If you type “press” into the search engine, you’ll probably be asked if you don’t mean “print”. And the search results are useless by the page. “Push” is considered a push, uh, typo. You can get further with “metal pressing”. In short: spinning is an old, but today very exotic method of metalworking.
Lampshades, rocket, aircraft and external tank lugs, cooking pots, bowls and strainers, wheel bowls and container bases – for many of these items, spinning, which is a bit like turning and a bit like pottery, is often still the manufacturing method of choice. Pressing can be done manually or mechanically.
The continuous optimization of machine spinning is a task that the machine manufacturer Abacus has been successfully implementing for many years. Now the Osnabrück-based company has achieved a new breakthrough: Not only the spinning process itself, but also the maintenance of the plant and ultimately also the product quality can be significantly optimized on the basis of an intelligent database connection developed in-house. Under the new term “Premo global spinning 4.future”, Abacus now presents an innovative approach to plant control and monitoring – including the optional use of augmented reality for even greater clarity and fast access.
Increase service life and make all processes more transparent in order to raise quality management to a higher level: Ultimately, customers should benefit from this. At the beginning of the new development, the goals were not so ambitious: Abacus originally wanted to optimize the maintenance of its Premo spinning machines on the basis of extensive data acquisition for higher system availability. However, after integrating numerous sensors and evaluating the data obtained, it became clear that the new solution could do much more than just give condition-based maintenance an additional boost.
With “PREMO global spinning 4.future”, Abacus has now developed its own platform that visualizes the plant conditions in real time and opens up new control options. In addition, this platform can improve product quality at the user of the spinning technology for sustainable lifecycle management.
Completely new dimensions in plant monitoring and operation
“Long service lives and maximum machine availability are decisive competitive factors for our customers. Initially, we explored how we could offer our clients additional added value via Condition Based Maintenance of our Premo spinning machines. In the course of this project, even we ourselves were a little surprised at the additional benefits that could be generated,” explains Derk Weber, one of the two managing directors of Abacus Maschinenbau GmbH.
Because when the developers at Abacus realized that monitoring numerous process parameters would enable entirely new conclusions to be drawn, the project took on an unforeseen dimension: “The precise display of plant states extends right down to individual components and assemblies. The aim is, for example, to detect potential weak points at an early stage and to intervene in good time before a defect is imminent. The integration of the particularly flexible database provides us – and especially our clients – with a perfect basis for this. But it goes much further: We are offering our customers a completely new, unique tool for comprehensive lifecycle management,” continues Derk Weber.
Weber describes as “revolutionary” the possibility of also being able to trace the complete production process of the spinning products – for example of container bottoms, reflectors, wheel rims or components of ventilation systems. This not only includes the production at the machine, but even reaches back to the procurement and batch-exact production of the (pre-) material. This provides users with an ideal basis for their quality management. They can also further adapt their manufacturing strategies and optimize them step by step.
At Blechexpo 2021, Abacus therefore presented the modular solution “Premo global spinning 4.future” as a further focal point in addition to a Premo spinning machine. The term is based on the buzzword “Industry 4.0” and is intended to illustrate its further development.
Thorsten Beling, also Managing Director of Abacus, comments: “We see that ‘IoT’ and ‘Industry 4.0’ are becoming less and less meaningful. These terms are being used almost inflationarily. From our point of view, putting a new spin on the term ‘Industry 4.0’ means designing a system so open that new functionalities can be added relatively easily depending on customer requirements – including those based on databases and online access. In this way, we want to open up completely new possibilities for the operator and the user of the system to optimize the production processes on the one hand and the end products on the other. We continue to develop ‘Premo global spinning 4.future’ from the customer’s point of view – for optimum efficiency and quality.”
Powerful database as a basis
The database, which has been specially optimized for “Premo global spinning 4.future”, continuously collects measurement data from sensors in all parts of the spinning machine. These include, for example, temperature, humidity, vibrations, sound, air flow, energy consumption and various performance characteristics, etc. In addition, the data acquisition maps the entire maintenance history.
All measured parameters are constantly compared with the target values and can be called up in real time both via a display on the machine itself and via browser-based applications from anywhere in the world. Only an Internet connection is required. Depending on the user profile, the data can be displayed individually for maximum clarity – for example, for plant or factory management, plant operators, service managers or the purchasing department, and so on. Remote maintenance, for example, is significantly facilitated and improved by this.
For the near future, the timely and simplified ordering of consumables and spare parts from the system is also planned. This is another feature of high potential added value. As soon as defined threshold values are reached or exceeded, the system sends corresponding messages to the operators or operators of the plant, for example by e-mail or push message. A complete historization of the data also enables a complete analysis of the performance.
Data and machine architecture visualized via augmented reality
As an important new feature, sales manager Guido Klekamp mentions the option of displaying the data collected on the Premo spinning machine by means of augmented reality – whether via AR glasses, tablet or smartphone – and thus gaining completely new insights into the “inner workings” of the machines.
Guido Klekamp sees a wide range of possible applications in this: “This creates a completely new human-machine interface (HMI), with which the architecture of the machine becomes absolutely transparent. For example, if the user or maintenance technician is looking for a specific component, Abacus application engineers navigate him virtually through the design. Viewing or changing settings is just as easy as disassembling and replacing a component. And these are just a few of many convenient applications.”
About Abacus Mechanical Engineering
Abacus Maschinenbau GmbH, founded by Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Derk Weber and Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Thorsten Beling in 1991, is active in the development, design and construction of machine tools. Especially the development of software and control concepts according to customer requirements is more and more in the foreground. The Osnabrück-based company can work on the basis of sketches, dimensional specifications or already existing partial designs in individual development phases, but also as a complete, integrated partner in order to realise the customer’s automation ideas in a tailor-made manner. In addition to tool and special machine construction, contract manufacturing for external companies is an important and integral part of Abacuss. On-time and precise contract manufacturing in the areas of CNC turning, CNC milling, EDM drilling, wire erosion as well as assembly of components and welding complete the range of services. The Premo 600 spinning machine from Abacus was awarded the VR SME prize at the beginning of 2014 and the Euroblech Award in October 2014.