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Industrial Hardware and Machine Parts

Digital display transmission with SDL4 B&R presents new generation of HMI panel interface




 B&R recently introduced the fourth generation of its display transmission technology, Smart Display Link (SDL). SDL4 is based on HDBaseT 2.0 and can span up to 100 meters between the industrial PC and display device. This makes it easy to equip expansive machines and systems with multiple remote HMI panels.

Up to 100 m

SDL4 makes it possible to transmit display content and other data over much greater distances. It’s possible to span up to 100 meters between PC and display. An additional highlight of SDL4 is its use of standard Ethernet cables, which drastically reduces cable costs over longer distances. The thin cable and slim RJ45 connector are a perfect fit in tight situations such as feed-through openings and swing arm systems.

Up to 4 HMI panels per PC

An SDL4 converter allows up to three panels to be connected to one Automation PC. A fourth Automation Panel displaying different content can also be operated via an additional SDL4 interface. This is B&R’s response to the needs of modern manufacturing systems, which increasingly feature multiple locally-mounted operator panels.

Independent of operating system and software

The modular design of B&R’s PC and panel systems allows any Automation Panel to be equipped with an SDL4 interface. SDL4 transmission technology is independent of software and operating systems and integrates all communication channels – including USB, touch screen and function keys – in one single cable. SDL4 transmits all signals uncompressed and in high resolution for optimum image quality.

Smart Display Link 4 transmits all communication channels between PC and HMI panel via a standard Ethernet cable and is independent of operating system and software.

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Industrial Hardware and Machine Parts

Heavy duty removals



The steel industry requires robust and reliable equipment to maintain productivity but this ruggedness has to be balanced with a need to integrate new technologies to maintain overall operational efficiency. The sheer scale of plant items such as welders for example present a number of challenges to modernization; hence the need for experienced engineers and designers, such as those at Sulzer, to achieve a seamless update and integration project.

The high cost of new equipment means that relocating and refurbishment of existing plant can offer a more cost-effective way of maintaining productivity and reliability. The key to completing such a project lies with the expertise and experience of the engineers who are responsible for relocating, redesigning and reassembling the equipment.

Phil Mason from Sulzer’s Avonmouth Service Center looks at how they successfully managed the transition for Tata Steel.

The Avonmouth Service Center has built up an excellent working relationship with a number of customers in the steel, marine, mining and water industries and has a reputation for completing large mechanical and electrical repairs within tight deadlines. One such example recently completed for Tata Steel required a flash butt welder that was originally located in Port Talbot, to be dismantled, refurbished, relocated and commissioned on a pickling line in the Llanwern Works.

The flash butt welder weighs in excess of 180 tonnes and is positioned at the start of the pickling line and is used to join two rolls of steel together before continuing along the pickling line. Put simply, the machine cuts the tail end of the outgoing coil and the head end of the incoming coil simultaneously ensuring the edges of both coils are parallel to each other, before a current is passed between the join, welding both coils together. This process requires precise control and positioning in order to ensure a high-quality weld for the continuous line process.

The initial part of the project was to dismantle the welder into modules to allow it to be transported by road to Sulzer’s Avonmouth Service Center where it was fully dismantled and inspected to perform a complete appraisal. The findings and recommendations were then communicated to allow the customer to take a decision on the viability of the refurbishment project.

One major design change was to the machine handling and control systems which had to be reconfigured due to the steel strip flow being in the opposite direction in Llanwern. A completely new electrical wiring system and software was installed along with all new hydraulic and pneumatic piping. In addition, new hydraulic valve stands with upgraded hydraulic pumps were also incorporated into the refurbished machine.

While this work was being completed in Avonmouth, in Llanwern the existing machine had to be removed to install new foundations in preparation for the arrival of the refurbished welder. Careful coordination between Sulzer and Tata Steel ensured that the site would be ready and the project timetable would be maintained.

With the upgrades complete the entire welder was reassembled at Sulzer Avonmouth to ensure that all the modifications had been successful and that the operation of the machine met the required Operational Engineering Standard. The ability to complete in-house testing of equipment such as this is an important asset that ensures the Sulzer service center delivers the refurbished equipment without the need to spend precious time resolving glitches.

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NSK solves repeat failures of machine tool spindle bearings



NSK has resolved the issue of repeated spindle bearing failures on four CNC machining
centres at the plant of a leading automotive industry supplier. Having identified the root cause
of why the spindle bearings were failing every two weeks, the facility is now enjoying savings
of €32,880 per annum.B022018-N-Image1.jpeg – NSK Super Precision Angular Contact Ball
Bearings offer long-life, high-precision and low-noise characteristics to suit high-speed
machine tool spindles
To investigate the underlying reason behind the failures, NSK was requested to perform
a survey of the complete application and maintenance process. An NSK expert observed the
mounting methods undertaken by the maintenance department and discovered that the main
problem was incorrect handling of the Super Precision Angular Contact Ball Bearings.
The correct installation of bearings is paramount to the optimum running and ongoing
care of industrial machinery. Here, the right training and use of the appropriate tools is
particularly essential. With this in mind, NSK carried out a comprehensive training
programme for the company’s maintenance staff, which included mounting and dismounting
techniques, and advice on refilling bearing grease. Once the training was complete no further
issues were reported, with bearing life duly extended from two weeks to six months, which in
turn led to significant cost savings.
Factoring in previous bearing failures every two weeks (across four machines), as well
as the cost of replacements and machining downtime, savings of €32,880 per annum are being
achieved as a result of just two bearings changes per year following the NSK investigation
and recourse.
Super Precision Angular Contact Ball Bearings offer long-life thanks to their use of
extra pure and advanced material patented by NSK. Furthermore, low-noise characteristics
make them ideal for quiet-running, high-speed spindles found on many modern machine
tools. A variety of cage and seal options are available.

