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The Volkswagen Group will be equipping two of its Chinese facilities with the high-performance power press lines from the Schuler Group for the production of new vehicle models.

The group has invested in two Speedbar press lines for its facility in Chengdu (FAW-Volkswagen) and in a press line with the latest generation of Schuler’s Crossbar Feeder for its Nanjing facility (Shanghai Volkswagen).

The three new lines will mainly be using classic panel die sets for the production of roofs, hoods, wings, two-out and four-out doors and complete car side walls.

Frank Viola of the Large Mechanical Press division of Mueller Weingarten, a Schuler Group subsidiary, said: ‘The new lines must run at maximum possible availability and achieve a high level of productivity.

‘Our new lines are designed to meet these requirements, for example by offering a one-stop solution including blankloaders and part outfeed units whose performance is tailored to the high-speed press line concepts,’ he added.

When production starts at Shanghai Volkswagen in Nanjing, a press line featuring the new-generation Crossbar Feeder will be responsible for ensuring process reliability.

The coordinated overall concept involves the interaction of a lead-off press with a capacity of 21.1Mn (2,100tonf), five downstream presses each of 12.2Mn (1,200tonf) capacity and Crossbar Feeders located between the presses to enable high-output volumes.

A highlight of the new line is its continuous operation mode, which reduces wear and tear on the dies.

Depending on the operating mode, the line speed can reach up to 15 strokes per minute.

The drawing operations of the planned line will be equipped with CNC-controlled eight-point draw cushions to ensure optimal part quality.

The die tryout process in Nanjing will start as soon as 2010.

FAW-Volkswagen is planning a new ‘Car Plant 3’ for its Chengdu facility, for which it will require the two new press lines linked with Speedbar technology.

Four Speedbar press lines supplied by Schuler are already running in an older part of FAW-Volkswagen’s main plant in Changchun.

This offers a number of benefits for Volkswagen; for example, dies can be exchanged between similar press lines and staff members are already trained in using this machine type.

Volkswagen will also benefit from various technological improvements.

This applies to the line’s drive technology, for example, which Schuler has further optimised, and to the extended range of operating modes that the press lines now offer.

As a result, the Speedbar technology employed in the new facility will ensure speeds of 13 strokes per minute.

The remaining technical details correspond to those of the press line operating in Nanjing: a lead-off press with 21Mn (2,100tonf) of press force and five downstream presses each with a capacity of 12.2Mn (1,200tonf).

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