A full package for servo presses

The Italian company Zani SpA forming machines relies on control and automation components from Siemens in the development and manufacture of its presses in order to increase reliability and efficiency. In addition, Siemens’ digital solution make predictive maintenance of Zani’s presses possible.
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Challenge

3,200 tons of pressing force

Among the various product families of Zani, the servo press offers both maximum flexibility and significantly improved production performance – and is therefore the product that has developed most significantly in recent years. But the introduction of more powerful motor sizes is just one example of numerous innovations that also present the company with new challenges again and again.

“The design reviews of our machines are also increasingly being conducted hand in hand with our customers. They require us to analyze specific conditions with ever more ambitious loads and load distributions,” explains Riva Yarno, Sales Manager at Zani. In the software area, special controls with new sensor technology were developed to check deviations in case of transferable torques and unbalance.

The machines themselves are getting bigger and bigger: In 2017, the company built its largest-ever press: the Servo Master with 3,200 tons of pressing force and a table length of over seven meters. Extreme power, high quality and great flexibility are the machine’s primary characteristics – so too, in the components and Siemens’ solution for servo presses with which the machine is equipped.

It’s not just in the hardware where Siemens is represented. To avoid unplanned downtime due to press defects and monitor the condition of all presses worldwide, Zani relies on MindSphere, the cloud-based open IoT operating system from Siemens.

Customer

Constant progress

Zani SpA forming machines is an Italian company that has been developing and manufacturing mechanical presses for cold forming of sheet steel since 1960. Today, Zani is internationally admired in its field, thanks to the technological nature of its machines and its constant search for advanced solutions to improve production quality and performance.

Zani is located in Turate in the province of Como, several kilometers north of Milan and not far from the Swiss border. It is managed by the third generation of the Zaffaroni family.

The mechanical presses for cold forming of sheet steel developed and manufactured by Zani are used in a wide range of applications: automotive, household appliances, electronics, furnishings and renewable energy. In recent years, the automotive industry has emerged as the most important sector, allowing Zani to increase production and further raise its already high standards in reliability and efficiency.

“The essential strength of our company lies in our organization and planning,” says Alberto Zaffaroni of Zani. “Zani is indeed able to meet the new market requirements dynamically and flexibly, and we are well aware that every customer is unique.”

It is precisely thanks to these customer requirements and needs that Zani has developed new gearbox solutions and solutions for design verification, on top of the overall monitoring of the presses.

Solution

Successful cooperation

With the Servo Master, standard components such as the SIMOTION motion control system, the SINAMICS S120 drives, and the SIMOTICS T torque motors ensure strong performance and high flexibility along with better scalability, which increases the productivity of the machine.

In addition, the machine uses the FIDOPress control system, which was developed in cooperation with Siemens. FIDOPress is used specifically for automation and control of servo presses and includes all functions for motion profile management and energy management provided by the SIMOTION SimoPress Servo solution.

This solution is part of the Metalforming Solutions package from Siemens, which features all the functions required for automation of forming plants, making it easier for press manufacturers to implement their special technologies. In addition to the SIMOTION SimoPress Servo, the fail-safe SIMATIC S7 controller is also used. Alongside the cooperation and constant support of Siemens technicians in the development, dimensioning, and commissioning of the press, safety modules that were specially developed for all types of presses can also be used.

Zani is keen on implementing Industrie 4.0 technologies and has strong support from Siemens as technological partner, which is why Zani has connected the Servo Master to MindSphere. Thanks to this cloud-based, open IoT operating system, Zani can analyze the presses performance in real time via the MindApp Fleet Manager. Through the use of the Simatic S7-1500
Siemens PLC  (which controls the machine’s vital functions), a direct link to MindSphere is established: via a function module integrated in the PLC and with no additional hardware, the individual settings are recorded in just a few seconds and transmitted to MindSphere, where they are analyzed with the help of the Fleet Manager. In the app, it is also possible to activate the monitoring of certain safety limits. If any of them are exceeded, the customer is informed.

Customer value

Successful together

Zani and Siemens are working closely together on many other projects. However, the Servo Master press was certainly the most demanding project – and one of the most successful – in terms of both the resources used and the time frame of about two years.

In particular, Zani has decided to integrate several important functions of SIMOTION SimoPress Servo into its own control system, including:

“The cooperation with Siemens has long since proved itself and is geared toward the development of the technology that our machines are equipped with. About ten years ago, we decided to make use of several functions of the SIMOTION SimoPress Servo solution from Siemens and linked this with the introduction of the Servo Master press,” says Fabio Olgiati, an engineer at Zani.

“Siemens’ technological solution was successful because it is perfect in every respect – especially with regard to energy management and the reliability of the components used. Assuming that the average service life of one of our machines is over 30 years, we are sure that working with a solid partner like Siemens not only guarantees reliable support but also continuous further development,” Olgiati emphasizes.

Additionally, predictive maintenance is made possible by connecting the Servo Master to MindSphere and using the MindApp Fleet Manager. This enables monitoring the condition of all press components, so costly downtimes can be prevented.

The results of the cooperation with Siemens will ultimately also bring advantages for the future: for example, the technology of the servo press can be used in increasingly innovative plants and in the target markets that currently still use conventional technologies.

Working with a solid partner like Siemens not only guarantees reliable support but also continuous further development.
Fabio Olgiati, Engineer at Zani
References

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