MAPAL is launching a new, particularly economical system of replaceable head reamers – the Press-to-Size-Reamer (PSR) – for customers who manufacture in large series. Thanks to the new development, the costs per bore are reduced massively.
The solid carbide replaceable heads are specifically adapted to individual diameters and geometries. The replaceable head system for the diameter range 10 to 25 mm consists of a robust holder, the solid carbide replaceable head and a coolant distribution element. The connection is highly accurate. This means that the heads can be changed by the customer’s employee on site without any adjustment or logistics effort, a big plus in terms of cost-effectiveness. The replaceable head is merely exchanged and disposed of. There is no provision for reconditioning the replaceable heads.
By eliminating the logistics cycle, the new replaceable head system significantly improves the economic efficiency of reaming operations in large-scale production. This effect is even reinforced by the fact that, in contrast to carbide-tipped reaming tools, the solid carbide replaceable heads can be designed with a CVD coating – with correspondingly positive effects on tool life.
MAPAL takes over tool management at Hitachi Automotive Systems Group in Poland, Mexico, and Turkey.
For manufacturing companies, procuring and preparing tools requires a great deal of time and effort that demands both capacity and competence. For that reason, the Hitachi Automotive Systems Group has entrusted tool management for the entire brake manufacturing process at three of its locations—in Mexico, Turkey and Poland—to MAPAL. By doing so, the company benefits not only from tool management but also from the opportunities provided by digital connectivity.
Chassis Brakes International has been part of Hitachi Automotive Systems since 2019. The acquisition made Hitachi Automotive Systems one of the world’s largest brake manufacturers. “In Hitachi Automotive Systems’s Brake Business Unit , we manufacture disc brakes, drum brakes, electric parking brakes and rotors,” says Hubert Klehenz, the company’s global sourcing director for braking systems. The products are used in cars, light commercial vehicles and two-wheeled vehicles.
At its three factories in Mexico, Poland and Turkey, Hitachi Automotive Systems Group primarily manufactures disc and drum brakes. “We have been successfully working with the Turkish factory in Bursa for 13 years,” recalls Frank Stäbler, Head of Tool Management Services at MAPAL. Over time, the two companies expanded their collaboration. “Following our work at the Turkish factory, Hitachi Automotive Systems Group entrusted us with the tool management for its facility in Wrocław, Poland,” says Stäbler. Their most recent partnership is in Querétaro, Mexico. In 2017, when it was still operating as Chassis Brakes International, the company opened a completely new plant there.
Mastering Global Challenges with Worldwide On-site Support
Hubert Klehenz’s team was looking for a partner company that would be able to take over complete responsibility for tools at the plant in Mexico. “In order to deal with global challenges and global projects, we need a tool-management provider that can support us worldwide,” says Klehenz. Brake manufacturer’s main concern was finding a provider to work to the same standards as they themselves did – and deliver at a consistently high quality.
“Brakes are among the most critical safety features of every vehicle, and they need to operate perfectly under all circumstances,” Klehenz points out. In order to meet the high quality, safety and reliability requirements, brake manufacturers machine each part with the greatest care. “We receive the unfinished parts for brackets and brake calipers made of aluminium and cast-iron and take care of the entire machining and assembly process.”
In doing this, Hitachi Automotive Systems Group needs to eliminate all conceivable potential errors in order to ensure that none of their products are faulty. This approach is used across the board in the automobile industry and is the reason that the brakes in modern cars almost never fail. However, it does lead to increasing expenditure in terms of the equipment and tools used in brake manufacturing. Only components and processes that have been confirmed to rule out failures are used.
MAPAL has used the past few months as an opportunity to reorganise and restructure. The new direction focuses even more strongly on MAPAL’s core processes and key topics. As a result, the Management Board of MAPAL has grown from three to five members. In addition to the President Dr Jochen Kress and the current members Dr Ralf Herkenhoff and Dr Michael Fried, Siegfried Wendel (62) and Jacek Kruszynski (58) were appointed as members of the Management Board on 1 October 2020.
