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Automobile manufacturers all over the world were able to enjoy an increase in their sales figures, this year! The biggest increases were experienced in the USA, China, India and Russia. However, the rapidly increasing number of vehicles built also brought some production challenges – for instance, the sub-contractors must deal with the increasing output levels and also need to ensure that process safety and component quality do not suffer. In fact, even the smallest components with complex geometries must be produced with increasing levels of precision. In the development of the VLC 100 G Vertical Grinding Center from EMAG, our grinding specialists have made sure that the machine concept offers efficient, error-free machining processes for the production of small chucked components.
Small chucked components are typically produced in large quantities. The demand for components, such as gearwheels, planetary gears, chain gears and flanged components for cars, for instance, have necessary quantities that typically go into the millions; and short cycle times in the production of these components have become mandatory. For instance, the internal contour of a gearwheel must be ground in the shortest possible time and the machine’s workholding unit must be loaded with a new workpiece just as quickly. In many production environments, this represents a critical moment, because the idle time is commonly a decisive factor in establishing the economic viability of the whole process.
Automatic loading scores heavily
High output levels – short cycle times. This is exactly why the VLC 100 G Vertical Grinding Center from EMAG, for small chucked components with a maximum diameter of 100 mm, was developed. The machine utilizes its onboard pick-up system to load itself. And while one workpiece is being machined, the operator – or the automation system – is putting the raw-parts on the conveyor belt. This reduces idle time and increases output rates. Another benefit is the vertical machining concept; the design ensures that the grinding sludge falls to the bottom of the machine unhindered, where it is then transported out of the machine. (Click HERE for a video detailing the VLC 100 G Vertical Grinding Center)
Quality control is integrated
Measuring processes can also be integrated into the machine, making quality control an integral part of the whole process. The measuring probe is located between the machining area and pick-up station, where it is protected from contamination.
In use are two different grinding wheels
An important feature of the VLC 100 G is that it offers the possibility to use two grinding spindles, which can be used to perform different grinding operations, or to handle both rough- and finish-grinding work. In other words, the first wheel performs the “rough” job of removing excess material from the raw-part at high feedrates (the CBN wheel is specially designed to absorb the necessary forces), while the second wheel (with different specifications) takes over the finishing work to guarantee a perfect surface finish on even the most challenging geometries. With the help of this intelligent tooling combination, EMAG design engineers have succeeded in drastically reducing the grinding time of even very complex components. “For the removal of large amounts, two wheels offer a shorter cycle time than one, with the first wheel designed to do the rough-grinding and the second one in charge of finish-grinding work,” explains Dr. Guido Hegener, Managing Director of EMAG Salach Maschinenfabrik GmbH in Germany.
A convincing machine concept
The combination of fast loading and efficient grinding processes leads to a very compelling machine concept. The VLC 100 G works very well with the dynamic developments in automotive production. Now, with the rapid increase in required quantities, the demand is for new machine concepts that can be integrated into existing production without any problem. With the VLC 100 G, two features enable it to be integrated without any problems. “Programming the workpieces with our new EMAG NAVIGATOR software is simple and intuitive, saving valuable setup time. For many production environments, this is an advantage that should not be underrated,“ confirms Dr. Hegener. Furthermore, the exceptionally small footprint for the VLC 100 G should make the work of every production planner easier. The stand-alone machine occupies about 4.5 square meters (48 square feet), making sure that the growth of a production facility of this kind will not be limited by floor space requirements.
The advantages of the VLC 100 G
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According to the “Future Panel” of the IW – the Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft (Institute for German Economic Research) – energy efficiency is becoming increasingly more important in the metalworking industry. The IW suggests that over 60 percent of the companies interviewed for the award are hoping for “a push forward toward innovation”. EMAG is an initiator of such innovations. Its experts develop machine tools and production processes that consume significantly less energy then its competition. In honor of this, EMAG has received the “Energy Efficiency Award” from the ZF Group. This award states that EMAG’s contribution has been honored as one of the top five.
From their efficient manufacturing technology to economical design and construction, the machine builders at EMAG have shown their in-depth know-how and experience in one of the most important fields of industrial development, to compete for the “Energy Efficiency Award” from ZF. The result convinced decision makers at ZF and EMAG’s competition entry called “Energy-efficient Production Machines” has been honored as one of the “Top 5 Projects“. In fact, in this particular sector EMAG was the only machine builder honored. Before the competition as part of its “Year of Energy”, ZF contacted approximately 600 of its suppliers, inviting them to participate in the competition. From 30 eligible entries, the specialists in driveline and chassis technology picked the top five. These five companies were invited to present their particular approach to efficiency on September 13th at ZF, Saarbrücken.
EMAG has been focusing on energy efficiency for years
“We are very pleased to have received this award”, declared Dr. Guido Hegener, Managing Director of EMAG Salach, Maschinenfabrik GmbH. “It is an incentive for us to continue on the chosen path. Our focus has been on energy efficiency for years.” During his presentation Dr. Hegener highlighted the various developments at EMAG:
“We have established how much energy each component consumes and where the biggest potential for savings lies”, explained Wolfgang Rummel, Head of Control Technology Development and Design at EMAG Salach Maschinenfabrik GmbH. He also referenced the concrete measures taken: EMAG includes the most efficient components in their standard machine design – for instance hydraulic packs with greater efficiency, low-wattage valves and intelligent auto-standby circuitry.
At the end of his competition presentation Dr. Hegener introduced a new overall objective: the development of the “sustainable factory”. He suggested that in future the production – together with the building in which it is situated and its technological contents – will be evaluated as a single entity. In conclusion, he expresses his belief that the measures taken to reclaim and recycle energy can lead to a potential saving of up to another 40 percent.
(text translation from above)
SAVINGS POTENTIAL PLATFORM 2
46.9% over existing machines
9.6% – optimization cooling systems
8.0% – hydraulics (e.g. DvP units)
6.9% – drive cooler with through-hole technology (only on Fanuc)
6.6% – reduced air seal, system pressure pneumatics
6.6% – standby circuitry
3.2% – IE2 motors (IE3 option)
1.9% – low-loss gear motors (option)
1.8% – frequency-controlled auxiliary drives (option)
1.7% – timed relief valves, flat-jet nozzles (options)
0.6% – low-wattage valves
53.1% – remaining machine consumption
At EMAG energy efficiency comes as standard.
Energy savings are implemented on the machines with Platform 2, as compared to similar earlier models = 46.9%.
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