AP&T North America Inc

4817 Persimmon Ct
Monroe,  NC  28110-9314

United States
704-292-2900
http://www.aptgroup.com
  • Booth: D45847


 Press Releases

  • Focus on user friendliness in new generation control system from AP&T

    AP&T has produced a new generation control system that simplifies utilization of presses, automation equipment and production lines. The upgrade entails a comprehensive renewal of the LOGOS user interface, as well as functionality and hardware. 

    “Our ambition is to make operation as simple as possible for everyone who uses our machinery on a day-to-day basis. Consequently, we have listened very carefully to the opinions of customers and operators, and worked to satisfy their wishes in our development work. At the same time, we have put a great deal of effort into ensuring that operators who are accustomed to our machinery will feel at home in the environment,” says AP&T Vice Chief Technology Officer Christer Bäckdahl.

    One thing that many users have asked for is larger screens. Now they have access to 22” screens with full HD for stationary PCs and 7” screens for hand-held mobile panels. Both have widescreen format (16:9) and high resolution. The number of pixels is an impressive 2.5 times higher than previously. The graphics, which have a clear AP&T identity, have been developed to give a good overview of the displayed information and to facilitate navigation. This applies to the alarm view, for example, which gives a quick overview of the machine’s status.

    The functionality itself has also been improved.

    “One of the many examples is that previously two clicks were needed to switch between the various machines connected to the system. We added an extra menu with shortcut keys which means only one click is needed to switch from one unit to another,” says Lars Prysander, who has been the development project manager and one of the programmers for the new system version.

    The control system renewal began in spring 2018 in conjunction with the transition to Siemens’ new software platform, the TIA Portal. All of AP&T's products and production lines that have LOGOS are equipped with the latest generation of the user interface.  All of the machines also have the latest CPU versions and system for inputs and outputs (ET200SP).

    Facts about AP&T’s new control system

    • New generation of AP&T’s user-friendly Windows-based LOGOS interface for presses, automation equipment and complete production lines, including a 22” screen with full HD for stationary PCs and 7” screens for mobile panels with resolution of 480x800 pixels, among other things.

    • New generation Siemens SIMATIC CPUs.

    • New system for inputs and outputs: Siemens ET200SP.

    aptgroup.com

  • AP&T’s experts: “Our solution for hot forming of car body parts in high-strength aluminum can result in weight savings of up to 40 percent ”

    What were the results when AP&T developed its revolutionary and award-winning production line for hot forming of aluminum? And what are the most important advantages? Read what the experts have to say here. 

    To meet increasingly strict government requirements regarding CO2 emissions, the automotive industry has, for many years, been working to reduce fuel consumption and the climate impact of newly manufactured vehicles by taking various measures to reduce weight. New materials, new design and manufacturing methods have made possible lighter parts and components, resulting in reduced vehicle weight. In this, one of AP&T's core areas, press hardening of sheet steel, has been of vital importance for the progress made so far. As we continue to improve and refine press hardening technology, we are also investing significant resources in developing production solutions for forming other materials and material combinations. One of the most interesting is high-strength aluminum which is considerably lighter than steel but still associated with higher material costs and has properties that put other demands on forming methods and machinery.

    From innovation project to award-winning production line

    In 2013, AP&T began to investigate the possibility of developing a new process for hot forming complexly designed parts in high-strength aluminum for use in industry. During the following three-year period, AP&T ran and/or participated in a number of innovation projects with customers, universities and suppliers, primarily funded by the EU and other public stakeholders. The goal was to increase know-how by testing material, production processes and equipment both theoretically and practically. In 2016, the initiative resulted in an initial prototype line and a number of prototype components that showed great potential for the future.

