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Tomato Grower Automates Palletizer to Stack Higher, Faster

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Does anybody really like to start a math test with a story problem? I apologize, but here goes… A large-scale farm packages its cocktail tomatoes in 2 lb top-seal bowls, 12 of which fit into what’s called a deep veg box. To achieve the greatest amount of volume on the truck that carries those tomatoes to a produce partner, the grower wants to stack the boxes 11 high on a skid, with 55 boxes on each skid. Each box measures 8.5 inches high, so one stack measures almost 8 ft tall, not counting the skid that it’s standing on. Just one man on a team of stackers is barely able to get the last 25 lb box to the top of each stack, holding the box at one corner so he can throw it up onto the last layer. Others have been known to use other pallets as steps to reach high enough. Question: How long is this palletizing operation going to be sustainable? Answer: It’s time for a robotic solution. This was essentially the math problem presented to Caxton Mark, a Canadian robotic integrator based in Leamington, Ontario. The integrator was helping Cecelia Acres, a Kingsville, Ontario-based tomato grower, deal with ever-increasing production goals along with high labor and shipping costs. In the end, automating palletizing operations with a Kawasaki CP180L robot increased throughput, eliminated ergonomic concerns for employees, and helped deal with the kinds of labor issues that manufacturers are seeing throughout their operations. The robotic system also enabled Cecelia Acres to get the most out of its shipments to the distributor. “We designed the system for them to maximize the space in the trailers of the semis,” says Gino Fratarcangeli, director of operations for Caxton Mark. “So when they fill a truck, it’s as high as it can go without wasting space or wasting product.” Certainly, the ability to consistently add that 11th box to the top of each stack without putting undue strain on one worker served to provide motivation for the change. But there’s more to it than that. “The robot doesn’t call in sick, the robot’s never late, and the robot does repetitive motion,” says Robert Chapman, director of automation for the Hazel Group, a group of three farms that includes Cecelia Acres along with Heritage Farms and Hazel Farms. “So I don’t have to worry about compensation, or he’s tired, or he’s slowing down, anything like that. It’s a steady pace and away we go.” Far from concerned about robots eliminating jobs, the Hazel Group has difficulty finding reliable workers for the jobs it has, Chapman notes. “We’re bringing more offshore workers in because we know they’re going to be here for a term,” he says. “Whereas we can’t find locals—one day they’re here, next day they’re gone, we don’t know if they’re coming in. They want to go home, they just got here. Most of the time, it’s just we can’t find help.” Taking over the palletizing job from the manual labor, Caxton Mark’s fully automated end-of-line system had a few challenges, including stacking the pallets 10-11 boxes high while staying balanced, maintaining production speed of 6 pallets/hr, and creating a custom end-of-arm tool (EOAT) that could handle the boxes without crushing the fragile produce. The right EOAT At Cecelia Acres, once the boxes are stacked onto a pallet, the pallet needs to be able to stay upright as it moves 12 ft down a conveyor to the forklift. As boxes come down the line, the CP180L robot will pick them up and stack them onto one of two pallets, Fratarcangeli explains. “Once they’re full, it rolls back out and goes down the line, it pallet wraps, and then it waits at the end for a forklift driver to pick up and load it into the truck.” To maintain balance, the boxes need to have as little space as possible between them. Caxton Mark needed to design an EOAT that could pick up one or two boxes at a time and stack them extremely close together while maintaining high product quality and throughput. It took some trial and error to come up with the right EOAT. The first gripper Caxton Mark designed created too large of a gap between the boxes, resulting in pallets toppling on their way to the plastic wrapper. They also tried a gripper that squeezed each box from the ends, but the cardboard boxes were crushed under the pressure. The final gripper being used opens on one side only, so it’s able to place the boxes while maintaining a 0.25 in. gap between the stacks, which keeps the boxes tightly packed and stable. It’s a very simplistic design but is also superior to anything Caxton Mark could buy from a third party, Fratarcangeli says. “It’s just enough pressure so it doesn’t crush the box, but it doesn’t let the box slip out either.” The large work envelope and high speeds of the Kawasaki CP180L helped Caxton Mark fulfill the other requirements from Cecelia Acres. The robot meets the 6 pallet/hr goal at 80% robot speed. Automating this system also increased throughput because Cecelia Acres no longer had to take breaks into consideration. The CP180L robot is capable of 2,050 cycles per hour with a 180 kg payload. The CP180L also has a high vertical reach (2,200 mm), giving it the ability to meet Cecelia Acres’ demand for