Ultra Compact System for Accurate Predictive Maintenance System in Screw and Nut Manufacturing
This global leader in screw manufacturing partnered with Advantech to create a predictive maintenance system for screw forming machines. With a production capacity of 6.6 billion nuts per year, the company depends highly on automated manufacturing equipment. As such, the risk of considerable losses in the event of equipment failure is high. Previously, experienced technician shad to literally listen to the equipment and identify the source of a problem when a machine would make unusual noises.However, this subjective troubleshooting method is relatively limited, particularly given the noise levels of factories, difficulty in transferring experience other workers, and the unique sounds that different machines make. To rectify this problem, the company invested in predictive maintenance. Initially, they considered purchasing a solution from a major overseas automation vendor.However, because of the high cost, the company sought a local system integrator.
Finding a local manufacturer suitable for this task proved difficult,primarily because working with screw forming machines requires considerable specialized knowledge. Most equipment suppliers and system integrator lack relevant experience and would likely need to invest time and effort into research and development. Even after system implementation, calibration would require substantial effort,and system performance would unlikely be sufficient. Eventually,a professional system integrator was contracted to implement the system with Advantech's products. Leveraging Advantech’s extensive experience in this field, the screw manufacturer successfully completed its predictive maintenance system
To create an optimal system, sufficient technical expertise in screw forming is imperative. In the process, metal wires are cut and then passed through a cold forging press three times before the screws are formed. Subsequently, the rough cut must go through several operations, including turning, thread rolling, heat treatment, and electroplating before they are completed. The most important step in this procedure is cold forging. Because this process requires up to dozens of tons of pressure to impact the screw die, the die's lifespan is difficult to estimate. Replacing it too early would be too costly,while delaying its replacement might damage the machine and delay production. Thus, accurately estimating the die's useful life is critical.
Advantech proposed using an IPC-240 chassis with an PCE-2129 motherboard, a PCIE-1810 analog multi function card (500-KS/s, 12-bit, 16-channel), and a customized PCLD-8712SSO signal-conditioning terminal block. The operation of the overall system is as follows: a piezoelectric sensor is installed in the forming machine to monitor the stamping waveform to determine the degree of deterioration of the die in order to ensure timely replacement.
The key performance indicator that the company sought to improve by implementing the predictive maintenance system was the availability rate. Following installation of the system, the screw forming machines used by the company can now accurately detect the status of each die, and the likelihood of equipment failure has been significantly reduced.
The screw forming machine is a typical example of an industrialIoT (IIoT) application, which must be constructed on the basis of specialized knowledge about vertical markets. For screw forming machines, because the stamping pressure exerted on the die is extremely high and because screws are produced in large volumes at very high speeds, accurately detecting the die status is inherently difficult, which is why adequate industry experience is essential in deriving the optimal implementation method. Advantech equipped the forging mold with sensors; by continuously analyzing the vibration wave forms to determine the mold’s condition, the entire system was completed in less than 6 months, including design, testing,implementation, and calibration.For smart factories of the future, IIoT will be the principal framework for manufacturing systems. However, there are many types of manufacturing, each involving a different set of products and vastly different automation equipment. Thus, the development of IIoT systems relies on the expertise of system integrator and equipment suppliers for systems to be built in a reasonable time frame.