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Increasing productivity with the MILLTURN

Source:Ringier Metalworking

Date Published:10/9/2019 09:10:52 AM

The MILLTURN was at the centre stage for WFL at this year's EMO. Three demonstration models were on show during the trade fair from 16 to 21 September: an M30-G MILLTURN / 1800mm with automation cell, an M50-G MILLTURN / 3000mm with a focus on turbine blade machining and an M80X MILLTURN / 3000mm with an integrated diode laser. 

In addition, the spotlight was also on pioneering monitoring and recording functions for all machine processes. To complete the package, WFL has developed intelligent tools and integrated sensors for the MILLTURN machines.

Flexible automation solutions

WFL Millturn Technologies and its subsidiary FRAI Robotic Solutions have decades of expertise and offer a variety of automation variations for different requirements to maximise productivity. The comprehensive range of products includes straightforward loading using articulated robots, a wide variety of gripper systems and gantry loaders with peripheral transport and storage systems for workpieces, tools and jaws. Automation is even becoming increasingly essential to provide productivity benefits in small-series production. In cases where there is a lack of staff for night and weekend shifts, automation can be used to increase machine utilisation and therefore remedy the problem of staff shortages.

The M30-G MILLTURN / 1800mm is also equipped with a Kuka KR Quantec robot, which has a load bearing capacity of 120 kg and a nominal working radius of 2896 mm. The machine also uses an automatic gripper exchange system with 2 different gripping heads and a workpiece tray for chucks and shaft components. Another further highlight is the integrated visualisation of the cell on the machine display.

Universal machining solutions with the M50-G MILLTURN

WFL will also be presenting a machine with increased power and productivity in the shape of the M50-G MILLTURN. An optionally available centre distance of 6000 mm allow for even more efficient possibilities for machining long shaft components. Maximum machine performance is key. The increased spindle speed and axis acceleration open up new areas of application, such as workpieces where increased dynamics are a requirement, such as the manufacturing of turbine blades. Outstanding reliability is achieved during the production of turbine blades through consistent cutting forces and a newly developed production strategy with low tool wear. Another notable feature is the use of Ultra-High Pressure Coolant (UHPC), which allows coolant pressures of 150 to 350 bar to be achieved. This leads to significant optimisation of chip breakage, reduced machining times and drastically lower costs. In practice, this means cost savings of up to 50%. No additional interfaces are required for up to 200 bar as coolant is supplied directly through the milling spindle as standard. This feature not only makes it possible to reliably and productively machine stainless materials, it also makes it possible to machine high-alloy steels and super alloys.

Additive manufacturing with MILLTURN

The benefits of additive manufacturing in a MILLTURN are particularly evident in the production of complex geometries, which cannot be produced or are at least very difficult to produce using conventional manufacturing processes. It is possible to create new product properties, for example through the use of non-wearing layers, as specific materials can be flexibly applied during the machining process. The cladding laser head can also be directly used for laser hardening or it can optionally be switched out for a lens that has been optimised for the hardening process. In this way, when manufacturing gear teeth for example, the tooth flanks can be immediately hardened after milling. The laser option is available for the majority of MILLTURN models.

It's all about "smart technologies"

With a MILLTURN, you are well-equipped for the future when it comes to automation and connectivity. The WFL DATA ANALYZER provides the perfect overview of the entire production line. This enables the available productivity potential to be identified immediately and subsequently harnessed. Production data on machine statuses can be recorded and, if needed, responded to immediately using smartphones, tablets, laptops or a PC. The key figures on production control are available to the user in real time.

With Siemens MindSphere, the cloud-based, open IoT operating system, WFL is presenting another efficient solution for connecting products, plants, systems and machines in a user-oriented manner. The data gathered can be analysed in MindSphere, allowing the status of machines to be monitored. Users gain new knowledge that can be used to increase the productivity, reliability and efficiency of the machine.

