Deburring and Edge Rounding 4.0
Timesavers CEO, Paul Hartendorp, discusses his ‘Edge Rounding and Deburring 4.0’ vision, as well as his market outlook for 2020.
Timesavers specialises in a broad selection of machines for precision grinding, finishing, edge rounding and deburring metal plates. Operating from three facilities in the USA, the Netherlands and Taiwan, the organisation has placed a strong focus on innovation and R&D. In 2016, it won the prestigious Red Dot award for industrial design for its 42 series Rotary Brush (RB) machine.
At the Blechexpo trade fair in Stuttgart this November, Timesavers showcased a range of rotary brush machines, including its Hammer- head™, designed to remove heavy slag on larger steel products. This new pre-treatment aggregate is designed to lower tooling costs for its machines and increase the level of integration into fully automatic processing lines, as expected from Industry 4.0 requirements.
ISMR caught up with its managing director, Paul Hartendorp, to find out more about his ‘Edge Rounding and Deburring 4.0’ vision for the company, as well as his market outlook for 2019.
Following Industry 4.0 principles
“As one of the leading innovators in our part of the market, we are constantly seeking innovative opportunities which fit the changing needs of the market. Customer deburring and surface finishing requirements have evolved now to embrace equal and constant edge rounding (up to Radius 2 and more). After the successful introduction of the fibre laser cutting system, more and more customers are seeking these kinds of solutions. Our solutions fit the multifunctional need to deburr, round and finish small and large parts as well as a variety of metals (steel/Alu/Stainless/galvanised/coated or laminated, even printed) next to other applications such as oxide skin removal and, nowadays, even slag grinding,” Paul Hartendorp, Timesavers’ CEO, told ISMR.
“Technologically, we are adapting our machines to meet forthcoming Industry 4.0 standards, which require high-tech solutions. In this way, we are giving our customers the opportunity to integrate our machines into fully automatic processing lines,” he added.
Timesavers has developed a real vision for what it calls ‘Deburring and Edge Rounding 4.0’. It is an Industry 4.0 approach which incorporates deburring, and, Hartendorp believes, is a real differentiator for the company.
“We believe that we will be the first in the industry to use ‘Deburring and Edge Rounding 4.0’ along these principles. It is basically an umbrella strategy for all the things that we are doing – working towards a longer-term vision for meeting these Industry 4.0 principles. We are working with partners such as Siemens (software), Boeck (tooling) and Hermes (grinding belt) on this. Vision, HMI (Human Machine Interface) and sensor technologies will need to be integrated into machines,” he explained.
Hartendorp’s plan is, every year, to launch an initiative that brings the company closer to the ultimate aims of Deburring 4.0. Ultimately, he wants to make Timesavers machines independent of the user and able to operate autonomously. He believe that this is possible in two-three years.
“Customers want to see a machine that can automatically calibrate itself, so that operators no longer need to input all the parameters – the machine will automatically take care of these adjustments. The vision is that, in the long term, the machine should be able to measure and adjust for the height of a part, the wear of a brush or sanding paper to get the right results. To get to this goal, we need to develop along several stages, some of which we have already done (i.e. there is now an automatic cleaning cycle in our machines),” added Hartendorp.
‘Deburring and Edge Rounding 4.0’ incorporates four areas of interest. The first is ‘Smarter Processing’, requiring features such as automatic vacuum control and adjustable cleaning cycle, pre-programmable machine settings and automatic brush (wear) measurement. The second area is ‘High End Controls’, facilitating preventative maintenance notifications, error logging, machines status and further integration and communication to other equipment.
‘Multifunctionality’ is the third category - the goal is to have a machine which offers solutions for every specific need (i.e. deburring, edge rounding, oxide skin removal, slag grinding or finishing) for small or large parts, in most types of material (whether plain, galvanized, laminated etc.). Seeking innovative solutions in all of these areas will automatically lead to the fourth category - an ‘Industry Leading Result’ - said Hartendorp. This is for a machine ‘with the highest production output, uniform deburring and rounding, with a Radius of 2 and beyond’, which is Timesavers’ ultimate goal and vision.
