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ADVANCED MANUFACTURING NOW Michael Defer


A Smarter Mix of Technology to Meet Your Needs a S


horter value creation chains and higher degrees of compo- nent accuracy have helped ignite the trend toward the com- plete machining of complex workpieces on a single machine.


Standard machines are increasingly capable of taking on intelligently expanded technology combinations that promise to optimize piece cost and machine availability. A standard machining center can now be confi gured to accom- plish complete machining, including operations not common to traditional machining centers. Multitasking machining centers offer a broad range of solutions in developing and implementing cus- tomized and component-specifi c complete machining processes. From the machine manufacturer, a move to more capable ma- chining centers must be supported by knowledge of how a state- of-the-art fl exible use of a machining center can be permanently guaranteed throughout its service life. The continuing trend toward shorter delivery times, more challenging tolerances, more complex geometries and a broad downward pressure on prices should contribute to interest in multitasking machining centers. In contract manufacturing especially, the material required for


an order is not always provided just-in-time, resulting in machine idle time. To avoid this, shops can incur extremely high inventory costs—the longer the process chain, the more acutely these times impact the company’s cash-fl ow. Another aspect is space. When a machine is scrapped, its successor should offer higher productivity from the same fl oor space.


Smart Technology Mix For all these challenges, increasing the integration density


of processes in a complete machining center offers a solution worth considering. Today’s machining technology providers must be able to provide manufacturers every kind of support for such considerations: advisory, development, implementation, evalua- tion, and long-term service support. The starting point is always the machining center. Technologically speaking, four and fi ve-axis horizontal machining centers for pro- duction applications meet all the preconditions for integrating pro- cesses other than the core operations of milling and hole-making. Based on the machining center, manufacturers are now able to accomplish more, implementing the technologies of turning, grinding, shaping, honing and gear cutting while accomplish-


8 AdvancedManufacturing.org | May 2016


ing the desired process and profi t. Heller talks about a smart technology mix; keeping the goal of improved machine utilization in sight also requires intelligence; economic viability, fl exibility, productivity, quality and availability to the extent that is required and is affordable.


A smart technology mix is not about upgrading a machine with every available function. The idea, instead, is to select a com- bination of essential machining methods that are tailored to the customer’s range of components, and combining these methods to create an effi cient, reliable integrated process. A number of future-oriented process solutions have been deployed based on standard machining centers rather than on costly special machines or complex production plants.


A standard machining center can now be confi gured to accomplish operations not common to traditional machining centers.


A recent example of a process that can be integrated ex-


tremely economically is that of honing. Those with practical ex- perience like to classify honing as a high-precision process that requires special honing machines. Experience shows, however, that with the right technological expertise, honing can in fact also be accomplished and well-controlled on standard machin- ing centers. This creates new potential for the effi cient complete machining of a broad range of components, which until now have been produced in multiple operations on various types of special machines.


The combination of honing and Heller’s established out-facing head system is unique. The out-facing head, integrated into the machine unit, precisely controls the hone, thereby creating far greater potential for honing on a machining center. This smart technology mix is effectively increasing accuracy and process reli- ability over the conventional solution. This was possible due to the Heller out-facing head having been applied with external process and programming partners to tailor the solution to the customer’s requirements. In just under a year after installation, this combina- tion delivered a machine availability of 98%.


Director of Technical Sales Heller Machine Tools www.heller-us.com


MODERN MANUFACTURING PROCESSES, SOLUTIONS & STRATEGIES


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