New materials, high turnover make in-person, hands-on training critical to manufacturing success
Read the Full Article on the Stamping Journal
Komatsu America Industries LLC
Metal Stamping Presses and Cutting Technology | Komatsu
Read the Full Article on the Stamping Journal
Komatsu America Industries LLC
Our own Jim Landowski wrote an article for the November/December issue of Stamping Journal spotlighting improvements with our systems.
By Lynn Stanley
George Washington once said, “Decision making, like coffee, needs a cooling process.” The words strike a chord with Tom Simeone, second-generation owner and president of Manor Tool & Manufacturing Co. An engineering graduate of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, he recalls that one of his professors gave him a “cooling off” period to make a life-changing decision.
“I was on the fence,” he says. “I didn’t know if I wanted to continue my education at the graduate level and teach or join my dad [who started Manor in 1959]. At the time, I was working for a professor who gave me a one year option to make my decision. After six months, I told him, ‘I’m sticking with family.’ My choice was also heavily influenced by our employees. I later found out that my dad probably would have sold the business if I hadn’t stepped up to take the reins.”
Today, Manor houses punching, bending, forming, spot welding, deep draw stamping and assembly operations in its 44,500-sq.-ft., Schiller Park, Illinois, facility. Manor produces prototypes for short-run stampings and fabricates parts in high production volumes. Manor also builds tooling for parts and runs customers’ dies in its 32-press production operation.
Nearly 30 years after Simeone’s transformative personal choice, manufacturing needs put Manor at a crossroads of its own—one that would divert the mechanical press-dominated metal stamper away from flywheels to join what Komatsu America product manager George Schreck calls a “growing servo revolution.”
“We were looking for a machine to back up our 400-ton mechanical press in the event we hit a backlog or the press went down,” says Manor General Manager Kevin Segebarth. “We’ve had mechanical presses for 50-plus years. And we have tended to gravitate toward the used market for purchases because the iron ore sourced in the 1980s and earlier was fantastic. Press frames from that era have really lasted, allowing us to replace parts as needed.”
But after looking at secondhand presses, Manor came up empty-handed. Used presses and press beds were too large for the company’s needs. A look at new presses was also disappointing. “I can’t tell you the last time we bought a new press,” says Segebarth. “The side frames on the new mechanical presses were not nearly as robust as our cast frames, which made us leery.”
That’s when Manor management decided to consider servo technology. “We were aware of servo but hesitant about it because we didn’t have an understanding of its capabilities and how it might fit into our production processes,” Segebarth says. “Once I was able to get into the field, take a look at different servo models and the ways people were using the machines, I found it very eye opening.”
Still, Manor’s decision-making about servo underwent a “cooling process” that took roughly a year, says Schreck. “They looked at a lot of press OEMs,” he notes. “They visited our demonstration facility in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, several times to kick the tires. We showed them how to operate the machine so they could experience what’s under the hood that makes servo mechanical powered presses unique. Since Manor builds tooling in-house, we felt servo’s unique capabilities would be a good fit.”
Reputation, a robust press frame and smaller motors engineered and supported by Fanuc tipped Manor toward Komatsu. “We chose to partner with Fanuc because they offer worldwide parts support,” says Schreck. “Customers don’t have to send the motor back to its country of origin. Delivery-ready motors are a day away versus months.”
Manor will install a Komatsu 2pt. 300-metric-ton unitized straight-side servo mechanical powered press this autumn. “We do a lot of draw work and cold forming,” says Simeone. “It’s why I thought we’d end up with a hydraulic press at some point. We always wanted one but could never justify the cost. Servo’s ability to control ram velocity and stroke speed gives us everything that hydraulic and mechanical presses could and so much more. We think we’ll be able to attract more draw work that is interesting and more complex.”
According to Schreck, “Servo presses can fill in many of the functional gaps between hydraulic and mechanical machines. Although it can’t draw as deep as a hydraulic press, servo allows you to vary slide velocity during the stroke [the punch] and dwell at any point in the motion path. This includes bottom dead center (BDC) at tonnage and reverse direction of motion, which allows multiple hits at BDC or different positions before BDC.”
A hydraulic press has to work against material resistance, he notes. “As the ram comes down and touches the metal, pressure builds. When metal begins to form, resistance drops and the ram picks up speed again, repeating the process to continue forming metal.”
With servo, continues Schreck, “You get tonnage through the bottom of the stroke whether you go slow or stop [dwell]. Instead of forcing material, the ability to change servo’s profile and slide motion allows metal to flow for part making versus forcing it into form.”
