Gears keep the world moving. They are found absolutely everywhere, in many different shapes and made from an extremely wide range of materials. From the tiniest, most delicate gears used by watchmakers, to gears with a diameter of 16 meters used in mines and the cement industry, where they drive gigantic mills and rotary kilns. Big or small, they all have one thing in common: they must satisfy the most demanding requirements.
Modular Vertical Hobbing Machine VL 4 H – Designed with the Whole Process in Mind
21.10.2016 - Markus Isgro
KOEPFER, a company with years of success in the gear cutting field, has demonstrated its capabilities in a multitude of projects for a broad clientele. Satisfying the most demanding requirements is second nature for the company's gear cutting experts, who meet such requirements head on with the necessary expertise and first-rate technology.
Technology like that used in the new modular hobbing machine VL 4 H, which is the experts' answer to the demands of high-volume manufacturing.
VL 4 H – a Modular Machine from EMAG
EMAG's modular machines are part of a successful machine series that combines the different technologies of the EMAG Group on a standardized machine base. Whether for turning, grinding, induction hardening, or gear cutting, the proven EMAG pick-up principle ensures highly automated, efficient production. The pick-up automation system integrated into each modular machine features a parts storage unit for blanks and finished parts, from which the machine is automatically loaded. This system allows for very short chip-to-chip times of only a few seconds. The vertical construction of the machine not only guarantees an ideal chip flow, but also prevents the formation of chip clusters, thus contributing to a consistently high quality of production.
The compact vertical design of the machines makes them very attractive, both as single units, and as part of an interlinked manufacturing solution. The interlinking option is easy to implement due to the consistent transfer height between the automation systems of individual machines. In addition, the separate energy container allows the use of the new EMAG TrackMotion automation system specially developed for modular machines. The automation, system located directly behind the machining area, transports the parts and also operates as a flip-over unit, which increases the flexibility of the entire system.
Gear Hobbing and Chamfering on a Single Machine
The vertical VL 4 H hobbing machine can be configured for a wide range of applications. The high-performance drives used in the working spindle and the hob enable high speeds and torques, ensuring fast, precise and cost-optimized gear production. The machine allows the dry gear hobbing of workpieces up to 200 mm in diameter and module 4. The optional measuring system for part alignment can be expanded by adding a sensor system for positioning. It is installed outside the machining area where it is protected from chips and dirt; it can also be extended and retracted as required. This not only allows adjustments to be made to the machining operations at any time, it also permits seamless documentation for production quality assurance.
The machining area of the VL 4 H is easily accessible through the large front door, allowing rapid set up times and creating an ergonomic work environment for the operator. The combination of powerful drives, a working spindle that can be controlled with absolute precision, tool clamping, and the generously dimensioned machining area allows various different gear cutting methods to be used on the machine. For instance, the CHAMFER CUT method can be used to chamfer the workpieces directly after hobbing, with a single clamping operation. To do so, the CHAMFER CUT tool is mounted on the hob arbor of the cutter in addition to the hob. The CHAMFER CUT method, developed by FETTE, is ideal for precise and low-cost chamfering processes. “As this method does not produce any secondary burr and does not warp the material, it is especially usefulfor gear teeth that are honed after hardening,” said Jörg Lohmann, head of sales at EMAG KOEPFER. To be effective however, the workpiece does have to have a suitable shape, however. “We have successfully tested this machining combination in the manufacture of gears. The wheel-shaped workpieces have hardly any interfering contours, so that chamfering with CHAMFER-CUT is possible. The machining combination of hobbing and chamfering in a single clamping operation, on one machine is a very cost-effective solution for the user, as two manufacturing processes can be carried out at the same time with just one machine, and the workpiece handling between the processing steps is also eliminated. That lets you reduce your floor to floor times and get workpieces to the next production step faster,” Lohmann explained.
VL 4 H – High Degree of Freedom for the User
The new VL 4 H from EMAG KOEPFER offers users a multitude of possibilities. As shown in the example, it can be used as a standalone machine for gear cutting, or for combined hobbing/chamfering. This machine can also be part of a production line, which is easy to do thanks to the advantages of EMAG's modular machines. In all cases, the user benefits from the many possibilities that the machine offers. In conclusion Lohmann had this to say: “At KOEPFER, we place a tremendous amount ofvalue on giving our customers the optimal advice. With the VL 4 H we have now added another valuable module to our standard modular machine series, which allows us to offer our customers the best possible manufacturing solution for their application, all the way from standalone machines to highly automated manufacturing systems for large-scale production.”
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