main and pullback cylinders. The valve command and actu-
al spool feedback are displayed for each proportional valve.
According to Goodwin, the press operator also can
monitor main ram tonnage, main cylinder pressure, mov-
ing platen position, last cycle time, and current cycle time.
Using this information, forging personnel can learn the
press’s internal operation more effectively by observing
all this data as it cycles through operation to enable quick
diagnosis, and action if there is any issue.
Whether for the forging operator or OEM, in terms of
preventive or troubleshooting diagnostics, the integration
of HMIs, sensors, and online technical support also has
progressed a long way.
As an example, Ajax-CECO-Erie Press has developedan online diagnostic system for remote monitoring andsupport through a remote, Ethernet diagnostic connectionprovided on all new equipment. The Ethernet-based control system provides OEM engineers with a platform toview the machine’s health remotely as it is operating.
“The goal is to avoid production downtime by prevent-
ing problems as well as reducing the time to find, diagnose,
and solve them,” said Goodwin. “Remote diagnostics al-
low us to monitor the forging equipment to resolve any
potential issues promptly. For example, we can remotely
reset a switch that didn’t activate or fine-tune the target
position or precise speed of the press ram.”
According to Goodwin, such capabilities – along with
implementing some redundant components like electronic
position transducers – can keep production online even if a
component fails. “If one fails, we can dynamically switch
to the good one. Traditionally, one failed transducer leads
to downtime until a technician can acquire the correct part
and change it out on site,” he said.
Goodwin noted that such a system also allows view-
ing of historical trends and up-to-date, searchable PDF
and schematics, as well
as dynamic animated
“With historical data,if a component is starting to fail, maintenanceoften can identify andreplace it before catastrophic failure,” saidGoodwin.
He points out thatnext-level HMIs offer ahistorical review of howforging equipment functioned at specific datesand times. When theoperator “pins” certaintypes of data or moves agraphic slider icon representing a slice in time,the HMI displays data onhow the machinery performed at an exact dateand time.
In fact, next-level HMIs take search capability further
Press, forging equipment
with an HMI includes
a library of datasheets
for its electrical, me-
chanical, and hydraulic
devices. Electrical sche-
matics, hydraulic sche-
matics, and mechanical
assembly drawings can
be viewed and printed
from an HMI. The data
sheets are in PDF format,
“Instead of spending days trying to locate the right
technical documentation and reading through data sheets
or wiring schematics that can be 100 pages long, the data
is searchable and immediately available to operators,”
by supporting “drilling down” from a high-level, dynamic,
graphic animation of the equipment, quickly “zeroing in”
on the specific data, schematic, or drawing required.
“For example,” Goodwin continued, “at a dynamically
animated schematic screen on the HMI, the operator can hov-
er over the device to find the exact manufacturer’s part num-
ber or click on the device to access its specific datasheet.”
Forging presses may be based on decades-old process
technology, but advanced HMIs are making them virtually
as simple to monitor as an operator’s favorite smartphone,
while making critical performance data readily available, too.
The bottom line for manufacturers relying on the efficient use of forging equipment is that new capabilities cansignificantly increase production uptime and profitability,providing a critical edge over competitors.
Del Williams is a technical writer in Torrance, Calif.
A menu of process functions for a forging press, developed by Ajax-CECO-
“The goal is to avoid
Erie Press for a Human-Machine Interface. [Ajax-CECO]
A view of the motor-control functions for a forging press, developed by
Ajax-CECO-Erie Press for a Human-Machine Interface. [Ajax-CECO]
An overview of process and control activities for a forging press,
developed by Ajax-CECO-Erie Press for a Human-Machine Interface. [Ajax-
production downtime by
preventing problems as well
as reduce the time to find,
diagnose, and solve them.”