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Industrial Hardware and Machine Parts

Hermle large part machining centres in mould and tool making

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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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Industrial Hardware and Machine Parts

New dedicated automotive stud welding system provider created

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A unique, dedicated supplier of stud welding systems to the global automotive sector has been created following the sale of the former Nelson Fastener Systems business by leading international component manufacturer Doncasters Group.

The automotive division of the business – now known as Nelson Automotive – has been retained by Doncasters as part of the Group´s focus and commitment to the global automotive sector. It will continue to supply the sector with the market-leading stud welding systems, service and consumables for which the Nelson name has become renowned worldwide.

Its global customer base already includes many of the leading OEMs and well as major Tier 1 suppliers, all of whom will continue to benefit from unparalleled levels of innovation and service.

Products will continue to be manufactured in Gevelsberg in Germany, where a dedicated team is focused on the development of the next generation of stud welding systems, pushing the boundaries of speed, performance and durability.

The company is at the forefront of innovation in the sector, with its SPEEDPORT feeding system enabling a single unit to weld more than 40,000 studs in a day. It also offers an extensive range of manual and automatic systems, as well as robotic weld heads for high production environments.

Nelson Automotive boasts global reach with a complete product portfolio backed up by outstanding local service. It enjoys strong synergies with other companies within Doncasters´ Speciality Automotive division.

A spokesman for the company commented: “Our systems are used by leading players in the automotive sector in Europe, Asia and the Americas, where our service-led approach and commitment to innovation sets us apart.

Remaining within Doncasters´ Specialty Automotive division give us access to extensive resources in the area of research & development, equipping us ideally to meet the challenges faced by automotive manufacturers seeking outstanding stud welding performance at best cost.

The future is very bright for the business and we look forward to extending existing partnerships as well as embarking on new ones, whether customers are seeking systems for new production facilities or as upgrades to existing plants.”

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Industrial Hardware and Machine Parts

Heavyweight repairs

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Routine maintenance is essential for the continued reliability of machinery, even when it is used infrequently. For a power station in Wales, the induced draft (ID) fan motors are scheduled for maintenance every ten years and sometimes the inspection can reveal some unexpected issues. Fortunately, Sulzer had delivered motor repairs in the past for this site and was able to provide a comprehensive repair and installation including realignment.

More and more coal-fired power stations in the UK are being taken off full-time operation and only used during periods of peak demand in a drive to reduce carbon emissions. As a result, the machinery and equipment is used less frequently but it must still be ready for operation when the demand for energy rises.

A program of routine maintenance minimizes the risk of breakdown by completing any repairs during planned outages that will not affect the ability of the power station to meet demand.

In this example of the importance of routine maintenance, a pair of ID fan motors was removed from service to check their overall condition. ID fans are used at the outlet of the boiler system to exhaust the flue gases, creating a negative pressure in the furnace; their reliable performance is essential to furnace efficiency.

On-site support

As the leading independent provider of maintenance solutions for rotating equipment, Sulzer had already developed a working relationship with the power station and was contracted to complete the inspection and repair of one of the motors. The second motor was replaced with a spare unit and held for inspection at a later date.

Sulzer has a network of service centers throughout the UK and in this case the Avonmouth Service Center took the lead for the repair and sent a team of field service engineers to the site. Jamie Watt, Site Supervisor for Sulzer, explains: “These motors use a 3.3 KV supply and produce 1.4 MW of power to drive the fans.

“The motor and bedframe alone weigh 23 tonnes along with an additional 15 tonnes for the fan and the ductwork. The scale of the equipment required us to use a 100-tonne crane to assist with the removal process and allow the motor to be loaded for transport to the service center.”

Communication is key

The initial inspection of the motor found that electrically it was in good shape, passing all the insulation resistance tests for both stator and rotor. However, mechanically there were several issues that required attention, including a considerable amount of sheet-metal work that needed to be replaced.

Greg Sandy, Electrical Works Manager for Sulzer at the Avonmouth Service Center, comments: “From the outset, a continuous dialogue was established with the power station to advise on progress in the project and explain any changes to the original repair program. Sulzer uses critical path analysis to ensure that all the different aspects of the repair project are completed as efficiently as possible, minimizing the overall project timeframe.

Sharing the load

Inspection of the stator revealed that all the windings would need to be re-wedged, while the stator frame was very corroded and needed to be cleaned and repainted. The new wedges were manufactured in-house and the repair team worked around the clock to remove and replace the original coil wedges.

Meanwhile, the rotor bearing journals needed to be polished and the coupling journal was badly worn. This was machined before spiral weld was applied and then machined to nominal dimensions with a new key-way.

At the same time, the white metal bearings were re-surfaced and the bearing housings were refurbished. These were found to have been poorly repaired in the past and had different sized bolts holding them in place. The housings were machined, fitted with inserts and equipped with new retaining hardware.

Final alignment

Once the components had been fully refurbished, the motor was reassembled and the faulty auxiliary components, such as the tacho and some of the sensor wiring were replaced. In this case, the extended scope of repairs and manufacturing of new parts was completed in just two months.

The return of the motor to the power station was organized by the Avonmouth Service Center, which also provided the personnel to install and align it. The sheer scale of this equipment meant that the driveshaft could not be turned by hand, as required for a laser alignment process, so the installation was completed using more traditional tools.

The customer requested the alignment to be within 0.05 mm axially and 0.125 mm offset. In fact, the team managed to achieve an out-of-parallel figure of 0.02 mm using a series of hydraulic rams and feeler gauges. Jamie Watt concludes: “Fortunately, we still retain the skills to install larger equipment without some of the modern technology. The timing of the completion of this project coincided with the return of the transformers, which had also undergone extensive repairs, and the customer was very satisfied with the completed work.”

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Industrial Hardware and Machine Parts

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

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 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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