Assemblers have long relied on manual and pneumatic presses for crimping, staking, swaging, clinching and press-fit assembly. However, these machines have inherent limitations in accuracy, control, flexibility and data collection. Servo-driven presses overcome these limitations.

Instead of a rack and pinion or a pneumatic cylinder, the ram on a servo press is driven by a servomotor and a power screw. Force and position sensors provide feedback into the pressing operation. As a result, servo presses give assemblers much more control over the pressing operation than manual and pneumatic equipment.

Servo presses can apply force more consistently than manual and pneumatic presses, since they aren’t subject to fluctuating air pressure or operator fatigue. And, unlike manual and pneumatic presses, servo presses can start, stop, reverse and resume pressing during one assembly operation.

Pressing operations can be more accurate, because a servo press can be programmed to provide a “pushing” action as opposed to a “smashing” action. Servo presses provide a “sense of feel” to the operation.

Servo presses are ideal for high-mix operations. An operator can change tooling and call up a program on an HMI to press a different part within minutes.

Finally, servo presses are adept at data collection and communication, a big deal in these days of Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things. Force and position sensors can provide direct feedback into the assembly process, as well as provide data for quality and traceability.

The new Smart Function Kit from Bosch Rexroth is a complete mechatronics package for a range of standard pressing and joining applications. The modular kit can be connected via open interfaces and monitored on a tablet during operation. This maximizes transparency, reduces downtime and increases productivity.

The kit is designed for pressing and joining processes of 2 to 30 kilonewtons. The modular system consists an electromechanical cylinder, power sensor, servomotor, drive controller, industrial PC and browser-based HMI software based on HTML 5.

The system can be used for press-fit assembly, crimping and forming processes, such as bending, embossing and deep-drawing in the plastics industry. It’s also suitable for test and measurement procedures. It can be used standalone or integrated into automated systems via fieldbus.

Programming knowledge is not required to operate the press. Integrated motion control, preinstalled operating software, auto-parameterization of the servo drive, a low number of interfaces and a wizard make fast commissioning possible.

The software is intuitive. Due to the web-based interface, process configuration takes place via drag-and-drop actions. Graphical creation of evaluation and analysis elements is self-explanatory. During operation, the press can be monitored via a tablet. Visualization of status information and process results—including a live display of the force-displacement curve with analysis, storage and data export options—ensures maximum transparency. All system parameters are always available at a glance.

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