it to stack almost 8 ft high. With some tweaks to the process and EOAT, they’ll be able to increase throughput even further. “We’re actually in the process now. We’ve redesigned another tool, and it’s almost out of the prototype stage. It’s on a robot here at the shop and it’s being tested,” Fratarcangeli says. “We’ll be able to pick up two of the very big boxes or four of the smaller cases now.” More robotics considerations The palletizer isn’t the first robot the Hazel Group has implemented in its operations and it won’t be the last. Robots had been implemented previously on case packing lines at two of the farms, Chapman notes, enabling the whole pack line to be run with five people; this contrasts with the 12-14 people needed for the other farm. He credits Hazel Group owner Chip Stockwell for getting the ball rolling on automation. “He came up with the idea to start looking into this stuff, and it’s paying off very well for him,” he says. Though the Hazel Group has other plans in the works for additional robots, Chapman is hesitant to divulge too much about those projects in order to maintain a competitive edge. “We’re in design mode right now for the Heritage Farm, and if it works we’ll implement it at the Cecelia farm also,” he says. The grower is trying to be first in automating greenhouse packing, he adds. “We want to be No. 1 and that’s what we’re trying to strive for,” he says. “We’re trying to be one step ahead of the competition.” And the one guy who laments not getting to throw those 25 lb boxes to the top of the stacks anymore? “He’s getting used to it. We got him a couple other jobs to compensate for what he was doing,” Chapman says. With such dedicated workers being few and far between, “we’ll find a job no matter what it is for him.” PACKAGING WORLD more

Robotics Special Report: Food-Safe Solutions Emerge

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Until recently robots used in the food and beverage industry were limited to secondary and tertiary packaging tasks, such as palletizing, as they could not met the necessary standards for direct food contact. The use case is now changing as manufacturers are increasingly developing robots suitable for handling unpacked goods and subsequent washdown, creating new opportunities for the direct and indirect handling of foods. JLS Automation’s Peregrine robotic cartoner offers features that make it suitable for placing naked or packaged products into cartons. The new Quest (a product brand of ProMach) Flexible Robotic Loading System is one such system developed specifically for the primary packaging of meat and poultry products. The system was first demonstrated at IFFE (the International Production & Processing Expo) in January 2020, pairing the loading system with an Ossid (also a product brand of ProMach) thermoformer, the ReeForm E40.The system uses a Fanuc six-axis SCARA robot, the LR Mate 200iD/7LC, which was developed specifically for cleanroom environments, to load, orient, stack, and group products into thermoformed trays. The robot can grip hard-to-handle products, such as poultry and meats, as well as virtually any other product shape. The Quest system is U.S. Department of Agriculture-compliant for direct food contact and features a washdown design with easy access to all components for cleaning. Another system, the JLS Automation robotic cartoner, branded the Peregrine™, offers features that make it suitable for placing naked or packaged products into cartons—a part of the packaging process often performed in areas where there is moisture. Says JLS, the Peregrine is designed to get wet, shed water, and eliminate any pooling. “And, with proprietary, sanitary Vacuum On Board™ technology, sanitation is as simple as an end-of-arm tool changeover—no cleaning needed.” The system also scores high in flexibility. JLS describes the process of changing from one carton size to another or changing products carton-to-carton as being “as easy as a simple push of a button.” Automatic changeover is done in seconds by selecting a setting on the HMI. The Peregrine’s vision-guided delta robots offer flexibility in handling different sizes, shapes, and styles of products and packaging, including placing thermoformed pouches, flow-wrapped packs, and flexible bags into tri-seal and other carton styles. Stäubli’s solution for the food industry is the TS2 HE four-axis SCARA pick-and-place robot. Stäubli’s solution for the food industry is the TS2 HE four-axis SCARA pick-and-place robot. Food industry-specific features include a pressurized arm that prevents microorganism penetration and avoids condensation; a hygienic design with smooth, rounded, and tilted surfaces that eliminate liquid retention; full compatibility with NSF H1 food-grade lubricant; protection against low-pressure jets of water (IP65) and immersion (IP67); and a design for use in wet environments and full wash-down applications. PMMI Guidance on ANSI Standards for Robotics When getting started with robotics, a question often arises as to which standard(s) apply to a machine. Or stated differently, “Is this a robotic system that does packaging, or a packaging machine that includes a robot?” PMMI, the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies recommends that machinery users apply the ANSI B155.1 