Customizing for a flexible production
Progress happens through change. This applies not only to modern machine designs. In order to produce core components quickly, flexibly and with high precision in batch size 1, Bimatec Soraluce has individually adapted a bed type milling and boring machine for the system provider Achenbach Buschhütten.
The oldest family-owned company in Germany is located in Kreuztal near Siegen. Since its beginnings in 1452, the machine and plant manufacturer Achenbach Buschhütten GmbH & Co. KG has continuously developed. Today it is an established system provider, which supplies non-ferrous metal rolling mills and foil slitting machines all over the world. For a flexible long-term production of the wide range of machines and their compo- nents, the company requires partially customized machine tools. In search for a compact bed- type milling machine to ma- chine high-precision core components, they turned to BIMATEC SORALUCE Zerspanungstechnologie GmbH.
The new TR-D 30 machines the company’s core components with up to 500 mm deep bores and rolled bore surfaces made of high-al- loy steel in a tolerance range of up to 0.01 mm. “All compo- nents that we machine on the new TR-D 30 are highly com- plex. These components deter- mine significantly the quality and speed of our rolling mill and foil slitting machines,”
Tool arena with 215 tools
An industry-standard machin- ing center with a conventional chain type magazine can usu- ally hold around 120 tools. This would not cover the needs of Achenbach Buschhütten. In order to make its own produc- tion more flexible, the com- pany was looking for another option. The T-range from Bi- matec Soraluce is based on a sophisticated modular system and thus offers the possibility to integrate a large tool arena. In consideration of possible future design changes of the components, it has a capacity of 215 tools.
“Sometimes we machine dif- ferent core components on the new machine, and we need a variety of tools for each component,” explains Production Manager Achim Niwar. “Without a tool arena, we would have to change the tools every time after machin- ing a core component. The increased downtimes would be very uneconomical and can be consistently avoided with this tool arena”.
For the installation, Bimatec Soraluce adapted the dimen- sions of the tool arena indi- vidually to the machine and the available space in the hall. With the new TR-D 30, the tool change is carried out by a 6-axis industrial robot. This ro- bot automatically changes the tools in and out of the milling head. The chip-to-chip chang- ing time is only 14 seconds. In addition, the arena and the robot are fully integrated into the machine’s software. This provides operators with a list of available tools, job lists for regular tool maintenance, a laser light barrier for tool breakage control and much more. If a tool needs to be removed manually during an ongoing machining operation, a rotary tool loading gate with 2 x 4 pockets gives the oper- ators easy and safe access at any time. And if it turns out in the future that even 215 tools are not enough, the tool arena is designed in such a way that it can be extended on both the left and right hand sides.
Simple clamping for a reliable operation
The new TR-D 30 bed type mill- ing and boring center reaches a travel distance of 3,000 mm in longitudinal direction (X). The transverse axis (Y) is 1,300 mm long and the vertical axis (Z) measures 1,600 mm. All axes are equipped with INA linear guiding systems. With their hydromechanical damp- ing carriages, these enable high-precision machining of complex workpieces. The machine is also equipped with an NC rotary table (1,000 x 1,000 mm) as indicated by the “D” in the name TR-D.
The heart of the machine is its automatically indexing mill- ing head. It achieves a speed range of up to 7,000 min-1 and is equipped with air cooling and oil mist lubrication. In order to permanently guaran- tee high performance, there are several hybrid bearings in the milling head and in the ram. At very high speeds, they automatically reduce the tem- peratures generated and thus protect the mechanics.
The new TR-D 30 also features a zero-point clamping sys- tem to increase productivity. This allows set-up times to be drastically reduced, because additional workpieces can be set up on the clamping system outside of the machine during ongoing machining operations. After the first workpiece is finished, the next one is im- mediately loaded and can be machined with another oper- ating program at the touch of a button. This eliminates the need for conventional and much more time consuming workpiece clamping, so that non-productive times can be instantly reduced.
Saving more than 5 hours of time
These and many other technical features of the TR-D 30 stand for maximum added value. They allow fast and at the same time high-precision machining. A previously prepared time study shows how much faster this is.
