Exactly 1,223 innovations saw the light of day in the automotive industry last year—at least that’s according to a count conducted by the Center of Automotive Management and the consultancy firm PwC. About 27 percent of these innovations pertain to driver assistance and safety systems—one in five belongs to the field of engine construction. Considering the corresponding automotive production, one trend that has been going on for years still holds true: The pace of change is always increasing as the requirement for more flexible production continues to increase. It is important that new parts and components can be produced efficiently, and defect free using existing product solutions.
Machining Centers with the Largest Market Share
This brings us back to the topic of “process integration.” For many experts, this word stands for one of the most important trends in the machinery industry: A component no longer runs through a series of machines that only performs one process. Instead, a combination of milling, turning, grinding, and other processes is performed in a single machine. At the end of the day, this leads to a much higher degree of flexibility, because a single machine can be fitted with numerous tools and configured very quickly for another component. The current market report by the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association (VDW) shows how relevant this approach is for many users. In 2016, “machining centers” generated about 25 percent of the total German turnover in the area of metal-cutting machine tools—amounting to a total of 2.15 billion euros. Turning centers are next in line with a turnover of 1.4 billion euros.
The Pick-Up Approach Stands Out
Overall, there are a variety of machine concepts for complete machining on the market today—however, the EMAG Group has been following and perfecting this approach from very early on: A decisive step in this direction took place in 1992 with the development of a multi-functional pick-up turning center, which efficiently performs additional processes such as drilling and milling. With time, specialists have adapted this technology for other applications. EMAG had already combined vertical turning and grinding centers by the late 1990s. The company acquired the corresponding grinding know-how it needed through a clever expansion strategy. Today, EMAG multi-functional machine tools combine various turning, milling, toothing and grinding operations in a single machining area. Highly complex components can be manufactured with no more than one or two workpiece clamping operations. This principle directly leads to three outstanding advantages that are especially useful when manufacturing particularly complex components:
- Faster: You save a lot of time. Transportation and lead times within the lean production system are shorter. Setup and non-productive times are also shortened, because even complex components are manufactured with a single clamping operation.
- More flexible: Users are able to react to new requirements with more flexibility and to choose the optimal solution for each new manufacturing sequence. The most effective tool process is used at all times.
- More precise: Machining with a single workpiece clamping operation improves the reliability of production and thus the quality of components.