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Industrial Hardware and Machine Parts

Hermle large part machining centres in mould and tool making



HETEC’s claim of “Performance is not a matter of chance” exactly expresses the philosophy and strategy of the machining services supplier from Breidenbach! And that philosophy was born out of Friedhelm Herhaus’ experience: For too long he felt hampered in his desire to put his specialist knowledge and skill to practical use and to the customer’s benefit. In such cases there is only one way forward: setting up one’s own operation. Together with his brother Günter Herhaus, he founded HETEC OHG, originally in Bad Laasphe. As the scope of the business grew, brother Werner Herhaus joined the company as well, and in 2000 the next milestone was reached with the founding of HETEC GmbH.

That meant anything but standstill, however, and in rapid succession the company invested in CAD/CAM systems (3-axis) and, in 2002, in the first five-axis machining centre as well as the associated data processing and organizational environment. In 2003, a new production hall focusing on large part machining was built at the present company headquarters in Breidenbach. Each shouldering executive responsibility for specific business areas, the three brothers systematically invested in more CAD/CAM systems, CNC machine tools, workflow optimization and remote monitoring of processes. This put them into a position to provide their growing customer base with state-of-the-art manufacturing technology for highly demanding, complex tool and mould construction components as well as large scale basic tools at all times.

 In order to meet the exacting and ever increasing customer requirements with sustainable reliability, HETEC has included five-axis machining centres from Maschinenfabrik Berthold Hermle AG in its machine park since 2009.This began with a C40 machining centre that was followed by a C 30 U and – as soon as they became available – the first large machines of the C 60 U and C 50 U series. In the course of time, a C 400 U was purchased for machining smaller items, and more recently by another large machine, a C 52 U.

 Friedhelm Herhaus has this to say about the cooperation with Hermle AG: “We have always received very good and fair advice from Hermle and we were and still are delighted with the 5-axis concept, with the performance, the very high degree of precision, the accessibility, the excellent and fast service as well as the very good support in all phases of a project.” As a practical and graphic illustration of this, he pointed out that to date the C 40 U machining centre purchased in 2009 has already clocked up over 30000 spindle running hours – and it is still using the original spindle! Not to mention the fact that the precision values recorded in a measurement log from 2016 simply repeated those that had been recorded seven years previously!

 It is worth mentioning that, despite the broad range of applications in the areas of full processing and finishing work, the Hermle machining centres are ‘only’ equipped with the standard tool magazines. The plausible reason for this is that HETEC has developed its own tool/magazine management system that allows all the milling machines and machining centres (each of which has the same HSK-A63 tool holding fixture, by the way) to be tooled according to the order and the work to be done. Altogether this involves around 2000 ‘sharp’ tools, each provided with a chip, including around 250 different milling tools and around 300 for drilling and thread cutting. This means that the tools can be changed ‘blind’, i.e. deployed as required and with drastically reduced changing and equipping times.

With the purchase of the new C 52 U five-axis machining centre, HETEC went another step further by ordering the HIMS (‘Hermle Information Monitoring Software’) base package for the first time. HIMS provides a display of the life status and transmission of the information by email as required. This fits perfectly to HETEC’s manufacturing and (remote) monitoring strategy: single-shift normal operation and otherwise (monitored) automatic operation. With a working range of X = 1000, Y = 1100, Z = 750 mm and the 700 mm swivelling rotary table with a load-bearing capacity of 2000 kg, the C 52 U machining centre is ideally suited to full/finishing machining of extremely intricate tool and mould components or base plates.

 In conclusion, Friedhelm Herhaus was full of praise regarding the teamwork with Hermle, remarking amongst other things that: “Despite their increasing complexity, the Hermle machining centres can be set up very simply, commissioned quickly and they are operator friendly. The good accessibility also enables us to carry out a full redeployment on the large machines from one workpiece to the next within 15 minutes. This means that even without further automation, we achieve spindle running times of 400 hours per month and machine as a single-part manufacturer. Another example of Hermle’s performance capabilities can be seen in the C 52 U five-axis machining centre project, which we needed very quickly to satisfy urgent customer requirements. We received our order on condition that capacity for 8 x 140 hours of manufacturing performance should be available on schedule. With Hermle’s help, we managed to set up and commission the C 52 U in a short space of time, and to meet the availability requirements not just temporarily, but in the long term as well. It really isn’t every supplier that can supply such a consistent and comprehensive package exactly on time – even in Germany with its reputation for machine construction there is not a great deal of choice.”

 Hermle’s five-axis machining centres are now operating in an air-conditioned hall, where they can supply the required degree of precision (e.g. 2/100ths mm deviation on a 500 mm milling stretch over long periods) giving the HETEC team a significant edge over the competition!

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