standard for packaging and processing systems to the packaging system as a whole, and make use of the type-C standards, which deal with detailed safety requirements for a particular machine or group of machines, as guidance to meet the requirements of B155.1. By applying the B155.1 as the base standard and drawing on the specific applicable requirements of R15.06 (a U.S. national adoption of the international standard ISO 10218-1 and -2), machinery users can achieve the best of both worlds—packaging and processing machinery with automation. Knowing how to apply the industry standards can assist in developing productive, safe, and effective solutions. PMMI can assist. Contact Tom Egan, Vice President of Industry Services for PMMI, the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies at [email protected] AUTOMATIONWORLD more

Pipes Renovation and Pipeline Stopping Services

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I’m almost sure that owning a house is a goal that almost everyone has, or has had, all around the world. It is an accomplishment that literally showcases a life of effort, discipline, and hard work. But on many occasions, purchasing a house may come with a lot of surprises. You see, there are many things that determine the actual value of a property, and most of the time, you’ll be hiring someone to determine it for you. And as it stands, one of the things you should be careful about is the pipeline system and whether it works without any problems. You see, having plumbing problems can cause a lot of complications, and might even be a health threat depending on the type of problems you have encountered. And when you purchase a house, you might need to hire a plumbing professional or company to renovate the system. Pipe renovation services are the ones in charge of dealing with these problems, and usually, these companies or contractors have line stopping services to help during the whole process. This line stopping procedure makes sure that a pipeline or system is isolated while other parts of the system are dealt with. This ensures a smoother, more organized plan of action without having to lose functionality while the pipe is being repaired, maintained, or replaced. These line stopping services, although rare, can be used in household repairs, but are more common when dealing with larger systems such as pipelines used in industries, cities, among others. They are not only common with pipes transporting liquids but also gases, making the procedure more dangerous on some occasions, depending on the type of gas transported. This process is more aimed towards providing the meant service of the pipe system without disturbing the flow of water (or gas), so the family that hires the company or professional individual does not suffer from lack of water or gas services while the pipes are being repaired or replaced.Before Hiring a Professional Company or Plumber Before deciding whether you need to repair or replace a pipeline, you should of course make some research and understand your own circumstances. Hiring a professional, though, might be the best course of action, since it’ll be able to decide what is the most efficient approach. Of course, knowing a little more about it might help you have an idea, and you might even be able to deal with the problem depending on its complexity. Usually, repairs are required when a leak happens. Since the actual pipe system is still doing fine and only requires repairs in a specific area, just fixing the problem will be more than enough. Circumstances that require maintenance or replacements of the whole pipe system are more complicated, and the problems caused by it can be many, including leaks. As mentioned in this article, some of the hints that your house’s pipe system may require maintenance or renovations are directly linked to the quality of the water. The water supplies, for example, should be clean and fresh, without stains or a noticeable red or yellowish color. This specific problem is usually caused by oxidation and can be harmful to our health. Another good example is the smell of the water. Sometimes, although oxidation is present, there might be a chance that stagnant water happens. This is a very unpleasant result caused by rotten pipelines, and you might as well do some renovations, although small changes or repairs can be a feasible solution. Clogged water supplies and low water pressure are some of the problems that can also cause stagnant water, so you should really pay attention to this. If you see leaks in pipes, or if your toilets become runny, you should have a professional check your pipe system. Dripping faucets are also a very common problem that may hint a system in bad shape. Now, for the last hint, you can certainly say that noisy pipelines are a problem, and they usually cause low water pressure and clogged water supplies, so if your house suddenly starts being noisier than usual, and the noise slowly becomes more annoying, you now know what to do.Pro-Individuals or Professional Companies? Here’s where some people might have problems. Usually, one would go for pro-individuals. I mean, their services are usually cheaper, and they are experienced and trained to carry on with the job without any complications. With that said, I would add