Cleveland, Ohio -- In a tradition dating to the 1600s, businesses in the United States are giving families time to reflect on the things for which we are thankful. Read more about the history of the Thanksgiving holiday here.
New Hudson, Michigan – SW North America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Schwäbische Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH, headquartered in Schramberg-Waldmössingen, Germany, dedicated its new 40,000ft2, $12 million manufacturing facility in New Hudson, Michigan. In attendance were managing directors from Germany, local and county officials, and invited suppliers and customers.
SW North America Inc. is a designer and manufacturer of high-precision multi-spindle horizontal machining centers and manufacturing systems for the metalworking industry. The company specializes in providing manufacturing solutions for machining mid- to high-volume, prismatic components using 4- and 5-axis multi-spindle technologies.
“Our New Hudson manufacturing facility allows SW North America, Inc. to expand its foothold in the growing automotive market while increasing its customer base in the industrial, aerospace and defense, alternative energy, transportation, consumer products, and medical sectors,” says James Campbell, president/CSO, SW North America.
Mark Reichenbacher, president/CEO, SW North America, added that the company will employ 50 people at the new facility.
SW is located at 30160 Lyon Industrial Court in New Hudson. The company previously operated a small office in Canton, Michigan. Other manufacturing facilities are located in Germany, China, and Mexico. Company officials stated expansion for added manufacturing activity at the New Hudson facility can be expected to begin as early as next year.
Southfield, Michigan – Federal-Mogul Powertrain has pirchased UK-based Controlled Power Technologies (CPT), a maker of electric superchargers and other hybrid-electric powertrain components. Financial details of the acquisition have not been released.
CPT develops 12V and 48V electric motor-generators for start-stop applica-tions, mild hybridization, exhaust-driven electrification technologies, e-boosting for combustion engines, e-compressors for fuel cells, and similar products. These provide powertrain manufacturers with fuel economy improvement, drivability, performance enhancement, and emissions reductions for passenger cars, com-mercial vehicles, and industrial engines.
"The acquisition of CPT significantly expands the scope of Federal-Mogul Powertrain's business," says Federal-Mogul Powertrain CEO Rainer Jueckstock. "Stringent emissions targets can only be met through a combination of improved efficiency of combustion engines with measures like reduced internal friction or advanced combustion strategies as well as through further electrification of the powertrain. With the acquisition of CPT, Federal-Mogul Powertrain now has access to leading technologies in each of these areas."
Some of the key product families within CPT's portfolio are:
- CPT SpeedStart, CPT SpeedTorq: motor-generators for engine and driveline electrification
- COBRA: liquid-cooled electric superchargers
- COBRA FC: air supply solutions for fuel cells
- TIGERS: energy recovery systems that recuperate energy from exhaust gasses to generate electricity
"While internal combustion engines will continue to play a vital role for many years to come, we see hybridization and electrification of powertrains as a key enabler for vehicle manufacturers to reduce emissions," explains Rick Llope, senior vice president global sales and corporate strategy, Federal-Mogul Powertrain.
(Left) Beckwood twin hydraulic presses, each 1,400-ton plus quick die change (QDC) assembly with 15,000 lb load capacity and T-table staging devices for fully automated workflow. (Center) Siemens motion control and HMI are used on the entire system, with safety integrated features, allowing operators to remain outside the work envelope. (Right) Press/QDC workcell
Beckwood Corp. in Fenton, Missouri, manufactures custom hydraulic presses, automation systems, and Triform precision forming equipment. A specialty is developing aerospace forming technologies engineered for accuracy and repeatability. One customer, a metalform fabricator and producer of components for the commercial and military aircraft sectors, brought Beckwood a challenge. The company sought a turnkey package consisting of two 1,400-ton hydraulic presses and two automated stamping die handling systems to load and unload the presses more efficiently than the forklift and manual labor it was using. The presses and quick die change (QDC) workcells will form a variety of parts in relatively low volumes, so the system needed automated die handling in addition to a 42" diameter deep-draw sheet hydroforming press with staging table. Such a press would be the largest of its kind in the world.
A critical challenge was the need for a QDC system with 15,000 lb capacity to feed each 1,400-ton press. Beckwood’s lead electrical engineer John Harte explains, “We decided to design, engineer, and build the system ourselves.”
