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New cooperation: Digital transformation for die casting

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Toyota Industries Corporation and Siemens have cooperated to develop artificial intelligence (AI) that can predict product abnormalities in aluminum die casting, a key process in automotive air conditioning compressor production -also to support their goal of manufacturing quality parts.

The development is one of the world’s first to use defect prediction AI for die casting. It improves quality and productivity by utilizing the AI application in Industrial Edge, the Siemens edge computing platform for industry. The initiative is an innovative example of digital transformation in manufacturing, and Toyota Industries Corporation aims to use it to further evolve their technology and incorporate it into their production plants in Japan and overseas. Siemens hopes that more businesses in the manufacturing industry will adopt their digitalization and automation solutions such as Industrial Edge.

The die casting process is challenging to manage due to a range of constantly changing production conditions such as variations in the molten aluminum temperature or the injection rate. Success relies on the judgement of experienced workers, and sometimes the parts require secondary processing to handle abnormalities and maintain high quality standards.

During development, the two companies used a Siemens Simatic S7-1500 controller to gather big data totaling approximately 40,000 data points per die casting shot at the model line and then analyzed the data using AI technology. They succeeded in preventing defects and improving quality by monitoring the production status in real time and automatically predicting equipment abnormalities that lead to quality issues. The production data is processed by the defect prediction AI on Industrial Edge, enabling instant analysis of the data on production conditions at the time of a shot and assessment of the part quality immediately after the casting. This series of AI technologies boosts productivity, improves quality, and transforms how operators work

Aluminum die casting is a high-speed molding process in which molten aluminum is shot into a die at high pressure. It is ideal for the accurate manufacture of metal cast parts that demand high dimensional precision, and therefore is often used for automotive parts that require high quality and reliability. The aluminum die cast parts made at the Toyota Industries Corporation production plant in Obu, Japan, have excellent airtightness and high pressure resistance. They are essential for the highquality Toyota Industries Corporation compressors used in automotive air conditioning, a field in which they proudly hold the largest share of the global market*.

Siemens aimed to contribute to operational improvements with Siemens Industrial Edge, while Toyota Industries Corporation aimed to increase quality and productivity. The alignment of these goals with the die casting process led to this development, during which they demonstrated proof of concept across two years and achieved a successful outcome. Based on this result, they will continue pursuing technological advancements in order to provide better products for their customers throughout the world.

 

“Digital transformation is a game changer. I am delighted to have the opportunity to partner with Toyota Industries Corporation in this revolutionary endeavor and to work together to forge the future. We will continue to develop and provide solutions for industries incorporating the latest technologies and to contribute to optimized and sustainable manufacturing.”

– Rainer Brehm, CEO of Factory Automation, Siemens AG

 

“It is significant that Toyota Industries Corporation has successfully implemented AI technology and achieved outcomes in the die casting process, which is where important compressor parts are produced. I am also proud that we have contributed to the practical use of Industrial Edge, the Siemens edge computing platform for industry,” says Yuji Ishizaki, Senior Executive Officer, Member of the Board and General Manager of Compressor Division, Toyota Industries Corporation. “We will continue to offer new value for customers and to pursue even better working methods by embracing the use of advanced digital technologies in the production field.”

Mechanical Processes News

Electrochemical sensors provide new possibilities

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The opportunity to introduce an electrochemical sensor to the market is closer than ever. Metrohm DropSens produces customized electrochemical sensors through a scalable and cost-effective manufacturing process with no quantity limits. An idea, an application, or an incipient research task can be turned into a world-class, certified, market-ready solution that meets individual requirements, regardless of industry or specific need.

Metrohm DropSens’ ability to develop and manufacture both customized and large-volume electrochemical solutions offers great opportunities for the development of sensors and biosensors on small sensor strips. Many projects and research work can gain new perspectives. thanks to the professional manufacturing, which, in addition to cost-efficient production, guarantees the highest product quality and stability, as well as delivery capability without the risk of delivery bottlenecks.

Thanks to the customizability of these sensors, a wide range of modifications and options are possible, such as spatial arrangement, shape, area, substrate and an extensive selection of different materials. This versatility allows the sensor to be adapted to applications from different market areas and sectors in order to measure a wide range of parameters. Suitable areas include health, food and beverage analysis, environmental analysis, water contamination, detection of drugs, viruses, agriculture and animal husbandry, to name a few.

Custom production and large-scale manufacturing of electrochemical sensors can be a suitable way to reach the market, respond to new analytical tasks and achieve high-performance, as well as accurate measurement results: a desired goal, for many fields and industries. From small-scale prototyping to large-scale sensor production, support is provided here throughout the entire process: from initial conception to in-depth prototype design and results with the highest quality standards, always accompanied by a global, reliable and competent service.

 

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Conveying & Filling, Packaging, Labeling & Storage News Quality Management

Cooperation for sustainable investment

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KHS and Martens are continuing their joint strategy for reducing packaging material. Just last year the traditional Belgian brewery invested in an Innopack Nature MultiPack machine which uses adhesive dots to join PET bottles into stable packs. Now the group is planning to purchase a second NMP machine, which processes cans, from KHS. Thanks to the expansion the brewery will have greater flexibility to meet the market’s growing demand for environmentally friendly packaging. The NMP project is just one example of the Dortmund-based full-range supplier’s steadily growing portfolio of sustainable packaging solutions.

Since 2020 the company has been relying on the material-saving Nature MultiPack from KHS. Together the long-standing partners implemented film-free six-packs made of PET bottles for the retail trade. The response to the alternative to classic shrink film has been very positive:

 

“We were able to convince both our customers and consumers. The high demand shows that environmentally friendly packaging is in high demand.”

