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15.3 million automobiles will be sold in the USA in 2013 alone. Even higher sales figures are anticipated for 2014. Manufacturers primarily want to meet the increased demand, including for automobiles with alternative drive systems such as hybrid drives and electric motors, by increasing their productivity. With its successful machine-tool concepts, EMAG has frequently demonstrated that productivity can be boosted above all by using state-of-the-art machine tools and the company wants to continue to do this on the market in the USA, a market that has been important traditionally. The EMAG branch in Farmington Hills in Michigan that has been successful for many years now offers an absolute guarantee of EMAG reliability and presence in America. This EMAG plant supplies a wide variety of customers throughout North America and thus makes a small but important contribution to boosting productivity in the USA. Let us convince you of the quality of our machines and the possibility of boosting production at WESTEC which is to be held in Los Angeles between October 15 and 17. You will find EMAG in the Convention Center at Stand 2820.
VT 2-4 vertical turning machine – shaft production for maximum productivity
Shafts are central components in an automobile’s powertrain. Thus, boosting productivity for this manufacturing process also has a clear effect on overall productivity. The vertical, 4-axis pick-up-turning machine VT 2-4 allows machining of shafts with a length of up to 400 mm and a diameter of up to 100 mm. Our consistent demand for maximum productivity is demonstrated by integration of the automation solution whereby the machine loads itself with raw parts using workpiece grippers. It takes approximately 6 seconds to change the workpieces and this thus leads to short idle times and, consequently, lower component costs. The actual turning process for which two tool turrets, each with twelve tool positions, are available (fitted with turning tools or driven tools) is performed at a speed of 6,000 rpm in extremely short cycles. The integrated automation system, combined with the compact vertical machine structure, allows you to configure production lines with a very small footprint. The VT 2-4 vertical turning machine is consequently ideally suited to integrating shaft production in existing manufacturing systems.
VL 2 – pick-up turning machine for small chuck parts
Besides the shafts, it is mainly chuck shafts which are involved in the production of automobiles. The fact that small chuck components need to be machined to an increasing extent in order to implement more compact and, thus, more lightweight parts is primarily due to the further developments in the field of boosting energy efficiency.
The VL 2 is designed to machine chuck parts with a maximum diameter of up to 100 mm and a length up to 150 mm. At the same time, the VL 2 offers a whole range of clever design details and hi-tech components which allow high productivity. These include the pick-up spindle which loads itself with raw parts from the integrated conveyor and the tool turret equipped with 12 tool positions which allows diverse machining scenarios. To date, there has not been such a compact manufacturing solution for machining hard or soft chuck parts. The machine concept is supplemented by a machine base made of MINERALIT® polymer concrete that ensures high strength and excellent vibration damping.
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The advantages for the user are obvious. In the past, it was necessary to decide in favour of one of the three technologies. Now, with the VTC 315 DS, it is possible to choose the technology that best suits individual applications. Dr. Guido Hegener, the executive responsible for grinding technology at EMAG Salach Maschinenfabrik GmbH, comments on the diverse applications: “We are consistently following the path of combination machining. As a rule, our customers manufacture different workpieces on the machine. We intend to offer them the best technology for every application.” The VTC 315 DS is of interest to those engaged in the manufacture of medium and large batches of high-quality components such as gear shafts, rotor shafts, pump shafts, motor shafts or cardan shafts. The machining technology is chosen accordingly. Sturdy workpieces are machined using the scroll-free turning technology. The grinding technology is preferred for smaller, less stable components. “This makes us more flexible and allows us to choose the right technology for every individual requirement”, explains Dr. Guido Hegener the advantages. The machine can be used as a fully-fledged grinding machine, or a fully-fledged turning machine, or a combination of both. When choosing a technology one should take a closer look at the cycle time and, in particular, at the tooling cost. Unit production costs are usually higher with hard turning and scroll-free turning than with grinding, although CBN grinding wheels – in absolute terms – are rather expensive. It is for this very reason that the user has to decide on a case by case which manufacturing technology to use.
Different technology modules for different workpieces
The developers of the VTC were also considering the machine as an investment in the future. Should production requirements change, the machine can be equipped – at very little expense and effort – with different technology modules that make it suitable for machining of the new workpiece. At present, the technology modules available are:
This guarantees flexibility in the use of the machine and opens up a wide range of applications, especially as all the technologies can be applied also in combination.
