EMAG eldec Induction GmbH was able to present its new generation of MF and HF generators for induction heating technology. BUSSE's UI / UX design team was able to provide support in the area of interface development. From the analysis of typical users and their tasks, the creation of a new menu structure, the development of a new intuitive operating concept and the execution of usability testing, to a clear and modern screen and icon design, as well as the creation of a style guide, we were able to apply our expertise in all core areas of a holistic UI / UX development.
Whether hardening, preheating, joining or brazing - induction technology is used for these tasks in many industries. The process is faster, more precise and, not least, more economical in terms of energy consumption than various alternative heating methods. Users therefore benefit from a more economical process. With the new ECO LINE EEi² generator series, the induction specialists at EMAG eldec are driving this success story forward. The focus here is specifically on operation, as the abbreviation "EEi²" stands for "EMAG eldec Intuitive Interface". This interface can be operated as easily as a smartphone - for example, when the generator is used as a stand-alone solution. At the same time, the series also serves as an energy source within many production systems. This is where the established Siemens control technology scores points, ensuring simple connection to overarching Siemens control systems. And: For more production reliability, modules of the "eldec Quality Control" (eQC) are integrated into the proven ECO-LINE series for the first time.
The areas of application for induction heating are huge: In principle, the process is used wherever materials and components are heated. Whether fast brazing processes on copper, aluminum and brass profiles (or similar materials), effective surface hardening of press tools and gears, for example, or precise heating of stator housings before joining the stator - the process always plays to its particular strengths: Only the desired area is heated to a precisely defined temperature. Since much less energy has to be introduced into or dissipated from the component during both heating and subsequent cooling, the whole process is highly energy-efficient. And: with the precisely defined amount of energy, the process is perfectly reproducible.
Special importance is attached to generators as an energy source for induction, which have been produced for more than 30 years at the EMAG subsidiary eldec, based in Dornstetten near Freudenstadt. These are often models from the proven ECO LINE generator series. The series can be flexibly configured with a continuous output of 5 to 150 kW (MF version) or 5 to 75 kW (HF version), is practically maintenance-free and has single or multiple outputs as required. On this basis, it can be fitted into any environment and requires very little installation space. "These particular strengths of the ECO LINE will of course remain in the future," says Stefan Tzschupke, Head of Business Development Generators at EMAG eldec. "However, with the ECO LINE EEi² we are now taking a decisive development step, because the new generation can be operated much more intuitively - comparable to a smartphone. In addition, we are integrating a Siemens PLC into the ECO LINE series for the first time for easier connection to overarching systems. Last but not least, we are optionally integrating a whole bundle of eldec quality control modules that comprehensively monitor and document the inductive process in the sense of an Industry 4.0 solution. In summary, you could say: We are leading the ECO LINE into the future."
Controlling the whole thing like an app
Externally, the most striking aspect of these further developments is, of course, a new touchscreen display, which gives the series its name. It displays central parameters of the inductive process such as power, frequency, current, voltage and temperature with clear bars and percentage values. Everything can be seen at a glance. Side menu items take the user to setting options and information. For example, eight different timers are available, each with a runtime of 0.1 to 9,999 seconds, and a memory for managing up to 500 recipes. "We deliberately based our design on that of smartphone apps, which everyone is now familiar with. Consequently, the operation of these generators is greatly simplified, which in turn benefits process reliability in the stand-alone process," emphasizes Tzschupke.
Siemens control facilitates integrability
In addition, the southern German induction specialists had their sights set on integration into production systems - this has always played an important role for the ECO LINE series. The robust devices can be largely customized for very different applications. Users benefit from short-circuit-proof transistor technology, precise energy metering and high efficiency. All generators are made to order at EMAG eldec: The heart of the generator, the oscillating circuit, is designed precisely for the customer's process. In this way, the specialists ensure that the process is set to an optimum operating point and works particularly effectively - which is ultimately enormously important for the process reliability of the overarching production system. "In the end, we only deliver optimally configured equipment that has been tested on the component. That convinces many customers," adds Tzschupke. "This background also explains why we are relying on a programmable logic controller from Siemens for the first time with the ECO LINE EEi². Many customers, for example from the mechanical engineering sector, also use Siemens solutions for the overall control system. The integration of the ECO LINE EEi² is thus easier."
eQC: Monitoring the process perfectly
A third innovation of the EEi² series compared to previous ECO LINE devices is the optional integration of eQC. The individual solutions build on each other and complement each other. In combination, they guarantee users a largely monitored hardening and heat treatment process. These include, for example, the "eQC Flux" and "eQC RFID" modules. With the former, the actual current voltage at the inductor base can be determined. This is the ideal measuring point because the magnetic flux is influenced by tool and component geometry and other factors, which can be determined at the inductor base. "eQC Flux" therefore provides much better information about the amount of energy that actually "arrives" in the tool. For example, it is possible to see if the component has not been positioned correctly or if the inductor is damaged. Consequently, this data can also be used to monitor the heating of the component more precisely. In the "eQC RFID" solution, the mold has an RFID chip that is read by a read/write unit before production starts. Subsequently, the machine not only "knows" whether the correct inductor has been used, but also knows the condition of the tool or any manufacturing tolerances.
"All in all, we have put together a particularly powerful and future-proof package with the ECO LINE EEi²," Stefan Tzschupke summarizes. "Users benefit from high efficiency, stable processes, robust technology and simple usability. We are convinced that this quality will prevail in the market."
We congratulate EMAG eldec on this successful product launch and thank them for the trustful cooperation!