AP&T North America Inc

4817 Persimmon Ct
Monroe,  NC  28110-9314

United States
  • Booth: A1952

 Press Releases

  • With the introduction of its unique servo hydraulic press, AP&T has set a new standard in the industry. Short cycle times, high precision, low energy consumption and minimum need for maintenance make this option hard to beat — not only compared to conventional hydraulic presses, but in many cases also compared to servo mechanical presses.

    Several innovative technical solutions have helped AP&T’s designers combine high performance with low operating costs. First and foremost, the hydraulic system’s control valves have been replaced by servo motors, which means that speed, position and press force are completely controlled electrically.

    “The design has made it possible to limit the number of unique moving parts, cut down on oil volume, reduce pressure in the hydraulic system to a maximum of 250 bar and eliminate the effects of any variations in oil temperature. This lays the foundation for a very robust process with a high degree of availability and repeat accuracy, at the same time that the need for maintenance is substantially reduced,” says AP&T’s Product Manager Presses Patrik Haglund.

    The servo motor solution has also streamlined energy consumption by between 40 and 70 percent, depending on the application. Heat loss generated by pressure valves can be avoided, and some servo motors are used as generators at retardation. The press’ cushion cylinder is also operated by servo motors which work as generators. Braking energy is distributed to the motors used for acceleration and forming through a kinetic storage system and a central direct current converter. Since the energy is stored internally in the press, it is not necessary to use electricity from the grid during peak loads, which results in a lower connection fee. Stored energy surpluses can also be restored to the grid.

    The entire press process is monitored by a closed-loop system, which continuously controls the slide’s movements, quickly corrects any deviations and ensures speed and position with a great deal of precision. Not least, the system actively governs the slide’s parallelism in relation to the press table — a unique integrated function that contributes to both high forming precision and less wear on tooling.

    “The acceleration and retardation speed is an impressive two to three times higher than that of a conventional hydraulic press, thus enabling extremely short cycle times. To maximize production capacity, the press can be synchronized with other servo-driven units for feeding and unloading,” says Patrik Haglund.

    Low energy consumption, compact design, high production capacity and repeat accuracy in combination with low maintenance costs make AP&T’s servo hydraulic press a competitive alternative in several areas that have traditionally used mechanical presses.


    AP&T’s servo hydraulic press — examples of suitable applications

    Transfer solutions: High stroke frequency (SPM) compensates off-center loads and offers full synchronization.

    Deep drawing and other cold forming: High degree of control accuracy, pre-acceleration of cushion, pulsating forming and major energy savings.

    Forming of high-strength steel (AHSS): All forming in one step, reduced spring back, high forming forces on a small tooling area.

    Hot forming of aluminum: Minimal energy consumption at long holding times and high force, short cycle time, high forming speed.

    Press hardening: Minimal energy consumption at long holding times and high force, short cycle time, high forming speed.

    Lead press in tandem lines: Short cycle time for the entire line, full synchronization, flexible power/stroke length through the entire press cycle.

    Forming of composites and similar materials: Minimal energy consumption at long holding times and high force, ensured parallelism and flexible force patterns of the tool.

  • AP&T is intensifying its investment in new online functions that give customers and operators better control over their production equipment’s availability and efficiency. Together with a large manufacturer of sheet metal components within the car industry, AP&T is testing a new complete Industry 4.0 solution for press hardening lines.

    “Since we are responsible for the complete line, all of the included units are fully integrated from the start. This makes it relatively easy to produce and analyze selected information and have it presented in an easily accessible manner,” says CTO Product Development Christer Bäckdahl at AP&T.

    The solution comprises features that AP&T already offers its customers as well as some awaiting just around the corner. In simple terms, the features generate different types of data to help users optimally utilize their equipment. The data can be used to achieve better control over production, optimize processes, prevent unplanned stoppages, increase availability, streamline energy efficiency and improve the quality of the produced products. 

    From a practical perspective, measurement data from the line’s various units is collected on an ongoing basis and then analyzed and stored in the customer’s database using AP&T's data acquisition platform. Advanced analyses are performed there, and information is presented in web-based format according to customer preferences. The customer decides who is to have access to the information and which classification level applies.

    “All of the data is available and can be accessed through our cloud service for remote connection. You can have the data presented on your tablet or smartphone, on the control panels at the line or on your computer at the office,” says Christer Bäckdahl.

    The tests will result in several commercial applications in 2018.

    Some of AP&T's online features include:

    • Performance monitoring
    • Condition monitoring
    • Process monitoring
    • Energy monitoring
    • Remote maintenance
    • Operation monitoring
  • “The new generation of Moving Bolster allows us to meet our customers’ needs for a modern and versatile solution that enables easier change processes, including short set-up times and high availability,” says AP&T Manager Development Press Products Mikael Karlsson. 

    In addition to moving bolsters offering a greater degree of freedom in general compared to conventional surface tables, AP&T’s Moving Bolster also offers several other conditions that enable highly effective production. 

    “First and foremost, the solution is very flexible. Moving Bolster can be conveyed in and out of the press in any direction, which means it can be adapted to suit the conditions at the individual factory as well as enable quick changes. Furthermore, its drive is entirely electric, which results in robust and precise control. It is also possible to execute the entire tool change using a few easy clicks of a button — an important advantage for customers with a highly automated process,” says Mikael Karlsson. 

    Safety has been emphasized during the development of the new Moving Bolster. As a means to minimize the risks faced by operators and other personnel, AP&T’s Moving Bolster is equipped with an optical scanner which continuously registers what is going on in front of the bolster, and it communicates with the control system. The scanner can be programmed so that the area in the direction of motion is divided into an outer and an inner safety zone. If a person or an object is discovered to be in the outer zone, the speed is automatically reduced. If a person or an object is discovered to be in the inner zone, the Moving Bolster stops completely. 

    The first customer installation of AP&T’s new Moving Bolster will take place this fall.  

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