In addition to the ManageMyMachine (MMM) 1.5 app and building on the Siemens MindSphere, WFL offers a digital pay-per-use model, which you can see live in action at EMO. This allows new, smart financing options to be pursued. Complex operational states such as spindle loads, temperatures and drive energies can be recorded. The machine statuses are captured in real time and billed fully automatically in line with the previously agreed hourly rate. The machine thus only costs money when it is effectively earning money. This brings huge advantages, as the more the machine is used, the less expensive it becomes.

WFL software solutions provide efficient support for the most challenging production tasks. Whether it is CrashGuard Studio, WFL iControl or Millturn PRO, the software solutions and machining cycles from WFL simplify programming significantly and guarantee optimum reliability during the manufacturing process.

CrashGuard Studio is a 3D simulation software that enables users to perform programming on a PC for the preliminary verification of NC programmes. The benefits of the software include the visualisation of all programming steps to detect errors at an early stage, the improved quality of the NC programmes in terms of efficiency and machine safety, and the reduced set-up times on the machine thanks to the preliminary simulation. This provides the machine operator with a finished programme that has already been tested for crashes.

The universal and easy-to-understand programming editor Millturn PRO with graphic support enables programming to be carried out on the machine itself. Efficient and intuitive creation of NC programmes is the result. What is more, the programme is a particularly cost-effective solution.

Brand new: WFL iControl

WFL iControl protects your MILLTURN, even during autonomous production throughout the night. Depending on the machine's equipment, up to 16 freely configurable process signals are continuously monitored. The new design contains more complex and more intelligent monitoring options, offering comprehensive safety during production. Multi-stage monitoring logics are used, which respond if the collision limit or adaptive process limit is exceeded, or if there are significant, rapid changes in force. Protecting the machine against damage, increased productivity and workpiece quality, as well as tool cost savings and better utilisation of the tool life due to wear monitoring are just some of the advantages of WFL iControl.

"New functions are also provided by data recording. In aviation in particular, detailed process data is needed when high-precision machining operations are performed. The logs of the processes provide subsequent verification that, for example, no notable incidents occurred in relation to process forces or coolant supply," Christoph Schinerl, Head of Control Technology

Increase in performance for turning-boring-milling processes

WFL Millturn Technologies develops special tools which are perfectly tailored to the MILLTURN and are used to machine complex workpieces. Hard to access machining areas often require long special tools. For precisely this kind of challenging machining operation, WFL uses prismatic tool holders that are secured to the turning-boring-milling unit as well as to the HSK or Capto tool system with a prismatic tool accommodation. These complex special tools are partially equipped with sensors and are used for process optimisation as well as to protect the workpiece, tool and machine. The integration of these state-of-the-art sensors enables detailed tool information and machining states to be called up on the controller, a tablet or a PC. Signals are transmitted via Bluetooth so that the machine can respond interactively to a defined trigger event. The process can be visualised for documentation purposes and is therefore fully reproducible. Due to their exacting demands on software and technology, WFL is a pioneer in this area. Suitably equipped boring bars provide information on utilisation, temperature, deflection, and the surface quality achieved and actively intervene in the machining process in the event of an overload. The prismatic tool system therefore vastly increases the functionality of a MILLTURN. For many special technologies, MILLTURN offers unbeatable advantages in terms of manufacturing precision and performance. As complete machining is carried out within a single machine, the results achieved with regard to the concentricity of outside and inside diameters are second to none, and the tightest positional tolerances for bores and milled surfaces can be adhered to without any difficulty.

"Efficiency and expertise in production is a hot topic. This is an area where WFL, as a production expert, can really support industry with products and services that help customers get the most out of their investment," Kenneth Sundberg, Managing Director After Market Sales.

Automation for maximum productivity gains.

Five-axis machining is planned precisely, right down to the last detail, to ensure smooth production of turbine blades on a MILLTURN from WFL. 

WFL iControl provides increased process reliability through continuous monitoring of the machining operations.

WFL tools for turning-boring-milling processes – perfectly tailored to the MILLTURN.

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