PRESS KIT DIGITAL OPEN HOUSE "WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBOURWOOD"
aimi – the future software environment of IMA Schelling
The goal is clear: making orientation easier and allowing customers to see clearly which application segment is hidden behind the applicable software. With aimi, IMA Schelling is developing a new homogeneous software environment designed to reach these objectives.
In addition to ambitious high-tech processing plants, the IMA Schelling product portfolio also includes software solutions for machine control and for digital human-to-machine communication. However, since the current solutions have grown over the years, the current software landscape is inhomogeneous and complex. The key to software homogenization lies within the aimi software which is consistent for all companies. The software will allow all machines and workcells to be embedded neatly in the customer's production environment and to be uniformly and intuitively operated.
Think, Do, Talk – three different levels offer structure
The new software landscape is divided into three basic levels:
- aimi.THINK comprises software solutions designed to allow job & production scheduling with optimisation as well as production planning and data preparation for all production-relevant information
- aimi.DO stands for “doing”, i.e. software for machine-oriented operation
- aimi.TALK deals with external communications networking, i.e. software solutions for the connection of external machines and process feedback as well as the communication link to the customer's production environment
System of the future
Existing machines are still equipped with the IPC.NET plant control system. The new aimi software will be implemented gradually so that both systems will merge into each other in the course of time. “Users of our machines and work cells on which aimi is not yet available don't have to worry. The changeover from the current software solutions to aimi is a gradual process, and numerous interfaces ensure that all companies will profit from the new solution,” Stefan Rische, IMA Schelling Software Development Manager, explains.
Automatic tape handling: easier operation, reduced number of error sources
Sophisticated edge banding is one of the key strengths of IMA Schelling. Constant innovation and optimization guarantee a high level of technology and excellent processing quality. The highlight among the current innovations is the fully automated tape handling, reducing the complexity of the tape magazine and tape-to-panel joining zone while simultaneously increasing tape availability and the level of automation in the edge banding zone. Further technical innovations in edge processing include new fine finishing units such as the I-KFA as well as a revised workpiece infeed system and linear drives for all working units moving synchronously with the feed.
Fully automatic tape handling
In the furniture industry, the number of product variations is increasing while production batch sizes are decreasing, hence it is necessary to have a multitude of different edging tapes available in the tape-to-panel joining zone. The result will be increasingly large tape magazines and many potential sources of error and malfunction. The high percentage of manual operations in the tape-to-panel joining zone creates additional error risks. In order to minimize the causes of faults and further automate the manufacturing process, IMA Schelling developed a fully automatic tape handling. The advantages for the user are obvious: the automatic tape handling along the entire logistic chain from the tape storage area to the process zone brings the user's tape handling operations to state-of-the-art levels, simultaneously increasing both tape diversity and productivity. Also existing machines can be equipped with the new system.
Single track instead of 96-reel tape magazine
The automatic tape handling system uses a loading/unloading device that performs the task of automatically handling and conveying the tape reels instead of using a large tape magazine. The new system is based on tape reels stored in tape cassettes. These can be fitted with all common reel formats. The required edging tape is automatically supplied to the workpiece currently being processed. The single-track tape feed device acts as a fully automatic interface between the edging tape and the workpiece. The utilization of this single tape track makes the previously used complex multi-reel receptacles with multi-track magazines obsolete. Hence, machine complexity is significantly reduced. The hold-down device and tape guide optimally adjust themselves to the tape thickness and height. Moreover, the system not only offers tape consumption measurement but also the possibility of increasing process security through monitoring using sensors.
Separate, modular system
The fully automatic tape handling system is a modular scalable system designed for batch-size-1 production at feed speeds of up to 45 metres per minute. It is a separate workcell element located beside the edge processing machine and can store up to 102 tape cassettes for permanent access. The connection of the new tape handling system to storage and logistic systems allows the machine to handle an almost unlimited number of tape variations and allows for fully automated processes.
New fine finishing units
The new I-KFA contour milling unit for the fine finishing of edges with concave contours in the corner area can be used for automatic end milling of leading edge and trailing edge profiles by milling along the contour of the transverse edge. Since no manual rework is required, IMA Schelling increases both quality and productivity with this operation. Further innovations include the standardization of all static fine finishing units and the resulting simplification of spare parts stock-keeping as well as the consistent use of high-precision linear guides. The utilization of absolute encoders on all axes eliminates the need to reference the axes prior to use, increases reliability and reduces the positioning times of the slides. Motorized decoupling from the top pressure track improves the machining quality. At the same time, IMA Schelling has improved accessibility and optimized the energy consumption of the extraction system. Another new feature is the plug & play unit design which facilitates quick replacement of the units.