In order to prove the perfor- mance of TR-D 30, Bimatec Soraluce has tested the pro- duction of original Achen- bach core components in the in-house technology center in Limburg. For this purpose, several Achenbach Buschhüt- ten core components were machined according to the component drawings on a trial production basis, in order to demonstrate the exact machining process and to allow for the quality and accuracy of the components to be controlled. In comparison with the pre- viously recorded times taken from the old machine, the engineers determined a time saving of 5.5 hours and signif- icantly higher precision. Since all manufactured components met the high requirements of Achenbach Buschhütten, they were later delivered to Kreuztal where Achenbach Büschhütten then installed them into their equipment.
“The reduced working hours contribute to a significant- ly higher productivity in our production”, says production manager Niwar happily. “And ultimately, our customers also benefit from this,” adds a de- lighted Sebastian Groos.
Flexible even for retrofitting
“The company Achenbach Buschhütten maintains a very long lasting partnership with many customers, sometimes even over decades”, explains managing director Sebastian Groos. “If in the course of this time an extension or a change of the plant performance is desired, we also take on this task”. With technical know-how as well as modern production and assembly capacities, Achenbach Buschhütten has become the preferred partner for particularly demanding modernizations. This also in- cludes retrofit tasks.
Production Manager Achim Niwar provides an example: “Some time ago, we picked up an 8 x 4 m press stand and reworked it. These are challenging tasks where everything has to fit perfectly, from the design to the weld- ing shop, through production and on to assembly. For the customer, a key component is removed from the factory and the machine has to be ready for production on time. With the new TR-D 30 from Bimatec Soraluce, we now have the advantage of being able to produce such custom-made products of batch size 1 even faster and more flexibly”.
Thanks to the zero-point clamping system of the TR-D 30, productions of batch size 1 can be easily integrated into the regular work process and thus carried out even faster. With a reference point management system any number of zero points can be stored. The operators can easily prepare different work- pieces outside of the machine, and these can be clamped accurately with high levels of repeatability.
Female power for specialized machining
In order to run in special components carefully, the new TR-D 30 is also equipped with special operating mode 4. This makes it possible to observe the machining process under special circumstances with the door of the guarding system open. The procedure has proven to be extremely practi- cal to run new operations in a controlled manner. An experi- enced operator can carry out the machining process faster, assess it better and make necessary changes. It should be noted, however, that this operating mode is only used in some special cases and is not intended for continuous operation. Its use requires not only the appropriate training but also a great deal of professional experience. Contrary to common trends in the industry, a young woman takes over this responsible task at Achenbach Buschhütten.
Christina Kölsch has established herself with expertise and commitment in a job that is more commonly carried out by men. The skilled machinist had applied for the first time to Achenbach Buschhütten about four years ago. “Unfortunately, we weren’t fast enough at the time and she took another job,” Achim Niwar is still annoyed today.
Two years later, the dedicated young woman wanted to take another step in her career. “I was looking for new tasks and wanted to prove myself. But in my profession, most compa- nies don’t give a woman any significant responsibility,” says Christina Kölsch. “At Achenbach Buschhütten I got my chance and I am very happy here. I machine highly complex core components on our new TR-D 30 bed-type milling machine, so that I can show what I am capable of”.
Tradition and future
In the county of Siegen in Ger- many, Achenbach Buschhüt- ten is known as a reliable employer. The company has always been training appren- tices. Here machinists, indus- trial clerks, technical product designers or dual students in the fields of mechanical and electrical engineering find a training place and at best a professional home. In order to link science even closer to practice, a new milestone project is also being built on the company’s premises. The “Campus Buschhütten” links university teaching facilities, industrial training occupa- tions and real production with future topics such as digital technologies and additive manufacturing.
On this foundation, the long-established company will continue to grow in the future. With professional know-how and individual pro- duction solutions Achenbach Buschhütten stands for ‘Designed, developed and made in Germany’. “As a global system provider, we are very proud to shape the high quality standard of our brand,” emphasizes Managing Director Sebastian Groos. “In order to strengthen our market position and the good reputation of the company in the long term, we use reliable machines from Bimatec Soraluce in our own production”. “With the new TR-D 30 from Bimatec Soraluce we are making a clear statement for highest quality!”