22.08.2018 13:11 Age: 86 days
Category: News 2018

Wickert - Research equipment for Japanese fiber manufacturer

A broad research and development field is opening under the keywords "New materials" and "Lightweight technology". With the objective of developing new materials, a Japanese fiber manufacturer commissioned WICKERT in Landau, Germany to build a press that is innovative in many ways, while highly precise at the same time. This "research tool", a WKP 3000 S series press, features maximum degrees of freedom with regard to settings and programming options.

The 3000 kN press design utilizes Wickert’s proven modular system. The finite element planning combined with modern, reliable (series) components ensures high process reliability and efficiency. This explains the comparatively short development and production time of 10 months for this research press. Measured by the performance and equipment, the investment for the "research press" is also close to that for standard presses.

Built for the greatest precision
Active control ensures very exact closing movements. The cycle-time-optimized downstroke press achieves tolerance in the parallelism between the planes of ± 0.025 mm during the pressing motion.  By comparison: "Normal" precision manufacturing manages parallelism between the planes of 0.2 mm or 0.1 mm under full load. The WKP 3000 S is even available with full load parallelism between the planes of only 0.1 mm upon request!

The planar parallelism control allows direct integration of an additional path measurement system unit that is mounted directly on the tool. This "tool path measurement" boosts precision tremendously. The closing speed is 250 mm/s, and the press opens at 150 mm/s with a lift of 1000 mm. The pressing speed is 0.5 to 1.0 mm/s. A 55-kW quiet-running hydraulic piston pump that is suitable for laboratory use is sufficient to achieve these performance data and work with molds with pressing surfaces up to max. 1000 x 1000 mm.

Homogeneous temperature distribution
A further criterion ensures high-precision component manufacturing: the guaranteed and extremely precise temperature distribution in the tool of up to 1° C across the entire surface.  The 6-zone heat control that WICKERT developed achieves this exact, homogeneous temperature control (a tool temperature range between 20 and 250° C is provided). Five PT100 temperature sensors per mold and a vacuum sensor monitor this process. Two 20-kW oil heating systems provide the thermal energy for the two independent temperature control circuits.

With option packages to tool function
In addition, hydraulic and pneumatic functions, such as pneumatic interfaces close to the platen area, are installed to match the pressing job.  This allows the very simple connection/disconnection of appropriate functions per test tool by using leak-free quick couplings. Quick couplings also individualize the heating and cooling:  Temperature profiles for heating and cooling rates related to the tool can be programmed for the particular process step as functions of time and/or pressure. Two independent tool temperature control circuits make this possible. Thermal oil is used for the temperature control. The temperature control circuits can also be connected to a wide range of tool types via quick couplings.

The movement of the press's slide table and the lifting motion of the upper tool half are space-optimized. All tool lines and cables are flexibly laid. The operator decides whether to work with or without a slide table. Thanks to this possibility, the table can be used when needed, while at the same time the press works without the slide table. This concept allows the fastest closing from the time "automatic start" is pressed until the mold closes.

Proportionally adjustable negative pressure
Manufacturing increasingly complex part geometries calls for the most finely adjustable vacuum chamber system.  The vacuum supply with a possible negative pressure of -0.05 MPa is proportionally adjustable. The material researchers can consequently select all pressures, from maximum negative pressure to atmospheric, and also reach these in the tool. A pump storage system that can also be operated directly from the pump for high vacuum makes this possible.

The vacuum chamber helps to avoid trapped air and also prevents pollutant particle penetration during the pressing. The vacuum chamber consequently makes an important contribution to a high level of process reliability. The venting is against vacuum pressure and not atmospheric pressure, making it significantly more effective.

Equipment suitable for Industry 4.0
The pressing functions are controlled directly via the PLC main controller.  The programming follows a closed control loop. The press operation and the new control concept were adapted to the requirements of the Japanese plant operators. For example, 10 pressing processes can be stored.  The process data logger is equipped with PC, Ethernet and Profibus interfaces. The interfaces and documentation possibilities all the way through to remote diagnosis absolutely comply with Industry 4.0 standards.

The Remote Monitoring Service allows an automatic data exchange with the WICKERT Diagnose Center from anywhere in the world. This setup helps at three levels:

-Support and consultation for the press operator
-Process optimization

The user decides whether or not to maintain a data connection with the router on/off switch. The connection itself is possible via WAN (wide area network), DSL and GSM. As Dipl.-Wirt.-Ing. Stefan Herzinger, WICKERT Managing Director, explains, "This setup has been a matter of course for us for many years, and it helps us guarantee the highest possible system availability and optimal processes. WICKERT presses are in operation around the world and our users should receive fast, competent service and operate their presses as economically as possible, no matter where they are manufacturing."

The opreator can also count on the system's reproduction reliability.  In extensive pre-shipment tests, the system, which was built in close cooperation with the client, was tested on its ability to achieve all specified parameters.

For further questions please contact Mr. Thomas Klimpl,