Revised workpiece infeed system
The primary goals of the revision of the workpiece infeed system were the optimization of the material flow as well as improvement of user comfort and accuracy. This was achieved through design-related changes such as continuous alignment, decoupling of the master dog from the dog frame, improved vertical adjustment of the rows of end stops as well as optimized positioning. As a result of these changes, also setup times and moreover the noise level were reduced.
In addition, IMA Schelling is replacing the pneumatic actuators with electric linear drives for all working units moving synchronously with the feed. These are in particular end trimming and corner processing units. The dynamic drives enable flexible regulation of the velocity. Furthermore the motional characteristics of the drives are fully programmable.
Modular, innovative, unique – the new IMAGIC L1 drilling machine for batch-size-1 production from the IMA Schelling Group
With the IMAGIC L1 throughfeed drilling machine, IMA Schelling together with its Rheinau (Germany) based technology partner Zimmer Group developed a novel drilling concept for true highly flexible batch-size-1 production that requires no setup at all. The machine is based on a modular system and is designed to meet the specific demands placed on the efficient production of a large number of variants. The absolute highlight of the workcell is the conveyor system with innovative part recirculation system, designed and patented by Zimmer. Another novelty in IMA Schelling's product range: the new 'IMAGIC hybrid' for batch production.
The IMAGIC L1 allows complete 6-side drilling. It can be adapted to meet the individual needs of customers regarding the machining operations to be performed (drilling, routing, grooving, hardware mounting). This is made possible by standard modules that can be compiled and supplemented depending on the application up to a maximum length of a triple-bridge processing gantry.
Numerous unique features
The new batch-size-1 drilling machine stands out through various innovations that are making the machine unique in the marketplace. In fact, miscellaneous configuration possibilities on both sides of the fixed portals enable optimal distribution of the machining operations. Whether pure drilling or any combination of routing, drilling, dowel insertion and hardware mounting, the machine design will vary according to customer specifications. In this process, up to three portal frames can be installed on a machine. For identical hole patterns, the IMAGIC L1 allows horizontal drilling in X direction on two parts simultaneously (one stroke). The integration of an optional router spindle with a stationary tool changer magazine is possible. The applicable park positions and maintenance positions of the units make it easy to change drill bits and ensure accessibility in the case of maintenance.
The conveyor system – a highlight
The new patented Zimmer conveyor system with recirculating grippers carries the parts in one clamping through the entire workcell – even in the case of multiple portal frames. This provides a number of advantages: the permanent clamping has helped reduce the spacing between parts and hence the chip-to-chip times to a minimum. Together with the high dynamics of the whole system, this increases workcell availability and production capacity. The advantages of the innovative conveyor system also become apparent when a fault occurs: instead of shutting the whole cell down, the operator only needs to remove and replace the defective gripper while the cell can continue working at slightly reduced capacity.
Flexible workcell configuration
Due to its modularity, the IMAGIC L1 drilling workcell can be configured as a manually operated system or as an automated system. Furthermore, the cell can be designed to be integrated into a complex production line. When configured as a manually operated drilling system, a single operator at the front of the machine suffices to operate the machine thanks to the space-saving return conveyor system. By using handling gantries or robots, automation can be implemented frictionlessly. The full versatility of the drilling system shows when it comes to integrating the system into a production line. Moreover, it can be adapted to a changing production environment without any problems.
IMAGIC hybrid – a novel batch production process
The new IMAGIC hybrid drilling machine for batch production uses servomotors for fully electronic adjustment of all axes. An external setup station for the drill heads to be changed is available outside the working area of the machine and allows the operator to set up the machine for the job while the machine is operating. Separately selectable drill spindles drill the holes into the top face without requiring any setup. If desired, the workcell can also be expanded by adding a horizontal drilling and doweling station that requires no setup and be used in tandem mode (i.e. a workcell consisting of two machines) to increase capacity.
Technological innovations in CNC processing
Increase in efficiency, automation and maximum material protection – these were the demands placed on the optimization of the IMA Schelling BIMA Px80 processing gantry. The highlight of the revised machine design is the 90° internal corner edge banding without manual setup – an absolutely unique marketplace feature. Further technical innovations include the possibility of combining a laser unit and glue station on one machine as well as an optional integration of the machine into automated handling systems. Moreover, IMA Schelling revised the AEK multi-profile combination fine finishing unit and the tape cassette on the edge banding unit.
More flexibility with no additional setup
The VT100 and VT100/100 edge banding units now enable the 90° internal corner edge banding operation to be performed without additional manual setup. Inside the 90° corner, a movable prism on the post-pressure roller takes the role of the main pressure roller. Furthermore, a new flush-milling unit for internal corners reduces the required fine finishing operations to a minimum. Users will benefit from more efficient and more flexible edge banding.
