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BMW in Regensburg uses a an external pre-cropping station and a dual decoiler from Schuler to optimise its coil-preparation process for the production of automotive body panels and structural parts.

At Audi Neckarsulm, Schuler developed an external pre-cropping station and coil-storage cart with support rollers.

Compared to the use of conventional techniques, BMW and Audi have reduced coil-changing times by around 60min a day with the aid of external pre-cropping.

In autumn 2009, BMW’s Regensburg facility launched production on a new blanking line from Schuler that can convert up to 400 tonnes of coil a day into blanks.

The line includes the world’s first ever cutting press to feature Servodirect Technology and is designed for the processing of high-strength materials.

One component of the blanking line is a dual decoiler for two coils, each weighing a maximum of 35 tonnes.

Together with the external pre-cropping station, this helps keep setup times to a minimum.

The blanking line works in automated operation.

While the loaded coil is still being unwound or already wound back, the opposing free mandrel is loaded by the coil-loading cart.

The coil is then fed into the external pre-cropping device and the dirty outer winding is cut off intermittently.

In order to facilitate transportation, the cutoffs are divided again with slitting shears and disposed of via waste conveyor belts in the cellar.

Once the beginning of the coil has been rewound, the dual decoiler swings the coil in 10sec into the line.

After threading into the line’s roll feed, the coil is then cleaned and straightened before being fed intermittently into the press.

The entire process is fully automatic.

This automation solution offers time savings, especially for production processes with frequent material changes and high outputs.

In order to reduce spare-part storage, the external and internal coil-feeding units and the cropping and slitting devices use the same components.

A modern Schuler cutting line has also been in operation at Audi in Neckarsulm since December 2009.

The line features an external pre-cropping station with two coil-storage places for fast changing between the production of aluminum and steel blanks.

The coil is fed via a coil-storage cart with driven support rollers and adjustable hold-down roller for threading the coil from above or below.

An additional pre-straightening device is integrated into the external coil-preparation unit to guarantee safe feeding of high-strength material into the main line.

Once the coil has been pre-cropped, it is wound back.

After moving the coil storage cart to the mandrel centre, the decoiler picks up the lifted coil and moves it into the line.

The cutoffs from the start of the coil are made smaller with slitting shears and transported via the waste conveyor to the cellar for disposal.

The process is controlled automatically via operating panels that can be moved in line with the coil-feeding process.

This ensures correct monitoring of each step in the process.

The concept reduces the coil-changing times necessitated by Audi’s steel/aluminum product-mix strategy to a minimum and raises overall output.

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