EuroBLECH 2012, Hanover, Germany
Please visit us in hall 27, stand E24
Multifunctional Roll Forming Technology - A Way out of the Cost Trap?
Product mix flexibility, the ability to produce different products on the same production line, is one of the critical decision factors when investing in new equipment. Shorter innovation cycles and growing product diversity make this issue ever more urgent. In recent years many remarkable developments have advanced the flexibility of roll forming lines. However, this presents an increasing risk to the profile producers! This "flexibility" does not come for free; it results in much higher equipment costs!
The trend towards larger roll forming machines with more and more forming station can be seen as an example for that. Recently Dreistern supplied a machine with more than 60 forming stations. What if there aren't enough complex section orders to fully utilize the machines' potential? Run simple sections too? Simple sections require fewer forming stations, the 60 pass machine would be far too big and too expensive to run for such a jobs.
This was the starting point for Dreistern to develop a new machine concept, offering product mix flexibility never imagined before. A radical brake from existing concepts, based on single purpose line components such as roll forming machine, punching press or cutting machine, only capable to fulfill their assigned function, made this possible.
Dreistern's concept of a Multifunctional Roll Forming Machine takes an entirely different approach. The key requirement, - operations such as roll forming, punching or welding are to be executed at any position on the machine, only by exchanging components, - and this within a time period usually required for a simple tool change. The enormous advantage of such a solution is obvious. A Multifunctional Machine can be configured precisely and rapidly to produce the next part. Compared to conventional technology the foot print of such a machine can be reduced by 30% to 50%. No redundant line components whatsoever will increase the machine's hourly rate. Exactly this was the objective of the Dreistern development: More flexibility with lower cost and less floor space.
The guiding model for this Dreistern development was the quick-change roll-tool cassette, which Dreistern has been supplying for a long time. With the aid of standardized interfaces tools can be exchanged easily and quickly. In the future complete line components, like flying punching units or welding devices, will be exchanged in an equivalent manner. Consequently a 60 station machine could manufacture a highly complex section today, tomorrow it could run a simpler 18-pass section, but also include comprehensive pre- and post-operations. The space of 42 forming passes would now be occupied by a number of punching units, a welding station, or units for placing clinch nuts or bolt rivets.
With regards to machine controls and energy supply the challenge was immense. At any position on the machine standardized interfaces have to provide electric, hydraulic and pneumatic power! Yet despite this enormous flexibility the machine must be easy to operate. To solve this complex task a complete new operation concept had to be developed, allowing easy configuration of the control system according to the next manufacturing task. Using graphic interface the operator can easily adapt the control system to the next line configuration.
At the EuroBlech 2012 in Hannover Dreistern provides the first opportunity to study a prototype of this technological marvel in operation. Dreistern engineers are looking forward to hear your feed-back, valuable input for our next development steps. Automotive parts, construction profiles, drawer slides, shelving sections, - roll forming applications vary as much as the prerequisites to the actual manufacturing systems. Multifunctional Roll Forming Technology provides the entire roll forming industry with a promising solution to this central future challenge. EuroBlech will be an excellent opportunity to learn more about it.