Maschinenfabrik Berthold Hermle AGMaschinenfabrik Berthold Hermle AG

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User reports

19.11.2018
from left to right Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Rainer Gottschling, Managing Director, Sven Faas, Plan- ning/Programming/System Support, and Alexander Roeth, Technical Plant Manager, all from Kappler GmbH & Co. KG, in front of the flexible manufacturing cell

HIGHLY AUTOMATED MACHINING OF PRECISION PARTS

Thanks to a flexible manufacturing cell from Hermle, consisting of three 5-axis CNC high-performance machining centres C 42 U and a robot system RS 2-L with a double magazine for 180 workpiece pallets and 200 additional tools, the precision technology specialist Kappler GmbH & Co. KG is venturing into new dimensions of productivity.

The term “contract manufacturer for mechanical engineering and tool construction” does really not do justice to the actual range of services offered by Kappler GmbH & Co. KG. The precision technol-ogy service provider guarantees 3, 4 and 5-axis machining capabilities for components of all shapes and sizes, from just a few millimetres up to 3,000 mm in X-length. All this has developed from a company founded in 1934 that originally produced moulds and tools for making shoes. Company founder Friedrich Kappler began contract manufacturing and expanded the firm’s portfolio to include tools for the production of spectacle frames. From the 1980s onwards, the service provider also focused on the contract manufacturing of components and assemblies for loading and automation systems and, at the end of the 1990s, also started processing higher-quality optical components for the semiconductor industry and parts for the aerospace industry. Simultaneous machining plays a major role in this. Kappler is well equipped for single part and prototype processing as well as for larger production runs with flexible order and batch management.

the perspective top view of the flexible manufacturing cell with the magazine area for workpiece pallets (left and rear), the magazine for the 200 tools on the right in the sub-area, the connection of a machining centre C 42 U on the right at the front and the robot in the middle, which, as a multifunctional system, is responsible for handling both the workpiece pallets and changing the tools

PROCESS AUTOMATION OF THE HIGHEST ORDER

The extensive range of machinery includes eight 5-axis CNC high-performance machining centres from Hermle: four C 30 U se- ries machining centres and a further four C 42 U series machining centres, one of which is used as a stand-alone unit. The other three are connected by a robot system RS 2-L and a double magazine for 180 workpiece pallets as well as 200 additional tools to form a fully integrated flexible manufacturing cell. Including the machining centres already equipped with additional tool magazines, 800 tools are available in the overall system. In the magazine for the workpiece pallets, there are pallets upon which clamping devices for one or several workpieces are clamped. Depending  on the machining times of the individual workpieces – between  15 minutes and eight hours – the flexible manufacturing cell  performs its tasks autonomously across one or more shifts. Since the loading of blanks and the removal of finished parts is carried out parallel to the primary processing time, 24/7 operation is  possible.

the robot handling a pallet with multiple clamping system for 20 identical workpiece

24/7 PRECISION MILLING IN THE MICROMETRE RANGE

“Hermle’s highly stable gantry-machine design and kinematics with three axes in the tool and two in the workpiece come into their own in the field of precision manufacturing. Together with the electrical heat compensation and sealing air for the scales as well as additional switch cabinet cooling, we achieve outstanding accuracy in a range of 3 to 4 µm," explains Alexander Roeth, Tech- nical Operations Manager at Kappler. “In addition to the high level of accuracy, the design and equipment of the machines, the excellent accessibility and simple operation as well as fast tool changes and thus minimum downtime clearly speak in favour of Hermle.” A further feature also helps to maintain the high level of accuracy: Kappler regularly uses the Hermle ball milling cutter test program to check and calibrate the positioning functions. “Thanks to the 5-axis technology and high degree of automation, we are able to manufacture components effectively and efficiently in one to two setups with the desired and, above all, reproducible level of precision. This enables us to offer our customers ultra efficient high-end manufacturing technology for their function-integrated compo- nents,” concludes Rainer Gottschling.

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