Bühler’s Digital Cell is a step change for the die-casting industry

Bühler Die Casting has introduced the Digital Cell, a solution that aims to deliver 0% scrap, 40% less cycle time, and 24/7 uptime to make the die-casting industry more profitable and efficient. Three solutions launched GIFA 2019 form part of the future Digital Cell, the first of which will be every future Bühler die-casting cell’s smart digital brain – the SmartCMS (Smart Cell Management System). With the capability to collect and manage information from every component and peripheral, it will improve process performance and make it possible to significantly increase OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness). The second breakthrough is a set of digital services, among them Predictive Analytics, which can deliver a 10-fold reduction in downtimes thanks to predictive maintenance. The third key development is Fusion, Bühler’s next-generation, three-platen die-casting platform.

The Digital Cell has the potential to transform die-casting. It is the vision to monitor, control, and manage the complete cell.

“To achieve a step-change in die-casting, it’s not enough to focus on single components. To significantly boost productivity, we have to tackle the system as a whole. It will deliver key benefits for foundries around the world,” says Jonathan Abbis, Managing Director at Bühler Die Casting.

With higher productivity levels and around-the-clock uptime, the Digital Cell will enable car manufacturers and suppliers to use aluminium and magnesium parts profitably across the entire automotive range.

SmartCMS is the Digital Cell’s brain
“The Digital Cell brings all of the individual die-casting components together under one smart digital brain called Smart CMS (Smart Cell Management System). If we think of a die-casting cell like a human body, with lots of different tasks carried out by different parts, the SmartCMS is the brain, ready to coordinate all of that activity in the most effective way,” says Abbis.

“It lays the foundation for the smart management of entire die-casting cells, with the capability to collect information from every component and peripheral in a single control system. Initially available at the cell level, SmartCMS delivers improvements through equipment connectivity, cell automation and operation, centralised alarms, data collection, flexible part flow, and recipe management. It will improve process performance and make it possible to significantly increase OEE.”

Digital Services keep downtime to a minimum
The Digital Cell, with its Industry 4.0 and IoT technologies, can create opportunities for a wide range of digital services aimed at improving die-casting performance. The Die Casting Dashboard offers a visual platform for machine monitoring, alarms, remote support, and historic performance data. This is the first important step to giving foundry managers and owners timely information and strategic insights.

Predictive Analytics uses machine learning from sensor data on each cell. Instead of dealing with an unexpected breakdown that can cost a foundry around 30 hours until the system is back in operation, Predictive Analytics can cut those 30 hours down to three hours because it calculates engineering parameters of key machine parts and suggests scheduled interventions. It cuts expensive and time-consuming downtime by 10-times. Validated accuracy of prediction is 95%. This will soon be extended to include even more critical processes to cover the components typically responsible for around 80% of unexpected downtime in the die-casting machine.

Each hour of downtime on a single cell can cost a customer thousands of Euros and puts pressure on delivery schedules. Understanding more about what is causing downtimes and applying proactive fixes can save significant sums. Downtime Analysis is a comprehensive cloud-based failure analysis tool, providing root cause reporting from the die-casting machine. Analysis can help to reduce downtime on a single machine. It can then inform changes on other machines within the foundry, helping to drive best practice. While data is provided on several die-casting machine parameters, an extension to cover the entire cell is planned in the near future. All data is securely stored in the Bühler Insights IoT platform powered by Microsoft Azure.

Fusion three-platen die-casting platform
Fusion is Bühler Die Casting’s next generation, three-platen die-casting platform, designed to deliver exceptional OEE. It can make full use of Smart CMS’s future machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities. With its closed-loop control, modular energy frame, and Industry 4.0 automation capability, Fusion is a flexible solution for high-quality aluminium and magnesium die-casting parts. Smoother servo-driven hydraulics can cut cycle time and reduce energy consumption by up to 40%.

For further details visit www.buhler.com