After more than 40 years at MAPAL and long membership of the extended management team, Siegfried Wendel has been appointed Chief Sales Officer (CSO). He is responsible for sales worldwide and for the individual sales channels.
Jacek Kruszynski, who has been a member of MAPAL’s extended management team since January 2020, was appointed as the new Chief Technical Officer (CTO) on 1 October. The areas of product and market segment management in addition to research and development are under his direction.
Dr Jochen Kress is convinced that he has laid the foundation for the safe future of the company: “The new structure supports us in fulfilling customer and market requirements in an even better way.”
The larger the series of parts to be produced, the more important cycle times and tool costs are. And the properties of both the machine tool and the tool itself need to be optimally suited to each other—and to the chosen manufacturing process. This article discusses the benefits of having a collaborative development partnership between a machine manufacturer and a tool manufacturer. Article by MAPAL.
“We have a unique approach when we receive customer inquiries,” says Meinolf Wolke, Sales Team Leader at Elha-Maschinenbau Liemke KG in Hövelhof. The special machine construction company places the workpiece and its machining at the centre of development and devises an optimal solution perfectly designed for the process sequence.
“In doing so, we take all the technical and economic requirements into account,” clarifies Wolke. Only then do those responsible decide whether an existing machining concept can be used for the process or whether an individual, application-specific construction is required. Wolke explains, “As well as providing the machine, we offer services that stretch from process development and the construction of fixtures all the way through to complete, ready-to-operate solutions with automation and production support.”
Special Tools for Low Total Costs
“The machining tasks are often as unique as the parts themselves – including in terms of the workpiece materials,” adds Alexander Wiesner, Technical Advisor at MAPAL. “Of course, a lot of machining work on complex parts can be achieved with standard tools. But that often comes with significant drawbacks in terms of cycle times, quality, and cost-effectiveness, particularly when large quantities are being produced.” In these cases, special tools that are precisely calibrated by MAPAL for the machining task in question are preferred.
“During the tool design phase, it’s essential to determine the necessary parameters for the machining process,” says Wiesner, “particularly in the case of challenging geometries.” In order to design the process in the best possible way, MAPAL often makes prototype tools. These are then used to carry out extensive tests with the part to be machined.
“That, in turn, helps the equipment manufacturers design the machine with the values identified during testing,” continues Wiesner. He says that MAPAL has had a long-standing partnership with ELHA in this area. The following three examples demonstrate the resulting benefits to customers:
Solid Drills for the Machining of Suspension Arms
“We were dissatisfied with the solution that we had been using for drilling from solid in aluminium when machining a suspension arm, which included creating a fitting,” remembers ELHA Project Leader Friedhelm Dresmann.
At the time, the company was using tools with brazed PCD cutting edges. In order to keep the machining time as low as possible, these drills were being used with very high feed rates. The disadvantages of this solution were the high drive power required and the insufficient durability of the PCD cutting edges on the solid drill step.
When Mitsubishi Motors Corp. decided to set up a new production line in 2018 to improve its tool logistics, adjustment and maintenance, they relied on MAPAL’s shrink chucks and services
The MAPAL employees are always available to MMC with their know-how.
Every year, the production plant of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) in Kyoto builds engines for around 1.2 million vehicles. Numerous tools from MAPAL are used for machining the engines for the Mitsubishi vehicles. In 2018, the persons responsible at MMC decided to change over multiple production lines completely to shrink chucks from MAPAL.
Cutting costs—automation—precision: these were the three keywords when the production of a new engine was being planned at MMC.
“We wanted to bundle the work,” explains Makoto Nishida, head of production for drive technology at MMC. “Over the past months, we have focused increasingly on automating tool logistics, adjustment and maintenance.”
The aim was to increase the cost-effectiveness of the new production line while maintaining at least the same level of precision.
