Kermit The Frog Was Wrong

ZF EMAP - small Copy - CopyWith today’s technology it really is easy being green. It’s particularly easy when manufacturers replace old technology hydraulic presses in their assembly operations with clean, safe, efficient electromechanical systems like the Promess Electro-Mechanical Assembly Press (EMAP). Let’s look at those points one at a time.

Clean

The Promess EMAP consists of a ball screw driven by a servo-motor and equipped with an array of force and position sensors.  The EMAP is an electromechanical device. It doesn’t use hydraulic fluid so it doesn’t leak hydraulic fluid. It requires no floor space for hydraulic fluid storage, no filters and carts for hydraulic fluid handling and maintenance, and no “pigs” to sop up hydraulic fluid spills. There is no used fluid to be hauled away and disposed of, either.

Safe

Floors around an EMAP-based assembly system stay clean and dry, and workers are in less danger of slip and fall accidents. And, because an EMAP is very compact and highly reliable, it can often be built into an assembly system rather than mounted on the shop floor, further reducing the potential for accidents. As a precision electromechanical device, an EMAP is much quieter in operation than a comparable hydraulic press. That, plus the other safety advantages can help make a shop much more OSHA-friendly.

Efficient

Compared to a hydraulic solution, an EMAP-based system can eliminate 35 percent of a typical application’s annual operating costs. And because it is mechanically simple and robust, it can reduce maintenance requirements by 95 percent. It also produces much less heat because, unlike a hydraulic system, an EMAP only uses energy which is actually doing useful work. There is no hot fluid being constantly circulated and cooled in an EMAP-based system. There is also less heat put into the plant environment that can reduce air conditioning costs for temperature-controlled spaces, and improve the working environment in areas without air conditioning.

An EMAP-Based Solution Can Also Be Very Profitable

Integrating an EMAP into an assembly system can save significant amounts of floor space compared to hydraulic presses, their power packs and support systems. Industrial floor space is expensive so using less of it is always beneficial. An EMAP provides precise monitoring and control of force and position during assembly and test operations using integral sensors.  Because it’s servo-driven, the entire system is easily programmed either on or off-line, and easily reconfigured to handle a variety of different parts and/or operations. An EMAP-based solution is a smooth, easy to integrate package with closed loop pressing, monitoring and control. The press head, motors, amplifiers, multi-axis controller, motion control, cabling, enclosure, PC, and complete Windows NT software package is integrated and ready to be bolted onto a machine. All of the information gathered from the assembly operation is presented as force over position curves that provide a “signature” of the operation.  By setting upper and lower tolerance limits for this signature curve, production of good assemblies can be certified in-process, without the need for subsequent inspection. This means every assembly can be shipped with traceable, detailed certification data that can have a significant impact on warranty costs. The exact shape of the signature also provides important information about the individual parts being assembled that can provide recall information for warranty claims and input to control the strategies for other processes. For example — no part present, wrong part, part upside down, wrong size part — will produce a distinct change in the signature.  The system also has capability to send data upstream to trigger process adjustments to improve the quality of component parts coming to the assembly system. Finally, the EMAP hardware, the software that supports it, and the signature analysis methodologies they make it possible to implement are all well-understood, field-proven technologies. In short, an EMAP-based assembly system is not just an alternate method to consider for mechanical assembly of two parts, it is a whole new way of thinking about assembly operations. EMAP integrates assembly, quality assurance, and process monitoring and control into one highly flexible system, and the implications of that fact are widespread and far-reaching.

Promess is a 29-year-old firm that develops, manufactures, and markets its family of sensing devices, electronics, assembly presses and test systems on a global basis.

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