Efficiency and Control. All in the Joining Module

Specifically intended for simple joining processes for applications in the 10 – 80 kN measuring range and addressed mainly to machinery manufacturers as well as power pack operators, Kistler’s NCFE joining module is a cost-effective alternative to conventional pneumatic or hydraulic systems. Besides, thanks to the advantage of integrated sensor technology as well as the availability of the maXYmos NC monitoring system, the NCFE joining module allows for end-to-end control of the entire assembly process.

by Cesare Pizzorno

The NCFE joining module, recently launched on the market by Kistler, was developed especially for plant manufacturers who nowadays build their own joining units and also for operators of conventional power packs. This innovation unlocks entirely new possibilities for all those customers who previously found it unprofitable to use Kistler’s electromechanical joining systems.
The NCFE joining module is specifically intended for simple joining processes that feature low requirements as regards cycle times, design and measuring ranges. As compared to hydraulic or pneumatic units, the NCFE module (the ‘E’ stands for ‘Economy’) offers convincing advantages such as low energy consumption, simple handling and fast commissioning. Kistler’s new NCFE joining module is designed for applications in the 10 – 80 kN measuring range.

A higher number of potential customers
As a specialized manufacturer of electromechanical joining systems, Kistler set out to identify additional markets where its flexible, energy-saving joining units could be used.
According to Alexander Müller, Product Manager for NC Joining Systems, Kistler’s existing portfolio of joining systems did not fully cover the highly specific requirements of these users. This prompted Kistler’s product management team to develop a new joining module for this target group.
The NCFE module offers them a cost-effective alternative to developing their own systems. All the systems are pre-tested, so fast com-missioning is guaranteed. Thanks to the advantage of integrated sensor technology, this module provides plant manufacturers and power pack operators with complete, end-to-end monitoring and control of the entire joining process. Installation as well as handling are made far simpler, so plant manufacturers can present convincing arguments to their customers on points such as energy savings, short delivery times and flexibility.

Quite a significant throughput increase along the entire process
The joining process is monitored by the maXYmos NC monitoring system, which evaluates and documents XY curves for joining and press-fit processes in conjunction with the NC joining modules and the IndraDrive servo amplifier that is included in the system.
The patterns of measurement curves can be used to monitor the quality of a single production step, a sub-assembly or an entire product, with control in real time via SERCOS III. The benefits: optimal cycle times can be achieved with maximum repeat accuracy, downtime is minimized and machine availability is in-creased, adding up to a boost in productivity for the entire manufacturing process.
Thanks to integrated sequence control (sequencer mode), processes can be mapped with no need to rely on costly external PLC programming. The programs can be set up quickly and easily with the help of the intuitive user interface on the touch display. A total of up to 128 programs can be saved and for each program, an independent sequence with as many as 255 objects can be defined.
Processes are evaluated with the help of profiles for two interrelated measurands that are assessed as good (OK) or bad (NOK). Ten Evaluation Objects (EOs) are available for each program, so process deviations can be detected and complex process sequences can be regulated and controlled.

Higher efficiency and reduced maintenance are some of the main advantages
“As compared to pneumatic or hydraulic processes, the NCFE module offers substantially higher efficiency, like all Kistler’s joining systems”, adds Alexander Müller. “Savings potential with the electrical process is up to 77% as compared to the hydraulic process, and about 90% in relation to the pneumatic process. Maintenance outlay for these systems is minimal, so users can save even more on their already low production costs. What’s more, scrap is reduced because 100% quality control is achieved with this module”.
As the product manager responsible for joining systems, Müller is especially proud that Kistler can now offer its highly advanced NC joining technology to a broader market thanks to this cost-effective new development: “With this new bandwidth of products – from compact high-end joining modules (NCFH) through to simple joining units (NCFE) – Kistler now offers the right system to meet every requirement. Another plus: seamless integration into an overarching production environment is possible thanks to the flexible interfaces that are included in maXYmos NC as standard. This means that we have passed another milestone in our success story as a global provider of joining systems”.