Connected production environment gives rise to the smart factory.
Trumpf showcased numerous solutions for autonomous factories at EuroBLECH 2018. The company presented a range of digitally connected applications for sheet metal processing that are designed to make manufacturing processes simpler and more efficient.
“As they become increasingly autonomous, our machines are taking on more tasks and making life easier for the people who work with them. But you can only unlock these benefits with a connected, intelligent production environment. That’s what enables us to achieve productivity gains and secure our customers’ competitive edge – and artificial intelligence is the key,” says Heinz-Jürgen Prokop, Chief Executive Officer Machine Tools at Trumpf.
The TruLaser Center 7030 system – described as a self-learning machine. The TruLaser Center 7030 repeats the removal cycle of the parts several times if necessary. The machine processes and assimilates each of these retry attempts and learns from them
The focus should fall on connected machines and processes. Combined with intelligent data analysis, Prokop argues, is where the biggest productivity gains can be achieved.
Self-learning machines: Smart sensors: Active speed control
At the event itself, Trumpf highlighted that focus through its TruLaser Center 7030 system – described as a self-learning machine – from programming to part sorting, everything it does is completely automated.
“We’ve already started using intelligent data analysis to improve the processes executed by this machine. By incorporating customer feedback in the form of data, our aim is to steadily perfect the entire system. Artificial intelligence is the next stage of Industry 4.0,” said Thomas Schneider, who heads up machine tool development at Trumpf.
A good example is the machine’s unloading unit. The pins that lift the sheet out of the scrap skeleton are designed to ensure efficient and reliable part removal using suction cups. If the pins fail to get it right the first time around, the machine initiates a new part removal cycle on its own, without requiring any intervention. It then repeats this cycle as many times as necessary until it works. The machine processes and assimilates each of these retry attempts and learns from them.
The company also launched the latest generation of its TruLaser Cell 7040, one of the most productive and versatile 3D laser systems in the world, it says. The TruLaser Cell 7040 comes with a number of new automated features, alongside cloud-based machine analysis, and integrated smart sensors that ‘take laser cutting speeds to a new level’.
EuroBLECH saw Trumpf present a major milestone on the road toward autonomous machines: Active speed control. With this new feature, the system looks straight through the nozzle right at the cutting zone, monitoring it in real-time and autonomously controlling the feed rate of solid-state laser machines
“This year’s EuroBLECH sees Trumpf present a major milestone on the road toward autonomous machines: Active speed control,” said the Ditzingen firm. “With this new feature, the system looks straight through the nozzle right at the cutting zone, monitoring it in real-time and autonomously controlling the feed rate of solid-state laser machines.”
The new function is said to ensure a more reliable process for both flame and fusion cutting, reducing scrap and saving on rework, with the active speed control feature responding immediately to any changes in the material being processed.
“The system allows users to achieve tangible gains in productivity with their machines, significantly lowering part manufacturing costs,” added the firm. One highlighted example is the ability to maintain the position of the laser beam in relation to the center of the nozzle during the entire cutting process – the system telling an operator if there are any deviations, which helps avoid scrap.
For more information contact Retecon Machine Tools on TEL: 011 976 8600 or visit www.retecon.co.za