Employee shortages and high turnover have made training important so that new employees—or those filling in for others—can adapt quickly to the challenges at hand … not to mention, the task flexibility required by supply chain disruptions. At the same time, press lines and tooling have become more automated with multiple interfaces that result in more complicated operations.
Press controls have been upgraded frequently to modernize an older press system. Now they have evolved to help stamping manufacturers grapple with today’s personnel and automation challenges.
Wintriss Controls Group Product Manager Jim Finnerty, and Bosch Rexroth Control System Application & Engineering Manager Ken Rayden weigh in on trends in press control technology affecting stamping manufacturing.
Stamping Journal: What challenges are stampers currently faced with related to press controls?
Finnerty: A lot of employee turnover has occurred the last few years, and it has been difficult for stampers to fill skilled positions with qualified people, so training has become more important than ever.
In addition, press lines and tooling have become more automated with multiple interfaces, which results in more complicated operations, exacerbating the training issue.
Also, supply chain interruptions have forced manufacturers to become more adaptable. Instead of sticking to a “normal” schedule, shops are scheduling jobs when raw material and parts become available. This results in more frequent tool changes at the presses. Reducing set up time has become a constant challenge.
Rayden: The trend in automobile bodies is towards larger panels with deeper draws. This necessitates the use of more complex presses, including servo-hydraulic cushion systems.
At the same time, stamping manufacturers continue to face the erosion of skilled maintenance technicians and engineers who are capable of providing robust and timely troubleshooting and repair services for this equipment, including hydraulics.