Edge banding without compromise
The BIMA Px80 processing gantry can now be equipped with two independent edge banding units, i.e. one using glue and the other one using laser technology. Here the constructional separation of both units gives the user the typical advantages of the applicable edge banding type and in each case optimal quality of parts. The changeover from laser edgings to glue edgings, and vice versa, is carried out automatically via the control system. Each edge banding unit has a separate travelling tape magazine (max. 12 reels). Users will benefit from a clean separation of the different types of edging tapes and a clear-cut tape handling.
The BIMA Px80 processing centre can be integrated with various types of fully automatic handling systems. In this process, handling systems such as robots or linear gantries can be utilized in a flexible manner – for example for automatically transferring and correctly positioning parts directly onto the worktable of the processing centre and for automatically taking parts away from the worktable and stacking them. Despite the connection to automatic handling systems, the operator can also operate the processing machine manually from the front of the machine. Doing so he or she can always check the quality of the parts while they are still clamped on the worktable. In this way, the material handling systems allow the processing machine to be frictionlessly integrated into the production lines and workcell concepts of the customers.
Reliably reproducible qualities
IMA Schelling also optimized the AEK multi-profile combination fine finishing unit. It now works even more effectively. The AEK unit is equipped with motorized adjustment for the side guide and for both tools in order to allow processing of up to three profiles with only one unit. The control system automatically sets the correction values for all tools and saves different settings for each edging tape. Since these values can be reproduced whenever a part program is run, constant quality can be produced – without any time-consuming manual setup required and without the need of any test parts to be produced or faulty parts produced on the machine. This substantially increases the technical availability of the machine. At the same time, the touchless data and energy transfer allow for long service life and trouble-free operation of the unit. By the way: the optional “tape thickness measurement” enables automatic adjustment of the AEK depending on the tape thickness measured.
Individualized panel cutting concepts for every performance class
Whether pure sawing or routing or a combination of both, IMA Schelling offers the optimal panel cutting solution for each individual manufacturing strategy and performance class. Now, the machine and plant manufacturer again demonstrates its competence: with a new robotic handling for its proven fh series saws and with the new highly flexible hl 1 machine concept for high-performance single-panel cutting, IMA Schelling meets the growing demand for automation, individuality and capacity.
The portfolio of the IMA Schelling Group provides the perfect panel cutting solution to any industry, company size and individual need. The manual fh series saws for small and medium-size companies as well as the automated workcell solutions of the ah series for industrial enterprises can be used flexibly for batch-size-1, small batch or large batch production. In contrast, the ls 1 with circular saw technology and its proven recirculation concept as well as the Performance.cut with CNC routing technology for machining cutouts or cut-aways are specifically designed for fully automated batch-size-1 production. Both systems achieve a throughfeed rate of up to 1500 parts per shift. Maximum flexibility and production rates of up to 3000 parts per shift are provided by the Combi.cut which combines both panel cutting technologies on one machine.
fh 4 robot – automated batch-size-1 panel cutting
Alongside with increasing individualization, also the demand for fully automated and interlinked batch-size-1 manufacturing cells grew. IMA Schelling has responded to the growing demand for these products with the fh 4 robot solution for automatic batch-size-1 panel cutting, with production rates of around 500 - 800 parts per shift. This new workcell consists of a panel saw and a handling robot for handling and manipulating the cut-to-size parts. Hence, performance can be achieved independently of the operator who is able to concentrate more on the actual value-adding operations. Users will benefit from more efficient production planning, for example through unmanned operation during the night and greater independence from staff shortage due to holiday or sickness. Since the panel saw can also be operated manually by an operator – for example for cutting packages or special materials - maximum flexibility is guaranteed.
High-performance panel cutting
With the new highly flexible hl 1 machine concept for cutting single panels, again, the goal is to ensure efficient batch-size-1 production. A construction kit forms the basis for implementing individualized batch-size-1 production concepts depending on the customer requirements, the production environment and the available floor space. The intelligent combination of the individual modules according to customer requirements and needs enables panel cutting solutions for production rates of 8 - 20 parts per minute.
Holistic solution concepts for the woodworking industry
IMA Schelling CONSULTING is the independent technical advisory unit of the IMA Schelling Group. Certified industry experts with long-year experience provide advice to existing and new customers all over the globe regarding the production environment of the woodworking industry which is becoming more and more complex.
Based on technical competence and structural detail analyses along the entire value-adding chain, the CONSULTING branch of IMA Schelling elaborates solution approaches and concepts for improving the overall business performance of its customers.
To achieve this corporate goal, the experienced experts consider the individual production in a holistic manner along the vertical and horizontal process chains and work out strategies for value-adding oriented company control as well as site concepts and decision models for restructuring measures. The role of the CONSULTING unit also includes factory planning, fund application and all tools of performance management.
