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World of Industries 2/2020

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World of Industries 2/2020

Everything

Everything of a piece MOTION AND DRIVES Whether it’s a gearbox or crankcase, structural components such as A-pillars or doors and tailgates: when it comes to aluminum die-casting, numerous well-known automobile manufacturers rely on the moulds produced by toolmaking specialist Heck+Becker. Sophisticated temperature management ensures the outstanding precision of the cast parts – and requires a large number of hose lines. The aluminum alloy is heated to temperatures of up to 700 °C and can be poured into the man-sized mould at speeds of up to 5 m/s. The molten metal is then post-compacted at up to 1,000 bar. The mould filling process is completed in a few milliseconds and then the solidification of the component begins. This can produce a gearbox housing with a highly complex structure in a very short time. During the entire casting process a hydraulically generated clamping force of over 3,000 t ensures that both halves of the mould fit accurately together. The mould is opened hydraulically and a robot removes the completely solidified casting. A second robot cools the mould with a water-based release agent and prepares it for the next part to be cast. The casting process is repeated fully automatically every 90 seconds. And that 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. It’s all a question of temperature But how does the company achieve this outstanding precision in die-casting, which in addition to reproducing intricate details, also allows the forming of drill holes into which only the thread has to be 14 WORLD OF INDUSTRIES 2020

01 Up to 200 m of hose in different sizes can be installed on a single mould 02 In addition to supplying complete workshop equipment, Hansa-Flex supports the mould specialist by offering appropriate training in hose production cut later? “An optimum result requires optimum temperature control of the casting mould”, explains Ralf Fett, Production Manager at Heck+Becker GmbH. This is because the temperature conditions in the mould have to be managed in such a way that it can be completely filled without the aluminium already beginning to solidify during the filling process. A regulated heating and cooling circuit ensures that the required temperature is maintained in each area of the mould throughout the entire casting process. Depending on the application, oil and water are used for heating or cooling. The media flow through hose lines that connect the numerous inputs and outputs of the mould to the temperature control units. Engineering meets experience Heck+Becker develops the moulds in close cooperation with its customers. The moulds are constructed virtually using a 3D CAD model. The temperature conditions within the mould are also calculated and simulated in advance on the model. “The question of where and how to heat and where and how to cool can’t, however, be answered conclusively in theory. There are simply too many different parameters involved,” reports Fett. The optimisation of the mould also takes place in practical operations. First the shape is milled from a specially alloyed hardened tool steel on the basis of the design data and using CNC technology. Next the patterning – i.e. the test castings – takes place, for which Heck+Becker has its own fully automated casting cell. The cast components are then precisely measured and compared with the strict quality specifications of the customer. “Even the slightest changes to the temperature controls can have a noticeable effect. However, a mathematical model is no longer the answer here – on the contrary, what is required at this stage is simply our many years of experience,” says Fett in summing up the challenge. Hose lines manufactured in-house Changes to the temperature controls often require adjustments to the hose lines of the heating and cooling circuit. Heck+Becker manufactures these hose lines itself, together with the hydraulic lines and the supply for the water-wax mixture used as a separating agent, in the process relying on HANSA-FLEX components: “Long service life is a matter of course for us and our customers. Due to the media used as well as the high temperatures and pressures, we can’t afford any compromises in terms of quality,” reports Ullrich Graul, who is in charge of moulded tubing. Heck+Becker relies almost throughout on multiple reinforced Teflon hoses. And there is no shortage of these, because up to 200 m of hose in different sizes can be installed on a single mould. In addition to supplying complete workshop equipment, HANSA-FLEX supports the mould specialist by offering appropriate training in hose production. Right on the spot The close proximity to the HANSA-FLEX branch – only a few hundred metres separate the two companies in Dautphetal, Germany – enables Heck+Becker to dispense with extensive stock keeping. “It is often only directly at the mould that it becomes clear what diameter will enable the right heating conditions. We really appreciate the fact that we can obtain what we need quickly,” explains Graul. The branch itself ensures continuous supply capability: “It’s not uncommon for us to take delivery of 5,000 m of hoses in a single day,” says Dennis Heinold, a member of the depot team. However, the cooperation is not limited to the supply of materials: “Together we discuss what customer-specific requirements we can best cover with what material”. Fast support In addition to manufacturing, Heck+Becker also carries out the maintenance and repair of die-casting moulds for many of its customers. When order backlogs develop due to predetermined time windows, the mould specialist falls back on HANSA-FLEX’s Rapid Hydraulic Service. “We are supported around the clock not only in mould making, but also in the maintenance of our own production machinery,” sums up Fett. “Whether it’s material procurement, consulting or on-site deployment: we benefit in a number of ways from the uncomplicated cooperation between our companies” www.hansa-flex.com WORLD OF INDUSTRIES 2020 15

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