Suppliers to the automotive industry are facing the same challenges world-wide, how to supply their products fast, economically and flexible while considering the individual demands of their customers at the same time. In order to increase the quality of their products and reduce costs at the same time, the Canadian supplier Deco Automotive replaces three existing older bending machines with three state-of-the-art automatic CNC 100 E TB MR VA pipe bending lines by Schwarze-Robitec. The company will profit from the integrated high-performance control system NxG by increasing its output and optimizing cycle times.
"Based on their own constant optimizing processes, our customers demand high requirements from their pre-products and with that, as supplier our requirements are also increased. In order to provide the customer with products in different versions and large quantities at a consistently high quality, we continuously invest in the further development of our production processes", says Ray Metzner, Manufacturing Engineer at Deco Automotive. The company, headquartered in Toronto, Canada, belongs to the global Magna Group and manufactures various automotive components including vehicle frames and structures, and engine cradles. Among the customers of the automotive supplier are international original equipment manufacturers. Deco uses a total of four production lines and manufactures more than 1,750,000 products per year.
Project requirementsDue to the continuously high demand and a high annual output, Deco Automotive is dependent on reliable and intelligent pipe bending machines, which provide excellent results in terms of degree of automation, precision, speed, and bending processes. Before being accepted by automobile manufacturers, steel pipes run through the fully automatic cold bending process at the production facility in Toronto. Subsequent manufacturing steps include hydroforming, laser cutting and welding. The number of bending processes performed at Deco reaches 12 million per year. Up until now, the automotive supplier reached this volume by using a total of nine bending machines spread over four production lines. Seven of the machines come from Schwarze-Robitec, whereby three pipe bending machines were already in use for more than 20 years. The reason for the replacement of the old equipment with three new CNC 100 E TB MR VA made by Schwarze-Robitec was for Deco, that the bending and handling process is ensured to continue reliably and efficiently. "In 20 years, we have purchased a total of 13 pipe bending machines from Schwarze-Robitec and we have come to appreciate the very high quality and durability of the machines. We value the high technical expertise of the employees and the comprehensive services, such as remote maintenance, and decided at the end of 2015 to continue the partnership", says Mr. Metzner.
Automatic pipe bending lineFollowing an extensive consultation and planning phase in cooperation with Deco Automotive in Canada, Schwarze-Robitec produced three pipe bending lines tailored to the requirements of the automotive supplier. "We expect the new bending cells to provide significantly improved production and anticipate to reach our production targets even faster", says Mr. Metzner. Of the three CNC 100 E TB MR VA machines two machines are right- and one is left-bending. In addition, the multi-stack bending machines are equipped with a pipe magazine, a weld seam finding device, an automatic loading and a removal device. The electrically operated systems process round and oval tubes that are 2.8 m long and have a diameter of up to 76.2 mm including a wall thickness from 1.2 to 3 mm. The process is fully automated: The pipes to be processed are taken randomly from the tube magazine and fed to the integrated weld seam finding device. This device aligns the pipes in accordance with their weld seam position. Following the alignment, the pipe is passed on to the pipe bending machine. To do this, a mandrel is used which supports the tube on tight radii from the inside. A fully automatic loading arm then removes the finished bent tube from the machine and places it on a conveyor belt. From there, the tube continues to the hydroforming equipment. Another feature of the solution are the integrated raised, vertical travel routes. This allows pre-loading the pipe bending machine, while parallel to this function a finished bent tube is removed at another location.
(Photo caption to the right – CNC 100 E TB MR VA The electrically operated systems process round and oval tubes that are 2.8 m long and have a diameter of up to 76.2 mm.|
NxG high performance control systemCompared to the pipe bending line, which had been in operation at Deco until today, the new machines are equipped with the high-performance control system NxG. An advantage of the new control system are the significantly reduced non-productive times, as individual steps of the bending process were arranged synchronously. "With the NxG control system, it is possible to prepare the next step simultaneously to executing a machining operation. For example, while a pipe is supplied to the tool, the clamping functions close almost completely”, explains Bert Zorn, Managing Director at Schwarze-Robitec GmbH. “When the tube then reaches its target position, the tool is immediately ready for the next bending step – this allows users to shorten the cycle times and production objectives are reached more quickly". In addition, a diagnostic and maintenance tool integrated into the control system minimizes downtimes. The intuitive operability, the high performance control system also contributes to an ergonomic and efficient way of working. "The pipe bending machines made by Schwarze-Robitec produce reliable, accurate, and high-quality products and yet the machines are easy to use for our staff", says Mr. Metzner.
