Smaller components – greater precision
30/05/2014 - Oliver Hagenlocher
The equation is remarkably simple to arrive at. When the overall weight of a car is reduced, its fuel consumption levels also decrease. According to the Forschungsvereinigung Automobiltechnik (German research association for the automotive industry) a reduction in weight of approximately 100 kg results in a saving of 0.3 litre of fuel. „Lightweight construction“ is the buzzword most commenly used in this context. But equally important is miniaturisation. Whole assemblies, such as the gearbox, are reduced in size and are becoming lighter. Manufacture of the required components – from individual gears to composite shafts and cams – calls for new machine concepts to deal with these developments. And these concepts must ensure that the smallest geometrical detail is machined with utmost efficiency and precision. For the turning and grinding of chucked componets of less than 100 mm diameter the specialist machine builders at EMAG have found an efficient solution – the VLC 100 GT vertical turning and grinding centre. This machine is highly efficient in combining the grinding process with upstream turning processes, where this is desired.
A small revolution is taking place where the weight of the passenger car is concerned. The experts believe that the future will see cars being built that weigh about half of what they do now. To achieve this, important subjects will be the use of new and less weighty materials and the necessity for key components to be made smaller. It is becoming quite clear that all the constituent components – some of them of a complex design – will have to be minituarised.
The process intelligently combined
Grinding is a most suitable example in this respect. More than any other process in many different applications it stands for highest precision, even when it comes to complex component details and geometries. With their VLC 100 GT the specialists at EMAG Salach have developed a tool that can be used as a vertical or a combined turning and grinding centre for the machining of workpieces of up to 100 mm diameter. With it, the user can grind the “traditional” way, or take advantage of the integration of two processes on a single machine, to benefit from efficient machining cycles and excellent component quality. In fact, the new machine offers the opportunity to integrate different machining operations – for instance using two grinding spindles for external and internal grinding and an additional block toolholder for hard turning operations. Every machine is discussed in detail with the customer and tailor-made to suit the requirements for the manufacture of his particular range of workpieces, with the objective to carry out the hard machining operations on the workpiece complete in a single setup. The first step is to machine all workpiece sections that can be turned. This is followed by a finish-grinding operation carried out as part of the same setup. The result is not only exceptional component quality, as complete-machining of the workpiece also ensures short cycle times and – last but by no means least – a reduction in the wear and tear of cost-intesive grinding tools. That the footprint of the VLC 100 GT is just about 7 m² shows a really compact machine design.
Usage brings out the strengths of the machine
The grinding specialists at EMAG have put together a technical „package“ for an unusually large range of applications, with a multitude of sophisticated technical detail. The „multi-talented” VLC 100 GT makes use of all cutting edge grinding technologies. It allows the use of both ceramic and galvanised grinding wheels. Its sensors make it possible to use any adaptive grinding, touch recognition and touch dressing methods. And the dressing spindle also accommodates diamond dressing rolls. Workpiece measuring can also be included in the machining cycle, offering optimal quality control as part of the process chain. The measuring probe is mounted between machining area and pick-up station, a location that protects is from any adverse influences. As measuring takes place within the same setup, intermediate measurements can be taken during the process. The machine can be used as a stand-alone or as part of an interlinked production line.
The VLC 100 GT at a glance:
- Combined vertical pick-up turning and grinding centre
- For the cost-efficient precision manufacture - with built-in process integrity – of medium and large batches of chucked components
- Complete machining in a single set-up
Superior component quality and higher productivity levels
- Improved life expectancy for turning, grinding and dressing tools
Minimises tooling costs
- Only small amounts of grinding sludge
Minimises waste disposal costs
- Considerable reduction in the grinding allowance
Makes dry machining possible