Plate Rolling Power

A new all-electric plate rolling machine offers new levels of speed, precision, efficiency and productivity


Servicing a variety of industries, a new all-electric plate rolling machine is turning heads. Unlike existing hydraulic and hydraulic-electric hybrid concepts, this system has no hydraulic components whatsoever. The adaptation of electric power to all phases of rolling machine operation greatly improves the process and offers easier maintenance and better energy efficiency while making for a quieter, compact machine that ensures hassle-free installation.

Because hydraulic technology is a well-known and “safe” solution, the need for a shift to new technology hasn’t really been considered. However, recent concerns such as cost efficiency and environmental sustainability have become front and center for many companies, leading them to consider hybrid if not fully electric solutions.

The all-electric e-Power machine is from plate and angle rolling equipment manufacturer Davi Inc. In terms of electric plate rolling in the future, e-Power represents Davi’s commitment to innovation and cutting-edge technology and is a direct result of the R&D department’s capability to design new products that push the boundaries of performance.

Davi’s all-electric e-Power plate rolling machine accelerates plate rolling productivity with smooth and simultaneous movements across multiple axes while also making the process extremely accurate.

Electric rolling machines apply to all applications. However, in some instances, a hydraulic rolling machine might be a more convenient solution. A small shop that does a high mix of low-volume jobs may not require the advanced speed and accuracy of an electric machine and, therefore, might prefer not to invest in that level of technology. On the other hand, high-volume job shops, high-precision applications and OEM manufacturers are prime candidates for the all-electric system and its many benefits.

Faster processing

The benefits of the new rolling machine start with processing speed. While a hydraulic machine bends plates at speeds around 20 ft./min., the electric machine processes material at 32 ft./min., or 60 percent faster. Such processing speed significantly increases output, shortens turnaround times and improves productivity, all while maintaining high part quality.

A distinguishing benefit of an electric rolling machine is the ability to move multiple axes simultaneously. To maintain sufficient fluid pressure and flow, axis movement on a hydraulically driven machine is limited to two axes at a time. On an electric machine, separate motors are directly splined to the machine rollers and electrically controlled actuators can move up to nine axes concurrently.

The all-electric e-Power machine requires minimum maintenance, unlike hydraulic plate rolling machines.

Maximum speed and torque are available immediately no matter how many axes are in motion, without waiting for separate pairs of axes to complete their jobs. Transitions between axis movements are smooth and facilitate creation of complex bends.

Production time savings result when some movements in a process can be accomplished while other actions are happening. In separate steps, a hydraulic rolling machine squares the material in the rollers, backs up the material and then raises the side rolls for a pre-bend operation. An electric machine, with its capability to move multiple axes simultaneously, brings the pinch roll up after squaring the material while at the same time performing the pre-bend. Thus, cycle times are 40 percent faster than with a hydraulic machine.

Energy savings

When it comes to energy efficiency, electric rolling machines consume power only when actively moving machine components. When there is no movement, power consumption is only necessary to support the image on the machine’s computer control screen. Hydraulic machines require continuous power to maintain fluid pressure even when no movement is occurring.

In another power-saving feature, electric rolling machines have a start-and-stop feature similar to that on contemporary automobiles, utilizing energy only when required. Plate rolling processes routinely include idle times for part loading and other operations, and the electric machine’s energy use on demand supports energy conservation and contributes to sustainability and environmental responsibility. As a result, power cost savings can range from 25 to 35 percent.

The e-Power saves floorspace, improves access to the machine, and makes material handling and manipulation of completed parts easier.

Electric rolling machines consume about 50 percent less power than hydraulic machines and approximately 30 percent less than hydraulic-electric hybrid units. Because electric machines can roll material 40 percent faster than hydraulic machines, total operating cost can decrease by 60 percent compared to full hydraulic machines.

Further benefits

For increased accuracy, electric activation enables precision control of machine components. Standard positioning accuracy for hydraulic rolling machines is about 0.1 in. while electric machines consistently provide accuracy of 0.05 in. It should be noted that the thickness and accuracy of the plate being processed affects overall accuracy. If the accuracy of the plate itself varies widely, the accuracy of the bending process diminishes. Additionally, plate rolling accuracy facilitates blending of multiple part radiuses and can benefit downstream operations, such as robotic welding that requires precise joint matching between components.

The simplicity of an electric power delivery system minimizes maintenance requirements. Hydraulic hose swelling and fluid leakage affect a machine’s movement, speed and accuracy. An electric machine has no fluid hoses or connections to leak or clog, thus reliability increases, which reduces the need for service interventions and machine downtime. Without the pumps, hoses, valves and connectors of a hydraulic system, an electric system has significantly longer routine service intervals.

The plug-and-play nature of the electric actuators that move machine components also simplifies service requirements. Shop staff can replace a faulty actuator without the need for machine disassembly and downtime. In many cases, a facility’s electrician can perform the switch without requiring a visit by factory service personnel.

For further ease of use, the electric machine’s control allows operators to program the machine and automate rolling parameters that include speed, pressure and bending angles. The programs direct machine movements to occur smoothly and simultaneously to maximize efficiency and output. Customizing programs makes it possible to expedite specific jobs.

With floorspace at a premium, manufacturers seek to minimize their machine footprints while maintaining functionality and productivity. The elimination of the hydraulic controller and other equipment needed to maintain hydraulic pressure helps conserve valuable floorspace, improves operator access to the machines, and makes material handling and manipulation of completed parts easier. The more compact footprint also facilitates shop floor planning and makes machine installation and integration more straightforward and less time-consuming.

Besides being larger in size, hydraulic rolling machines generate significant amounts of noise. Conversely, electric rolls are essentially silent in operation, both in standby and operational mode, reducing noise pollution in the shop and improving the work environment.

Watch the video to learn more about the capabilities of the all-electric e-Power plate rolling machine.

In an increasing number of industrial applications, the convenience, availability and flexibility of electric power is superseding traditional energy sources such as fossil fuels as well as operating processes including hydraulics. Worldwide efforts toward sustainability are drawing attention to these alternatives and industrial contributions such as the new all-electric rolling machines constitute a positive move toward progress and profitability.

Davi Inc.

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