Conclusion: Short cycle times and no downtimesDue to the new automatic bending cells made by Schwarze-Robitec, the automotive supplier was able to optimize the cycle times and increase the production output of higher complex shapes and materials. “With the new pipe bending machines and the bending programs of the control system NxG, we have reduced cycle times significantly," says Mr. Metzner. With this, the accuracy that the company produces and the repeatability of its equipment in the production process is outstanding. "The predecessors of our existing machines have been operating in multi-shift operation flawlessly for almost 20 years. In addition, we received continuous services from Schwarze-Robitec, from their engineers in Cologne, and the employees of the US subsidiary – for us, this is a win-win situation."
| A Schwarze-Robitec release | January 25, 2017 ||
Schwarze-Robitec GmbH – the companyThe company, founded in 1903, is one of the leading international experts in the sector of tube bending machines. At its headquarters in Cologne, the specialist for cold bending machines currently employs 130 staff. The company is represented worldwide via long-term partner enterprises. Since 2015 Schwarze-Robitec has opened its own subsidiary in USA for customers in North America. The bending specialist already manufactured the world‘s first CNC-controlled tube bending machine back in 1977. To date, more than 2,700 machines have been sold – some of them have been used in production unrestrictedly for far more than 35 years. The Schwarze-Robitec product range includes, in addition to tube bending machines and bending tools, tube perforating machines, measuring stations, as well as solutions in the area of special machinery construction. The reference list of the tube bending expert includes, without exception, all renowned leading manufacturers from the automotive industry, energy sector as well as shipbuilding. Above and beyond that, the company solutions are employed in the aerospace sector as well as many other industries. Detailed information about Schwarze-Robitec can be found in the Internet at www.schwarze-robitec.com.
A worker checks on an i5 series model at the factory of Shenyang Machine Tool Company in Shenyang, Northeast China's Liaoning province, Jan 11, 2016. [Photo by Dai Tian/chinadaily.com.cn]
The company had everything an employee could wish for: A generous pay package, job security, excellent perks and a brand name that made it easy to get girlfriends.
The life at Shenyang Machine Tool Company (SMTCL), the country's biggest manufacturer of numerical controlled machine tools and machinery equipment, is a bit different now.
The Shenyang-based company in Northeast China's Liaoning province has gone through many twists and turns: From the first company in the nation to produce machine tool to becoming the number one machine-tool maker by sales in the world by 2011 to drop in sales.
Whereonce SMTCL, just like rest of the Northeast,grew at an astonishing pace, its bottom line took a hit with the development of market economy and China opening itself up to foreign investment and technologies.
A study by Lu Feng, professor at the School of Government, Peking University, said the number of employees dropped from 27,000 to 11,000 without any new workers joining between 1993 and 2002, according to a report carried earlier by China Daily.The labor force now stands at 14,000.
After the central government launched a major push to revitalize the Northeast, SMTC's sales revenue reached 18 billion yuan ($2.7 billion) in 2011. It topped the global industry in revenue for three straight years.
This fast-paced expansion, however, came at a price. SMTCL, famous for producing precision tools, began making mid- and low-end products that generated little revenue.
It knew it had to chart a new course to maintain its dominant position – and so it got down to work. It carried out massive restructuring in all areas – organizational, operational and technological, brought in experts from abroad, turned focus on innovation and started thinking out of the box.
The world's first integrated smart machine toolmaker, i5M8, manufactured by the company is a good example of its innovative approach. First launched in 2007, the i5 series broke the dominance of foreign companies and showed that Chinese firms were also capable of producing numerical controlled machine tools.
That was just a first step. In a move that was a complete break from its past practice, SMTCL decided to rent out the tool instead of just selling it. Any firm that wanted to use it could simply rent it. This step proved an ideal match for the country's entrepreneurship drive, as the company saw 17,000 lease orders by the end of last year.
With this decision, the decades-old company successfully transitioned from manufacturing to becoming a service provider. To complete the cycle, SMTCL then launched its own leasing unit to provide intelligent machine tools for use by other entities.
Only time will tell how successful the company will be in turning around its fortune, but it's a good start.
SEOUL, Dec. 9 (Yonhap) -- Affiliates of Doosan Group, a machinery and construction equipment conglomerate, saw their credit ratings downgraded by local rating appraisers due to lingering concerns over their financial health despite the market debut of a key affiliate, industry sources said Friday.
Doosan Bobcat Inc., a unit of the country's leading construction equipment maker Doosan Infracore, raised some 900 billion won (US$773 million) through the IPO last month, the second-largest IPO deal after Samsung BioLogics Co.'s 2.2 trillion-won market debut early this month.
