News for the plastics and rubber industry. Macplas
Technology Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Remote commissioning is possible with WM’s thermoforming machines

In 2019 the company Upax-Unity, based in Perm, Russia, has purchased three thermoforming machines by WM Thermoforming Machines, to enlarge their existing fleet of over 10 units by a well-known German supplier. The equipment by WM was delivered to the facility in Perm just before the world faced the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, making it impossible for WM to send their technicians to Russia for the standard procedures of supervision, installation and commissioning.


The solution came from an unique feature of WM Thermoforming Machines: the machines supplied by WM are delivered fully assembled in a single frame, and with all the electrical connections between electrical cabinet and machine components. Thanks to this feature, Upax-Unity technicians were able to put the machines in place and connect all utilities (cooling water, power supply, pressed air) to the equipment just relying on the instruction manual.  All activities for the placement and installation of the 2 steel rule cutting machines, model FC 780 E and FC 780 HP, as well as for the tilting machine model Twist 700 MSv7 took approx. one week in total, approximatively one day and half for each machine.


At this point, the next step should have been the arrival of WM technicians for the start-up, however due to the worsening of the situation with Covid-19 in Europe, it was not possible to predict when this would happen. The customer needed to start-up the thermoforming machines, and also in this case the only solution was to do it without waiting for the physical presence of WM technicians. Mikhail Tsirkulev, Upax Senior Project Leader, arrived in Perm to offer support in the online commissioning of the three thermoforming machines. All of WM’s machines combine a state-of-the-art PLC and control system from Austrian Company B&R with WM advanced software, and it was possible to establish a stable internet connection between WM Service Department in Stabio and the thermoforming machines in Upax factory. The great skills and experience in thermoforming of Upax-Unity operators as well as a strong technical background and process understanding by Mikhail Tsirkulev gave a significant contribution to the smooth commissioning of the machines, which took approx. one-two hours each.


“The big advantage of WM machinery is the presence of a self-adjustment setting when using a new mould for the first time”, Upax’s operator said. “Thanks to that, we were able to produce many different thermoformed articles within some days. Thanks to the user-friendly graphic design and easy to understand PLC pages, we didn’t face any difficulties when putting the machines in production”, Mr. Mikhail Tsirkulev said. “Furthermore, we have always been feeling a strong support from WM Service Department, giving us several advices via phone.”


This was the very first time in WM’s history that a customer does the start-up of a machine without the physical presence of a WM technician. This experience starts a new era, and with remote commissioning even if difficulties and force majeur circumstances take place during or after delivery of the equipment it will no longer be an obstacle to worry about.