Vertically into the future
22/08/2011 - Oliver Hagenlocher
Under the motto „Machines and manufacturing systems for precision metal components“ EMAG will be introducing its latest developments and “best practice” solutions on three stands at EMO 2011. Their range of exhibits will cover everything from machines for the manufacture of small chucked and shaft-type components to complete manufacturing systems and production machines for large workpieces.
New vertical turning machines for small workpieces
With its VT 2 EMAG is introducing a vertical turning machine specially developed for the machining of small chucked components and shafts. The machine is offered in two versions: equipped with pendular technology, for the high-output machining of chucked components of maximum 100 mm diameter; or featuring a tailstock, for the machining of shaft-type components with a maximum length of 400 mm. Of course, automation is not allowed to be absent on any of the EMAG machines. The VT 2, for instance, features a recirculating chain conveyor with component storage section, designed for the loading and unloading of workpieces. Worthy of particular note is the small footprint of the machine at just about 4 m², which allows for the setting up of space-saving production lines or autonomous production cells. There are also a number of automation equipment choices – from a stand-alone machine that uses the pick-up spindle to load itself, right up to fully automated manufacturing systems, where conveyors located behind the machining areas handle the transport of components from machine to machine.
PECM for nickel- and titanium-based alloys
The new technologies from EMAG are also present at the exhibition. With its PECM technology (Precise Electro-Chemical Machining) EMAG presents a production process that opens up entirely new fields of application. PECM is a process for the machining of high-alloyed materials, such as nickel- and titanium-based alloys. The disadvantages of conventional metal cutting – tool wear, mechanical stresses, micro-fissuring caused by heat, oxidisation layering and the need for subsequent deburring operations – are eliminated, as this process is a non-contact one without heat input. All electro-chemical machining processes are characterised by stress-free material removal, smooth transition points and surfaces without ridge formations.
Will camshafts ever again be made of a single piece?
Another highlight is EMAG‘s pre-heating and joining technology, a process that scores particularly well in camshaft production. The high degree of precision achieved with the joining process drastically reduces the number of cam profile grinding operations or – with the use of precision cams – avoids them altogether. Another benefit of the process is the ability to combine different materials in the construction of the shaft, such as forged cams (e.g. in 100Cr6) and sintered cams, which do not require regrinding. Accessory components, such as plugs and end pieces, can – like the shaft itself – also be made of more favourable materials. This allows for the camshaft to be adapted to the requirements of the engine and to be optimised in load bearing capacity and manufacturing costs.
Operating costs reduced by 50 %
Production laser welding is already a highly productive process in the manufacture of gearwheels. The use of diode-pumped solid-state lasers – such as disc or fibre lasers – now reduces operating costs by up to 50%. From an early stage, EMAG has become involved with the use of solid-state lasers in the welding of powertrain components and may well be considered a pioneer in the technology. EMAG has thus again fulfilled a promise to their users of offering them the lowest possible cost-per-piece, by coming up with an innovative technology that brings true cost benefits.
In the case of many applications, solid-state lasers allow welding without shielding gas. This not only reduces operating costs, it also avoids having to follow the annoying logistics imposed by the use of shielding and laser operating gasses. In many more cases, the welding process can also be speeded up considerably. This increases productivity and – through a reduction in energy input per unit length – reduces welding distortion, and thus makes for a better component quality.
„Best practice solutions“ for chucked components
For many years now, the VL series has been synonymous with sturdy, reliable vertical turning machines. With its VL 5i (chuck diameter 250 mm) EMAG presents a machine designed especially for small and medium-size production companies and turned parts manufacturers. It offers a good price-performance ratio, and although a machine without bells and whistles, it is technologically sophisticated and fully equipped with integral, carrier prism-based automation, fluid cooling system for spindle motor and turret, chip conveyor, working area extraction and an optional measuring probe.