The ‘Deburring and Edge Rounding 4.0’ vision incorporates innovations completed by Timesavers over the past two years.
Market trends and outlook
“We are very proud of our results on a worldwide scale, in Europe as in the Far East. We saw record order intakes in 2018. The outlook for this year is a little lower but we are still very optimistic as we are geographically so diversified and are present in 44 countries. This helps us. We still see that 2019 will be a very good year for us, with around the same results as last year. Turnover for the Timesavers Group was almost 60 million euros (over US$ 65 million) in 2018 – we are on track to repeat that,” explained Paul Hartendorp.
This growth has come from its global reach, including in Europe (such as Germany) and the Far East. The company has seen strong growth in China and aims to focus more on Asian markets in coming years. After a presence in the Chinese market for over thirty years, it opened its own office near Shanghai last year to capitalise on these opportunities, believing that quality levels will rise in China and its manufacturers will require the type of machines that it provides.
“However, after a great 2018, we currently see that the worldwide demand for capital investment goods in our primary market, sheet metal, is declining (especially in Europe). This is a trend that is commonly noted by various institutes,” explained Hartendorp.
He pinpointed several trends and challenges that he sees in the market, including the continuing skills shortage, threat of recession and trademark infringements. However, he believes that these can be offset by continuously bringing innovative technologies to market, focusing on service/sales and diversifying the product range.
“Diversification is important - we need to further diversify to avoid a recession. You can diversify with technology (i.e. with our Hammerhead™ technology), geographically (by growing in more countries) and by entering different market segments. To give you an example, we found a way to calibrate metal thickness precision to one hundredth of a millimetre on our 31 series precision grinding machine – this gave us immediate access to a new group and type of customer in a niche market, from the machining sector. We are also focusing on Asian markets this year and have specifically targeted the Italian market for edge rounding opportunities,” he told ISMR.
He also pointed to a key technological trend in surface finishing markets; the move towards a constant homogenous radius, as well as a way to measure this.
“Just extending deburring to edge rounding is not the same as having a constant radius, all over the part and on all sides of the part to make a good corner. This is required (for example, by high-end customers). It’s a technological challenge and can also affect productivity levels – you need the quality intact but still be able to manufacture with high productivity levels. We believe that we have addressed the constant radius issue with our machines,” he told ISMR.
A focus on innovation
At the Blechexpo international trade fair for sheet metal working in Stuttgart, from 5-8 November 2019, Timesavers exhibited its versatile 42 series WWRBW Rotary brush machine. This machine takes care of optimal deburring, uniform edge rounding up to a radius of 2mm, finishing and removal of laser oxide. The 42 series HWRB Rotary brush machine with new Hammerhead™ technology, for the removal of heavy slag, will also be showcased. The machine can handle various applications, such as deburring, edge rounding up to a radius of 2mm and the removal of laser oxide and heavy slag.
“We are showing a new application for heavy slag removal for the Hammerhead™ at Blechexpo on our 22- series HW machine. It is also fitted to our 42 series machine,” explained Paul Hartendorp. The 22 series HW, with the Hammerhead™, will also feature an abrasive belt for the removal of burrs and finishing of surfaces.
Its 32 series WRBW rotary brush machine will be presented with a new option: the automatic brush set-up, an optical system which continuously measures the brush length and automatically sets the brush to the exact settings specified by the machine user. As a result, manual calibration is no longer required. This option will be available for the 32 and 42 series.
“In addition, we are showcasing the 12- series WB for the deburring and finishing of small parts with a completely renewed design. Our trusted 10 series manual grinder will also be showcased with upgrades to make it an even more cost-saving device for small batches to deburr, edge round or finish. With its manually changeable operation mode between abrasive disc and brush unit, it is designed to be a cost-saving alternative to conventional machines for small batch production,” explained Hartendorp.
For further information, see www.timesaversint.com