Forging manufacturers shape metal by using calculated force and extreme temperatures. Typically using a power hammer or die, the metal is shaped for its intended purpose. Forged parts vary in size and can be customized to fit any shape or purpose.
Types of machines typically monitored:
A typical forging workflow starts at the saw, followed by moving the metal through to the induction furnace, into the forge and onto the trim press.
Forges are a difficult environment for most electronics. Due to the nature of the work, the plants are dirty and the equipment is often old and not equipped to connect with new information technologies. Plus, devices that rely on RF (radio frequency) communication re often affected by the induction furnaces. Devices such as:
Induction furnaces radiate not only heat but RF energy which can interfere with nearby RF communication devices. Though frequencies emitted by induction furnaces are below the 2.4Ghz range, 2 or more induction ovens operating in proximity may still interfere with nearby RF equipment operating at higher frequencies.
Legacy machines can also pose a challenge, as they may still be productive and effective, but their outdated controls make them hard to connect to data collection systems. Their size also makes them challenging to replace, whereas upgrading the control systems would be expensive.
Our IIoT solutions have worked successfully in this harsh environment. FreePoint can cost-effectively and non-invasively monitor forging operations without modifications to machines or their control systems. Our hardware utilizes the 802.15.4 (IEEE standard) as the physical connection layer and have developed a proprietary application layer that solves the interference problem.
Most forge related machinery has sealed control cabinets. By placing the FreePoint 4i box inside the control box and extending an external antenna, the box is protected from the environment and radio frequencies. The external antenna can also be placed in an optimum position for communicating to the CellMonitor data collection unit.
With a 4i input box connected to the machine, you can track machine data such as:
Using the inputs gathered from the 4i input box, additional information can be calculated and measured empircally, such as:
Reports can also be generated for:
This information can then be leveraged to identify and reduce reasons for downtime, optimize machine scheduling, improve shift by shift performance, increase overall capacity and further optimize processes.
FreePoint Narrative software also allows all the downtime periods to be empirically captured and ‘narrated’ for cause, giving management critical insights into the reasons for downtime.
What % of time the equipment has been running (uptime) by hour/day/shift
How many finished parts have been produced (hour/day/shift)
How many times has the hammer impacted the part in process by hour/day/shift