Delivery of the first ASG
In February this year Ciposa delivered its first fully automatic watch components fitting machine starting from bulk.
For confidentiality reasons, Ciposa cannot mention the name of the company for which this project was carried out.
However, I would like to give you a better understanding of this machine through an interview with Bertrand Obliger, who fine-tuned it, Michel Salchi, who was in charge of the software, and Yves Pelletier, the project manager.
Ciposa NEWS: My first question is for you, Yves. If I ask you to resume this project in one sentence, what would it be?
Yves: This machine will revolutionize the fittings for the watch market. As we start directly from the bulk, there is no need for putting pallets upstream of the machine.
CN: More specifically, what was this project about?
Yves: The challenge was to develop a fully automatic fitting machine that could work with components directly from bulk. In addition, it had to be driven by our new Industry 4.0 compatible modular software platform.
CN: Bertrand, how did the assembly of this new machine gone?
Bertrand: This machine was designed on the CIMOD AS.4 basis. The assembly was carried out in the same way as for our 'standard' platforms.
In fact, I did not participate in the assembly. The first time I had to deal with the ASG was when it was set up on our stand for the EPHJ show in September last year.
CN: I heard that Ciposa installed its new software on this machine. What benefits did that bring?
Bertrand: The new software really helps a lot in the tuning of the machine. It facilitates the program sequences during implementation.
CN: The HMI is more ergonomic and intuitive than the previous one. How did that make your work easier when setting up the machine?
Bertrand: Indeed, the philosophy of our new software platform is completely different from the one of our CIMOD AS.4.
The sensibility of the tuning is less important, because the teaching of the fitting points is natively supported by the software.
There is now a work position coordinates table, and we use the vision on the gantry much more to take references points on the machine.
This new software continuously adjusts the deposit positions according to the vision's input.
CN: When setting up a new platform like this one, what do you have to be especially focused on?
Bertrand: When testing new stations, we have to take in consideration the lifetime of the machine, so we have to plan endurance tests.
During assembly, the station is tested (rigidity, positioning accuracy, etc.) and then validated.
Once this step has been completed, the adjustments are made so we can start to assemble the products in automatic. Then we switch the machine into the production mode.
It' s here, after several hours of production that reliability problems may appear. This is especially true for a new platform that was never tested before.
It is necessary to carry out endurance tests over several days to make the machine 100% reliable, in order to meet the production requirements when it will be installed at the customer's site.
CN: Michel, what impact the implementation of this new software had on your work?
Michel: Within this project, the company dgtis provided a platform with enhanced tools for the automation configuration, development, and interfacing. I developed the PLC application. As it was the first time that we implemented the dgtis platform, this generated a great evolution of our PLC framework.
CN: What does it mean having to collaborate with another entity on a project like this one?
Michel: We had a lot of discussions with dgtis to understand their development philosophy and see what is needed to bring it compatible with our Framework.
CN: Could you give us an example?
Michel: The "alarm administration" for example. On our current platforms a global Boolean table represents the active or inactive state of each alarm. The HMI gets the text of the active alarms from a separate file.
The new version manages events, there is no longer a centralized alarm table. Alarms are declared where they are managed. The dgtis platform then gets the text from a database.
CN: What is the main benefit of this approach?
Michel: Definitely time saving for the development. All you must do is declare the alarm variable where you want to activate it in the code.
CN: Yves, is there anything else you would like to add about this project?
Yves: This new platform perfectly answer to the new market requirements. Which is working with lower production volumes. So we have to make the machine reliable with less components. Thanks to our new dgtis soft platform, it is achieved .
CN: My last question is about your last sentence. Could you give us some information about this company dgtis?
Yves: This is a new company co-founded with the Recomatic Group, which is associated to Ciposa.
It is this company who has developed our new software platform that will enable us to meet the requirements of Industry 4.0 as well as the regulations related to the MedTech market, such as CFR 21 part 11
Yves, Bertrand and Michel worked on this project.
In February, the first fitting machine was ready for delivery.