Social Industry for a human-centric approach
At Blechexpo 2019 (to be held from Nov 5-8 at Stuttgart, Germany), visitors will be able to see Salvagnini's most advanced tools that help in creating authentic flexible automation.
Industry has changed: flexibility and efficiency are crucial requirements for managing increasingly smaller batches and rapid part code turnover. Our vision evolved accordingly, and our offer is enhanced by the Social Industry model which is able to combine digital technologies – intangible by definition – with the most advanced concepts of production, process flow and smart manufacturing. Humans and their expertise become the point of contact between these two dimensions, that are apparently as distant as the social one of the immaterial and the physical one of the production processes. The result is a combination of adaptive, efficient and automatic processes which are perfectly balanced, interconnected inside and outside the company, respectful of humans and the environment, able to intercommunicate, eliminate production downtime, maximise productivity, offer customised production and minimise scrap and consumption.
Human centrality is key, the cornerstone of Social Industry. “We are making humans do something different than in the past,” explains Tommaso Bonuzzi, Sales Director at Salvagnini. “We enhance their skills, putting them in charge of the remote control and management of production systems and eliminating all the activities with low added value which are in some way alienating, allowing them to express all their potential. With our new software solutions, the operator can organize production in the best way possible, balancing the work flows and producing only what is needed, exactly when it is needed. The machines, which are fully sensor-equipped and adaptive, correct themselves during the cycle and consume only the energy required.”
We’re not talking of mere process efficiency, but of factory efficiency too: Salvagnini puts the most advanced tools at the disposal of humans to create authentic flexible automation. And this is the real added value of Social Industry, a totally integrated and perfectly balanced solution used to produce what is needed, when it is needed, whatever the batch size. This has always been in Salvagnini's DNA, and responds to the needs expressed increasingly frequently by customers. This is precisely the production experience that visitors will be able to see first-hand at the Salvagnini stand in Stuttgart.
“As well as a close-up look at numerous innovations, including the 6 kW high power density source introduced on the L5 high-dynamic fiber laser and the AU-TO automatic tool change on the B3 press brake, we are offering visitors a real production experience composed of our adaptive machines which work together in a set of concatenated flows,” explains Francesca Zanettin, Salvagnini's Head of MarkComm.
“Visitors choose an object to produce – of course within a set range for a matter of practicality – and decide how to customise it before starting the production process. Each machine, whether it is a laser, press brake or panel bender, notifies the next one what it is machining in order to prepare it for the next process; each collaborates and interacts to produce what is required, when it is required. And each machine is connected through the use of self-guided vehicles (SGVs) which move freely between them, managing the flow of semi-finished parts. This is the real meaning of factory digitization and Industry 4.0, Salvagnini style,” concludes Zanettin. “I therefore invite visitors to come and see for themselves what Social Industry is really all about.”
A 6kW source to compete in all categories
“Over the years, the L5 has undergone continuous improvement,” Pierandrea Bello, Salvagnini Product Manager begins, “and this year it will be on show at Blechexpo with 2 important new features: the 6kW high power density source and the compass system with an advanced, completely re-designed carbon fiber structure. These are particularly significant features, on show in Germany for the first time.”
The source completes Salvagnini’s range of 6kW solutions: it is a major new feature, because when combined with the characteristics typical of the L5, it enhances its performance, guaranteeing better results on medium-thin materials, even compared to sources with higher power.
“This source offers a series of benefits compared to the previous one,” Bello continues. “The first, and most obvious, is that we have a 6kW L5 available. The second, which derives exclusively from the source, is that we can increase our cutting speed over the widest range of applications of the L5, in other words medium-thin thicknesses, up to 6 mm. The third, linked to the specifications of the L5, is that thanks to its high cutting speed we can significantly improve cutting accelerations on thicknesses up to 4 mm. And that's not all: the data we have gathered indicates that this new source will achieve performance typical of solutions with higher power levels. And this without any negative effects on performance with medium-high thicknesses, thanks also to the contribution of the new Thunder nozzles developed internally to increase performance and quality when cutting thicker material under nitrogen.”
The release of the new compass system with advanced carbon fiber structure, on the other hand, follows that of the new trajectory planner and helps to further enhance the advantages obtained by the new source: the greater dynamics on medium-thin thicknesses do not affect the excellent precision of the L5, and indeed even improves performance thanks to the higher speeds achieved in rapid movements, which translates into an increase in productivity of up to almost 10%, depending on the type of nesting.
