More and more companies in the press brake industry are encountering major changes in market demand. Customers are looking for smaller series, which often consist of more complex products. Tools need to be changed more frequently, which means valuable time is being lost.
Faster set-up times and ‘first time right’ are becoming increasingly important in the drive to maintain productivity. How can Industry 4.0 help companies to remain competitive in this changing market?
Process control is becoming increasingly important. The lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) - and thus the strongest competitive position - can only be attained if the whole process is optimized. In Industry 4.0, machines, products and services are all part of the same data network, which means they can use each other's information to optimize the whole production process.
WILA is ready for a future based on Industry 4.0. Data communication and data management play an important role in the development of all our new products and technologies. Examples of this include TIPS (Tooling Identification and Positioning System), which allows us to add intelligence to the tooling system, and the Tool Advisor, which allows us to offer online tooling advice to users.
By incorporating electronics into clamping systems and intelligence into tools (smart tooling), it is possible to clearly identify the location of specific tools in clamping and storage systems. Human errors can be eliminated because bending is only carried out if the tool set-up matches the program selected in the operating software. In automated environments, robots can, for example, use TIPS technology to always select the correct set-up and realize efficient tool changes. Other errors, like when tools shift slightly or are accidentally knocked out of position by the operator, can also be eliminated from the bending process because the model and position of all the tools is reported to the operating software.
The Tool Advisor is another specific example of Industry 4.0. WILA has compiled and digitalized the knowledge behind our tooling advice, which means it is also available online. The main advantage of this is that customers can receive advice about their tool selection 24/7. Tool selection is evaluated in real time based on compatibility, load-bearing capacity, and production capability. Price and delivery time immediately appear on screen and orders can be placed on the spot. This means customers are no longer restricted by business hours or the availability of WILA employees. Business can continue as normal after office hours, thus guaranteeing you the fastest possible quote, ordering, and delivery process.