that, depending on the problem or situation you have on your hands, you might want to go for a professional company instead. You see, the bigger the problem is, the more hands you will require. Companies are commonly prepared to provide enough person to deal with the job as fast as possible, and each one of their individuals are more than prepared to do an excellent job. Although they are more expensive, of course, with large projects, a professional company might not be that expensive compared to a plumber. A single plumber might take a lot of time, and charge a cheaper fee, but they are more prompt to make mistakes and complicated things when larger projects are at hand. If what you need is a simple repair or renovation of a single area of your house that does not affect the functionality of the household’s pipelines, you might want to go for a plumber. If you are looking to fully repair, renovate, or replace your house’s pipelines without having to lose water or gas while the professionals deal with the process, you should definitely go for a company instead. The best way to hire a plumber or a professional company, in my opinion, is looking for them in searching engines such as Google or Bing, and add your location. Then, look for previous reviews, and the work history of the service you are planning to hire. Next thing, you should make a list of possible candidates, and ask them questions, and see if they fit your needs and your budget. If you ask questions during the hiring process and make sure that they know what they are doing, you’ll be safer when investing in said service, so make sure to prepare a list of questions beforehand! STEELAVAILABLE more

Gerhard Schubert GmbH Drives Innovation with New Digital Technologies

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Packaging machinery manufacturer Schubert is addressing the increasingly complex market requirements of greater product diversity and smaller batch sizes. Schubert's modular TLM machine concept and additive production offer optimized 3D printing processes and in the future, the packaging machine manufacturer intends to further increase the flexibility of its high-performance technology with new cobotsFaster, more flexible, more sustainable – the packaging industry is currently facing several challenges. In order to satisfy these requirements economically and ecologically as a manufacturer in the packaging process, highly flexible machines and consistently efficient processes are necessary. Schubert already offers an advantage here with the modular design of its TLM systems, which the group is continuously advancing by developing new robots and digital solutions. In order to pick up on trends such as the demand for alternative packaging materials, the manufacturer is paying great attention to flexible application possibilities when developing new systems and is testing new materials for quality and process suitability even with its own machines. Schubert is meeting the industry’s demand for launching new formats at ever shorter intervals with machines that use state-of-the-art technology to enable fast format changes and immediately deliver error-free production results without a start-up curve. New pick & place robots for higher output density If you need to accommodate higher performance in a small space or require more mobility in product handling, Schubert’s specialized T4 and T5 robots are the right solution. They complement the proven F4 robot, which is used in numerous picker and packing lines from Schubert. The design of the new pick & place robots is based on the well-known Delta robot type. Their compact rectangular working area makes them perfect for high performance in the smallest of spaces: Up to six of the new four-axis T4 robots can work simultaneously in a single TLM frame. The T5 variant offers a completely different – and also new – option for machine processes. It features a fifth axis with which products can be pivoted and tilted. The new T4 and T5 pick & place robots from Schubert, which are based on the Delta robot type, offer high performance in a small space. Virtual parts warehouse with 3D printing on demand 3D printing is revolutionizing not only machines but also warehousing, as electronic design data can be retrieved “on demand” in seconds anywhere in the world. Schubert is now making this access to tested and certified print data possible – with the new part streaming platform from its subsidiary Schubert Additive Solutions GmbH. The virtual warehouse is fast, reliable and economical, and represents a major step towards secure, flexible production. The digitally stored parts are available everywhere, eliminating long waiting and delivery times. In addition to simple spare and wear parts, a wide variety of 3D format parts for robot tools can be printed via the part streaming platform. Many possibilities are also offered by permanently used equipment and devices. One of the most secure data connections between the customer’s own printer and the new platform is provided by the GS.Gate industrial gateway from Schubert. The digital gateway also opens up new options for even more fail-safe and economical production thanks to specifically recorded machine data. Using the new part streaming platform from Schubert, a wide variety of 3D