In this case, MMC is relying on tools from MAPAL for machining the most important engine components. From PCD milling cutters and solid carbide drills to fine boring tools—tools for a wide variety of operations are used for machining cylinder heads, cylinder blocks and crankshafts. “We use numerous combination tools from MAPAL in order to perform multiple machining steps with one tool,” emphasises Nishida.
“A further challenge we faced was preparing the tools for their application, in other words, simplifying the clamping and adjustment processes,” Nishida remembers. “After all, we experienced long non-productive times in preceding projects. Our aim was to reduce these significantly on the new line.”
“MMC used various technologies for clamping the tools, mainly collets,” Koichi Fukui, application engineer responsible at MAPAL in Japan, describes the initial situation. This was one of the issues MAPAL addressed in order to fulfil the requirements of MMC to reduce variety and standardise processes. “We designed application-oriented shrink chucks for various lengths and diameters that are equipped with an RFID chip for automating the processes,” says Fukui. Shrink chucks achieve considerably better radial run-out values than collets and ensure reliable processes in the long term.
“The concept that MAPAL presented convinced us. However, the question was whether we would manage to implement everything by the start of production, including the procurement of the suitable shrink unit and the structure for identifying tools with the RFID chips,” says Makoto Nishida. It was in this situation that MAPAL offered to do all the necessary work, including setting up the tools.
“That was a huge plus for us,” Nishida praises MAPAL’s commitment, “because it allowed us to focus on other unresolved issues relating to engine production.”
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Step-by-step networking for in-house manufacturing, involving suppliers and customers and efficiently using data together – the digital services provided by c-Com, a member of MAPAL Group, make it all possible. However, the start-up isn’t just developing its own applications. It’s also generating added value for customers by working closely with cooperation partners.
Cooperation with MARPOSS: reduced setup times and maximum tool service life
The optimal and longest-possible use of tools represents a vital cost factor for machining companies. But compromises are often necessary – particularly in series production and as part of automated processes. Tools with a defined tool life are replaced as soon as the specified tool life has come to an end. In many cases, though, the tool has not truly reached the end of its tool life and replacement is not yet necessary. However, companies play it safe to avoid quality issues and the risk of producing items that later need to be rejected.
This is one of the elements addressed by the ARTIS GENIOR MODULAR module by MARPOSS. The fully automatic tool- and process-monitoring system has been an established feature of the market for many years. It works by recording various measurements and assessing them on the basis of several criteria.
MARPOSS recently launched a collaboration with c-Com GmbH and its c-Com open cloud platform to provide module users with additional value: the ARTIS GENIOR MODULAR module and c-Com are set to exchange data. Once the defined tool limits have been reached, the staff member responsible receives a notification on their mobile terminal – which is made possible by the cooperation with c-Com. As a result, operators can react more quickly and boost the efficiency of their manufacturing processes.
Cooperation with Oerlikon Balzers: transparency and sustainability thanks to digital processing for coating
Many tools are re-sharpened and re-coated to make production as cost-efficient as possible and to use raw materials sustainably. This procedure is very complex for everyone involved – from the machine operators to the staff members carrying out the re-sharpening and coating. If a staff member responsible for re-sharpening sends a tool for coating, this staff member is often not aware of corresponding order status. This results in frequent queries. In some cases, the number of re-sharpening processes is simply marked on the tool shank. Overall, the total benefit is reduced by the very high investment of time and effort required.
In cooperation with Oerlikon Balzers, c-Com has developed an application that enables significantly more effective and transparent order processing. The prototype was showcased at EMO Hannover. The only prerequisite to benefitting from the advantages of digital processing for coating is identifying all tools with a unique ID.
The c-Com application exchanges data with the myBalzers customer portal run by Oerlikon Balzers. This way, the entire order process is digitalised, and all receipts are available online. It is easy to share documents such as delivery slips, invoices or order confirmations, and the status of each coating order can be viewed in real time. There is no longer a need to ask for order updates – a quick glance at the application provides the user with all the information they need. On top of this, machine operators have access to all the important information about their tool at all times. Thanks to the collaborative approach by c-Com, they can access all data via the cloud.
