Special requirements in the metal processing industry

  • Supporting multiple falling tools
  • Rotary plate processing dealing with several work orders of various lot sizes and cycle times
  • Coil management more
  • Automatic transmittal of work orders to machine tools with pallet changer via RFID encoded pallets more
  • Assignment and explanation of performance losses in lot size 1 by allocating the ineffective time
  • Compilation of work orders to superior orders, for instance with respect to moulding lines
    (for more information on foundry specific-requirements, click here)
  • Monitoring of the pool of orders for moulding lines at the furnace
  • Parallel work orders of different lot sizes and target times carried out on one machine

Coil management with lock/unlock function

Coils are used as raw material in various work processes. It may happen that material defects are only detected in the production process when the coils are being unwound. It is therefore necessary to block coil material that is already in use even after the process. In addition, it is important to have a secured procedure of quality assurance measures.

For this purpose, the function “released” can be found in the setting functions of the coil management. After scanning/adding a new coil, the value “quality assurance” is automatically set. In this status, no data are transferred to the ERP system.

An employee – if applicable authorised for this purpose – can change the value to “unlock” from any client (for instance directly in the QA department). It is possible to reset the booking if the entry was made by mistake.

The value “locked” can be assigned to a coil even if the coiling process has already started. This function is essential if material problems are detected at a later point (for instance in the second half of the coil). Such coils can be “released” or “deleted” (scrapped) by QA.

Automatic transmittal of work orders in terms of pallet changing

The respective NC machines are equipped with pallet changers. Prior to processing, (different) workpieces are loaded on pallets so that (different kinds of) articles can successively be processed in the machine. At the end of processing, pallet change is carried out automatically. Therefore, it is not feasible to manually transfer the work order but to have it automatically transmitted. For this purpose, the worker has to assign the work orders to the pallets in advance.

For every processing machine a maximum of 15 pallets is in use. As soon as a pallet has been changed, the machine control performs an automatic identification. On this basis, FASTEC 4 PRO receives a 4 bits encoded signal that was transferred via a PLC used for interfacing. A code transmission with this signal indicates that the pallet has been changed and a new work order (a new article) has to be created accordingly.

The worker has to assign a unique pallet number to each work order in advance so that FASTEC 4 PRO assigns the transferred code to a work order.

An assignment is made via an order selection mask. All orders released for processing on the specific machine are listed in a mask. The worker can select up to 15 work orders in sequence and assign a unique pallet number to each order. The procedure is as follows:

The worker selects one work order of the list. A 4 x 4 matrix with the figures 1-15 (one field remains empty) opens by double-clicking on the selected order. These 15 fields represent the 15 pallets being available. Pallets which are already occupied are highlighted. The work order will be assigned to the respective pallet by selecting (clicking on) an available field. Additionally, a confirmation mask prompts the worker to confirm whether the selected work order shall be assigned to the respective pallet. After confirming the authentication query, a final assignment is made. If the procedure is cancelled, another pallet can be selected. A further button (cancel button) terminates the function.

If an assigned pallet is being processed, the work order will automatically be transferred to FASTEC 4 PRO.

Foundry-specific requirements

Compilation of work orders to superior orders, for instance with respect to moulding lines

The expected time of a superior order provides the slowest expected time of subordinate orders. The target quantities result from the sum of the subordinate orders’ target quantities. The superior order can be logged in and logged out like any regular order.

Monitoring the pool of orders for moulding lines at the furnace

In order to optimise the melting process energetically, it is important to know the status of the moulding lines being fitted as well as the status of the pool of orders at the furnace. The furnace-view provides this information on a large screen display. In the melting furnaces-view, job number, article, client, temperatures, materials, weight, moulding line failure or respectively downtime are easily identifiable. So, the employees are able to make appropriate set-up preparations and to weigh and provide the feedstock. If the sequence of the work orders is changed, the order list will be automatically adjusted in the furnace-view.

In the event of encountering unexpected breaks in the production process, energy-reducing actions can be taken immediately.

Parallel work orders of different lot sizes and target times carried out on one machine

Core shooters, like BICOR machines, can process three work orders at the same time due to three different core boxes (collecting stations) that circulate through the machine. Thus, it is mandatory that three different jobs are processed at the same time. There is no need that the job volumes are of identical size as job change can also be performed on only one station. The minimum cycle time of the machines is equal to the sum of the processing times of each collecting station. However, it is often the case that the three articles being processed have different target times.