Volvo Chassis Rail Punching Line Retrofit
CNC Design recently completed a very challenging
project - the retrofit of a punching transfer line in Volvo Truck
Australia's facilities located in Brisbane used for machining chassis
rails. The project involved complete replacement of the electrical
control system and machine re-wiring. In addition the each step
from raw data processing to punching had to be understood and a
concept for automating this process developed. Extensive work was
done for implementing a customized operator and diagnostic interface.
was based on the powerful Siemens SINUMERIK 840D CNC control and
SIMODRIVE 611 AC servo drive platform using also interfaces from
Moog in order to control the some of the hydraulic axes which were
retained. We used a 840D NCU573.4 for controlling 9 real axes with
another 10 measuring encoders.
A very important task
was to identify and implement solutions to make the machine safe
and also easy to operate. Sinumerik's Safety Integrated
function was implemented for the first time in Volvo worldwide.
This is used for monitoring and controlling the machine functions
in the hazardous areas of this machine.
There are no better words
to describe this project than the letter received from Mr. Phil
Pane, Senior Project engineer in Volvo, Wacol factory, the supervisor
for this project:
"The Wacol Chassis
rails punch machine was originally designed and manufactured in
France in 1976 for Volvo Truck Corporation by a company called Profel.
This machine was one of two which punched Volvo's chassis rails
in the plant in Sweden until December 1991, It was transferred to
the Wacol (Brisbane) in 1991 where it continued to operate and punch
all of the holes in the Volvo chassis until this major retrofit.
The motion control
for all of the functions out in the field was a mixture of hydraulic,
electric and pneumatic. Many of the parts were obsolete and very
unreliable. Therefore in 2002 it was decided that if Volvo Truck
at Wacol (Brisbane) was going to continue to punch the Volvo rails
locally and be able to also punch Mack rails, it would be necessary
to either replace or upgrade the existing machine.
Hence in Feb. 2004
the project was commenced by carrying out intensive investigations,
both in Australia and Sweden, to determine which of the above would
be the most suitable option for the Wacol factory. The result was
that a major upgrade of the existing machine would be the most economical
and preferred option.
Discussions with various
companies both in Australia and overseas and site visits in Queensland
and interstate were carried out by some of our project team members.
The decision was made to award the upgrade project contract to CNC
Design in Melbourne.
The machine was shut
down on April 6tth 2004 and production recommenced on July 1st 2004.
This was a very significant achievement for the Volvo project team,
CNC Design, Acumat and Bradken Eng.
The project had every
element that can exist in such a project., risk, complexity, state
of art technology, interface of an old machine with new technology,
limited time, mix of trades from CNC Design, Acumat and Volvo to
carry out the work, process changes within the factory to maintain
the business as usual during the upgrade.
The aims and objectives
of the project were achieved:
- Upgrade the existing hydraulic punching machine to facilitate
the punching of both Volvo and Mack chassis rails;
- Increase machine reliability, efficiency, quality and ensure
compliance with the relevant Australian standards with respect
to its operation and safety (safety Integrated system)
- Provide real time diagnostics facilities for the operation
and maintenance of the machine
- Provide accurate documentation for the upgraded machine
and appropriate training for all personnel at Volvo.
- To ensure continued operation of the machine for a minimum
of 10 years and meet production requirements;
- To replace obsolete equipment and software and obtain local
support for all new equipment;
- To carry out the upgrade in the prescribed time and budget
With the continuing
support from CNC Design and the remote diagnosis facility now operating
with the upgraded machine we are sure that this machine will live
up to its expectations."