A. J. Rose Manufacturing Co. of Avon and Cleveland, Ohio, has been stamping since 1922. They have 29 small presses under 270 tons, and 12 larger presses. The larger presses have transfer mechanisms or utilize progressive dies. Five years ago, the manufacturer of one of their mechanical transfer systems introduced them to the concept of a servotransfer mechanism—which they tried. But, according to Dean Bremke, Project Engineer, "This wasn't really a true synchronization between the transfer and the press motion." But their appetite had been whetted and they began their own search for a servodriven transfer system that was truly synchronous.
Jay Schwarz, the Chief Electrical Engineer at A.J. Rose had reached the same conclusion as the press manufacturers, "The era of mechanical transfer systems is over."
"We are not switching over our two axes mechanical transfer presses that are dedicated to one die each, but all our other presses will soon be retrofitted with Sytech Engineering's Kohler three axes servotransfer system."
Their search for a truly synchronous in-press servodriven transfer system ended when they found the Kohler system offered by Sytech Engineering of Elk Grove Village, Illinois. According to Mr. Bremke, "Sytech's Kohler unit is really synchronous. At any point in the cycle of the press, the transfer knows exactly where the press is, so that it can stay in sync with the press cycle."
Mr. Schwarz adds, "The control in the Kohler creates cam curves so that the transfer follows the ram within one degree of ram position. It can be set up so that it's always synchronized with the ram or it can be run independently of the ram." (The transfer can run independently of the ram to simulate transfer movements.)
The changeover only takes about half an hour to 45 minutes. The new transfer system is said to be a lot more adaptable, a lot smoother, and easier to optimize to get peak performance out of the system.
For larger parts and the deeper drawn parts, parts that have a deeper third dimension as well as just length and width (a deeper draw in the height), the transfer process becomes more and more useful.
All the A. J. Rose Manufacturing Company's dies are big. And, with the Kohler synchronization, they can run their presses faster. According to Mr. Bremke, "The Kohler system is very unique in how it communicates with the press and we have definitely been able to increase our strokes per minute. We have less mislocation of parts, which cuts down on our reject rate and extends die life."
The Kohler servotransfer has a Windows-based software control system. Users claim it's so intuitive that it took surprisingly little time to learn how to program a project change. According to Jay Schwarz, "Sytech came here and taught me how to program the system. It took me a day or less to understand and learn the system so that I could program it. In turn, it takes about a day for me to teach the other people on our staff."
Mr. Bremke adds, "It actually has a teach program that manually sets the coordinates for your pick-up stations. After you've taught that, all that it needs to know is what type of movements in length that you need for the pitch, for the grip opening and for the Z lift."
Mr. Bremke compares it to their mechanical transfer systems, "All axes can be independently controlled, both in cam angle and stroke length to accommodate die design. It's completely programmable and all coordinates and information can be saved by tool number—saved and loaded as you change from die to die. With the mechanical you could only change the pitch length and not the grip and lift. Whereas, with Sytech's Kohler unit, all the axes can be programmed."
Not every job requires a transfer mechanism. Of course, progressive dies fall into this category as well as simple, straight forward stamping projects. The Kohler mechanism accommodates these projects, too.
The Sytech unit can be turned off to run the press like a conventional stamping press. "You don't have to run it like a transfer press if you don't want to. We have a couple of progressive dies that run through the 600-ton press that has the Kohler transfer mechanism. It was part of our press usage plan from the beginning."
Dan Cassidy of Sytech Engineering points out that their servotransfer system is totally retrofittable on any 200 to 3500 ton press. It operates at transfer speeds up to 90 meters per minute at up to 125 strokes per minute and remembers 500 job set-ups.
Bringing their shop up to 21st Century flexibility is what keeps A.J. Rose at the top of their game. Sytech is helping them achieve better results at less cost.