Menu Open Menu Close Menu

WF Maschinenbau

Industry 4.0 in mechanical engineering: How digitalization can succeed in metal forming

Industry 4.0 in mechanical engineering: How digitalization can succeed in metal forming
Sendenhorst, December 2022
Industry 4.0 in mechanical engineering: How digitalization can succeed in metal forming
The Sendenhorst-based mechanical engineering company WF Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG is celebrating the second birthday of its SMART FORMING tools and demonstrating how digitization can succeed in metal forming operations. Two years ago, the company introduced its SMART FORMING tools. These are hardware and software modules that have elevated WF machines to a whole new level of production. SMART FORMING tools network machines with each other and optimize the entire production process. All relevant information is available in real time, regardless of location.  

How digitalization can succeed

"Our Industry 4.0 components enable optimal production, precise project documentation, a high level of data security, facilitated quality management and a significant reduction in the workload of employees. The SMART FORMING tools are our answer to the challenges of the future!", says the Managing Director of WF Maschinenbau, Dr Bodo Fink. After two years in operation, he says it is now time to look back. "The feedback from our customers has been overwhelming. Especially in the last few years, when many people had to go into quarantine at different times due to the pandemic, consistent machine control was ensured by the software." As a result, many companies were able to avoid production downtime and ensure high quality and on-time delivery despite the absence of those responsible.   The SMART FORMING tools currently include five modules:
  • SMART FORMING assistant facilitates the creation of complex motion programs and protects against serious programming errors right from the start.
  • The SMART FORMING viewer visualizes the forming forces and the load on the rolls. Forming processes of new workpieces are significantly facilitated.
  • The SMART FORMING cam monitors all processes during operation, even in inaccessible areas.
  • SMART FORMING inspector enables quality monitoring on each individual workpiece.
  • SMART FORMING diagnostics allows location-independent monitoring of all production and machine data, creates trends, observes limit values and enables machine stops in real time.
Customers can choose the modules they need from the SMART FORMING tools not only when they purchase a machine. Of course, machines already in operation can usually be upgraded. The team at WF Maschinenbau will be happy to provide advice on this. And especially high-quality consulting is also a priority at WF Maschinenbau. For example, many existing customers are currently asking about the SMART FORMING cam for remote diagnosis in the event of a fault. "We want satisfied customers. And here we explicitly recommend to fall back on our augmented reality glasses, which we have already been using for almost three years and which is considered the precursor of our SMART FORMING tools. Only for fault diagnosis, the SMART FORMING cam is oversized, the customer does not get any added value," says Fink. This customer orientation is characteristic for WF Maschinenbau: The goal is not the sale, but the satisfied customer. There is indeed a defined machine pool from which customers can choose machines. Nevertheless, the machines sold are usually not the same. "Individual adaptation to the needs of our customers is the be-all and end-all. No production at our customers is like the other - so the machines also have to be adapted - or even newly developed - accordingly. And individual consulting and configuration of the software environment is just as much a matter of course," Fink emphasizes. Due to the diversity of industries, users and end products, digitization in metal forming can only succeed through individual consulting and configuration of the offerings. WF Maschinenbau makes this possible.