Another highlight of the EMAG exhibits is the VLC 250 P and the VLC 250 WF, which are presented as an interlinkable manufacturing solution for the soft machining of gears. The VLC 250 P is a two-spindle vertical turning machine designed on the pendulum principle. It offers extremely fast workpiece changeover times with an 83% time-saving compared to conventional turning machines. It scores particularly high when it comes to components with short machining times, as it is here that the ratio between cycle time and idle time is a decisive factor in establishing the economic viability of the chosen process. The VLC 250 WF is designed for the machining of wheel-shaped workpieces with a maximum diameter of 220 mm or gear module 4 and offers the user great flexibility. It can be used as a single-spindle turning machine, or a hobbing machine, or as a combination of both. In other words, the user gets two fully-fledged machines in one, which is particularly advantageous in an environment that has to cope with an ever changing component spectrum.
But that is not all yet! The application range of EMAG machines is rounded off by the VLC 800 – a multifunctional production centre for the complete-machining, in a single setup, of large components of up to 800 mm diameter. It replaces the vertical turret lathes used in the past for components of this size. The sturdy main spindle of the VLC 800 is used as a quill and travels in Z-direction. The non-friction, non-wear, play-free, hydrostatic guideways have an optimal damping effect, thus minimising tool wear (even where interrupted cuts are used), and providing the very best surface finish. The latter is also helped by the machine base being of mineral concrete Mineralit®, a material with exceptional damping qualities.
Small and big shafts alike
The machine builder from Salach also offers a wide range of options for the machining of shafts. In its VTC 250 DUO EMAG has a manufacturing system with two work stations and three turrets. The machine produces shafts of maximum 630 mm length in a single, fully integrated process – starting with the forging or billet and ending with the finish-machined component. For this purpose, the vertical turning centre is equipped with three turrets, a main spindle and a separate clamping station. The gripper in the first turret takes the raw-part from the loading to the clamping station, where both ends are machined. When the end machining operation is completed the second turret takes the workpiece to the second station, where it is clamped in the main spindle and - supported by the tailstock and a CNC steady – 4-axis-machined with up to 11 tools each in the second and third turrets.
But EMAG is not only going to show its turning technologies at EMO. With its VTC 315 DS the company will introduce a machine with synchronous support grinding technology. The workpiece is synchronously machined from two sides, using CBN grinding wheels, whilst supported by a trailing steady. The shaft-type components are clamped vertically between work head and tailstock. The two grinding spindles are mounted on compound slides located to the right and left of the workpiece. The alignment of the two grinding wheels opposite each other brings important advantages during the synchronous support grinding operation, one of them being a much reduced grinding time.
Last, but by no means least, interested visitors will find a K 160 Horizontal Hobbing Machine for components with a maximum length of 600 mm, or gear module 2.5, in Hall 26. The machine features an 8-axis control and offers high hobbing head and main spindle speeds, guaranteeing high cutting speeds – even for shafts and pinions with the fewest number of teeth. The basis of the machine is a high-flex, torsion-free, vibration damping slant-bed in mineral concrete.
A summary of our exhibition highlights:
Hall 17 – Stand C33
- VT 2: Vertical pick-up turning machine with pendular technology, chuck diameter 100 mm
- VT 2: Vertical shaft machining centre, workpiece length max. 400 mm
- VT 5i: Vertical pick-up turning machine, chuck diameter 250 mm
- VTC 250 DUO: Two-spindle shaft machining centre, workpiece length max. 700 mm
- VLC 800: Vertical pick-up turning machine, chuck diameter 800 mm
Hall 11 – Stand B54
- VTC 315 DS: Vertical shaft-grinding machine with synchronous support grinding technology
Hall 26 – Stand G 19
- VLC 250 P: Vertical pick-up turning machine with pendular technology, chuck diameter 250 mm
- VLC 250 WF: Vertical pick-up gear cutting centre, chuck diameter 250 mm, module 4
- Koepfer 160: 8-axis hobbing machine: module 2.5, workpiece length max. 600 mm