VTC production lines
The VTC 315 DS is ideally suited for complex manufacturing processes. Whether the job includes the high metal removal rates of turning and milling or the gentler grinding process – the VTC series of machines offers the possibility to integrate most of the metal cutting processes. This allows for the creation of complete VTC production lines for soft and hard machining. Turning, milling, drilling, grinding and gear hobbing have already been modularised for this particular machine platform. It provides the VTC with an extensive field of application. “We have already installed complete production lines of VTC machines for the soft machining of crankshafts. Almost all of the operations could be accommodated on machines from the VTC series”, this is how Markus Woitsch, chief of the production team for shaft machines, explains the production line concept of the VTC. Naturally, subjects like spare part stocks and unified machine operation also play a decisive role in the eye of the customer. With a production line that interlinks a number of different VTC machines and utilises different manufacturing technologies, spare part stocks can be drastically reduced, as 80% of the VTC machine components are the same. Only the technology modules change, when a VTC has to be adapted for a new machining requirement.
Complete-machining through technology combination
The VTC 315 DS accommodates turning as well as grinding technologies. For example, the turret carries out all turning operations, while the second station is used for the grinding work. This way, shafts can be complete-machined: the cylindrical bearing seats, the shoulders and the grooves – all machined in a single set-up. “Clamping errors play a particularly important part when it comes to high-performance components. Radial runout can be much reduced when a workpiece does not have to be re-clamped several few times”, elucidates Dr. Guido Hegener on the quality of the machine. To keep downtimes caused by tool changes to a minimum, sister tooling is provided for all turning operations. And the tool life of grinding wheels is so high that the time taken up by a wheel change is of no consequence.
The VTC 315 DS design
A distinguishing feature of the VTC 315 DS is its sturdiness and rigidity. At its heart is the machine base in Mineralit® (polymer granite). The damping properties of this material is 8 times that of grey cast iron, which makes it particularly well suited for hard machining operations like grinding or hard turning. The results are improved tool life and a better surface finish. The vertical design also aids unhindered chip flow. Manual removal of chips is hardly ever necessary. This is particularly important in soft machining, as it often involves volume-intensive chipping operations. The vertical construction is also of advantage where the footprint is concerned. Machines with horizontal spindle and tailstock take up a lot of space width-ways. That raises floor space requirements and costs money. Vertical machines develop upwards, and that – as we know – costs nothing. Automation on the VC 315 DS lies in the turret. A gripper, housed in the turret, collects the raw-part from its storage section and transfers it to the clamping position. Once the workpiece is machined, it is transferred out of the machine the same way. And thus the machine automates itself. The generously dimensioned machine assemblies, such as the work spindle with 330 Nm constant torque, and the grinding spindle with a power rating of 30 kW, have so much reserve capacity that even heavy metal removal work can be carried out on the machine. The control system used is a Siemens 840 D with EMAG grinding software that simplifies programming and operation.
The advantages of the VTC 315 DS:
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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that the world economy will grow by 3.5 percent this year, with the impetus coming less from Europe and more from dynamic, newly industrialized countries. One example is the automotive industry. According to the association for the German automotive industry (VDA), China’s share of the market in passenger cars increased by 59% and that of Brazil by 18% during the first few months of 2013. The same market is also growing in India and Russia. For a long time, new production facilities have been planned and are under construction, providing great opportunities for the machine tool industry – as the example of EMAG proves. Specialists are developing turnkey manufacturing systems that are tailor-made to suit specific market conditions, with the new production facilities in particular gaining substantially from this increased market activity.
Whether in the automotive or energy supply industry, the development of industrial key sectors within the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) has a direct influence on the machine tool industry, as it is this branch that, in the end, must supply most of the necessary manufacturing solutions. There are numerous indicators for this fact. For instance, according to Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI), the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad will – over the next 3 years – will see an investment of 3 billion Euro in six assembly facilities and fifteen sub-supply companies for the national automotive industry, with more international sub-suppliers also establishing outlets in the market. Similar activities are reported from Brazil. According to Anfavea, the country’s automobile association, approximately 22 billion USD are to be invested in production between now and 2015. In India, economic growth is generally attracting “an abundance of investment projects in the country’s infrastructure, as well as in new industrial complexes,” states GTAI.