format parts for robot tools can be printed directly in production. The GS.Gate industrial gateway now standard in every new TLM system Big Data is the new currency – in the packaging industry as well as everywhere else. But simply collecting machine data is not enough. If you really want to benefit, you need a meaningful analysis of the important key figures and 100 per cent protection against attacks from the Internet. At Schubert, both are now available in series: A GS.Gate is integrated as an industrial gateway in every new TLM system. This allows detailed evaluations of system productivity to be called up. The results can be viewed either on the customer platform or on the machine operating terminal. From this analysis, potentials and possibilities can then be derived as to how the OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) ratio of the line and therefore the added value can be improved. GS.Gate Cobots – the next level of automation With cooperative robots, which work without a safety cage, packaging processes of small batch sizes can be automated and significantly optimized. Schubert is developing a comprehensive system for its new cobot modules. The new cooperative robots from Schubert will be presented at the interpack 2021 fair from February 25 to March 3 2021 in Düsseldorf. AUTOMATIONWORLD more

Alloy Steel Versus Carbon Steel: The Differences

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There are about 36 million different kinds of steel grades in the world. However, it is hard to categorize each and one of them. Therefore, in this article, we will introduce two main types of steel: Alloy steel and carbon steel. Carbon steel is iron with carbon added (including a trace of other elements), while alloy steel also includes other elements. ALLOY STEEL: Alloy steels have a high percentage of other elements apart from iron and carbon. Other elements, such as manganese, silicon, nickel, titanium, copper, and chromium, are also called alloy elements because they form an alloy. Alloy elements are added to improve the hardness and durability of the steel. Also, it improves corrosion resistance due to the high amount of other elements like chromium. Depending on each component’s proportion, alloy steel’s property changes. Commonly, alloy steel has comparatively low strength, high weldability, high melting points, high ductility, and high corrosion resistance. In addition, there are common alloy elements and traits: – Manganese: Added to fine-tune the heat-treating requirements. Requires fast quench from high temperature to a very low temperature to harden. However, fast quench has a high risk of cracking. Slower cooling rate. It can be quenched in warm oil, water, room-temperature air. Example of air quenching steel: A4 tool steel, which has 1.8% to 2.2% manganese. – Chromium: Over 11% chromium, you get stainless steel, which reduces corrosion dramatically. Dramatically affects strength, hardness, and heat treatment. Combination of cobalt and chromium gives very high wear resistance. Commonly used for cutting dies, forming, tire shearing blades, and punches. – Molybdenum: Increase corrosion resistance. Works with manganese to lower the required quench rate. Increase toughness and tensile strength. Heavy load application. 4140 Steel is the most common of molybdenum and chromium combinations. Also referred to as Chromoly steel. Applied in heavy gears, large shafts, workhorse of the steel world. – Vanadium: During the heat treating, it helps to control the grain size of the metal. Harder and stronger. Steels such as O1 and D2. – Nickel: See it in stainless steel such as stainless 304. When 18% or more chromium and 8% or more nickel, you get austenitic stainless. This boosts corrosion resistance, which increases toughness and impact strength. CARBON STEEL: Carbon steels have a high percentage of other elements apart from iron and carbon. Other small amounts of elements include silicon, manganese, sulfur, and phosphorous. Commonly, carbon steel has high strength, low weldability, low melting points, low ductility, and low corrosion resistance. Carbon steel is also divided into high carbon steel, medium carbon steel, and low carbon steel. However, unlike alloy steel, this is the main distinction between carbon steel types. Here is detailed information on each type: – Low carbon steel: 0.05% to 0.25% carbon content with maximum manganese content of 0.4% Relatively Cheaper Most common type of steel that does not require any particular requirements. Very weldable and machinable (Relatively). Easy to work with. Only way to harden it is through case hardening (heat treating). This adds carbon to the surface – harder outer layer and a softer core. – Medium carbon steel: 0.29% to 0.54% carbon content with manganese content of 0.6% to 1.65% Stronger steel with good wear resistance, but thicker to form, weld, and cut. Can be heat treated and tempered. – High carbon Steel: 0.55% to 0.95% carbon content with manganese content of 0.3% to 0.9% Usually specialized. Not a common material used. Very strong, common steel for springs and wires. A lot of compressions to get plastic deformation Heat treatable but hard to machine and weld. Need annealing before cutting mechanically. STEELAVAILABLE more

Why Is It Called A Press Brake?

