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WM Thermoforming ensures machine performance with digitalization
Source:Adsale Plastics Network    Editor:JK    Date:14.Dec.2020

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented challenge on world scale, and manufacturers have been forced to be flexible and find alternative solutions to keep their businesses running smoothly.


For WM Thermoforming Machines, one of the most relevant problems at first was the impossibility to send technicians from Switzerland to the customers’ facilities all over the world for machine start-up, due to travel restrictions. The collaboration with one Russian customer gave WM the possibility to come up with a solution that cleared up the problems.


In 2019 the company UPAX-UNITY, based in Perm, Russia, has purchased three thermoforming machines by WM Thermoforming Machines. The equipment by WM was delivered to the facility in Perm just the burst of COVID-19, and the imposition of travel restrictions. Soon enough the question of how to perform the standard procedures of supervision, installation and commissioning arose.


The solution came from a unique feature of WM Thermoforming Machines: the machines are delivered fully assembled in a single frame and with all the electrical connections between electrical cabinet and machine components.



Remote commissioning is possible with WM’s thermoforming machines.

Thanks to this feature, UPAX-UNITY technicians were able to put the machines in place and connect all utilities (cooling water, power supply, and 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, about 1.5 day for each machine.


Thanks to the fact that all of WM’s machines combine a state-of-the-art PLC and control system from Austrian Company B&R with WM advanced software, it was possible to establish a stable internet connection between WM Service Department in Stabio and the thermoforming machines in UPAX factory.


Another advantage of WM machinery is the presence of a self-adjustment setting when using a new mould for the first time. With the user-friendly graphic design and easy to understand PLC pages, the operators didn’t face any difficulties when putting the machines in production.


Starting from the Upax Unity Project, WM has improved the existing procedure, which is now also supported by live videos and 3D animations.


On the other hand, Industry 4.0 has brought machine manufacturers and their customers to work together to create integrated systems that analyze, manage and improve operational efficiency concretely.


WM has implemented a data analysis that enables the Customer to collect concrete data to define OEE.

WM can provide the end-user with thousands of machine data, thanks to the OPC UA protocol, a data exchange standard that connects Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC), Human-Machine Interfaces (HMI), servers, clients, and other machinery to increase interconnectivity and information flow.


But WM has decided to go one step further and realize also a final analysis that enables the Customer to collect concrete data to define machine efficiency, or “Overall Equipment Effectiveness” (OEE).


The data which define the OEE are Availability x Performance x Quality. And the WM team had to define the most significant machine data that were to be integrated with the production data and could be entered by the operators on-board the machine:


  • Availability = Total machine operative mode time / Machine effective run time

  • Performance = Normal forming speed / Actual forming speed

  • Quality = Total product output / Actual good product

  • Control charts X-R

  • Achievement of contract target

  • Causal diagram for scrap losses

  • Causal diagram for time losses


The result is an efficient system of data collection, management and processing in real time. Moreover, to offer specific support to all customers and their needs, WM has teamed up with a technological partner highly skilled at data integration, the Italian company which will assist the customer in the process of data integration with internal and external systems.



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