At MRF we have always relied on our own innovations and designs and our own methods of fabrication. Additionally, we are committed to customising products according to our customers' needs whilst, at the same time, providing quality employment in our country and protecting the environment. It was decided that the time was right to take a qualitative leap forward that would allow us to improve our vocation and manufacturing ability and strengthen our progressive commitment to industry 4.0.
These commitments as outlined above have encouraged us to make the biggest machinery investment in the last decade and has involved acquiring an automated laser-cutting production line that seamlessly integrates with our new press brake machine both of which were supplied by the renowned Japanese manufacturer AMADA through its subsidiary company Amada Ibérica Machinery.
This new machinery allows us not only to improve our time and cost efficiency but also to improve our capabilities in our main production line (rear frames, locks, locking gear, hinges and other bodywork components). At the same time this investment seeks to increase our flexibility allowing us to work with other industrial sectors, for example, 'Renewable Energy' which is an area where we want to increase our presence by working with new clients.
We have proceeded to change our laser technology by replacing our CO2 laser cutting machine with a new laser machine that utilises fibre technology. This system comprises a 3 Kw laser powered machine (model ENSIS 3015J) an automated Storage Tower (model ASF3105EU Tall) that is 7m High with a capacity to store 40 tons of sheet metal in 14 different positions, and a third Pallet Changer that works as an OUTPUT STATION. This automated storage and loading system allows vertical storage of the sheet metal which optimises the factory workspace and facilitates the handling of the material.
Additionally, we have incorporated a new Amada CAD/CAM software bundle (the BLANKING SOLUTION PACK) to help us programme and optimise our cutting process as it allows us to generate laser CNC programmes direct from 3D designs. This software allows direct connectivity with our technical office and it is also adapted to the controls of our laser machine enabling more reliable manufacturing of the blank parts and to improve the quality of downstream processes such as bending and welding.
The cutting process is the starting point in our factory and, depending upon the type of product, cutting is achieved by stamping press or by laser cutting. Stamping is usually preferred for small parts with a high turnover ratio such as hinges, locking gear and other components for locks and bodywork whilst laser cutting is reserved for customised products with a lower turnover ratio, for example, rear and lateral frames, customised products for different industrial sectors or parts with complex geometry.
Cutting, especially by laser, is a major step in our processes as laser cutting allows us to work with a greater number of materials and thicknesses and gives us the flexibility to produce smaller batch sizes with fast changes and with a superior quality finish. With higher cutting speeds and a lower energy consumption our competitiveness and versatility are significantly increased.
Before installing the new system, it was necessary to undertake a 'load' study and, because of this, we had to build a new foundation slab comprising 22 Tm of reinforced concrete and with a perimeter isolated from the rest of the factory floor. We were then able to install the Laser cutting Machine (9.5 Tm), the Automated Storage System (approx. 13 Tm) and the Output Station (2 Tm).
To manage and monitor the system we installed the software V-FACTORY CONNECTING BOX with an online platform offering production control charts and indicators, alarm records and analysis of cryogenic consumption and, most importantly, this information is displayed in real time.
These are the benefits of our laser cutting system:
|Carbon Steel||25 mm|
|Stainless Steel||15 mm|
We have now significantly improved the quality of our bending operation which means, in conjunction with our laser machine, we now manufacture parts with greater precision.
To make this possible we have invested in a new Amada Press Brake Machine (model HFE 3i 220.4/7) and, together with this have installed the new Amada bending software the BLEND SOLUTION PACK, which allows us to generate bending programmes from 3D designs and with our Amada laser cutting machine being the starting point of the operation. The software incorporates all the parameters of our tools and adapts them to obtain required bending parameters.
The operation includes an angle measurement tool called DIGIPRO that allows the press brake to bend sheet metal with absolute precision. The tool allows transmission of the measured angle and automatically recalculates any correction via Wi-Fi.
The main features of our Press Brake are as follows:
|Nominal force (kN)||2305|
|Minimum force (kN)||148|
|Maximum bending length (mm)||4280|
|Table width (mm)||180|
|Working height (mm)||960|
|Open height without tools (mm)||470|
|Cylinder stroke (mm)||200|
|Neck depth (mm)||420|
|Spacing between structures (mm)||3760|
|Maximum pressure (bar)|
|Total length (mm)||5560|
|Total depth (mm)||2625|
|Total height (mm)||3085|
In addition to the increase is productivity, precision and quality coupled with the control and connectivity it is worth highlighting the significant improvement in safety and ergonomics in the workplace.
MRF would like to recognise the support and combined effort that has contributed to this major investment. MRF is a member of the Automotive Cluster of Galicia (CEAGA) that received the 1st Prize for the best 'industry 4.0 collective project in Galicia' which is awarded by the government of Galicia (Xunta de Galicia). MRF is one of the 15 SME's which make up this project which has been subsidised by the Galician Institute for Economic Promotion (IGAPE). We would also like to thank the Galician administration for their support as well as for their role as Promotor and a catalyst of projects aimed at improving the competitiveness of CEAGA.
The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism of Spain also deserves a mention for its financial support programme for industrial investment (REINDUS) 2019 and has also facilitated the partial funding of this project under very favourable conditions.
We are convinced that this future driven decision to invest in this new technology will allow MRF to respond to its customers' requirements even more efficiently, undertake new projects in line with Industry 4.0 and to reduce the environmental impact of our activity.
We continue to invest in quality employment in our region and all these actions taken together will undoubtedly make an important contribution to a successful future.