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Question: Why is a press brake called a press brake? Why not a sheet metal bender or a metal former? Does it have to do with the old flywheel on mechanical brakes? The flywheel had a brake, like that on a car, allowing me to stop the motion of the ram before the forming of the sheet or plate began, or to slow the ram’s speed during forming. A press brake amounted to a press with a brake on it. I’ve had the privilege of spending a few years with one, and for many years I thought that was why the machine’s name is what it is, but I’m not sure that’s correct. It certainly doesn’t sound right, considering the word “brake” has been used to describe sheet metal bending long before powered machines came along. And press break can’t be correct, because nothing is broken or shattered. Answer: Having pondered the subject for many years myself, I decided to do some research. In doing so I have the answer and a bit of history to relay as well. Let’s begin with how sheet metal initially was shaped and the tools that were used to accomplish the task. From T-stakes to Cornice Brakes Before machines came along, if someone wanted to bend sheet metal they’d attach an appropriately sized piece of sheet metal to a mold or a 3D scale model of the desired sheet metal shape; anvil; dolly; or even a forming bag, which was filled with sand or lead shot. Using a T-stake, ball peen hammer, a lead strap called a slapper, and tools called spoons, skilled tradespeople pounded the sheet metal into the desired shape, like into the shape of a breastplate for a suit of armor. It was a very manual operation, and it’s still performed today in many autobody repair and art fabrication shops. The first “brake” as we know it was the cornice brake patented in 1882. It relied on a manually operated leaf that forced a clamped piece of sheet metal to be bent in a straight line. Over time these have evolved into the machines we know today as leaf brakes, box and pan brakes, and folding machines. While these newer versions are fast, efficient, and beautiful in their own right, they don’t match the beauty of the original machine. Why do I say this? It is because modern machines are not produced using hand-worked cast-iron components attached to finely worked and finished pieces of oak. The first powered press brakes appeared just about 100 years ago, in the early 1920s, with flywheel-driven machines. These were followed by various versions of hydromechanical and hydraulic press brakes in the 1970s and electric press brakes in the 2000s. Still, whether it’s a mechanical press brake or a state-of-the-art electric brake, how did these machines come to be called a press brake? To answer that question, we’ll need to delve into some etymology. Brake, Broke, Broken, Breaking As verbs, broke, brake, broke, and breaking all come from archaic terms predating the year 900, and they all share the same origin or root. In Old English it was brecan; in Middle English it was breken; in Dutch it was broken; in German it was brechen; and in Gothic terms it was brikan. In French, brac or bras meant a lever, a handle, or arm, and this influenced how the term “brake” evolved into its current form. The 15th century definition of brake was “an instrument for crushing or pounding.” Ultimately the term “brake” became synonymous with “machine,” derived over time from machines used to crush grain and plant fibers. So in its simplest form, a “pressing machine” and a “press brake” are one in the same. A press brake doesn’t “step on the brakes” to bend, so why is it called a press brake? A brief history of a few words reveals the answer. Photo courtesy of Getty Images. The Old English brecan evolved to become break, meaning to violently divide solid objects into parts or fragments, or to destroy. Moreover, several centuries ago the past participle of “brake” was “broken.” All this is to say that when you look at the etymology, “break” and “brake” are closely related. The term “brake,” as used in modern sheet metal fabrication, comes from the Middle English verb breken, or break, which meant to bend, change direction, or deflect. You could also “break” when you drew back the string of a bow to shoot an arrow. You could even break a beam of light by deflecting it with a mirror. Who Put the ‘Presse’ in Press Brake? We now know where the term “brake” comes from, so what about the press? Of course, there are other definitions unrelated to our current topic, such as journalism or publishing. This aside, where does the word “press”—describing the machines we know today—come from? Around 1300, “presse” was used as a noun that meant “to crush or to crowd.” By the late 14th century, “press” had become a device for pressing clothes or for squeezing juice from grapes and olives. From this, “press” evolved to mean a machine or mechanism that applies force by squeezing. In