The objective of those responsible at Koepfer was to come up with an inexpensive, uncompromising combination of fully-fledged gear hobbing and single-spindle turning. The result is the VSC 400 WF. The innovation is most convincing in its capability to complete machine components in a single set-up and to offer exceptionally flexible solutions to automation.
KOEPFER - VSC 400 WF: Quick and very flexible – for high-precision gear cutting
24.09.2007 - Oliver Hagenlocher
Wherever gear tooth type profiles are generated today, this is done first by turning both sides of the workpiece and then for the second operation – gear hobbing – the workpiece is transferred to a gear hobbing machine. Should there be the need for other operations, such as oil hole drilling, these have to be accommodated on yet a third machine. In other words, a very time-consuming process and in terms of throughput times in particular not always an economical one. Combination turning and gear hobbing on a single machine therefore offers considerable advantages. With their VSC 400 WF Koepfer has succeeded in providing the user with two fully-fledged machines in one. The design is based on the gantry pick-up principle of the EMAG single-spindle turning machine. The VSC 400 WF also features a full-capacity tool turret. The machine’s mechanical stability, supported among other features by the double-walled construction and the electronic coupling of the gear hobbing operation, is a precondition for highest precision. The components for the gear hobbing operation are the result of many years of experience and know-how gained with Koepfer gear hobbing machines. What is exceptional about the VSC 400 WF is that both operations, turning and gear hobbing, are of equal status. It allows for the second operation tuning and hobbing in the same set-up. In other words, the user has two fully-fledged machines that can be utilised to their full potential for the machining of a range of workpieces that may well be subject to frequent changes. Where required, additional operations such as milling or drilling in alignment with the tooth profile, or deburring, for instance, this can be achieved with auxiliary tools mounted in the turret. Single set-up machining cycles do not only save time, they also avoid errors associated with re-clamping between operations. The available cutting speeds and feeds meet all demands made by commercially available tools. The VSC 400 WF, equipped with Siemens Sinumerik 840D control system. is designed for the machining of workpieces up to gear module 4 and a diameter of 230mm.
The bonus of automation
Koepfer is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of gear hobbing machines for the generation of high-precision tooth profiles for power tools, geared motors and planetary drives, also in the sub-contracting industry. The company’s extensive know-how in the building of horizontal machines now also benefits the first vertical machine coming out of Villingen-Schwenningen, particularly in respect to automation. Standardised, clearly defined interfaces serve the problem-free integration of pallet systems, gantries and robots, making it easy to link up any upstream or downstream machining process. Equipped with shuttle type automation as standard, the VSC 400 WF can be used as a stand-alone or – at little extra expense – in the link-up of a production line. The design of the automation system allows for flexibility in accommodating a range of workpieces and batch sizes.
The advantages of the VSC 400 WF in brief
- The second side can be turned and the tooth profile hobbed in the same set-up.
- Auxiliary operations, such as deburring of the gears with turning or roller deburring tools in the turret, a fully-fledged tooling system, can be incorporated without problem.
- Thanks to the great flexibility of the shuttle system most customer-specific solutions to automation can be incorporated.
- The VSC 400 WF is designed for the machining of workpieces up to gear module 4 and a diameter of 230 mm.
- The machine offers a price/performance ratio that could be of great interest when compared to conventional solutions for combination turning and gear hobbing.
A point of view
Dr.-Ing. Thomas Koepfer, Chief Executive of Jos. Koepfer & Söhne GmbH: “The concept of the VSC 400 WF offers considerable advantages wherever different machining operations can be carried out in a single set-up when it would otherwise require a number of machines.”