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issue: December 2003 APPLIANCE Magazine

Production: Dryers
Working out the Wrinkles

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When Whirlpool Corporation's dryer facility in Marion, OH, U.S. began making dryers to match the company's horizontal-axis washing machines, it turned to long-term partner HMS Products Co. (Troy, MI, U.S.) for assistance with its press equipment.

The new Whirlpool tandem line project was driven by "new dryer part geometries that required tooling that didn't fit with existing processes," says Ben Holsinger, senior project engineer at the Whirlpool Marion facility.

Pat Cullen, sales manager for HMS Products Co., adds that Whirlpool wanted a tandem line, which features two side-by-side presses, rather than a long bed machine for a variety of reasons, including cost reduction and flexibility.

Also, instead of using the HMS servomechanical systems already in place in the Marion factory, Whirlpool wanted an all-servo system for the new line. "Servomechanical systems only have one servo motor mounted either on the press or on the bolster of the press, and you have to swing them open to do die changes," says Mr. Holsinger. "We just didn't have the room for that." He adds that all servo systems are "infinitely variable."

"You can change any part of it, whereas with the old servomechanical systems, you're locked in on the mechanical side," he notes.

Mr. Cullen of HMS adds, "Whirlpool wanted the flexibility that you get with a programmable servo, not only to optimize run rates of all the parts that they have now, but for the ability to do that for anything, come what may in the future."


Whirlpool Corporation and HMS Products Co. worked together to develop a new tandem line for Whirlpool's Marion, OH, U.S. dryer facility. The new line included two presses from Eagle Press & Equipment Company Ltd. Pictured is the SE4-600-208-84, Whirlpool's new 600-ton Eagle press with a bolster size of 208 x 84.

Whirlpool then approached HMS to see what else the pressroom automation company had to offer, and the companies worked together to develop the system, which included presses from Eagle Press & Equipment Co. Ltd. (Ontario, Canada). "We were in on the ground floor with them and helped to finalize the design," Mr. Holsinger says. "We worked with them on some of the developmental issues as far as controls and how we felt the system should work."

And HMS was glad to accommodate the request, says Mr. Cullen. "Whirlpool has been a long-standing, very good customer," he tells APPLIANCE, adding that the resulting HMS Series 800 All Servo Part Transfer System was the company's first all electric transfer system.

Whirlpool Corporation's input into its development included diagnostic features such as torque read-out graphs and fault triggering, LED indicators, and part ID selection and confirmation. "However, probably one of the biggest issues we pushed for was making sure that the system was not totally screen-dependent," says Mr. Holsinger.

Whirlpool wanted to eliminate the use of the touch screen for the usual operator functions, and the screen's primary function to be that of operator/system information and diagnostics.

"For anything to do with the operation of the system, we wanted hard buttons. Our desire was to have a system that, in the event of a screen failure or damage, was still operational," Mr. Holsinger adds.

Another benefit of the new system was the integration of transfer controls, press controls, and feed controls on one panel. According to Mr. Cullen, this controls integration was structured to facilitate the operator inputting part run selection into the press.

Whirlpool's new HMS Series 800 All Servo Park Transfer System included a control panel designed around the appliance maker's specific requests. The appliance maker said it wanted to eliminate the use of touch screen controls as much as possible and, instead, preferred hard buttons.

One of the goals was to have a master display in the press, and have any other display perform as a subset of this. This was set up for configuring the next part in the line. The operator can now input the part number in the Press MOS. The controls then echo this information to the transfer controls and feed line. Each ancillary then calls up its own recipe for the specific part, and echoes an acknowledgment back to the host press controller as a final double check for correct configuration set up.

"The result is an easy-to-understand production operator's console, with a minimal amount of learning curve required," Mr. Cullen says.

Mr. Cullen outlined other requirements that were incorporated into the new system's design:

  • The system needed to be capable of supporting a variety of stamping from the same core automation, by changing tooling rails with the dies. Two new stamping presses with dual rolling bolsters were supplied by Eagle Press.

  • Whirlpool wanted to assure that the master operating station for each transfer press has the same look and feel as the others.

  • The changeover needed to be automated as completely as possible, using dual rolling bolsters, an automatic center rail connection on the transfer system.

    •An accumulating conveyor was selected instead of a high-speed shuttle to reduce the need for synchronizing the presses.

    In addition, the system can be used with new or existing presses, is said to be low maintenance, can be blank or coil fed, requires less floor space, and has a modem linkup.

    The whole project "from crates on the doorstep to cycling with the two presses" was complete in only 12-14 working days, Mr. Cullen says. This was assisted by the fact that cable routing and cabinet placement provisions were identified during the project coordination/engineering line-up phases. "As a result, the installation timing was compressed substantially," he says.

    "This is just our latest and greatest, and it's what Whirlpool felt they needed on this particular go-round," says Mr. Cullen.


    Whirlpool Tandem Line

    Press #1

    • 600 Ton Eagle Press
    • Bolster Size 156 x 84
    • New Through Bar Series 800 HMS Part Transfer System
    • Family of 5 parts
    • Automatic Disconnect on Master Bar
    • Secondary Feedback and Capacitor Backup

    Press #2

    • 600 Ton Eagle Press
    • Bolster Size 208 x 84
    • New Through Bar Series 800 HMS Part Transfer System
    • Automatic Disconnect on Master Bar
    • Secondary Feedback and Capacitor Backup


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