The German machine tool industry is prepared for such a dynamic development and the opportunities it provides can be seen in the textbook case of EMAG. Their specialists see themselves as “partners in solutions” for the metalworking industry. Such an approach is of great importance, especially in the emerging markets. “As it happens, we don’t just deliver a machine tool. We deliver closely pinpointed manufacturing solutions that are, in every respect, tailor-made to customer requirements”, explains Dieter Kollmar, Managing Director of EMAG Holding GmbH. “This applies, of course, to typical factors such as batch sizes, component variants or, more generally, the flexibility of the processes applied. At the same time, we determine locally the technologies, automation equipment, interfaces and control systems required.“ The advantages for the customer are obvious, especially where an existing production line is extended or where a greenfield manufacturing facility must be created in a new market place. Our manufacturing systems are always “from a single source.” Even complex processes with peripheral machines and equipment are presented as turnkey projects by EMAG, thus considerably reducing the efforts of local production planners.
VL 2: Highly effective, truly outstanding space saver
The VL 2 is a pick-up turning machine with which the EMAG engineers are fulfilling a combination of two extreme demands: highest possible output rates on the smallest possible footprint. “This is a truly all-important aspect,” confirms Dieter Kollmar. “Although the floor space requirement for this vertical turning machine is just about 5 square meters, it is a machine of substantial capability, including a fully comprehensive automation concept with conveyor belt, workpiece storage and pick-up spindle. In combination with vertical turning, this results in very fast machining processes. “In other words, short loading travel guarantees the lowest possible component cost. Compared to horizontal turning machines, productivity rates increase quite noticeably. And maintaining the VL 2 is simple. All service units are freely and quickly accessible. The user can set up the machine in one step. “That too is important, when productivity levels enter the equation. Operators without prior experience, working at a new and unfamiliar location, will be able to quickly familiarize themselves with the machine. All in all, this is an optimal solution for those who want to extend production with as little investment as possible,” notes Kollmar.
VT 2-4: For demanding shaft production
A similar approach is shown with the VT 2-4 Vertical Turning Machine, with which the EMAG specialists have created an equally fast manufacturing system for shaft production. Even demanding machining processes can be realized on it. When machining shafts up to 400 mm length and 63 mm diameter, component costs reduce considerably, with extremely short chip-to-chip times (as with the VL 2) being the reason. Workpiece grippers transport the workpieces into the machine and remove them again, once they have been machined. Depending on the workpiece, the changeover can be accomplished in just 6 seconds. And the actual turning process is fast, too. 4-axis machining allows the component to be machined from two sides simultaneously. Vertical alignment of the workpieces provides consistent process integrity, as the unrestricted chip flow prevents the formation of clusters in the machining area.
Central project management
“We are convinced that these EMAG solutions are optimally designed to cover not only the specific requirements of an emerging market, but also those of Europe and the USA,” as Dieter Kollmar his company’s philosophy. Everything is greatly simplified, starting with production planning, as there is no need for separate workpiece and finished component storage, with the added advantage of a reduced floor space requirement. At the same time, the EMAG Group engineers act as central project developers, having access to machines with optimal interfaces. This guarantees a fast run-in and makes the machines maintenance-friendly. “When it is a question of arriving quickly at a wholly integrated, highly effective manufacturing solution, this approach must – from our point of view – be the first choice,“ Kollmar concludes.
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EMAG has a long history, starting back in 1867 in Bautzen, Germany, as an iron foundry and engineering works. Re-established 60 years ago in Eislingen, Germany, in 1952 to make lathes and special-purpose machines, today it makes manufacturing systems for precision metal components from its headquarters in Salach, Germany. Its machines range from basic round-part vertical turning centers to machining centers with as many as six axes handling large workpieces. They perform turning, milling, grinding, hobbing, drilling and more as singular purpose setup or combination machines.
The tools manufacture primarily automotive, off-highway, agricultural and oil field components. For example, EMAG tools are involved in transmission components for agricultural vehicles, such as gears, ouput shafts and idlers. “If you look at a dozer from the outside, you have a chain,” notes Peter Loetzner, CEO of EMAG’s U.S. subsidiary in Farmington Hills, Mich. “There are two large precision wheels that drive that chain. There are idlers on the bottom. Our machine can make all these round components.”
