High-accuracy mill-turning of forging dies

The need for Krenhof AG, an Austrian forgings manufacturer, to produce an increasing number of modular dies for the automotive industry has led to the purchase of two Alzmetall mill-turn centres equipped with Heidenhain TNC 640 controls. They are the first first-axis machining centres in the Köflach factory and were purchased along with a new CAM system.

Franz Krammer, toolmaking manager at Krenhof, says: “Customers in the automotive industry want the 10,000th forging to look exactly like the first, so quality as well as price is increasingly important. One factor helping us to maintain high standards is our use of modular carriers with replaceable die inserts, enabling optimum tools to be used in our forging process to guarantee precision. The universality of the Heidenhain TNC 640 CNC system is also important in achieving top quality standards, as it controls both milling and turning operations on the machining centres.
“Dynamic, precise motion control provided by the TNC 640 CNC exploits the potential of the machine to the full,” he continues. “The control is also convenient to use. Downloading the NC program from the CAM system, for example, is quick and easy via Heidenhain’s TNCremo Windows-based communication software.”
The TNC 640 simplifies the structuring of sub-routines, allowing complex programs to be assembled and run. Krenhof’s young team found no difficulty programming on the shop floor in Heidenhain’s Klartext conversational language. The operators are particularly keen on the availability of numerous canned cycles, such as those for drilling, which are simply and quickly parameterised.
For further information www.heidenhain.co.uk

CAM system saves time and money at Knarr

The 190-employee Knarr Group, located in Helmbrechts, Germany, is a tool and mould maker that manufactures standard parts through to complete mould bases using the HyperMill CAM system from Open Mind Technologies.

Head of department Marco Mergner highlights the importance of HyperMill to the business: “HyperMill not only meets our requirements but plays a decisive role in ensuring that we keep pace and continue to develop. The technical performance of the individual machining cycles with options for multi-axis and five-axis machining, deep-hole drilling, automation and measurement technology, is and remains a decisive factor. Another factor is the user-friendliness of the system, plus the service offered by Open Mind.”
Today, the Knarr Group has a double-digit number of HyperMill licences in various departments. Employees use the software to program mould plates, which can include complex features and freeform surfaces. The mould plates are often machined complete from six sides in two set-ups.
Knarr has demonstrated the significant benefits offered by the tangent machining strategies within HyperMill’s MAXX Machining package using conical barrel cutters at a number of recent invitation events. For this purpose, the company constructed a 96 mm-thick mould plate with a rectangular, conical breakthrough featuring a 1 mm corner radius. Mergner and his team used all three modules from the MAXX Machining package for complete processing on a five-axis DMG machining centre.
“Typically, line-by-line milling with a ball mill would have taken 12 hours, but using the CAM strategy and conical barrel cutter we were finished in just 60 minutes and still achieved optimum surface quality, even in the corners,” concludes Mergner.
For further information www.openmind-tech.com

Edgecam 2018 reduces regeneration time

Major enhancements to the 2018 R1 release of Edgecam from Vero Software include time saving updates to roughing cycles for milling, turning and mill-turn machining, and the prevention of unnecessary CAM regeneration. It is the latter update which is seen as being the most important for manufacturers. When a user makes an edit to an existing command, Edgecam 2018 R1 will not automatically regenerate the remaining instructions, so long as it does not affect the corresponding cycles with regard to factors such as coolant or speed.

Among the notable new items of functionality in Edgecam’s roughing cycle is ‘detect undercut stock’, which enhances the stock detection command by analysing previously undetected areas of stock. This option helps to avoid ‘fresh-air’ cutting, reducing machining time in some cases by up to half, says the company.
Furthermore, Edgecam’s Waveform Roughing Strategy has been updated to give machinists the ability to determine the radius size when using the helical approach option, simply by entering maximum and minimum values that aid the tool’s entry into the component.
Automatic collision detection is among other additions to the rough-turning cycle. In previous versions of the software it was necessary to manually apply profile extensions to avoid collisions. This new function can also be used to produce safer toolpaths in the software’s ‘Strategy Manager’.
The profiling cycle used in both milling and turning now has two new items of functionality. A ‘spring cuts’ field has been added to the multi-passes tab, which means tool deflection can be removed where necessary, by adding extra neutral passes, known as spring passes. This feature will be used typically when machining hard materials, as repeating the profile pass can result in improved accuracy and surface finish.
For further information www.edgecam.com

Audi Toolmaking steps on the gas with WorkNC

Vero Software has developed a new WorkNC high-feed rate strategy together with the machining specialists at Audi Toolmaking. The outcome: Audi has reduced processing times in various pre-finishing pressing tools by up to 30% while tool service life has tripled.

Responsibility for optimising the toolmaking in terms of CAD and CAM technology at the Ingolstadt plant of Audi AG is Markus Brunner. Brunner is primarily occupied with increasing processing quality and throughput times through the use of modern, CAM-programmed machining technologies, thus reducing processing costs. His partner in programming software is Vero Software, with its WorkNC CAM system, which Audi Toolmaking has been using for many years now.
Vero is constantly refining WorkNC software in order to make milling work even more efficiently. For instance, the current release includes a new high-feed strategy which was proposed by the toolmakers at Audi and created in a close and partner-like co-operative effort.
The new high-feed strategy factors-in deviations in milling tool geometries with irregular cutters. WorkNC thus prevents undefined allowances from appearing on the workpiece. Brunner is enthusiastic about the result: “This new strategy enables us to use milling tools of any contour, even ones with cutters which deviate from a regular geometry, such as a sphere or torus. As a result, we can even use milling tools which were specifically designed for a defined application case. Moreover, by using WorkNC’s high-feed strategy and the tools to match, we have reduced processing time in pre-finishing work by up to 30%.”
For further information www.worknc.com

HMS technology underpins connected machines

Paper-slitting machines from American machine builder JSI are well connected indeed. By using technology from HMS Industrial Networks, and system design by Millennium Controls, JSI can remotely access and control machines via the internet and enable wired and wireless communication between different machine parts.

To access the machine remotely, JSI and Millennium Controls installed an eWON Cosy from HMS – a remote router which allows users to log in securely via the internet to perform machine monitoring or even programming and maintenance. This means that operators can change blades from a safe distance inside a plant or indeed from anywhere in the world.
The eWON Cosy is connected to the machine’s PLC (a Rockwell ControlLogix L7); in turn, the router communicates with the cloud-based eWON Talk2M service where users can log in to access their control system.
With many moving parts in a machine, cabling can be difficult and cumbersome. However, by mounting an Anybus Wireless Bolt on the paper-slitting machine, JSI can offer wireless communication between the PLC cabinet and different parts of the machine.
An Allen Bradley PLC controlling the machine communicates using EtherNet/IP, the preferred network of Rockwell Automation-based systems. The PLC communicates seamlessly with most other systems and components in the machine, but JSI wanted to use a stacklight to show the current status of the machine, and this stacklight used Modbus-TCP communication. To enable the stacklight to communicate on EtherNet/IP, Millennium Controls suggested HMS’s EtherNet/IP Linking Device, which acts as a translator between the stacklight and the PLC, enabling them to communicate.
For further information www.hms-networks.com