes of inductors available for the empty stator housings
The component sizes change on a very regular basis. That is why the UNI HEAT is very easy to retool. Elektror has various sizes of inductors available for the empty stator housings

He places it in a mold, which is ready at the cooling location, and pushes the motor winding from the top inside. After a short cooling process, the motor is fully combined and ends up on a conveyor belt to the next processing step.
“We produce about 250 motors per day in this way,” says Steffen Müller from Quality Assurance at Elektror. “The component sizes change regularly and yet the process stays perfectly stable.
There are absolutely no issues or faults.” Which is partially due to how simple it is to retool the machine in the event of a component change: The operator closes the water supply, loosens two screws on the inductor mount and can then remove the tool and replace it with a new one. The workpiece holder is merely set down and can therefore, easily be removed from its support and replaced. “Including the program change on the control module, the entire retooling process lasts only about one minute. Various safety features prevent operator errors,” says Müller.

Customized Development Solution for Elektror

Development at EMAG eldec plays a decisive role for the quality, safety and efficiency of this induction heating process: The induction specialists take responsibility for complete solutions – including the appropriate generator and the required inductors. EMAG eldec is ideally positioned to develop these core elements of a heating process: Firstly, a wide range of generators with high efficiency and precise application of energy are produced at the site in Dornstetten. Secondly, the specialists produce up to 1,000 inductors per year. They are produced within the scope of a sophisticated manufacturing process that hinges on many tiny details. Critical factors include, for example, how deep and where the heat needs to penetrate into the component.
That affects the shape of the inductor and the configuration of the generator. Furthermore, EMAG eldec relieson extensive prior simulation of the process and the use of thermal imaging cameras. Lastly, every UNI HEAT overall solution is tested with the real workpiece and presented to the customer during an acceptance check in Dornstetten. “Since the start of production in May 2018, there have been absolutely no faults,” sums up Roland Sand. “The eldec service team quickly rectified any minor startup problems. This investment decision meets our expectations in all aspects.”

Cost Reduction for Rotor Shaft Machining with Scroll-Free Turning

EMAG has developed a highly efficient machining process that offers unrivaled speed and quality. Scroll-Free Turning is the ideal technology, when it comes to the machining of rotor shafts and laminated Scroll-Free Turning cores.
Scroll-free turning has many advantages for the user:

  • The possibility of creating twist-free surfaces with hard machining
  • Very short cycle times resulting from a higher feed rate per rotation
  • Improved tool life achieved by using the entire cutting edge

You can find a recording of the webinar on this topic on our media library.
There you will also find an overview of topics taking place in the future, such as: “E-Mobility is coming, but where should I be investing now?” and many more!

Go to the webinar overview

HI-TECH laser cutting for electric motors development: Aussafer Due

Aussafer Due is partner of excellence for the development and manufacturing of laser cut
laminations and of stator/rotor core stacks, by means of 10 fiber laser machines (the biggest subcontracting division in Italy), providing a highly customized service upon customers’ precise needs, besides offering a range of additional services.

Technology, innovation, precision and a highly specialized technical team represent the highlights that have always characterized Aussafer Due. A strategic asset that has allowed the company to become a national and international reference reality in the metalworking sector, with specific focus on the electric motor enabled by a business unit fully dedicated to the realization of prototypes, preseries, and special rotor and stator cores, through laser cutting of electrical steel laminations. The cores are realized by standard welding processes, or BACKLACK bonding.
The advantages of BACKLACK technology is better precision, stiffness and vibration performance, and the possibility of very complex shapes. Aussafer Due can deliver to its customer both loose laminations and rotor/stator cores.
A customized service that permits to collaborate with customers in the product development phase, directly dialoguing with technical and R&D offices, Universities, Research and Development Centres, for the implementation of the realistic prototype.
Aussafer Due also supports its customers in repairing and refurbishment of big rotating electrical machines, like alternators, hydro and wind generators.
For these activities, its customers can rely on Aussafer Reverse Engineering Service, that enables the acquirement of the drawing from a physical part.

Laser Technology advantages compared to traditional methods

• no stamping tool required
• cost effectiveness and short lead times for geometry
and product changes
• short time to market for realizing a functional
prototype

Aussafer Due added value and competitive edge

Strongly oriented to innovation, Aussafer Due avails itself of state-of-the-art process technologies, in compliance with Industry 4.0, with 10 fiber laser cutting machines (i.e. the biggest subcontracting laser cutting department in Italy), customized on its own specifications. As outstanding is the broad range of warehoused materials available in stock: silicon steels in thicknesses from 0.1 to 1 mm, with magnetic properties and grades from M230 to M800, also NO (NO10, NO20 etc.), on different insulations (C3, C5, C6), BACKLACK, cold rolled and hot rolled pole sheets (TF and TG), too.

Outstanding level quality for the most demanding sectors

ISO 9001:2015-certified and with its own quality system, Aussafer Due guarantees final quality and accuracy with in-process tests and checks carried out by its entrusted in-house laboratory, equipped with 3 innovative coordinate measuring machines (CMM).
The in-depth experience and the competences gained allow the company to manufacture several motor typologies: asynchronous motors (IM), internal permanent magnet synchronous motors (IPMSM) also with rotor cage, surface mounted permanent
magnet synchronous motors (SM-PMSM), synchronous reluctance motors (SynRM), linear motors, alternators and generators, also segmented. Executions manufactured for numerous customers spread worldwide, operating in various sectors, for applications in automotive and racing ambit (hydro and wind generators), traction motors, CNC machine
tools, CNC spindles, renewable energies, automation, naval and aerospace industry, oil & gas.