EMAG’s equipment differs from typical vertical lathe machining centers, whose head stock is mounted, typically horizontally, and a turret turns to do the machining. “Our turret is mounted in a concrete base, so it’s not moving,” Loetzner explains. “We have a head stock that moves outside of that design. That gives us better precision and better tool life.”
The machine builder takes pride in its ability to produce high-precision parts. In one example, Axle Alliance in Redford, Mich., needed to hold to a 25 µm tolerance for 390 mm diameter steel ring gears during hard turning, which is done prior to grinding the gear teeth. EMAG worked with Axle Alliance to develop a probing process that ultimately delivered a variation of less than 15 µm. Axle Alliance now uses six machines built at EMAG’s headquarters in Germany, each dedicated to a part line.
Another example comes from Precima Magnettechnik in Brückeburg, Germany, whose customers expect absolute perfection from, in this case, housings for brakes used mainly for wind turbines. Precima had had issues with machine vibration causing negative effects on tool life and surface finish. However, the rigidity of EMAG’s turning machines and the vibration damping quality of the base allows for the very high feed rates and cutting speeds required in precision hard-machining. Precima now runs four vertical pick-up turning machines from EMAG.
Loetzner gives much of the credit for the machines’ capabilities to long-time partner Siemens. EMAG has standardized on the Siemens Sinumerik 840D CNC platform, specifically the solution line and power line. Loetzner likes, in particular, that the CNC controller is an integral part of the PLC, and they are able to do almost everything through the CNC, including making it look like a PC for the operator. The common look and feel for the operators makes for easier onsite commissioning and cross-training, Loetzner adds.
In one recent case study, EMAG needed to provide grinding, turning and turn-grind machines to a major agricultural equipment builder, and the machine builder relied on the 840D CNC. “We needed to devise a control solution that would satisfy all the needs of the various machines we were supplying to this demanding customer, based on a common platform, to enable easier design, integration, startup, commissioning on-site and training for our customer’s operations and maintenance personnel,” Loetzner said at the time.
Similar control technologies are used on EMAG’s newer-technology machines, including laser welding and electrochemical machining centers. These technologies have little impact on the control or automation schemes, Loetzner notes, because they still are essentially performing the same task, whether in a dry, lubed, gas-cooled or underwater environment. Only the sensors and encoders need to change to accurately feed the relevant data to the control. In fact, the controls are often much simpler because the axes of motion are fewer, though more multi-axis and workpiece manipulating machines are being developed.
The CNC also enables remote monitoring over a wireless network so that process engineers can see what the operator sees on each machine. The agricultural equipment customer mentioned has used the remote monitoring capability on a wide variety of EMAG machines for several years, with all data communicated through a single information network that’s accessible by both EMAG and Siemens. Through this arrangement, they have been able to significantly reduce downtime, service calls and troubleshooting identification time.
More than 75% of the EMAG machines at this customer site are equipped with robotic devices. The lights-out capabilities this provide make remote monitoring that much more important. Remote monitoring can be done directly through the Sinumerik CNC in a one-on-one exchange with the customer, Loetzner notes, or even a three-way exchange involving Siemens as well.
While happy with the precision capabilities, EMAG’s focus on future development is trying to decrease the downtime between producing components. “On the automation and the part handling, the challenge is you want the machine to run and make parts all the time, right? But once a part is done, you have to take it out and put the other in,” Loetzner says. “Those non-productive times are the biggest enemies.”
EMAG reduces those times partly by use of the Japanese chaku chaku principle. Meaning “loading loading,” the idea is to bring various process steps as close together as possible to improve the speed between the processes. EMAG’s vertical machining centers not only fill a much smaller footprint on the plant floor, they also improve chip flow. Also, all of EMAG’s machines are self-loading, with a servo-controlled shuttle traveling through the machine, but not through the work envelope, Loetzner notes.
“While we have shown the industry we can master any part to highest precision, over the last five years we’ve been more and more focused on tightening non-productive time,” Loetzner says. At IMTS in Chicago in September, 2012, EMAG showed a new machine generation that significantly reduces the non-value add times. “Our chip-to-chip time was between 6 and 7 seconds for typical automotive gear,” Loetzner says. “Now it would be a second or less.”
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Better component quality at a lower price? VL 5i, a vertical turning machine that is custom-made to fully meet the demands of the small and medium size manufacturing company.