The presses each had a footprint approximately 30ft square, and the QDC would need to service the presses with T-table staging devices, allowing the next die to be prepped and ready to insert upon completion of the previous run cycle.
With the high degree of automation, Beckwood engineers worked with the customer’s engineering staff to devise a workcell comprised of two 4-post presses, each with a QDC system including a cart, rack, and T-table with 15,000 lb load capacity. Each press would be more than 33ft tall and positioned in a 10ft deep pit.
The customer, a longtime user of Siemens motion control and HMI, specified this supplier for the project. Harte contacted Derek Eastep, his account manager for Siemens, to specify the drives, PLCs, displays, and motion controllers. The motion controller was critical for operating press movements, motor starters, QDC integration, light curtains that protect the workcell and operators, plus area scanners that maintain the entire cell’s integrated safety-condition monitoring.
The customer, experienced with Siemens controls, set up the system logic and data logging, with the Beckwood team integrating the QDC and overall cell management.
The QDC operates in tandem with the two presses, using four 15hp motors to drive the lead screws on the massive die handling system, electrically geared through the onboard Siemens PLC to move the ram and shuttle. The two presses feature replaceable, graphite-impregnated bronze bushings and solid chrome-plated posts to ensure precision ram guidance. Additional motors and drives on the feed tables allow the next die to be positioned during press operation. When a press cycle is completed, air bags on the feed tables lift the next die for positioning onto the QDC, then a shuttle inserts the die inside the press, with all motion controlled by the PLC. Beckwood staff designed, engineered, built, and tested the T-tables and the QDC at the factory prior to shipment and installation at the customer’s facility. Beckwood and Siemens personnel were active in the commissioning the entire system.
The PLC, a Siemens S7-1515, integrates function control, safety, and condition display in a single module with Profinet protocol for bus communication. Through the TIA Portal and Step 7 software provided by Siemens, the end user can customize the operation of the devices remotely, integrating multiple part files and related safety commands in one controller. This library feature allows the end user to use one software package to program efficiently when running a variety of parts during a shift. Safety switches on the entire system also are programmed through this secure and redundant safety back-up software through the TIA Portal.
All motor movements on the twin four-post presses are controlled with Siemens drive technology. In operation, the Beckwood presses with the QDC systems are expected to reduce die setup and changeover from approximately 2 hours to 10 minutes.
As Siemens’ Eastep notes, “We performed the application engineering with Beckwood and their customer fully confident that the system would be set up and running in a relatively short time, as all parties had good familiarity with our protocols.”
Beckwood’s Harte adds, “We used the Selector, Sizer, and Starter engineering tools from Siemens to spec and commission the drives, which saved a substantial amount of time.”
The success of this first-of-kind press and QDC workcell, built by Beckwood with the help of its controls supplier Siemens, bears out the words of Josh Dixon, Beckwood’s director of sales and marketing, who says, “We hate the word ‘no.’”
Beckwood’s built-to-order machines are engineered to serve a variety of industries, and staff are often able to recommend process improvements that customers may not have known or considered, to improve their manufacturing operations. Beyond metal forming, the company also manufactures presses to form rubber, plastic, composites, and other materials.
Hoffman Estates, Illinois – DMG MORI and Schaeffler AG are developing a process to use additive manufacturing to make roller bearings. Schaeffler engineers are using a Lasertec 65 3D hybrid machine to develop the process.
The machine offers laser deposition welding, enabling it to build components from powdered metal, following by machining. So additive and subtractive steps can be done in a single setup.
The Lasertec 65 3D hybrid uses two powder feeders and enables targeted control of the changeover from one material to another during laser deposition welding. This results in graded materials with a smooth transition between the different material properties. The toughness and hardness of the material can be regulated in the build-up process and optimally aligned to the specific requirements of the individual application.
Schaeffler and DMG MORI are testing suitable materials in the cooperation project, with the aim of advancing the development of additively manufactured rolling bearing components in small batch sizes.
Schaeffler engineers also hope to use the machine for development of electric racing car components for the Formula E electric race series. Material gradation could allow the deposition of magnetic and non-magnetic materials. Because electric motors use magnets so extensively, creating parts with adjustable levels of magnetic particles could be valuable for electric vehicle components.