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Bending/Folding

Shouldering the load

By Lynn Stanley

Above: The versatile Dyna-Cell can automate bending operations or allow the press brake to be used in manual mode.

Robotic bending cell supports domestic assembly line, helps OEM maintain growth trajectory

May 2021 - Kurt Schie started WoodMaxx Power Equipment Ltd. in 2008 after his search for a compact PTO chipper robust enough to clear multi-acre lots proved futile. The Army infantry veteran filled the market gap by designing and building the first Hydrostatic Auto-Feed PTO wood chipper in 2015. WoodMaxx outsourced parts for the product at first. Its success soon led the Akron, New York, company to add PTO backhoes, snow blowers, flail mowers and rotary tillers as well as skid steer mounted snow blowers, wood chippers and stump grinders.

Production Manager Tucker Smart was tasked to bring production for the PTO chipper in house and set up a domestic assembly line. It was a “huge undertaking,” he says. “In the beginning, I handled everything from purchasing, programming, running cutting and bending operations, and overseeing the assembly line. I was running from one job to the next. If I had some help, we were processing 24,000 lbs. of steel a day. If I was running the line by myself, I was cutting and forming 8,000 lbs. of steel per day.”

FFJ 0521 bending image1

Left: Production Manager Tucker Smart achieves consistent part accuracy with the Dyna-Cell’s Easy-Form Laser adaptive bending system.
Right: Tool changes are easy with the Dyna-Cell.

Helping hand

Schie, along with Smart and several engineers, worked to streamline the PTO chipper. The chipper’s patented hydrostatic infeed design gives it a product life cycle of 15 years. A sleeker profile coupled with domestic production helped WoodMaxx double its throughput.

“I’ve always had two or more jobs,” says Smart. “I learned my work ethic from my grandfather, Ron Smart Sr. He was a drill sergeant for 20 years. As a kid, one of the first things I worked for was a mobile flip phone. Now, I work to make a better life for my family.” But finding employees that share his work philosophy isn’t easy.

While Smart says he “doesn’t like asking for help,” LVD North America’s Dyna-Cell robotic bending cell caught the company’s attention.

“Nobody wants the job of running a press brake,” says Matt Farley, sales manager, LVD. “That trend helped influence LVD’s development of the Dyna-Cell, which we introduced in 2018. Robotics have come a long way since the days when manufacturers had to manually manipulate a robot, program its passes and save the data. Making an investment in a robot could be prohibitive unless the manufacturer was running 10,000 parts or more because of how much time it took to perform job setups. Now we have software that calculates all of that in seconds without human intervention.”

The Dyna-Cell combines a high-speed electric press brake with an industrial robot. The compact machine automates bending operations for small- to medium-sized parts in diverse batch sizes at bending speeds up to 25 mm per second. “The press brake can be run manually too,” says Farley. “Other automated cells don’t have that capability.”

WoodMaxx installed a 46-ton, 5-ft. Dyna-Cell in 2020 to complement its LVD 150-ton, 10-ft. ToolCell automated tool-changing press brake. The company also opted for the Easy-Form Laser adaptive bending system for its Dyna-Cell. The in-process angle monitoring system calculates bend angles during part forming, delivering accuracy to 20 minutes on every part. “Each degree represents 60 minutes,” says Dan Costa, LVD’s associate press brake product sales manager. “If we convert an accuracy rating of 20 minutes to a fraction, we’re talking about 1/3 of a degree. The Easy-Form Laser system calculates each bend. If there is a material discrepancy, the machine is still able to deliver a precision bend angle.”

WoodMaxx uses the Dyna-Cell to form chute mount rotator brackets, belt and pump covers, infeed bin and infeed roller parts from hot roll and cold rolled pickled steel. “We can process anything under 7 lbs. and smaller than 15 in. by 20 in.,” says Smart.

FFJ 0521 bending image2

The Dyna-Cell automates the bending of small- to medium-sized parts in varying batch sizes at bending speeds of up to
25 mm per second.

Bending parts

The Dyna-Cell’s software and intuitive control also proved beneficial. “The WoodMaxx team saw the Dyna-Cell demonstrated at LVD’s Belgium headquarters,” says Farley. “Of the 10 parts we collected to test run on the Dyna-Cell, several of the components presented a forming hurdle. We evaluated the parts and discussed some ways the designs might be modified.”

Smart, who programs the Dyna-Cell, found another workaround option with the perceptive touch-screen control and its fully integrated CADMAN software suite. “When it came to programming, I was used to calculating the math myself on our previous machine,” he says. “That experience allowed me to ask the right questions with the Dyna-Cell. Ultimately, we didn’t have to modify those part designs. The flexibility and responsiveness of the controller allowed me to “finesse” the software to bend those parts.”

As WoodMaxx expands its workload on the Dyna-Cell, the team plans to design parts specifically for the robotic bending cell’s capabilities. For now, Smart is enjoying being able to form parts in groups and reduce the amount of time he has to spend tending the assembly line’s operations. “It’s night and day compared to where I started,” he says.  FFJ

Sources

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Company Profiles

AIR FILTRATION

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Beckwood Press Co. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters Triform

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc.

LASER TECHNOLOGY

Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

AMADA AMERICA, INC.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. Mazak Optonics Corp. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC MC Machinery Systems Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SigmaTEK Systems LLC

BEVELING

Murata Machinery, USA, Inc. Davi Inc. Striker Systems
Steelmax Tools LLC TRUMPF Inc.

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

COIL PROCESSING

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Bradbury Group MTS Sensors Rolleri USA

STEEL

Burghardt + Schmidt Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

PRESS BRAKES

Alliance Steel
Butech Bliss Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC.

TUBE & PIPE

Red Bud Industries UFP Industrial Automec Inc. BLM Group
Tishken

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

MC Machinery Systems Inc. Prudential Stainless & Alloys

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

Advanced Gauging Technologies SafanDarley

WATERJET

Mayfran International

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

PUNCHING

Barton International

DEBURRING/FINISHING

Cincinnati Inc. Hougen Manufacturing Flow International Corporation
ATI Industrial Automation LVD Strippit

SAWING

Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
Lissmac Corp. Scotchman Industries Inc. Behringer Saws Inc.

WELDING

Osborn Trilogy Machinery Inc. DoALL Sawing American Weldquip
SuperMax Tools

METAL FORMING

HE&M Saw Strong Hand Tools
Timesavers FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. Savage Saws T. J. Snow Company

 

MetalForming Inc.

 

 

 

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

 

 

 

Titan Tool Supply Inc.

 

 


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