The system on show in Stuttgart also includes some technical updates which make the L5 even more efficient. The most interesting new feature is the new APM option, a compact, turn-key solution for cutting with compressed air: connected directly to the factory pneumatic supply, APM normalizes the pressure, filtering and drying values of the compressed air, optimising it for cutting with air. Combined with the speed of the new 6kW source, APM is used to cut a wide range of materials with air, maintaining a very high quality at much lower costs than conventional cutting with nitrogen: for example, on a 3 mm thick sheet of stainless steel, with a very similar cutting quality, it is possible to save over 10€/h, of course depending on the cost of nitrogen.
The L5 is also equipped with new features: the new SVS – Sheet Vision System – option which allows customers to reuse the classic sheet metal offcuts that often “populate” workshops, creating a dxf to be used as the starting format for nesting new parts to be cut directly on the machine; the new and innovative nesting algorithms which ensure shorter processing times, more orderly nesting diagrams and a better use of material, guaranteeing savings of between 5% and 10%; finally, the AVS artificial vision system, which allows the edges of the workpiece to be aligned quickly or the possibility of referencing any machining already present on the sheet, without restrictions on shape.
The press brake is AU-TO...matized
Of all the main sheet metal processing technologies, the press brake is probably the least evolved and integrated in the smart factory context and it still requires a strong operator presence and interaction. Precisely to meet the need to vertically integrate the press brake into the production process, as well as mitigate the difficulties in sourcing qualified machine operators and experts, Salvagnini has focused on the issue of automation: the result of this work is the B3.AU-TO press brake, equipped with the new automatic tool change, which is the concrete expression of a new concept of automated, scalable press brake.
“First and foremost, we simplified the use of the machine,” explains Giulio Farina, CEO of Salvagnini Robotica, “and we made sure it could communicate its own data to the other machines and company’s ERP. The aim is to make bending an operation that is less influenced by process variables and, as a result, provides greater certainties, for example, in terms of processing times, as well as costs and budgets. The MAC2.0 (Material Attitude Correction) guarantees greater process stability, simultaneously reducing cycle times. For example by a single laser detection, the press brake adapts to any variations in the material which, when necessary, are automatically compensated for.”
The new AU-TO automatic tool change concludes a path which began with the ATA automatic tool adjuster, and allows Salvagnini to significantly reduce the variability which has always defined conventional bending, redefining the concept of time linked to the press brake: whatever the material, thickness and shape of the part being machined, each specific tooling always has a sure, repeatable and predictable duration.
But AU-TO also allows Salvagnini to create a modular concept of automation, scalable to meet the customer’s needs, maximizing the flexibility and autonomy of the press brake, allowing it to adapt to tooling needs and manage tools according to what is being produced.
“It’s not a simple automatic re-tooling,” Farina continues, “but a more evolved concept: we provide the customer with different levels of automation. The first level is represented by the ATA (Automatic Tool Adjuster) device, which is used to change and automatically adjust the upper bending tool length, saving time and increasing production efficiency. The second level involves the extension of the ATA.L device to lower tools; this is the ideal solution for kit productions, because it allows parts with different thicknesses to be bent in sequence. The third level is the MVM option, the variable opening die which is alternative to the ATA.L: it automatically adapts the V opening according to the program and is used to bend materials with different thicknesses and radii. No operator intervention is required to set up the dies, to the full benefit of the productivity and flexibility of the press brake. What Salvagnini is offering today with the AU-TO tool change is the fourth and most advanced level, which does not exclude the features of the ATA device: it reduces set-up times and increases B3 press brake availability, allowing the user to create the automation best suited to his own manufacturing reality, automatically tooling the machine with the best possible strategies for his own production flow.”
Panel benders look to the future
The panel bender is the machine that, more than any other, represents Salvagnini's spirit of innovation, a technology in which the Group is world leader. Fully automated and adaptive, with fifteen different models available, the Salvagnini panel bender confirms its place as one of the stars of the Social Industry. This is exactly why in Stuttgart we will be putting a third-generation P2lean-2120 compact panel bender on show: without a doubt this is one of Salvagnini’s most successful models, thanks to its high productivity and versatility, as well as its low energy consumption and compact size.
“The Salvagnini panel bender is an automatic machine in every aspect, and as such is ideal for a modern smart factory,” explains Nicola Artuso, Salvagnini Product Manager. “This machine has proven reliability, and has recently been re-industrialized, and we will continue to make improvements to it. Compared to the previous series, the third Lean generation has a number of even more attractive features: we have increased the maximum bending height, with two models that achieve 203 mm bends alongside the two 165 mm models. The maximum bending lengths range from 2,180 mm to 2,500 mm, but we consider the minimum box size which can be created – down to 150x250 mm – to be a much more significant change. The maximum sheet metal thickness which the machine can handle is 3.2 mm, but once again we think that the fact that the P2lean can process sheet as thin as 0.4 mm is even more interesting. And all without re-tooling: the universal tools the machine comes with can process the whole range of machinable materials and thicknesses. The P2lean is of course an adaptive machine, able to react and set itself up according to changes in bending conditions - for example according to temperature or the ultimate tensile strength of the material being bent. This guarantees the precision, repeatability and quality of the finished product, resulting in zero waste and reduced downstream corrections. And precisely because the machine applies completely different forces and parameters depending on the panel to be bent using exactly the amount of energy required to make that given part, this third-generation lean panel bender is easier to maintain, features reduced consumption and is even quieter and more compact.”
