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Unformatted text preview: 1 Introduction Technology has exerted a far greater influence on the development of our past than most history books give credit for. As late as the 19th century, craftmanship and technology were practically synonymous. It is only with the advent of mechanisation – through the use of machines – that the term technology took on a new meaning of its own. Today, technology is one of the bastions of our modern lifestyle and the basis for our prosperity, in which metal forming technology plays a central role. Alongside the manufacture of semi-finished products through rolling, wire drawing and extrusion, the production of discrete components using sheet metal and solid forming techniques is of major significance. Its fields of application range from automotive engineering, production line and container construction through to the building construction, household appliance and packaging industries. The machine tool, with its capacity to precisely guide and drive one or more tools for the machining of metal, has become a symbol of economic metalworking. In the past, the work processes typically seen in metal forming technology used to be executed in a series of individual operations on manually operated machine tools. Today, however, automatic production cells and interlinked individual machines through to the compact production line with integrated feed, transport, monitoring and finished part stacking systems are the state of the art. Developments in this field created the technological basis to allow the benefits of formed workpieces, such as a more favorable flow line, optimum strength characteristics and low material and energy input, to be combined with higher production output, dimensional control and surface quality. As a reputed German manufacturer of machine tools, the company SCHULER has played a determining role in this development over a period Metal Forming Handbook /Schuler (c) Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998 2 Metal Forming Handbook of more than 150 years: From the manually operated sheet metal shear to the fully automatic transfer press for complete car body side panels. Over the millenniums, the handworking of metal by forming reached what may still today be considered a remarkable degree of skill, resulting in the creation of magnificent works in gold, silver, bronze, copper and brass. It was only in around 1800 that iron sheet produced in rolling plants began to find its way into the craftsmen’s workshops, requiring completely new processing techniques: In contrast to nonferrous metals, the much harder and more brittle new material could be more economically worked with the aid of machines. In 1839, master locksmith Louis Schuler founded a modest workshop comprising primarily a tinsmith’s shop, as well as a blacksmith’s forge and a smithy. Driven by his Swabian business sense, he considered the possibilities opened up by the newly available, cheaper iron sheet. He was quick to realize that the increased input required in terms of physical strength and working time, and thus the manufacturing costs involved in producing the finished article were far too high to benefit from the favorable price of the iron sheet itself. Step by step, Louis Schuler accordingly began to replace manual work processes by mechanical fixtures and devices. He began to mechanise his workshop with sheet shears, bending machines and press breaks, which were considerable innovations in those days. Inspired by the World Exhibition in London in 1851, Louis Schuler decided to concentrate his activities entirely on producing machines for sheet metal working. His production range was continuously extended to include sheet metal straightening machines, metal spinning and levelling benches, eccentric presses, spindle presses, turret, crank and drawing presses, both mechanically and hydraulically powered, notching presses as well as cutting and forming tools and dies. As early as 1859, he exported his first sheet metal forming machines. At the end of the 1870s, Schuler registered his first patent for “Innovations in punching dies, shears and similar”. In 1895, he patented “Hydraulic drawing presses with two pistons fitted into each other”, and in the same year was also awarded first prize at the Sheet Metal Industry Trade Exhibition in Leipzig. With expansion of the production program, the workforce as well as the company premises had undergone continuous growth (Fig. 1.1). The Schuler machine tool company Metal Forming Handbook /Schuler (c) Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998 Introduction 3 Fig. 1.1 L. Schuler, Machine tool factory and foundry, Goeppingen, around 1900 was one of the foresighted enterprises of the day to pioneer the process of differentiation taking place in the field of machine tool engineering. As a supplier of machines and production lines for industrial manufacture – in particular series production – the company’s reputation increased rapidly. The increasing export volume and a consistent process of diversification in the field of forming technology led to an early process of globalisation and to the development of the international SCHULER Group of Companies. The SCHULER Group’s process of globalisation got under way at the beginning of the sixties with the founding of foreign subsidiaries. Today, SCHULER runs not only eight manufacturing plants in Germany but also additional five production facilities in France, the US, Brazil and China. Alongside its world-wide network of sales agencies, SCHULER has also set up its own sales and service centers in Spain, India, Malaysia and Thailand. An internationally-based network of production facilities coordinated from the parent plant in Goeppingen permits rapid response to the changes taking place in the targeted markets. Production in overseas locations brings about not only a reduction in costs but also creates Metal Forming Handbook /Schuler (c) Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998 4 Metal Forming Handbook major strategic benefits by increasing “local content” and so ensuring an improved market position. The North and South American markets are supplied locally. The NAFTA area is coordinated by Schuler Inc. in Ohio, while South America’s common market, the Mercosul, is supervised from Brazil. The high standard of quality achieved by the SCHULER plant in Brazil has opened up even the most demanding markets. In the growing market of China, the SCHULER Group runs two joint venture corporations in cooperation with Chinese partners for the manufacture of mechanical presses and hydraulic presses. Today, we stand on the threshold to a new millennium marked by increasing market globalisation and rapidly changing organizational and producing structures. Under these rapidly changing conditions, it is SCHULER’s workforce which remains the single most important determining factor between success and failure. The technological orientation of the staff provides the innovative impetus which will secure the company’s development as it moves into the 21st century. This Metal Forming Handbook reflects the technical competence, the rich source of ideas and the creativity of the SCHULER Group’s workforce. The book takes an in-depth look at the pioneering stage of development reached by today’s presses and forming lines, and at related production processes, with particular emphasis on the development of control engineering and automation. Developments in the classical fields of design, mechanical engineering, dynamics and hydraulics are now being influenced to an ever greater degree by more recently developed technologies such as CAD, CAM, CIM, mechatronics, process simulation and computer-aided measurement and process control technology. In today’s environment, the main objective of achieving enhanced product quality and productivity is coupled with lower investment and operating costs. In addition, questions of reliability, uptime, accident prevention, process accounting, economical use of resources and environmental conservation play also a central role. In view of the fundamental importance of metal forming technology today, this Handbook offers the reader a reference work whose usefulness stretches to practically every branch of industry. The book provides an in-depth analysis of most of the important manufacturing technologies as a system comprising the three elements: process, production line and product. Metal Forming Handbook /Schuler (c) Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998 ...
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This note was uploaded on 11/04/2010 for the course ACC 411 taught by Professor Kim during the Spring '08 term at Aberystwyth University.
- Spring '08