New, intelligent functions and software solutions boost both efficiency and process reliability.
At the 2013 Blechexpo, TRUMPF will be introducing various intelligent functions and software-based solutions for its machine tools. These smart functions are part of the TRUMPF assistance systems, providing both help and relief to the machine’s operator. The smart functions utilize developments in communications and information technologies to boost machinery efficiency and reliability.
The machine uses a smart function to determine whether action is needed and then acts autonomously. Depending on the nature of the function, it may solve a problem on its own, so that the machine can continue the work without operator intervention. Alternatively, it will automatically halt a faulty process and notify the machine’s operator, who can then quickly rectify the problem.
Smart nozzle automation for TruLaser machines
The quality of the nozzles and lenses is a decisive factor in reliable production. Whenever cutting is less than perfect, one of the following causes may well be at fault: the lens or the nozzle is dirty or damaged, the laser beam is not centered on the nozzle, or the focal position is misadjusted. With DetectLine and the new smart nozzle automation package for the TruLaser 5030 and 5040, TRUMPF is offering automated solutions for all these problems.
LensLine with condition checking determines the status of the lens. DetectLine ensures automatic adjustment of the focal position. A unit at the nozzle changer automatically centers the beam. The new nozzle inspection feature now enables automatic response to defective or dirty nozzles.
Constant cutting quality
The machine uses a camera integrated into the nozzle changer to recognize damage to the nozzle in the cutting head, since this could impact cutting quality. If the nozzle shows changes such as bulging, scratches or deformations, then the machine will respond on its own – by changing the nozzle, for instance. This eliminates the need for the operator to regularly remove the nozzles, inspect them, and replace them if necessary, in order to avoid quality losses in the cutting process. Whenever a nozzle is set up for the first time, the machine also checks its diameter. In this way the machine can ensure that the right nozzle is always installed.
Advanced process reliability
The nozzle inspection, automatic beam alignment, the nozzle changer, and LensLine with condition checking considerably reduce the number of actions the operator has to take. The adjustment work at the lens and nozzle is carried out automatically by the machine. The remaining manual activities – such as setting up the nozzle changer – can easily be planned using a component status indicator. In this way, the smart nozzle automation concept advances the machine’s process reliability and, at the same time, shaves non-productive times. This package of functions thus promotes fully automatic operations – during nights and on weekends, for instance.
Smart bending package for TruBend machines
Appearing for the first time at the Blechexpo is the TCB (thickness-controlled bending) function for the press brakes in the TruBend Series 5000. This and the BendGuard option, together with the optical set-up and positioning aid, form the backbone of the smart bending package. The optical set up and positioning aid uses LEDs to show the operator where a bending tool needs to be inserted or where the next bend needs to be made. BendGuard is an optical safety device. If the BendGuard beam is interrupted – by a hand, for instance – then the press brake will stop immediately.
The new TCB function helps to reduce errors in bent angles. Such variations can arise from abnormalities in the sheet thickness. The gauge may vary from one sheet to the next due to tolerances in the sheet manufacturing process. Thickness may also vary from the edge of the sheet to the center as a result of the rolling process. The brake press automatically senses the actual gauge when the tool makes contact with the sheet. Then it calculates the penetration depth for the upper tool – matching this measurement – and automatically makes the correction. Thus, the machine can produce angles at improved quality – independent of the sheet metal thickness and without productivity losses, calibration effort or programming work.
Smart functions at the TruMatic 6000
The new TruMatic 6000 punching and laser cutting machine, following its world premiere at the Intech company trade show in April of 2013, will be presented to a broader public at the Blechexpo. It also has numerous smart functions in its range of features.
Among them, for instance, is the smart loading function. This positions the sheet metal precisely in the machine, even if the sheet had been misaligned in the supply stack. This is effected by intelligent coordination of the sheet metal clamps, table advance unit, and the loading device. Operator intervention is no longer required.
Optimized unloading process
Smart unloading optimizes the removal process. The machine recognizes when a part has been caught in the scrap skeleton or is jammed in the discharge chute. In both cases, this special function automatically rectifies the problem by moving the laser cutting and punching head, the presser foot, or the part removal flap. As soon as the part is freed, the machine will complete the unloading process and will continue with processing.
In the future, some of these smart functions for the new TruMatic 6000 will also be available in other TruPunch and TruMatic machines.
Contact us: MastersofSheetMetal@trumpf.com
This article was first published in summer 2013.