Working through the integration of new equipment into an existing line
Equipment manufacturers help customers find ways to invest in increasing efficiencies
By Jaswinder Bhatti, VP Applications Engineering, Samco Machinery
You’ve got a roll forming line and it’s running steady, churning out product to keep your customers happy. That’s a good thing.
Roll forming evolved from hand tools to small brakes to larger brakes. Today’s roll forming lines bend metals that no hand tools or brakes could come close to forming. Roll forming lines have helped metal shops become more efficient and be more profitable.
Efficiency leads to profitability. Is your roll forming line as efficient as it can be? Assuming your roll former is producing as fast as it’s capable of, how can you improve the efficiency of your line? You can add equipment to your line to make it more efficient – it can be added in the front, in the middle and/or at the back end of your line. This equipment eliminates processes that can save labor and time.
Front end efficiency
The speed at which metal enters the front end of your roll former obviously affects the speed of the forming process. Accumulators are a great way to keep your roll former running. Coil coming off the uncoiler goes into the accumulator, where it is then fed into the roll former. When the entire coil is in the accumulator, the coil can be changed without stopping the roll forming process. Once the new coil is in place, it runs material into the accumulator. Tube mills look to add accumulators to run metal through a punching system. The punching system can be set up to produce hundreds of configurations without changing dies. Configurations changes require a simple programming change, saving time.
Integrating equipment in the middle of your line is another possibility. High-frequency welding systems and spot welding systems can help make the line more efficient because they do not slow down the roll forming process. Samco integrates welding most frequently in our Step Beam lines (https://youtu.be/-Xes6wypCIk
Toggle locking is another inline process in consumer-product applications where sheet metal components are interlocked, fastened to itself without welding or fasteners.
End line efficiency
When the roll forming process is completed, what happens to your finished product? Various material handling solutions could be integrated at the end of the roll forming line to improve efficiency. Samco offers a variety of options including bundlers, stackers, and pick and place units. (https://youtu.be/PhMrvIKqhac
Product can be strapped and/or shrink-wrapped for packaging. Protective sheets can be placed on top or bottom of packages. Blocks can be added to the bottom of packages so they can be easily moved by robotic lifts that then stack packages in a safe pyramid for shipping. Two great examples of this are the Samco Max Stacker
Getting efficiency and complete part-by-part through integrating all the processes:
Front End system
- Double ended uncoiler – while one side is running, second side coil can be loaded to minimize the down time.
- Coil car – coil could be loaded on the coil car while uncoiler still running, helps when you’re sharing a crane … you will have time to load coil on car.
- End shear welder – allow operator to join the trailing edge of running coil and leading edge of new coil to save time on feeding the coil through the whole line. Also saves on maintenance and eliminates damage due to feeding each coil.
- Accumulator – Line doesn’t have to stop for coil change, and saves you 10-15 minutes per coil change (see picture below).
- Pick & Place systems
Picture Courtesy Kent Corporation
Punching System with Hydraulic, Mechanical presses
- Pre-piercing hole
- Embossing with holes/without holes
- Trimming edges in line
- Lancing and Expanding strip
- Embossing and threading
- Open profiles
- Close profiles with welded
- Close profiles with lock seam
- Two different profiles and forming into each other
Post punching systems
- Lancing (picture below right)
- Toggle locking
- Swaging (picture below left)
- Inline double sweep
Cut off systems
- Closed loop systems
- Open loop systems
- Cutting slug type
- Cutting slug less
- Cutting with mitre
- Stacking /bundling
- Shrink wrapping
- Adding plastic/paper sheet between each part
- Adding dunnage and strapping
- Bubble wrapping