In an effort to thoroughly explore the possibilities of the VL series the machines are continuously developed further. Now the VL has also become available with a Y-axis. This allows for the machining of very complex geometries. For instance, it can carry out eccentric milling and drilling operations without the need for special tools, a feature that noticeably increases the range of applications for the machine.
EMAG: The VL, now with Y-axis
07/11/2008 - Oliver Hagenlocher
Every VL a manufacturing cell – workhandling included.
The VL-Y is a machine without bells and whistles, but technically highly sophisticated and fully equipped with Y-axis (50 mm travel), chip conveyor, machining area extraction unit, fluid-cooling system for spindle motor and turret and automation equipment for the loading and unloading of workpieces. Every VL is equipped with a recirculating workpiece storage conveyor on which so called “carrier prisms” deliver the raw-parts to and collect the finish-machined components from the pick-up spindle. As the pick-up station is located behind the machining area, the operator can continue removing finish-machined components from and inserting new raw-parts into the carrier prisms at the front. For asymmetrical components or workpieces that have to be accurately aligned for machining, the prisms can be fitted with workpiece-specific carriers or with pallets. This system allows for the fully automatic loading and unloading of a multitude of workpieces. Companies that manufacture small and large batches of a great variety of components require a universal, quickly reprogrammed and quickly reset machine for the small batches and an automated, high-productivity manufacturing system for the large ones. EMAG has successfully performed the “splits” to overcome this dilemma by introducing the VL series. Over the years, the VL series has not only developed in size, but also in the range of applications it covers. The machines, originally designed for simple, heavy-duty machining – i.e. for rough turning, etc. – have since also produced excellent results with the application of hard turning. This has, for instance, added the manufacturers of bearing rings to the list of faithful users of the machine. These days, even such complex components as turbo charger casings are now machined on the VL.
The strategy of flexibility adds up
Flexibility has been a success for EMAG in more than one way. With its VL series the machine tool manufacturer from Salach has had – for the last eight years – a batch of configurable, modular turning machines in his programme, with which the end user was able to economically machine a highly flexible range of products.
For a great many years now, EMAG have been known in the turning sector of the industry for top-quality production machines strictly designed for the medium-size batch or the mass production. Dieter Kollmar, Chief Executive of their Gruppen-Vertriebs- und Service GmbH, explains it: “The systems that we delivered to well-known OEMs and large tier-1 suppliers have, for a long time, been designed to machine a particular component in the shortest possible time and to the highest possible quality.” At the turn of the millennium Emag decided to take a greater interest in winning over the smaller customer. However, these companies have a greater need for flexibility in machine design, as their batch sizes show more variation. To be able to make them economically viable, the machines for this particular target group had to be reset quickly and easily and at the same time provide a high degree of automation. Dieter Kollmar elucidates: “We were absolutely sure that we had the necessary know-how to develop machines suitable for highly flexible production. This is why we chanced it with the VL series; and it has definitely been worth the gamble. Today, we are known not only for our customised solutions, but also for the fact that we offer modular machines based on a standardised, easily configurable platform.”
The success of the new vertical turning centers of the VL series became obvious early on. Its first representative, the VL 3, designed for chucked components up to 160 mm diameter, was received with great enthusiasm by small and large businesses and job shops alike. Companies that manufacture small and large batches of a great variety of components require a universal, quickly reprogrammed and quickly reset machine for the small batches and an automated, high-productivity manufacturing system for the large ones. EMAG has successfully performed the “splits” to overcome this dilemma by introducing the VL series. And by now the VL 5 (chuck diameter 250 mm) and the VSC 7 (chuck diameter 400 mm) have joined the VL 3.