Technically Speaking

If the sustainability challenge requires «new development models which take into consideration» «economical, environmental and social» factors,  Ucimu-Systems for producing is ready to transform the criticalities of the paradigm into opportunities. According to

the Association of Italian producers of tool machines, robots and automation, the national manufacturing sector must take a key role «in the definition and adoption of new development models» and allow them to be growth opportunities. In this context, the tool machine plays three roles; it expresses the necessary technologies to perform the required actions to modify the shape of the pieces to be produced,  it is an enabling factor of production processes and also a product «able to create wealth for the economy of the Countries and the companies». It is because  «as a product it must be designed and made» according to «sustainability characteristics» which are intrinsic or connected to the related production cycle. In the same way, the problems that the producers have to be prepared to solve and that they often overtake are increasing as it will be briefly shown in some case studies. To win in a market oriented to environmental sustainability «a correct management of resources and in particular of materials and energy»  is necessary; «the optimization of processes» aiming for waste reduction and a related quality increase.  The must is to have manufacturing and tooling companies, fully adopting the objective of maximum energy efficiency. The association has the firm intention to support companies and from 2011 it has launched the Blue Philosophy initiative with which it bounds the attribution of the Ucimu-Systems for producing brand to the ecological conscience of the partners in addition to their solidity and reliability. At their disposal there is theTool machines and sustainability hand-book and a self-evaluation path that is coherent with the Charter of principles  written by Confindustria. During a recent targeted appointment, it has highlighted the progress status of the international reference rules, showing its values, potentialities, slowness or deficiencies.


A structured path

The path of the eco-compatibility directives is long and structured as it already started in 2005 with the European directive  Energy using products directive2005/32/CE – energy using products (Eup), and three years later with Directive 2009/125/CE for the eco-compatible design of products connected with energy. They also define a number of product families which must undertake improvement actions for their energy performances, including machine tools and also an implementation timing. In order to meet the directive requirements, Cecimo (European Association of tool machine industries, to which Ucimu-Systems for producing belongs) has immediately started working to launch a self regulation initiative (SRI – Self Regulation Initiative) using a tool foreseen by the same directives to allow interested people to create and agree to the definition and implementation methods of energy saving solutions.  Focus of the Cecimo’s action is to explain that the tool machine, by its nature of product destined to Business-to-Business and for its use methods and purposes, is significantly different from the other products mentioned in the directives (lighting systems or domestic appliances; products for industrial use such as furnaces or welders, with more defined functioning principles and a smaller product variety compared with the tool machine). This requires the definition with SRI of specific implementation methods, as confirmed by a research performed by the activities of Cecimo, Fraunhofer IZM, for the European Commission.

It was also understood that a basic aspect for a real setback in application terms of the concept of energy saving, is to have a certain measurement with shared methods. For this reason an initiative in the ISO area was introduced, for the definition of a set of regulations (ISO 14955), for the definition and measurement of the energy of the tool machines used in the deformation and removing processes. The activities of definition of the standard are supported by an international work team (ISO TC 39 WG12), whose members are experts from the main Countries which produce machines, including Italy. The standard aims at dealing only with the «energy evaluation of tool machines during their functioning» and «considered as a stand-alone system»; its main chapters are four. It starts from the design methods to obtain energy systems which are energy efficient on tests on the type and quantity of energy necessary to supply the machines. The last two parts related to test parameters for the deformation and removing devices, are still to be defined more precisely. The publication of the final version of the first part of the standard ( ISO 14955-1 Machine tools rule – Environmental evaluation of machine tools – Part 1: Design methodology for energy-efficient machine tools) is foreseen for this year; the second part will be ready during the second half of 2014.


Energy cannot either be created or destroyed: it can be measured

Giacomo Bianchi, a Researcher of the Institute of Industrial Technologies and Automation (Itia) of Milan, spoke about the works of the ISO TC 39 WG12. «The experimental energy inspection on machines», said Bianchi , «must answer questions on which kind of energy is used by a machine and in which of its components and subsystems ; in which precise steps of the production cycle and finally what type and how much energy is used by the various functions».

Bianchi has highlighted how, to answer these questions, it is necessary to measure the evolution through time of the energy used by machines in the test cycles and «by the most important components and subsystems» where something else is needed to be efficient under an energy and eco-sustainable point of view. A new global conception of the machine; an optimal dimensioning of parts and the choice of less energy-consuming components; and finally with continuous control actions of the processes. If this is related to the creation steps of the machine (where the rule provides a check list  which supports the designer without limiting him in satisfying the other aspects related to the tool machine (precision, safety, productivity), it is important that when selling, customers are aware of the energy aspect and have tools shared with the supplier for their measurement during the use of the machine.

Omera a Company of the Veneto Region, for example, has calculated that in a printing process «the energy amount absorbed by the hold-down function can be from 20 to 70% of the whole process» and besides working on the recovery of this energy, it offers the customers solutions to speed up production processes both on the automatic lines and on the manual supply ones. Among the expedients adopted for its hydraulic press, there are the servo-motors with less consumption for the pump control; and for the mechanical presses it has developed specific software «to verify the trend of peak currents according to the load». For trimming machines, it has instead been essential «a passage from the hydraulic-pneumatic control units» to the «electric control versions».


Also this is Blue Philosophy

Primapower has instead worked with the Politecnico of Torino to implement melting trolleys in aluminum alloy having a smaller mass (-15%) but an increased rigidity (+25%) and it has chosen fiber laser sources which reduce consumptions by 60% and by 50% of maintenance operations. In the same way, together with the University of Padova it has studied models of blade carriers whose rigidity is 15% higher than those produced in the past against a reduced mass of 12%. It has worked on kinematics and created softwares for the optimization of movements and the modulation of consumptions. Its E5 range of a servo-electric punching machines has obtained 82.5% less consumption in respect to comparable hydraulic machines; and the folding machine  Brake of the E series requires 35% less energy than the previous ones included in the traditional Brake line. The annual saving on only one working shift, was calculated by the producer in about 2.850 kilowatt/hour.

Together with Dr.Bruno Schiavi there was Jobs Spa which from last September is part of the international Ffg Europe group, and it showed how auxiliary systems determine 70% of a tool machine consumption, making as an example the Linx family. It has also explained that thanks to the eco-design strategies studied during the European Estomad  program (Energy software tools for sustainable machine design), it was possible to save 26% of energy working on the hydraulic station (the consumption of which was reduced by 47%) and on the chillers for mandrels and axis. eComau has shown the five steps of the consulting process on energy efficiency: analysis of the power consumption data, compressed air and emulsifying liquid; implementation of measuring systems; proposal of energy efficiency actions; simulation, adoption and monitoring of eco-efficient solutions. It has also described the benefits of its GreenFit® strategy based on the optimization of automated processes under the Energy Saving perspective. Case studies have also highlighted that the installation of monitoring and GreenFit® systems suitable on a processing line cylinder head, can allow savings that guarantee the payback of the intervention in less than two years with a reduction of CO2 emissions equal to more than 999 thousand kilos/year. The return timing of the investment for the robot automated workshops, are more or less the same; for these a reduction of power consumption and cooling liquid allows a reduction of CO2 emissions of about 300 thousand kilos/year. Also this is Blue Philosophy.