The VL 2 P Turning Centre chips away at production costs

02/14/2012 - Oliver Hagenlocher

For many sub-contractors of the automotive industry - and for small manufacturing companies – the cost pressure is going to increase further during 2012. At least that is the conclusion reached by an Allensbach-poll among the purchase executives of these companies. As it is, a majority of them expects an increase in raw material costs, rising energy prices and even greater pressure from the automotive industry to keep prices low. Many see a central solution to this in production itself, where flexible and efficient processes ought to ensure a reduction in costs and guarantee a component quality that raises competitive levels. In the turning sector, the vertical turning centres from EMAG fulfil these conditions admirably. With its VL 2 P (chuck diameter 160 mm) EMAG offers a machine that is suitable for job shop, turned parts manufacturer and automotive industry alike.


For many sub-contractors of the automotive industry - and for small manufacturing companies – the cost pressure is going to increase further during 2012. At least that is the conclusion reached by an Allensbach-poll among the purchase executives of these companies. As it is, a majority of them expects an increase in raw material costs, rising energy prices and even greater pressure from the automotive industry to keep prices low. Many see a central solution to this in production itself, where flexible and efficient processes ought to ensure a reduction in costs and guarantee a component quality that raises competitive levels. In the turning sector, the vertical turning centres from EMAG fulfil these conditions admirably. With its VL 2 P (chuck diameter 160 mm) EMAG offers a machine that is suitable for job shop, turned parts manufacturer and automotive industry alike.

 

Conditions for sub-contractor and manufacturing company have been the same for decades: customers in all sectors of the industry and from all fields of application want optimal component quality and flexibility in the handling of frequently changing batch sizes. However, a rapidly developing automotive industry has, over the last few years, set even more demanding standards. Extremely small and very large batches have now to be produced “just in time” (and more often than not on a single machine). Furthermore, even large-volume production processes have to be adjusted quickly, as and when general market conditions change. The sudden, massive reduction in order receipts of two years ago was followed by an almost as rapid recovery.

A comprehensive solution for the turning sector
How should production planning departments in small and medium-sized companies react to this kind of market dynamics and the resulting competitive pressure? Dr Guido Hegener, Managing Director of EMAG Salach Maschinenfabrik, points to a true “cost killer” – the EMAG VL 2 P Vertical Turning Centre: „There are, of course, a great many factors that influence the cost of machining a component – from general output rates and tool life to the actual quality of the end product. We have kept a close eye on these factors during the development of our machine. As a consequence, the VL 2 P shows a variety of strengths. It also represents a comprehensive solution for the turning sector, is technologically sophisticated and of a design with which we have had many years of experience.” The turning centre complete-machines workpieces of up to 100 mm diameter in two setups. To achieve this, it is equipped with two workspindles that work in pendular mode; i.e whilst one spindle machines the first side of the workpiece, the second one uses the pick-up principle to load itself. This ensures that the next raw-part is ready to be machined as soon as the first workpiece is completed and the turret “swings over” to the second spindle, to carry on machining. This results in shortest possible chip-to-chip times.

With the focus on quality – from day one
With the VL 2 P the EMAG designers literally started from the “ground up”. The machine base is only the first of some unique features and makes its strengths felt in any production environment – it is cast in Mineralit. This polymer concrete has an 8- times better vibration damping effect than grey cast iron. Once the machine is up and running, the user does not need to wait long to feel the results of having this design detail incorporated. Guido Hegener explains: “A vibration-resistant machine leads to a better surface finish. It also increases tool life.”    

Automation included
Another important hallmark of quality associated with the vertical turning centres from EMAG can be seen in its automation equipment. Particularly astonishing is the fact that it forms an integral part of a highly compact machine design. To move the components, the VL 2 P uses a recirculating chain conveyor equipped with workpiece carriers. This ensures that the workpieces can be conveyed directly to the pick-up station, where they are machined. As loading takes place outside the machining area, the passing conveyor allows for the removal of finish-machined components and the loading of raw-parts at the front of the machine. It is hard to imagine a more flexible and at the same time more universal solution to the problem of automation, as with this system loading and unloading of a multitude of different workpieces no longer presents a problem.

Short travels – short idle times
When machine manufacturers discuss costs in general, their talk often touches on the so called “idle times”, i.e. the seconds when the workspindle is in non-productive mode – for instance when the next raw-part is loaded. How does the VL 2 P deal with that? Guido Hegener explains: “We have, of course, had an eye on the undesirable idle times when we designed the VL 2 P. Changing workpieces on this machine is unbeatably fast, owing to the fact that the traverse between workspindle 1 and workspindle 2 is minimal. The time needed to load and unload the workpieces runs parallel to the cycle time and does therefore have no influence on chip-to-chip times.


From chucked component to small shaf
t
From the viewpoint of the investment decision a sub-contractor or turned parts manufacturer has to make, there might still remain unanswered questions, such as: What experiences has EMAG had with their vertical machine concept and its extraordinary automation system? Does the concept work on the shop-floor? “Absolutely”, confirms Guido Hegener. “Firstly, we are already looking back on 2,500 delivered VL machines; and we always adapt new designs to the conditions our clients face. This allows us to focus on the strengths of our machines.” The components (and their quantities) manufactured on them are of a great variety. Gear blanks are manufactured with equal efficiency as flanges or cams. It should therefore not surprise anyone that EMAG intends to continue to rely on this well proven concept. “The VL 2 P is ideal for the machining of workpieces with short runtimes and impresses with its short cycle times and exceptional component quality. These are features that will continue to draw attention”, adds Guido Hegener in conclusion.

Contact

Oliver Hagenlocher

Press and publishers

Phone:+49 7162 17-267
Fax:+49 7162 17-199
E-Mail:communications@emag.com

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