In close cooperation with the customer, the industry experts aid customers with investment planning and factory optimization. “We act as a link between our customers and the work cell specialists. In this process, a methodical approach is fundamental to sustainable consulting and a long-term partnership,” Senior Consultant Andreas Dahlmeier explains.
Current major issues in consulting
Alongside with increasing individualization and diversification in case furniture construction, many companies are faced with the task of making production processes more flexible. Hence, batch-size-1 production is an important issue the woodworking industry needs to tackle. The CONSULTING team supports its customers with the step-by-step conversion of production as well as with the optimization and digitization of existing batch-size-1 workcells. Another major issue of the experts is to accompany customers on the path of developing hybrid production processes – a solution approach for a smart and highly flexible production that counteracts fluctuations in capacity utilization. The process control of batch-size-1 workcells and hybrid production systems is highly complex, depending on the manufacturing depth. That means, digitization is of particular importance for the conversion and optimization of production. Here too, the CONSULTING experts provide advice and accompany their customers.
An outstanding service – the IMA Schelling Group Academy
The role of the IMA Schelling Group Academy is to provide future-oriented customer training and employee training in technical fields. The training department centrally develops and organizes training and qualification modules which can be adapted to meet the individual needs of learners. The training is carried out on IMA Schelling sites, at the customer's premises or online.
The efficiency of high-tech sophisticated processing plants from the IMA Schelling Group depends very much on the extent to which proper use of equipment is ensured. To achieve this goal, the IMA Schelling Group Academy offers a comprehensive training and qualification programme consisting of standardized and individualized training courses. The individualized training is tailored to the needs of its clients. In this process, the contents and learning objectives of the applicable training and the current state of knowledge among the participants will be clarified in cooperation with customers.
The standard training includes conveying knowledge about new machines, operating these machines and the software. The goal is to understand processes, to be able to make use of all possibilities from the beginning, not to loose time in the initial phase and to avoid or prevent failure of an operating plant. Moreover, maintenance training and workshops where IMA Schelling assists its customers in analysing their work processes and developing more efficient workflows, are part of the services offered by the IMA Schelling Group Academy.
The training is carried out on one of the main production sites of the company in Luebbecke (Germany) or Schwarzach (Austria), at subsidiary companies, at the customer's premises or online via video conference. Depending on the type and scope of training, the course will last one day or up to two weeks. Each training module consists of a theoretical and practical part, taught by teachers from the documentation & training department and from the specialist departments. Participants get comprehensive documentation about the training content and a certificate at the end of the course.
ZIMBA: full transparency and target-oriented guidance
The IMA Schelling IIoT and service platform, ZIMBA, is a crucial tool for production optimization – helping users increase the productivity of their machines and work cells and maximize it during the entire lifecycle. It gives customers fundamental insight and solution-oriented recommendations for efficient operation of the production chain.
With ZIMBA, users can achieve something close to omniscience when it comes to the machinery and workcells in their manufacturing plants. All machine data is called up, gathered and analysed in real time. Hence the system presents all the information required to determine the optimal strategy for improving plant performance. That means: full transparency and better planning possibilities. Risks become calculable, the utilization rate is maximized and overall equipment efficiency is increased. At the same time, the user is expanding its knowledge of the processing plant and its technological possibilities. ZIMBA also enables the plant operating company to respond quickly when maintenance needs to be carried out. Maintenance and operating personnel can access operation manuals and maintenance documentation within a very short time.
“ZIMBA absolutely puts the focus on customer benefits and increase in productivity (Overall Equipment Efficiency). The open and highly flexible IIoT and service platform is constantly growing and developing through the cooperation with our customers and the resulting knowledge. Our processes are designed to enhance this dynamic product development and simultaneously form the basis for sustainable development of companies in a rapidly changing digital environment,” says Christoph Geiger, Chief Operating Officer of the IMA Schelling Group.
Functions of the IIoT and service platform
The IIoT- and service platform not only offers its users a general overview of their machinery and plant performance but also the possibility of directly accessing maintenance and operation manuals. With the ZIMBA.ticket function, the user gets a direct link to the IMA Schelling Hotline and is continually informed about the current state of the machine by automatic messages. If desired, ZIMBA.assistance will support customers with the help of Augmented Reality (AR). In the event that service is required, the AR application will allow the experts from IMA Schelling to directly give instructions for clarifying the situation. Moreover, via the maintenance manager, the user can call up details of the maintenance to be carried out and directly schedule these maintenance jobs and pass them on to the responsible employee. In this way, ZIMBA facilitates communication between the customer and IMA Schelling and essentially contributes to uncomplicated quick problem solving.
For more information on all sessions, please visit our online event platform: https://experience.imaschelling.com