A wrench left behind in the die is every press operator’s nightmare. When the machine starts up, damage to both the die and part being formed is inevitable. To address this problem, Schuler has developed ‘Visual Die Protection’, a camera-assisted monitoring system that can eliminate costly die repairs, downtime and even complete production stoppages.

Using Visual Die Protection, not only do cameras detect the presence of foreign bodies such as wrenches or punch scraps, the system also checks whether the die is properly connected and verifies that the blanks have been correctly inserted, formed and removed. The system is equally able to recognise both cracks in the part itself and potential damage to the centring and ejector pins. If any abnormalities are found, the press is stopped to prevent the situation from getting worse.

In operation, the cameras first create reference images of the relevant die before production begins. During this imaging process, operators mark critical areas that require particularly accurate monitoring, such as the centring and ejector pins. While the production process is running, artificial intelligence is used on a separate computer to perform a real-time comparison of current images with the original condition of the die, thus allowing an immediate response if any discrepancies are found.

Schuler is happy to provide support for initial system configuration upon request. A feasibility analysis using a mobile image processing system is also possible. By integrating additional cameras, the system, for which a patent is currently pending, can also be expanded to monitor the scrap chutes and other areas of the machine, for example.