With their VL 5i the machine tool specialists at EMAG have developed a comprehensive solution for small and medium size manufacturing companies. It can be used for small and large batch production, and complete-machines workpieces of up to 250 mm in diameter in a single setup. Flanges, gears, gear shafts and steering pinions can be machined with as much efficiency and to the same quality as brake disks or cams. The machine features a powerful 28 kW workspindle with a top torque of 300 Nm, plus a turret that accommodates turning as well as driven tools and has an impressively short indexing time of 2.2 s.
Drilling and milling operations can be incorporated by equipping some or all of the 12 turret stations with driven tools. The outstanding feature in this is the EMAG turret drive that combines high speeds with outstanding performance and a small space requirement. For instance, the diameter of the turret is only 360 mm but accommodates 12 stations and has a maximum torque rating of 45 Nm.
Flexible automation included
Proof of the outstanding quality of the VL 5i is, first of all, its integrated automation system. It uses a recirculating chain conveyor equipped with carrier prisms that deliver the raw-parts directly to a pick-up station for machining. This station is located behind the machining area, so the operator can – at any time – insert new raw-parts at the front of the machine. It is hard to imagine a more flexible and, at the same time, more universal solution for the automation of a machine tool.
Short travel times = short idle times
Another advantage of the VL 5i is its short idle times. Changing workpieces is a very fast process, because the distance between the loading position and the machining position is only 550 mm. The importance the EMAG turning specialists attach to the machine’s efficiency can also be seen in the design of the guideways. They are located outside the machining area, where they are protected against chips and dirt. This reduces the maintenance effort and makes the machine less susceptible to breakdowns. The machine can also be equipped with an optional measuring station, located outside the machining area. Here the component is measured on its way from the tooling zone to the unloading station, while still in its original clamping position. The measuring results are not distorted by the entrance of chips, as the vertical turning operation provides for ideal chip flow conditions.
Energy efficiency is very important
The sustainable use of energy and resources completes the picture of an engineering solution that not only offers a small footprint but also eliminates unnecessary design details which is the reason why the machine builders at EMAG can offer this machine at an advantageous price-performance ratio.
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High component quality with low production costs is required in many applications involving machining chucked parts. At IMTS, September 10 – 15, 2012 in Chicago, EMAG will be showing these solutions which combine these requirements. One of the highlights at the show will be the introduction of the brand new VL 2 P, a vertical pick-up turning machine which operates using pendulum technology.
Whether you want to manufacture small chuck parts or larger components, the machining processes must ensure accurate component geometry while also guaranteeing low component costs. These requirements and more are met with the VL 2 P and VL 5i vertical turning machines as well as the VSC 400 DDS turning and grinding center from EMAG. The advance in productivity is provided by the EMAG design of these machines with the integrated pick-up automation and a machine body made of polymer concrete as well as the vertical design which ensures perfect chip flow conditions.
VL 2 P: Swinging to success
Workpieces up to 100 mm in diameter can be machined in full on the innovative VL 2 P, a two-spindle turning machine. The machine has two spindles because while one workpiece is being machined, the second spindle automatically loads itself using the pick-up method. This means that the next raw part is immediately ready for machining, resulting in extremely short chip-to-chip times. The focus during the design of this machine was efficiency and eliminating idle times. The VL 2 P also has an incredibly small footprint due to its compact design, which helps decrease the chip-to-chip times. See it in action at IMTS 2012 HERE.
VL 5i: Short idle times, perfect automation
The VL 5i turning machine is a universal solution for production companies. It can completely machine workpieces of up to 250 mm in diameter in a single clamping operation. In addition to the powerful pick-up working spindle with a rating of 28 kW and a torque of 300 Nm, the machine also has an automation system with a revolving belt which contains drag frames. The machine could be described as being self-automated, which means that new raw parts can be positioned and finished parts removed at any time. Another strength of the VL 5i is its short idle times because the distance between the loading and the machining positions is just 550 mm.
VSC 400 DDS: Grinding and turning combined
The VSC 400 DDS vertical grinding and turning center combines a range of processes and guarantees extremely cost-effective processes in the production of complex chuck parts with a diameter of up to 400 mm. Within a single clamping operation, the center can complete scroll-free turning and hard turning as well as subsequent grinding processes. Grinding is only used where quality and process reliability demands it. The center can also be fitted with drilling tools or hardening modules to suit the required machining task. Even measuring tasks can be integrated.
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