– Jan Martens, Brewery Manager

 

Into new markets with Nature MultiPack

Thanks to the new line, the Belgian beer producer will in future be able to process not only PET bottles but also cans into stable yet easily separable packs. This eliminates the need for shrink film or cardboard packaging and reduces material consumption by up to 90 percent. “This benefits both consumers and the environment,” says the brewery boss.

While the brewery produces at an output of up to 54,000 containers per hour, which is sufficient for them, KHS now also offers the Innopack NatureMultiPack machine for the high-performance range. This further developed variant enables up to 90,000 containers per hour – and even up to 108,000 if the capacity is exceeded.

This should make it possible to penetrate new markets. “Retailers are increasingly looking for environmentally friendly packaging options. I am very confident that our resource-saving Nature MultiPack solutions will meet with great interest,” predicts the brewery boss. Now his brewery has the necessary flexibility to meet the current needs of the trade in the best possible way.

 

Secondary packaging: KHS offers an extensive portfolio

The Nature MultiPack is just one example of the continuously increasing variety of sustainable and forward-looking secondary packaging from KHS. The Dortmund-based full-range supplier pursues a clear strategy of taking a holistic view, as Sören Storbeck, Global Product Account Manager Packaging at KHS, explains, “Our overriding aim Page 3 of 6 is to meet every need of our customers in the best possible way. We therefore rely on a comprehensive portfolio of line and packaging solutions, as well as on our global service network, which is available to our customers around the clock.”

The line manufacturer’s latest innovations include the Innopack Kisters Wraparound Shrink Paper Packer (WSPP A), which can pack cans either in paper, cardboard or film. This variety is made possible by the modular design of all Innopack Kisters machines. This allows existing models to be quickly and flexibly retrofitted with additional paper functionality. With its combination of different process modules, a WSPP A, for example, can process three different types of secondary packaging: the wraparound carton, the tray, and the pad, which can be wrapped either in paper or shrink film. As of now, it is also possible to process film made from 100 percent recyclate on Innopack Kisters machines – without any loss of quality or performance.

Another pioneering packaging alternative can be produced with the new Innopack Kisters CNP (Carton Nature Packer). This high-performance, flexible packer uses corrugated cardboard and solid board tops to join cans together to form rigid packs. KHS’ development spirit doesn’t stop there, however: “We’re striving for even more efficient and sustainable solutions – whether in the field of primary, secondary, or tertiary packaging,” says Storbeck. “Together with our customers and partners we’re constantly working on conserving even more resources and further strengthening the recycling loop.”

 

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Food & Beverage News

Innovation from proven technology

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Because of the dust which arises when products are created, grinding places particularly high demands on the technology used. The design of a grinding plant with regard to safety, for both machines and their operators. The pressure shock resistant design of the complete grinding system up to an explosion overpressure of 10 bar(g) is the most frequently used version, which, however, is associated with a high level of equipment and corresponding space requirements.

Thanks to the ATEX-compliant Condux® Compact plant concept, the installation of a high performance grinding plant for numerous products is now much easier, since explosion protection valves or explosion suppression devices, explosion isolators, fans and even conventional dust filter systems are no longer required with the newly developed plant concept.

The idea of a compact grinding system is not new but existing solutions show significant disadvantages when it comes to cleaning efforts and hygienic design. NETZSCH has therefore improved the decisive points of its concept once again: The footprint or space requirement of the compact plant is 80 % less than that of comparable standard grinding plants with the same throughput capacities. This also has an effect on the investment costs, which are approximately 30 % lower. By using the newly developed CycloFil cyclone filter in the system, the integrated pre-separation of the grinding stock and the recirculation of the process gas allow a filter area that is over 90 % smaller than that of comparable mill sizes. With CycloFil, the degree of separation can be adapted to the operator’s requirements by means of exchangeable immersion tubes.

These features of the new system result in various advantages. For example, the grinding system can be easily integrated into existing production systems thanks to the minimal space requirement, and the necessary cleaning when changing products is extremely quick thanks to easy access to the parts in contact with the product.

The well-proven Impact Mill Condux® is the basis machine of this grinding system. The products are ground within this mill mainly by impact and shearing action. For use with a wide variety of products and final finenesses, this machine is available in various executions, as either a blast mill, pin-disc mill or wing-beater mill.Press release – NETZSCH Grinding & Dispersing In contrast to conventional grinding plants, the processing gas in the streams in a circular motion. The product is fed directly to the mill via a pressureshock-resistant rotary valve and discharged after the grinding process via a separator with air lock. Parallel to this, the additional rinsing air fed through the valves and mill bearing is continuously discharged through the CycloFil to prevent a build-up of pressure. A subsequent aspiration system generates the vacuum needed to stabilise the system pressure.

Thanks to the innovative CycloFil cyclone filter, the supplied energy is dissipated via the product and the system surface, so that no additional cooling is required. The warmth produced by the grinding process is mainly compensated along with the product when it leaves the machine and to a smaller extent by the system surface, and is therefore throughput dependent.

The expected temperature increase, for e.g. of ground powdered sugar (d90 = 100 μm) is normally in the range of ∆T = 10-25°C. For a large range of products the warming has no influence on the quality or the downstream process. For the grinding of particularly temperature-sensitive products, the system can be additionally cooled with liquid nitrogen. Especially the degree of innovation of the System was confirmed recently by the Fi Europe Innovation Award jury, who awarded the fine impact mill Condux® Compact as the winner of the Food Tech Innovation Award for the most innovative technical processing solution for food ingredients.

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