Skip to main content

Integrating Punching and Laser Coil Technology for Metal Manufacturing Industry

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Efficoil (Integrating Punching and Laser Coil Technology for Metal Manufacturing Industry)

Reporting period: 2018-10-01 to 2019-09-30

EffiCOIL project tackled a problem raised by the markets where Produtech has been operating for several years: obtaining metal parts through complex processes with a simple, economical and space-saving system. A system that eliminates demanding set-up operations and laborious operations for loading / unloading the workparts on several machines, in order to obtain the processes producing the final workparts. To meet these need, Produtech designed a system that is coil fed and joins the two main technologies for producing metal parts on a single machine: punching / forming with mechanical tools and optic-fibre laser cutting. EffiCOIL is a compact system with little space occupancy, economical and easy to use, which allows to produce metal parts of any types, from the simplest to the most complex, without subsequent restarts. This innovative and unique solution on the market derived from the expertise gained by Produtech in the construction of systems for processing sheet metal starting from coils. Building EffiCOIL contributed - with a high-quality technological product - to complete the range of sheet metal processing machines constructed by Produtech, providing greater incisiveness to its marketing and sales activities. EffiCOIL is a coveted machine by the market for its innovative features, and enhances productions carried out with direct coil feeding, boosting all coil feeding advantages, with a promotional effect on the whole Produtech product range. The activities implemented with EffiCOIL construction and commissioning are producing important results with the identification of new sellers / agents willing to propose Produtech systems – especially, EffiCOIL – on their target sales areas. So, Produtech market penetration was strengthened in some countries and new country markets with high sales interest were penetrated, which will lead to a progressive increase in Produtech turnover.
The aim of the work carried out in the first period was to complete the design of the entire EffiCOIL machine. Once the design has been completed, the mechanical parts to be constructed have been developed, choosing for each of them the most suitable material most compliant with the functions to be performed, the required heat treatments and the suitable surface finishes. Once the mechanical parts were built and completed with all the finishing processes, we started the assembly activities of the units and the systems that form the EffiCOIL machine. When we completed the assembly of the prototype machines and put in line with each other to form the EffiCOIL machine, the first commissioning activities began with the upload of the axis parameters on the drives that operate the motors, to check the conformity of the movements, the speeds, the accelerations of each operational axis. In parallel, we have planned and developed different activities to promote and disseminate the EffiCOIL project.
The work developed in the second period consisted in verifying the functioning of the first EffiCOIL prototype. With the functional tests all the interventions for modifying and improving the points identified as not fully compliant with the data set in the project and not fully satisfactory in terms of functional results, have been implemented. Strong commitment was dedicated to the development of software programs to be installed on EffiCOIL. The machine is equipped with operating units making a considerable range of sheet metal processes by using various mechanical tools for shearing / punching and forming, and together with this, it can simultaneously cut any shapes with high speed and quality leveraging the optic fibre laser: there capabilities require a complex and complete software system knowing how to well use all the available operational functions, in order to obtain the best production results. The work for optimizing EffiCOIL prototype allowed us to present a perfectly operating system, able to show the production of finished metal workparts with complex processes, with fully automatic cycles and all the advantages deriving from sheet feeding directly with coil. The live show of these EffiCOIL advantages to customers, salesmen, agents and new contacts, had extraordinary effectiveness, considering that a completely new product is proposed; since it is unique on the market, it had to be discovered and verified. The end markets include metal parts producers with long experience in their sector, who are therefore deeply competent and not only wish to listen to the description of EffiCOIL benefits and advantages, but also wish to make production tests on the workparts interesting for them. The results - although still at an early stage – have already been obtained through numerous offer inquiries for supplying EffiCOIL systems. Several negotiations are well on track to transform the offers into purchase orders, both on markets where Produtech is already present (U.S.A. Germany, Poland, Italy) and on new markets, where EffiCOIL proposal facilitated the identification of new sellers and – together with them – contacts with potential new customers (France, Denmark, Brazil).
The results obtained with EffiCOIL final commissioning certify the achievement of all the expectations set in the initial project and the production tests proved EffiCOIL capability to produce metal parts in an innovative and unique way on the market. The first important result obtained was making feasible and fully operational the production of two different technologies – the first with mechanical tools, and the second with a fibre laser source – both on a coil-fed machine. Basing on this first important result, all the technological developments forming EffiCOIL were optimized and industrialized. The movement of the axis driving the mechanical tools in the punching and deformation system with mechatronic system, allowed to obtain speed control and positioning precision that improved the processing quality, but also reduce tools wear and significantly reduced the noise caused by tools impact on sheet. This results in less noise pollution. Also, this system replaced the hydraulic system, normally used to operate the punching machines: this means eliminating the use of potentially polluting liquid such as hydraulic oil. In addition, the use of the most advanced axis motion technology (in particular, linear motors, torque motors, optical linear measurement lines and ring encoders for angular measurements) provides the operating units with positioning speed and accuracy, and eliminated the traditional mechanical transmissions and lubrication activities producing fumes and oil mist dispersion in the environment.
Punching - forming unit
EffiCOIL accessory machines
Laser cutting unit
EffiCOIL system
Overall view of an EffiCOIL machine
Front view of EffiCOIL main machine with punching (left side) and laser cutting (right side) units