a fabricator’s application, the punches and dies can be referred to as the “presses” that exert force on the sheet metal and cause it to bend. To Bend, to Brake So there it is. The verb “brake,” as used in sheet metal shops, comes from a Middle English verb that meant “to bend.” In modern use, a brake is a machine that bends. Marry that with a modifier that describes what actuates the machine, what tools are used to form the workpiece, or what types of bends the machine produces, and you get our modern names for a variety of sheet metal and plate bending machines. A cornice brake (named for the cornices it can produce) and its modern leaf brake cousin use an upward-swinging leaf, or apron, to actuate the bend. A box and pan brake, also called a finger brake, performs the types of bends needed to form boxes and pans by forming sheet metal around segmented fingers attached to the upper jaw of the machine. And finally, in the press brake, the press (with its punches and dies) actuates the braking (bending). As bending technology has progressed, we’ve added modifiers. We’ve gone from manual press brakes to mechanical press brakes, hydromechanical press brakes, hydraulic press brakes, and electric press brakes. Still, no matter what you call it, a press brake is merely a machine for crushing, squeezing, or—for our purposes—bending. HARSLE BLOG more

What You Need To Know About Tandem Press Brakes

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Main Features of Tandem Press Brakes We are going to deliver questions, the answers of which will surely get you to know the benefits of installation of these brakes.   Large parts can be bent not just by big-sized press brakes. It is possible to combine more than one press brake in tandem to make the process more productive and efficient. When are tandems needed? First, evaluate your needs, look into the working principles of these machines as well as any application suitable for them. Answering the questions below will reveal which one offers more efficiency; a big-sized press brake or the one combining 2 of them?1. What is the operation of a tandem brake like? Tandem press brakes bear a CNC system. The precision of plunger depths and stability is gained through weights and lineal coders. Each component evaluates the plunger positioning of the plunger more than once p. m. second and send this data back to the CNC, which controls the hydraulic systems that feed the machine. A tandem brake reads 4 scale positions rather than 2 and adjusts respectively. Control of tandem brakes is possible through one station to operate as a whole long machine, but these brakes can operate as 2 separate machines. Certain CNC systems offer options allowing joint programming of parts on both press brakes.  While operating in a tandem kit the proper setting and calibration of press brakes are crucial. Start from such machine components as the rack, plunger, and tools. In case of poor alignment of the mentioned features, you will fail to gain proper bending. Not just one method exists to provide precise alignment. You will be offered support with this by rigging firms. After synchronizing the machinal items, make sure that each press brake functions suitably, as any trouble with one of them surely affects the other machine. For example, when a scale represents the positioning of Y1 of cylinders incorrectly in one end, the tandem will fail to ensure consistency for the eventual bending angles along the whole longitude of a part. Moreover, if accessory features like the back gauge, the crown device are applied on the two brakes, they must work inaccurate connections with each other to gain high-quality parts. Most operation principles for individual brakes have to be practiced to tandem machines. The 1st point to consider is the press brake carrying capacity. There is a prevailing misunderstanding that bearing 2 brakes in tandem increases tonnages, no matter where bending occurs. Complete, joint tonnages of brakes are applied to parts working along the whole lengths. Any attempt to employ complete tonnages to parts not working along the entire lengths of the tandem will cause the constituent elements to outwear. Besides, increasing the tons p.f. value of the tool brings on out-wear or, even worse, punch and die crashing. The off-centered load of brakes puts an extra strain upon the elements, like the gib and cylinder seal. One thing that should be kept in mind: any problem during the work of a separate press brake will surely affect the tandem.2. What is the application list suitable for tandems? Tandems are perfect tools, from small production workshops as well as the ones with a high degree of variability to manufacturers with more specialized processes, but the main thing is the list of applications. While considering tandems, the following advantages should be taken. Flexibility: Tandems enable you to deliver flexible operation for brakes as well as offer universal shops for part production. Take a workshop, which employs 2 press brakes of 500 tons and 20 feet combined in tandem. It will be able to create 40- long-foot parts and meanwhile apply each machine separately, increasing power for each 20-feet parts or parts with shorter lengths.   