The ability to dwell or change the slide’s velocity during the stroke also supports tool design and testing. Manor plans to run tooling designs through its new servo press, using different programs to determine whether it will improve piece parts. “We think we can combine capabilities in our tooling to eliminate secondary operations and help control part costs,” says Segebarth, surmising, “We’ll be able to design tooling that can optimize press performance and improve part quality.”
Manor will be able to capitalize on what Schreck calls the servo effect. “Because we can control slide velocity, tonnage to make a part may be reduced, sometimes by 20 percent. Manor will [likely] be able to run most of the same tools in the servo press that they run on their higher tonnage mechanical presses.”
Manor also has plans to run a wide array of materials through the servo press including hot-rolled and cold-rolled steel, high-strength steel and phosphorous bronze, nickel and stainless. “Komatsu’s product specialists have us fired up about experimenting and trying new things. “We’re just starting this journey, but we believe it will give us an edge for the longhaul. The bottom line? If we’re not successful, our customers aren’t; and that is our end goal.”
BY RAY CHALMERS, Contributing Editor
There are increased speed, higher efficiency, improved energy use and enhanced safety, but Doug Goimarac, press center manager at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA US) Warren Stamping Plant in Warren, Michigan, is vehement about quality. Responding to a question about the drivers behind the plant’s $63-million investment in expanded capacity and a brand-new servo tandem press line, he simply replied, “Quality sells vehicles. For stamping, we have higher first-time quality now than we’ve ever had.”
Warren Stamping’s new 180-inch press line from Komatsu (komatsupress.com), which started up in late January, is replete with technical advantages. All dies, automation, sheet stacks and control settings are computer-controlled and designed to change jobs automatically. “With timing, coordinated effort and preparation by the press operation crew, the line automatically prepares all systems for making the next group of parts,” says Doug Klumb, sales manager at Komatsu America’s large press division. Die change occurs in a sequence of simultaneous motions taking place in under four minutes compared to more than 20 for Warren Stamping’s existing lines.
The “servo” in servo tandem press line refers to servo motors and drives that provide 100% programmable control and movement of each press ram at any position in the press stroke, compared to a mechanical press operating at a fixed speed. The new press line is the first of its kind at Warren Stamping and the entire FCA North American stamping operations, although three more will be in operation at FCA’s Sterling Stamping Plant in Sterling Heights, MI, later this year. For Warren, the new press line increases capacity by up to 12,000 hits per day, or approximately 3.6-million parts per year. The Warren plant, which also has 12 other major press lies and three large progressive press lines, has a total plant capacity of some 84-million parts per year.
FCA US announced the $63-million investment in Warren Stamping in 2014 and began sending employees to Serbia for initial training on a Komatsu servo press tandem line there as construction began in Warren. Training also continued apace in Warren, as FCA US announced in October 2014 that the plant was the first stamping plant in the organization to achieve a bronze designation in World Class Manufacturing (WCM) ranking. People at the plant are now working to achieve silver. (WCM is based on metrics in 10 technical and 10 managerial categories.)
Initial results of the new press line should certainly help. It can run steel body panels at up to 18 strokes per minute (spm) and 15 spm for aluminum, in some cases twice the speed of existing plant lines, says Komatsu’s Klumb.
Regarding energy use, the servo motors and drives act as generators when slowing, actually generating electricity during a portion of each press cycle and reducing total plant consumption. More efficient die change and modular press line design ease maintenance and repair, and quiet operation improves workplace safety. Indeed, standing next to Warren Stamping’s Line 25 in operation, the sound of the adjacent Line 23 strikes the dominant note.
“We can run 10 jobs in the same press line, and the improved ability to go from job to job, all with fewer touchpoints, is critical,” Goimarac says. He credits the press-to-press transfer as well-conceived, greatly reducing the number of times a blank is picked up and dropped.
And there’s operator efficiency as well. “I can run a fender with four or five operators three times faster than the same process that used to take 30 people years ago,” he says. When asked how this new press line positions his plant for the future, Goimarac replied, “The future is now.”
As seen in the April 2014 issue of FFJournal
As manufacturers grapple with harder-to-form metals, more complex parts and shorter turnarounds, some might wish to glimpse into the proverbial crystal ball to see what changes the future will bring to metal fabrication and parts requirements. Two early adopters of servoforming are finding the technology’s unlimited flexibility could make the need to see ahead moot. Komatsu America Industries LLC’s mechanical servo presses helped Waukesha Metal Products and Tonnard Manufacturing Corp. sustain growth, explore fresh opportunities and handle new work relatively worry-free. Yet despite years of use, engineers at both companies feel they have barely scratched the technology’s surface…
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