About the customer
Our customer, a leading supplier of components for vehicle drive trains, has subsidiaries in the Netherlands and the Far East. The automotive industry is well-known for its high standards, for example in relation to safety and reliability. After all, a fault that arises in a vehicle while driving may lead to loss of life. Consequently, every effort is made to minimise, and preferably even totally rule out, the risk of fatal faults.
The manufacture of one of the essential components for our customer’s product requires machines that are both extremely precise and capable of producing in large volumes. This project involves a metal ring which has to be rolled to form a flexible band. This is achieved by subjecting the ring simultaneously to a rolling force and a tensile force. This reduces the material thickness by approximately 50%. The length, or rather the diameter, of the band is critical; the tolerance here lies in the thousandths of a millimetre range. In addition to product integrity, the safety of the machine operators is also an important consideration in view of the very high rolling pressure. VHE was asked to develop a drive with a completely reproducible action for this machine.
We developed, built and tested a system for the customer based on advanced servo amplifiers for rotary and linear servo motors.(CNC61.00 SIEB & MEYER) We also wrote and tested the control software. The rolling force is continually measured by load cells and band lengthening is determined using a highly accurate glass scale. As a result, the speed of the roll can be controlled based on all the important dimensional factors. After VHE fitters have produced the control panels and machine wiring looms at the customer’s premises, the machines are subjected to FAT (Factory Acceptance Test) and SAT (Side Acceptance Test) procedures before being signed off. The possible hazards of working on the machines and the associated degree of danger for the operators are documented in Performance Levels (PL). These have been drawn up in collaboration with reputable machinery builders and make it possible to design the right safety components. Assessment of these levels takes place via validation and verification. VHE uses Systema and other tools for this.
VHE already has a long-standing working relationship with this customer, not just in the Netherlands but also in the Far East. Over the years, we have more than proved our expertise and dependability in the area of control systems and PLC software. That this major order was awarded to us is a further sign of this customer’s confidence in our company.