From one to another!
MACHINING 16 HOURS A DAY
Schmidt and Remmert invested in a 5-axis machining centre C 400 U with automatic handling system from Hermle for the faster and more flexible production of forming tools for pipe machining.
"Ninety percent of our customers are well-known automotive suppliers," explains Dirk Schmidt, Managing Director of Schmidt und Remmert GmbH. The company from the German town of Geseke supplies them with semi-finished pipe products for fuels, exhaust gases and cooling water. The required forming tools are designed and produced by the company inhouse. "We work in a one-shift system. However, in order to meet increasing demands, we opted for automation," explains Schmidt. His plan is to be able to serve his customers faster and more flexibly through unmanned night shifts. "Since customer satisfaction is enormously important to us, we also place stringent requirements on the quality and precision that a milling centre must deliver," adds the Managing Director.
"WE CANNOT AFFORD DOWNTIME"
A look in the production shop shows that the new machining centre was not the company's first contact with Hermle. In 2004 and 2005, a U 740 universal milling machine was added to the machinery portfolio. What Schmidt and his staff have noticed positively ever since is the direct and uncomplicated service. "This is a crucial factor for us. As we cannot afford downtime," claims the Managing Director. The 5-axis machining centre C 400 U, which has been in operation at Schmidt and Remmert since October 2018, is controlled by a Heidenhain TNC 640. The machining programs come straight from the CAM system. In addition to the standard program functions, Schmidt and Remmert chose the optional Hermle maintenance diagnostic system. This continuously monitors the state of the machine and can report any problems directly to the operator.
ENTRY INTO AUTOMATION
The HS flex handling system with two pallet storage modules, each with three shelf levels and a set-up station, is connected to the machining centre in such a way that the C 400 U can work unmanned overnight. "This solution offers economical entry into automation," emphasises Andreas Härtter from Hermle + Partner Vertriebs GmbH. The operator at the machine can easily operate the handling system via the Hermle Automation-Control- System (HACS) and an integrated touch panel.
The working range of the C 400 U is 850 x 700 x 500 mm (X, Y and Z directions), the clamping surface of the swivelling rotary table measures 440 mm in diameter with an 885 mm collision circle. Thanks to the optional ZM 88k additional magazine, a total of 126 tools can be kept at the ready – sufficient for the planned fully automatic machining of the forming tools and common parts.
In addition to the automation solution, the new machining centre is very impressive due to its efficiency and quality. In the long term, Schmidt even wants to decommission an older milling centre when the C 400 U can run two shifts a day. "We are currently able to achieve this on three days a week – which after only three weeks in operation is a very satisfactory interim result," the Managing Director reports. He is certain that the target will be reached in the course of 2019 and concludes by saying: "The majority of problems currently encountered are user errors." If they lead to a crash, Schmidt is fully satisfied with the fast service: "This is a unique selling point of Hermle."