From the shrink fit chuck to the presetting device, aerospace supplier Heggemann relies on consistent Haimer quality in tool management. Article by Haimer.
Anyone who concentrates on the development and production of sophisticated metallic lightweight components and subassemblies is a predestined partner of the aerospace and automotive industry. And Heggemann AG is one such company. Since the company was founded in 1962, it has been supplying these two premium industries. But most of the orders come from the aerospace industry, for which Heggemann holds all the important certificates.
“We also undergo annual audits, not only by the German Federal Aviation Administration, but also by major manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing, as well as first-tier suppliers such as MTU, Rolls Royce, and so on,” says Dr. Christian Howe, a member of the board at Heggemann. “Our slogan is ‘360°–From Engineering to Production’. Accordingly, we support our customers in all phases of the product development—from conception and development through simulation and engineering, to prototype construction, and the general and functional testing or the production of small series.”
Machining at the Highest Quality Level
The highest quality standards apply at all times. This can be seen in production with state-of-the-art CNC milling and turning centres at the company. Ulrich Ahlers, head of machining at Heggemann, explains, “Here we cut a wide range of very demanding materials from titanium, Inconel, stainless steel, and steel, to high-strength aluminium. In most cases, it is the individual parts and small series that have a high demand for precision and quality. Accordingly, not only the machine shop floor, but also the tools and the tool management are of great importance.”
Ahlers and Juergen Ballbach, who is responsible for tool management, have taken on this field in order to optimise it. “Our desire was to achieve the greatest possible consistency in terms of the shrinking, balancing and presetting devices used. We succeeded in doing this together with our partner Haimer,” says Ahlers.
Ballbach has been using two Haimer Power Clamp Comfort NG shrinking machines in order to shrink the required milling tools. “As the name implies, the intelligent NG coil and integrated contact cooling make these devices very comfortable to work with,” says Ballbach.
Balancing System for Tools and Flywheels
Two years ago, Heggemann invested in a Haimer Tool Dynamic Comfort balancing system. Ahlers explains, “We mill here with up to 18,000rpm and use cantilevered tools. If they show an imbalance, this puts a strain on the spindle and noticeably shortens its service life. These are considerable costs that can be avoided by the balancing process on the Tool Dynamic. In addition, finely balanced tools achieve a higher level of precision and surface quality on the component due to reduced vibrations.”
The Heggemann staff wanted to balance not only the tools, but also the special products. These are the elements for flywheels, for which the client orders the balancing including documentation. After consultation with Haimer, the strategy was to install just the large standard software package to define forbidden areas for balancing. The software tool ‘Alternative Balancing Positions’ is also required here. Appropriate holders for the flywheel elements were made by the machining specialists themselves. Ahlers sums up, “We saved the required external service and thus time and money.”
When an outdated tool presetting device was to be replaced, the staff in charge tested, amongst others, Haimer’s Microset VIO linear—a fully automated presetting device.
“Due to our small lot sizes, we have to measure tools every day. That is why we wanted to keep the effort as low as possible,” says Ahlers. “The HAIMER Microset VIO has fully convinced us with all its capabilities. Especially since we now achieve a manufacturer’s consistency for shrinking and balancing, which gives us further advantages.” Amongst other things, he highlights the completed premium maintenance service contract, which covers all Haimer devices, thus minimising effort and costs.
Fully Automatic Tool Presetting
In addition to the fully automatic operation, which ensures simple operation and process-reliable measurement, it was important for the chippers to be connected to the hyperMILL CAM system used in Heggemann. It should be possible to realise a functioning process chain from the CAM to the machine, which looks like this: The programmers create a tool list for each job based on the included tool library, which is then sent to the Microset VIO linear as a measurement job for tool presetting. The operator inserts the respective tool, selects the link to the 3D CAD tool data via the touch screen, and starts the automatic measuring process.
The Haimer Microset VIO linear receives all the required information regarding X and Z dimensions as well as the starting position through the connection to the CAM system hyperMILL. The presetting device then supplies preselected actual values in the complete tool set via post processor and network to the intended machine tool.
“Previously, we used different brands that are usually cheaper to buy, but do not have the same precision nor comparable life. We have found that if the quality is right—and at Haimer, it fits 100 percent—the extra investment will pay off long term,” says Ballbach, who now prefers to use Haimer devices, including Haimer tool holders.
Increasing Cooperation with Haimer
Heggemann and Haimer have been continuing to develop their partnership. When Ballbach spoke with Thorsten Böker, technical sales representative at Haimer, about the difficulty of special processing, he had a proposed solution. It concerned a bifurcated component into which two elongated grooves approximately 100mm apart must be inserted as fits. So far, this task was taken over by an oversized carbide end mill, which had to be ground free by hand to get through the first tab. Heggemann now manages this machining with Haimer Duo-Lock, a modular tool system with solid carbide exchangeable head milling cutters and extensions in various geometries and lengths.
“The switch to this tool has paid off in no time,” says Ahlers. The problem solver was ultimately the extension that Haimer has already delivered unencumbered. It saves the manual grinding of every single tool. All that needs to be changed is the HM tool head, which is considerably less expensive. In addition, the screw head can be changed quickly at the workplace, according to Ballbach.
“Because the Duo-Lock tools can be preselected with a repeat accuracy of 0.01mm due to their special interface, we do not even have to measure them after the change,” says Ballbach. In addition, the overall system runout of less than 5μm ensures best machining results and, according to Ballbach, tool life is three times as long as those of the predecessor tools.
Currently, further Haimer solutions are being tested and discussed at Heggemann. For example, the company is considering using the Haimer Safe-Lock system for heavy machining of demanding materials in the future. Its constructive design combines the frictional clamping forces of the respective clamping process with a form-fitting connection and thus reliably avoids the danger of tool pull out during roughing or power milling.
Focus on Quality
The process and results of the cooperation with Haimer not only satisfy the production staff and those responsible, the Heggemann management also appreciates the quality and reliability of their partner. CEO Christian Howe comments, “Thanks to the high-quality Haimer products, we have succeeded in further improving our production processes. The products perfectly match the requirements of our customers in the aerospace and automotive industries.”
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