Originally, Doosan Bobcat, a leading player in the small construction machinery sector in the United States, had sought to raise as much as 2.45 trillion won but cut its IPO deal due to lukewarm responses from investors.
Doosan Infracore and Doosan Engine Co. own a majority stake in Doosan Bobcat. In particular, Doosan Infracore holds 59 percent in Doosan Bobcat.
Korea Investors Service Inc., a rating agency, cut its rating on Doosan Infracore to "BBB-" from "BBB," citing the company's burden of paying off heavy debts amid weaker-than-expected cash flow from Doosan Bobcat's market listing.
"Some 240 billion won worth of liquidity has been funneled into Doosan Infracore, which is smaller than expected," the rating agency said. "The company is still saddled with a heavy debt payment burden, and its liquidity level is heavily dependent on Doosan Bobcat's stock price."
The IPO was part of Doosan Group's efforts to improve its financial status. The power-to-construction equipment conglomerate has raised trillions of won by selling assets in recent years to survive a prolonged slump in the construction industry.
KIS Ratings also lowered its rating outlook for Doosan Corp. and Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. to "negative" from "review for rating downgrade."
NICE Investors Service Inc. also lowered its rating outlook for key affiliates, such as Doosan and Doosan Infracore, citing the lack of much improvement in their financial health following Doosan Bobcat's IPO.
"After the Doosan Bobcat's IPO, what is important for now is how to reduce the financial burden held by Doosan Infracore and Doosan Engine," said Park Se-young, an analyst at NICE Investors Service. "We need to closely monitor each affiliate's business performance."
As of end-June, Doosan Infracore's debt stood around 2.3 trillion won, with about 1.5 trillion-won debt maturing within one year.
Some analysts raised the possibility that Doosan Infracore may take out loans with its stake in Doosan Bobcat as collateral.
Hit by a protracted slump in the construction sector, Doosan Infracore logged a loss of 859 billion won last year, with its operating income dropping 94 percent on-year to 27.4 billion won.
Cutting tool and tooling systems specialist Sandvik Coromant has signed an agreement to become a Premium Partner of leading machine tool manufacturer DMG MORI. The deal, which makes Sandvik Coromant the only tooling manufacturer to be named as a DMG MORI Premium Partner, will further strengthen the relationship between the companies on a global scale. Machine shops around the world will benefit from the combined knowledge and experience of the two market leaders.
As a DMG MORI Premium Partner, Sandvik Coromant will work with the machine tool builder on a wide-range of initiatives, including R&D and engineering, open house events, trade show appearances, technical seminars, website collaboration, and the DMG MORI Journal. Specifically, the agreement will give users of DMG MORI machines access to the turning, parting and grooving, threading, milling, drilling, boring, and reaming tools from Sandvik Coromant, as well as tooling systems and the company’s extensive range of knowledge, industry solutions, and services.
“This agreement confirms our position as one of our industry’s true premium and forward-looking companies,” said Klas Forsström, Global President of Sandvik Coromant. “As we join forces with a leading machine tool builder, for example, on turnkey projects, we take an active role in advancing technology for the industry.”
Sandvik Coromant will equip DMG MORI machines with a wide range of products, services, and know-how. For example, a customized start-up tool kit and service will be supplied with each NLX series universal lathe and NT turn-mill center in selected markets. On the CLX/CMX (previously Ecoline) entry-level machines and DMC V vertical machining centers, users will receive a defined tool kit and global service provision.
Evidence of the successful collaboration between Sandvik Coromant and DMG MORI was seen recently when the two companies partnered with Rota Metal, a distributor in Turkey, and its customer Polat Makina.
Polat, a food technology company, was ready to make the switch from individual machining to multi-tasking machines. Sandvik Coromant recommended a complete new tooling package based on the company’s Coromant Capto® modular quick-change tooling concept. The DMG MORI machines included an NTX 2000 with Capto C6 spindle, an NT 5400 with Capto C8 spindle, and an NT 6600 with Capto C8 spindle. Sandvik Coromant tools specified to help complete the switch included Silent Tools®, CoroTurn® HP, CoroCut® SL, CoroDrill® 860, CoroTap® 300, CoroChuck® 970, and CoroChuck 930. The changes resulted in a reduced machining time, from 2500 to 500 minutes, for a finished end product. The 500% savings is helping ensure rapid return on the company’s investment.
Added Ibrahim Polat, owner of Polat Makina, “Sandvik Coromant did not just supply the tools, they supplied the solution.”