In terms of changing states, workshops have to be flexible and capable of accomplishing various tasks. Tandems are perfectly suitable to meet these needs. Besides, explore the ability to synchronize any recent machine with an existing device to gain the necessary flexibility. Prevention of risks: Purchasing tandems will allow for avoiding risks. Possessing 2 press brakes, the workshop will still have the option to create small pieces through one of the brakes if the other one has to be forced to inaction. Speeds: 2 small machines provide more speed compared to 1 larger machine. Although the bend duration may not be an extremely decisive point while producing parts, the fast operation allows workshops to provide higher productivity. Machine expenses: A single standard brake is less expensive compared to the large custom one. However, 2 standard machines can be cheaper having evaluated the entire costs. Additional expenses: Costs of extra brakes or tandems make just a part of the entire costs of the operation. Prior to buying production outfits, evaluate thoroughly the support expenses. What is the difference between transporting one larger brake and two small brakes? Are there any restrictions? What are the tooling costs for different types? Are extra preparatory steps required to configure certain types? What about the income powers and hydraulic oils? The accurate calculation of all these factors will ensure the refund of your investments.3. What are the applications not proper for tandem press brakes? Tandems provide quite extensive bend lengths, up to 60 feet or above this. Yet, in tandems, each press brake still bears side casing. The majority of OEMs provide custom neck sizes. While bending large parts, lateral casings can interfere. Although bending large parts minimizes the demand for welding small parts, remember that a tandem kit with complimentary lateral cases may be unsuitable for its use. In addition, the purchase of a tandem kit means the purchase of 2 press brake machines, accordingly, the number of parts that can be exposed to potential failure is doubled. Maintaining tandems is crucial, as mentioned previously.4. Which materials are suitable to be handled by tandems? How are they different from single press brake machines? Speeds of the formation may not appear the most important point in manufacturing operations with tandems. Thus, if you consider setting up tandems keep in mind that materials handled by tandems are no different from the ones handled by a single press brake machine. Transportation of materials to machines and from them consumes too much time. Most commonly, a high-performance workshop succeeds if it bends 20-25 % of the time. Wide part bending through tandems takes relatively more. Similar to many metal formation machines, the most widely applied accessory components are cranes. In tandems, there may be need of applying one more crane, primarily if the 2 press brakes operate separately. The purchase of tandems and the production of more parts after they remain in anticipation of the crane operating time increases bending time and increases the costs of work. Alternative supporting components might be applied, particularly in workshops using tandem machines in special processes. A powerful position system assists in moving and adjusting hard steel plates. It may as well serve as a front and back gauge system. Many OEMs deliver an ejecting system of parts, which allows extracting parts from press brakes. An added conveyor, a collecting table at entrances and exits of brakes saves time and costs. Though certain supporting components are pretty expensive, they provide increased productiveness, safe working conditions as well as save labor while estimating the ROI in tandems.Purchase Criteria Prior to buying tools, it is advisable to consider the existing states of your work. What kind of parts do you produce? How much do they cost you? What is the level of sustainability of continuing to produce parts through the current manufacturing process? Make attempts to discover more about your work. How to gain higher productivity, save costs? What are the advanced markets offering the latest products? What are the changes in the production field in the last few years? Purchasing tandems seems quite a serious financial resolution. Start with estimating clearly the state of your work and get the answers to the questions on how to increase the productiveness of your further operation and achieve the utmost profits possible. HARSLE BLOG more
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