Automotive Industry Removing frictional heat is critical in final machining, in order to be as precise as possible. Doing this on an industrial scale is no small feat. Contributed by bielomatik
In mechanical engineering, maximum precision is required for the final machining. Therefore in order to ensure the quality of the workpieces, it is important that as little frictional heat as possible is created and the unavoidable rash is removed.
Halving Energy Costs
A grinding process for the automotive industry is presented that requires minimum amounts of lubricants and coolants. In comparison with the previously standard flood cooling, the new process halves the energy consumption.
The process, called minimum quantity lubrication (MQL), also allows for sustainable production from many perspectives:
- In new plants, acquisition costs and subsequent service costs are clearly reduced without recirculating pumps and cooling reservoirs.
- Higher machining speeds lead to shorter cycle times and an increase in productivity by up to 15 percent.
- An even tool temperature leads to a clearly higher durability and service life.
- The total calculation for the achievable savings made from MQL in production costs is calculated as up to 15 percent.
Bringing Up To Speed
The Automotive Industry MQL process has been tested for the first time on an industrial scale on the camshaft production line at Volkswagen AG’s factory in Salzgitter, Germany.
The developers optimised the grinding machine, abrasive body and the lubricant feed. The aim was to create no more frictional heat than can be removed via the tool and chips without damage. With this purpose in mind, the manufacturing process for the grinding media was changed, whereby it was furnished with a lasered, micro-structured surface. The lubricant is now sprayed on via a two-channel minimal quantity lubrication system by Automotive Industry bielomatik. This enables the compressed air and lubricant to be optimally mixed.
The manufacture of camshafts provided a natural choice as a pilot application because the induction-hardened chromium steels, workpiece geometry and the required precision are very demanding. The new process can also be transferred to other production processes.
The previous results have been very promising. With the two million camshafts produced at Salzgitter every year, the electricity consumption during their production can be reduced by at least 2.4 million kWh. This contrasts with minimal additional investment.
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