The VL 1 Twin has set the new standard for the high-output, simultaneous machining of workpieces with a maximum dimaeter of 75 mm (3 in). This turning center has two main spindles in one machining area that are able to simultaneously machine two identical workpieces – resulting in substantially increased output quantities, and lower unit costs.
The Swiss company Humbel has been involved in gear production since 1928—specializing in particularly sophisticated types of gears and transmission components, eventually evolving into a full-service supplier. At their facility in Kradorf, approx. 20 kilometers (12 miles) from St. Gallen, they produce both individual parts as well as complete assemblies. The company recently expanded their machine inventory to include a VL 4 vertical turning center by EMAG. — We spoke with Alex Humbel, Managing Director of Humbel Zahnräder AG in Kradolf, on the challenges facing gear producers, the importance of E-mobility, as well as their company strategy.
Cylindrical grinding on driveshafts and transmission shafts has always been particularly demanding, as the parts feature a wide range of geometric details that are machined with high precision in the grinding machine. With the rapid pace of technological development in the automotive industry, which keeps increasing the functional density of many components, there are more demands than ever on the design of grinding machines today. Users require highly customized machines that can perform multiple grinding operations, including combined internal and external grinding.
Lightweight construction in the automotive industry is a fight for every pound. Every single part is investigated for whether it could be made even lighter. This is typically accomplished by using new materials of changing part geometries. Laser welding offers a surprisingly simple strategy, e.g. by enabling a stable connection between differential gear and ring gear. This saves screw connections and reduces weight by 1.2 kg – quite an accomplishment by the standards of the field.
CVT transmissions are becoming increasingly popular in the American and Asian markets. The technology improves driving comfort as the car shifts gears more smoothly. A critical part of manufacturing these transmissions is the creation of the CVT components like shafts and disks (“pulleys”) that need to be hard machined with extreme precision– all as part of a multi-stage process that uses various turning centers and grinding machines.