    A year later in the autumn of 2017, our first full-scale production line for hot forming of high-strength aluminum – hot forming, w-temper and warm forming – was inaugurated in our Ulricehamn, Sweden test center. The first of its kind in the world, the solution offers entirely new possibilities for a cost-efficient production process, enhanced manufacturability and increased functionality of lightweight car body components. Thanks to the high strength and low weight of the material, the body weight could potentially be reduced by up to 40 percent by replacing conventional sheet steel with high-strength aluminum which can be made significantly thinner (down-gauging) while retaining its strength. The innovation gained much attention from the global automotive industry and was distinguished with several prestigious awards such as Altair Enlighten Award and SIQ Quality Innovation Award. Today, we have a fully commercial, scalable solution available to OEMs and Tier suppliers who wish to manufacture high-strength, low-weight, complexly designed body part components.

    One Responsible Partner® for your complete solutions

    To facilitate and ensure an efficient and correct implementation of the new technology at the customer site, AP&T offers complete, tailored solutions for which we take full responsibility for all included machinery, training packages, installation, deployment, service and support. The production line includes:

    • High-speed destackers for blank feeding to the furnace.
    • Furnace for quick and homogeneous heating, specially developed for 6xxx and 7xxx aluminum alloys.
    • Intermediate cooling station, (a step that provides the blank with better formability and corrosion resistance).
    • High-speed transfer of the blank to the press.
    • AP&T's unique, high-speed, high-precision and low energy-consuming servo-hydraulic press.
    • Forming and cooled tools.
    • Washing and pre-aging.
    • End of Line Automation

    Scalable, future-proofed and profitable from day one

    The scalability of the new technology makes it an interesting investment even for small manufacturing volumes and also makes it possible to relatively easily increase production capacity at a suitable rate.

    With regards to the production input per manufactured part, AP&T's solution is very competitive compared to the methods available today. Due to the good formability of the material, components that are currently manufactured by joining several different parts, such as car door rings, are manufactured in as a single piece through one hot forming operation. This makes for a rational manufacturing process with fewer operations, simpler handling and logistics, fewer tools, better material utilization and, thereby, lower production costs per unit. To further streamline production, each operation in the process has been analyzed and optimized. One of the challenges was to lower the time for what is referred to as the artificial aging process.

    New method for artificial aging results in shorter cycle times and easier assembly

    In hot forming of aluminum, the conventional approach to harden the material is to heat it up to its Solution Heat Treatment temperature and form and cool it in the tool. To then obtain the desired mechanical properties, the material needs to be artificially aged by heating it again to a certain temperature within a specific time period. However, hardening through conventional artificial aging has two clear disadvantages: Firstly, it is very time consuming, sometimes taking up to several hours. Secondly, the material is getting hardened before the component is assembled to a car body and thus could result in difficulties during joining operations.

    AP&T uses an optimized aging sequence in order to reduce cycle time by executing a pre-aging process after forming and quenching the part to prepare the material for the subsequently, so called paint baking process, which is performed after the car body is assembled. This pre-aging step takes between 5 and 30 minutes instead of several hours. The final hardening is carried out during paint baking which takes place after assembling the car body components. This leads to very ductile material behavior during the final assembly of the component in the car body shop and results in good joinability. This enhanced aging sequence was developed and evaluated by AP&T in collaboration with Hydro Aluminium, who developed an aluminum alloy (AA6xx) which is tailored for this process.

    Tooling development with advanced simulation decisive for product quality

    High standards are put on tools used in sheet forming to ensure that body parts meet the required tolerances and to avoid the risk of cracks. Developing tools for hot forming of high strength aluminum is currently important in AP&T’s tooling operations. We have optimized the tribological behavior between tool surface and high-strength aluminum blanks by using the right combination of tool coating and lubricant. Regarding the field of FEM-sheet forming simulation we have particularly put great effort in material characterization, to analyze the mechanical properties of various grades of high strength aluminum. Furthermore we have validated our simulation capabilities due to different test geometries to ensure for an effective interaction between FEM-simulation, tool design and tool manufacturing.

  • Machine In a Box — AP&T’s package solution for linear automation paves the way for integrators

    Linear robots built from standard components and delivered in complete packages for quick installation — this is a quick overview of Machine in a Box, AP&T’s customer-oriented concept for automation aimed at local internal and external integrators. It is now available in both the U.S. and Europe.

