Upgrading And Modernizing Existing Equipment

multi blanking lineIn order to stay competitive, manufacturers and service centers are looking for ways to increase product quality, while reducing production costs. The accuracy, production speed, and efficiency of today’s systems far exceed what was possible in the past.

As an alternative to purchasing a new line, many companies retrofit their existing equipment. When you look at upgrading a line, there are a number of options available. In some cases, only the Feeding System is replaced, while other upgrades involve replacing half the line to include advanced capabilities such as multi-cut blanking, edge trimming, or stretcher leveling. With the proper system upgrade, an existing line can be given the same capabilities as the most advanced systems available today.

Flying Shear Feed Upgrade
A basic Retrofit of a Flying Shear involves incorporating a new Feed System to accurately measure and feed the material and the conversion of the line into a loop type system. The loop allows the Leveling System to operate continuously, while the Feed System starts and stops the material for shearing. Typically, the Shear and Leveling System are on a common base. The Shear is simply detached and mounted on a new base. The new base and Stacking System are moved farther down the line in order to open up a space for the introduction of the new Feed, Thread System, and Looping Pit. In this configuration, the Shear is fixed in position so it no longer reciprocates and becomes a stationary Shear. The Feed will now start and stop the material for the Shear. To synchronize the Feed and Shear, a simple input/output signal is used. The Stacking System will continue to operate as before.

If you want to add multi-cut blanking capabilities to this configuration, the equipment after the Leveler is removed. A new Feed, Programmable Slitting Head, Shear, Drop Stacker, and Strip Stacking System are added. At this level of upgrade, it is possible to incorporate the most advanced technology available. This allows you to have a system that will rival a new line at a greatly reduced cost.

Hump Table Upgrade
A Hump Table Cut-To-Length Line was a very common type of line used in the past. Upgrading this type of line from a fairly inaccurate Cut-To-Length Line to a Blanking Line is a simple process. Similar to the Flying Shear, the easiest way to achieve more accurate length tolerances is to incorporate a looping pit and new Feed System. The new loop and Feed System are placed between the Shear and Leveler. This allows the Leveler to operate continuously while the Feed starts and stops the material for shearing.

Depending on the upgrade, the Conveyor belt between the Shear and Stacker can be eliminated. This allows a mechanical Drop Stacking System to be attached directly to the back of the Shear. When the material enters the Stacking System, it is still part of the coil. The Feed System starts and stops the material for the Shear and Stacking System. The backstop in the Stacker is also eliminated. The Stacker’s only responsibility is to support the material until it is cut. The part is cut and then dropped only a few inches onto the stack below. This allows the line to process light gage material at higher production speeds.

In addition to producing better length tolerances, squareness tolerances can also be improved. Advanced Feeding Systems compensate for camber and influence the diagonal measurements of the finished parts. Additionally, some Shears can pivot off centerline to influence the diagonal measurements of the finished parts. This type of line can also be upgraded to include multi-cut blanking capabilities.

Start/Stop Line Upgrade
The Start/Stop Line is the only system that intentionally stops and starts the material with every Shear cut as part of normal line operation. In addition to leveling the material, the Leveler also feeds and measures the strip directly into the Shear. Once cut, the finished part is conveyed to a Stacker. These types of lines generally do not produce parts as accurately as most conventional systems available today.

The easiest way to eliminate the potential issues associated with this type of system is to add a Feeding System and convert the line to a loop type system. The loop and new Feed System separates the leveling and shearing processes, allowing higher production speeds, better tolerances, and improved surface quality. While the Feed stops the material for the Shear, the Leveler continues to fill the loop. This eliminates the need for the Leveler to stop each time a part is cut.

This type of system can also be upgraded to include additional capabilities.

multi blanking lineConclusion
These are just three examples of systems which can be retrofitted. It is possible to take virtually any line and upgrade it with the advanced capabilities highlighted. This can be done all at once or in stages. Retrofitting a line is the most economical way to add capabilities while working within a fixed budget. A Retrofit upgrade can breathe new life into an existing line and optimize the equipment you already own.