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Fine Blanking cuts into Industry 4.0

An insight into the optimization of presses and tools thanks to data analysis with FEINmonitoring
For the last two years Feintool has been collecting data on fine blanking machines commissioned worldwide. This condition monitoring program was originally developed as a prototype by the press engineering department. These original data points have since evolved to 125 standard data points that make up a product that is available to our end customers. FEINmonitoring offers a solution to help improve press and die efficiency within their production systems.

Staying in touch with presses that left our assembly
Every five minutes a file is prepared that contains data covering a wide range of measuring points on each press. These files are picked up and transferred via GSM communication and then are displayed on an online web platform solution operated by Feintool. The customer holds the rights to this data and has complete access to the information.

Feintool has the ability to alert customers via email if a press stops as well as to what types of machine errors have occurred. With data being constantly updated on the web platform, FEINmonitoring customers not only see current diagnostics but also what occurred during the night shift production and if there where unexpected stops in production. Feintool can send alerts for example when the current coil has finished or how many strokes each shift was able to produce. This is extremely beneficial to customers without an external BDE system in place. FEINmonitoring is also used to compare the external BDE system numbers. This is due to the fact that this FEINmonitoring data comes straight from the press PLC software. Every stroke and every operating hour is recorded.

Analyzing unexpected stops
With the ability to analyze the back log of press data, FEINmonioring can find and pull together diagnostics for an insight to unexpected stops. In one particular case where a customer kept having unexpected stops in production, we were able to identify through the combination of error codes and temperature diagnostics that the operator on the machine left the electrical cabinet doors open and thus the cabinet air conditioning was turned off. With the air conditioning turned off, the temperature within the cabinet reached a level which automatically turns off the machine. After informing the customer of our discovery they could confirm that the operator was accustomed to working with older machines that needed to be cooled by opening the cabinet doors to keep the machine running. After the operator was explained of the air-conditioning function, the doors remained closed and these unexpected stops ceased.

Another instance where pulling together data points lead us to a solution was with a customer who had machine stops due to high motor temperatures. The machine had not stopped but the initial FEINmonitoring motor temperature thresholds had been overstepped (which is lower than that on the machine PLC alarm). We were alerted and saw that the temperature had slowly climbed higher and higher. This climb in temperature could be seen over time period of two weeks. We noticed that the oil temperature was also on the rise with the motor temperature. On the XFT, the motor and oil are water cooled and run through the same heat exchange unit. We could conclude that the cool system wasn’t performing how it should to keep the temperatures down. We then informed the customer to check the valves which controls the water flow through the system. After a valve check the customer was immediately able to realize the issue. The parts conveyer was moving right to left and was placed too close to this valve handle. This moving conveyor would occasionally touch the valve due to vibrations caused during production. Over time the valve had shut to a minimum and had restricted almost all water flow through the system, thus causing the temperatures of the oil and motor to rise. The customer was able to reposition the conveyer and place a guard over the valve handle to prevent future manipulation. The temperatures were immediately regulated and held to a stable operating temperature. This end solution was able to be put in place to prevent what could have been a longer downtime. We could identify this source of overheating by pulling together data points and the knowledge from our Hotline customer support. In the picture below we can see the motor temperatures (in Green and Blue) have remained stable since the diagnosis and correction of the cooling valve.

Die optimization thanks to data analysis
Each FEINmonitoring customer receives a monthly report detailing the findings of the data. This is especially useful in the case of die comparison. For example on Feintool XFT mechanical presses we have the ability to record which die was operating on the machine at a specific time, how many strokes were made during this time, how many die safety errors occurred, and where exactly these errors occured within the stroke (in mm before Top Dead Center).
Each month we can compare the dies and their production numbers on the press. This gives a huge insight to the die makers into real production data and allows them to make informed decisions when making die adjustments between production runs. We can see month to month if a die has improved by comparing the die safety errors in relation to errors per 1000 strokes. Benchmark goals are then set by the customer to bring these error per 1000 strokes to a minimum. We have seen a drastic improvement in specific die efficiency with customers who have implemented this goal structure based on the performance measurements FEINmonitoring has provided. Below is an anonymous example of corresponding die analysis slides from a recent FEINmonitoring report.

We have found that the dies that have been adapted from MFA’s to operate on XFT’s often have the potential for even higher productivity on the XFT. These adapters often see Die Safety errors which occur around 30mm. We have been able to conclude that this is due to overheating of the alignment pins during high stroke rates. Once these pins where replaced with a solution to fix the overheating issue the Die Safety errors at 30mm and overall were drastically reduced.
Each dot on the plot below represents one Die safety error and where it occurred in mm. In green is the absolute stroke count so we can see if the press is continually producing. The text labeled “tool” is a specific die installed in the machine during the measured time. The actual names have been blended.

Maximizing output by observing and learning
With over 40 machines (HFA & XFT models) online world wide, Feintool is observing and learning from its fine blanking machines in real production situations and constraints. This data helps us to further help our customers in creating a production machine that maximizes outputs in fine blanked part manufacturing. For more detailed information on the specific machine data points or the data collection process please do not hesitate to contact me below.

1 thought on “Fine Blanking cuts into Industry 4.0

  1. What other manufacturing industries can this fine blanking be applied to? Could this system also be applied to analyze ore processing?

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