     “Our automation products are more than just key components in AP&T’s newly manufactured production lines. Over half of the machines we sell are used for automation of both new and older production solutions, or they are installed in material handling systems by local integrators,” says AP&T Product Manager Automation Martin Sahlman.

    It´s for the purpose of facilitating for this customer segment and getting closer to end customers that AP&T developed Machine In a Box. The business model means that the integrator is responsible for project management and sales, while AP&T’s undertaking is limited to delivering the automation equipment.

    “With the integrator’s specification as a base, we produce a product based on our modular system of standard components. This allows us to substantially reduce lead times from order to delivery, at the same time that we ensure the end customer obtains a reliable, tested and quality-assured machine from a local integrator.”

    AP&T has successfully used the concept in North America since 2011 through its regional office. From this year it is also possible to purchase locally integrated automation products from AP&T’s European office in Germany, which also entails advantages like local project management, sales and service. At the same time, AP&T is taking steps to expand its network of external integrators to achieve an even broader circle of end customers.

    The first two end customers to select a Machine In a Box solution from AP&T in Germany are an appliance producer and a supplier of surgical instruments to the medical industry. AP&T in Germany integrated AP&T’s linear robots into their production lines. In both cases, the equipment is used for sheet metal forming, but AP&T’s linear robots are also used in entirely different industries.

    “It’s true, our technology is also suitable for handling food, glass, wood products and tires, to name just a few examples. We are already one of the biggest players in standardized modular linear robots, but by widening the market with additional application areas and new internal and external integrators, we want to reach even more customers with our excellent and competitive products,” says Martin Sahlman.

    Read more about Machine In a Box at aptgroup.com


 Products

  • New Generation Control System from AP&T
    A new generation control system that simplifies utilization of presses, automation equipment and production lines. The upgrade entails a comprehensive renewal of the LOGOS user interface, as well as functionality and hardware....
     

  • Focus on user friendliness in new generation control system from AP&T

    AP&T has produced a new generation control system that simplifies utilization of presses, automation equipment and production lines. The upgrade entails a comprehensive renewal of the LOGOS user interface, as well as functionality and hardware. 

    “Our ambition is to make operation as simple as possible for everyone who uses our machinery on a day-to-day basis. Consequently, we have listened very carefully to the opinions of customers and operators, and worked to satisfy their wishes in our development work. At the same time, we have put a great deal of effort into ensuring that operators who are accustomed to our machinery will feel at home in the environment,” says AP&T Vice Chief Technology Officer Christer Bäckdahl.

    One thing that many users have asked for is larger screens. Now they have access to 22” screens with full HD for stationary PCs and 7” screens for hand-held mobile panels. Both have widescreen format (16:9) and high resolution. The number of pixels is an impressive 2.5 times higher than previously. The graphics, which have a clear AP&T identity, have been developed to give a good overview of the displayed information and to facilitate navigation. This applies to the alarm view, for example, which gives a quick overview of the machine’s status.

    The functionality itself has also been improved.

    “One of the many examples is that previously two clicks were needed to switch between the various machines connected to the system. We added an extra menu with shortcut keys which means only one click is needed to switch from one unit to another,” says Lars Prysander, who has been the development project manager and one of the programmers for the new system version.

    The control system renewal began in spring 2018 in conjunction with the transition to Siemens’ new software platform, the TIA Portal. All of AP&T's products and production lines that have LOGOS are equipped with the latest generation of the user interface.  All of the machines also have the latest CPU versions and system for inputs and outputs (ET200SP).

    Facts about AP&T’s new control system

    • New generation of AP&T’s user-friendly Windows-based LOGOS interface for presses, automation equipment and complete production lines, including a 22” screen with full HD for stationary PCs and 7” screens for mobile panels with resolution of 480x800 pixels, among other things.
    • New generation Siemens SIMATIC CPUs.
    • New system for inputs and outputs: Siemens ET200SP.

    aptgroup.com

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