In Stuttgart, the P2lean panel bender also comes with an interesting feature: the development and implementation of a specific tool, as well as the integration with a third-party technology – an ACF Cornerformer – today allow the cold forming of panel corners without any additional welding, grinding, finishing or polishing activities.
“We think that this application will be highly useful in a number of industrial sectors – electrical, air treatment, catering/food equipment or metal furniture, and others besides,” Artuso continues. “The panel bender prepares the corners by exploiting the potential of the CLA/SIM tools, the modular-length auxiliary blades that are set up automatically and in masked time to make tabs, in this case upwards. The corners are then completed on the ACF Cornerformer. The end-user has dual benefits from this integration: on the one hand, it drastically improves the quality of the parts; and on the other, it drastically reduces operating costs and times. This is certainly an attractive opportunity in an increasingly competitive market.”
STREAM: Natural evolution
System intelligence: this is what software means for Salvagnini. System intelligence, distributed everywhere, continuously enhanced and coordinated in real time to improve performance, bringing production technologies and operators together and allowing information to be processed, communicated and matched. Codes for thinking, planning and programming, guaranteeing maximum simplicity, effectiveness and efficiency, for managing the process as a whole, quickly learning from experience and the surrounding environment, for understanding complex situations and giving them a meaning, and for solving problems.
“Software has always been a decisive element in our range of solutions,” Stefano Cera, Salvagnini Product Manager, begins. “Our approach is to guarantee the highest performance levels in the workshop, based on lean, simple and effective programming. In a way, we can say that the Salvagnini solution has always been a mix of software and hardware performance – and the market has always recognised our leadership position in this sense. From this viewpoint, it is natural that the rapid transformation in the sheet metal industry over the last few years has driven us to evolve our programming software too.”
Because industry has changed: flexibility and efficiency are crucial requirements for managing increasingly smaller batches or rapid part code turnover. And developments in technology have in some way upset the balance between workloads, with increasingly fast systems which, however, need to be guided by more and more specific machine programs, the generation of which is increasingly time-consuming.
“We realised that we had to make our programming activities more efficient, to maximise the performance of the systems installed in the workshop,” Cera explains. “To do this in the best way, we started again from our market and our customers: working alongside them and tackling their day-to-day problems. We realised that they focused more on their parts, their units and their finished products than on the technologies used to produce them. At that point, the natural evolution of our range could only be an integrated solution, which allowed for activities to be programmed throughout the whole production process, in which technology was almost a transparent element. And so we came up with STREAM.”
STREAM is Salvagnini’s answer to the modern industrial context, a programming suite that improves reactivity and reduces costs, operating errors and process inefficiencies. STREAM is the integrated ecosystem for managing all activities in the office and on the factory floor, the only point of access for all technologies, from cutting to bending, meeting all planning, programming, production, management, control and optimisation needs throughout the production process.
“Our software solutions receive information on the finished objects to be produced directly from the company’s ERP system,” Cera continues. “Considering that programmers are more and more digital natives, far from the actual production technologies, STREAM helps them to manage activities with low added value: starting from the 3D version of the finished part, it automatically recreates an unfolded part and automatically adapts it to the bending technology used, complying with any conventional bending or panel bending constraints. The next step is the automatic creation of nests, which can be optimised for laser production, punching or even mixed laser-punching processes. The programmer becomes a supervisor, checking that the process runs smoothly and correctly, and takes over only when the process has to be modified or improved. He can ignore the technical specifications and typical constraints of workshop-based systems, because the software deals with these autonomously.”
The market demands compliance with normal production logics and a focus on the finished product, STREAM responds by upending the conventional logic of CAM/NEST software. Without forgetting that it can also be used to calculate costs, including upstream and downstream processes where necessary.
“This reality was unimaginable until a few years ago, but it makes programming and information flow management leaner,” Cera ends. “Only one other player on the market boasts the same broad range of hardware and software solutions that Salvagnini offers. But today, Salvagnini is the only one that supplies a single environment for managing all technologies: because integrated ecosystem means just that, being able to control punching machines, laser cutting systems, panel benders and press brakes in a single platform. A revolution for others, a natural evolution for us.”