The c-Com wear detection app: a technical advisor in your pocket
c-Com has developed a wear detection application to provide answers to these questions. The prototype for the application was presented at EMO Hannover. The application is very simple to use: first, the worn blade is documented using a smartphone and a conventional auxiliary lens for zooming in. The app then identifies the type of wear and suggests corresponding recommended actions. This allows users to prevent this type of wear in future.
The application is based on machine learning, a sub-category of artificial intelligence. This means that the application uses datasets to learn. Together with tool specialists at MAPAL, c-Com has compiled and categorized hundreds of images. Effectively, the algorithm was trained by being shown what different types of wear look like, allowing it to assess whether or not a blade is in good order.
Dr. Wolfgang Baumann of Mapal explains the benefits of their latest radial insert milling range.
Whether they’re producing turbochargers, steering knuckles, or cylinder blocks, customers can mill their cast and steel parts considerably more cost-effectively with Mapal’s radial insert milling range than with the previously available solutions. Since the product launch in 2018, there have been many measurable successes resulting from the use of the tools in the series.
Mapal first showcased a product range for milling with compressed radial indexable inserts at the AMB exhibition in Stuttgart in 2018. “This move was the natural next step towards our aim of being a comprehensive service provider for our customers,” explains Dr. Wolfgang Baumann, who is responsible for the product range of tools with ISO elements at MAPAL. “But our aim isn’t just to provide the customer with all their machining needs in terms of tools and chucks—we also want to offer them added value through our solutions.”
According to Baumann, their focus before this milling range was mainly on supporting customers with specific application needs, such as providing support for high levels of stock removal or unstable conditions. This machining was mostly carried out using ground tangential indexable inserts.
“We’re obviously not the first company to offer a radial milling range. We’ve simply plugged a gap in our portfolio,” explains Baumann. “Through our work with special applications, we’ve accumulated extensive in-depth knowledge that has been incorporated into the development of our compressed radial blades. They, therefore, offer considerable added value and, in particular, economic benefits for users. The success stories that we’ve gathered over the past year prove that our meticulous work is paying off for our customers today.”
In many applications, the cost per part (CPP) was considerably reduced. “In many cases, other tools were superseded once we had analysed the application and selected the optimal tool,” Baumann explains. “For some applications, our tools now machine significantly more parts until the blades have to be replaced. And in some other machining operations, the same machining times per part can be achieved with fewer blades. However, there are other cases where we can achieve considerably higher cutting data with more blades. We sometimes rely on indexable inserts with more cutting edges, thanks to which each individual indexable insert can be used for considerably longer.”
As an example, three machining operations on customer parts demonstrate the added value that the radial milling range offers:
1.Turbocharger machining: Face milling of the hot side made of stainless steel
Mapal’s face milling cutter with nine blades replaces the previously available face milling cutter with seven blades.
With the new solution, 50 percent more parts are milled in total; the cycle time is considerably reduced; and the costs per part are 44 percent lower than previously.
2. Steering knuckle machining: Shoulder milling/roughing of various connection points on a steering knuckle made of cast iron with spheroidal graphite—stock removal of between 2.5 and 4.5 mm.
Mapal’s shoulder milling cutter with six blades replaces the previously available shoulder milling cutter with seven blades. Despite its negative clearance angle, it achieves the same tool life as the previously used solution with positively aligned indexable inserts.
Although the new milling cutter machines have exactly the same number of parts as the previous one, the costs per part are reduced by more than half—by 58 percent!
3. Cylinder block: Shoulder milling/roughing of various surfaces on cylinder blocks made of cast iron with lamellar graphite—stock removal of between 2 and 4 mm.
Mapal’s eight-edged shoulder milling cutter replaces a shoulder milling cutter that also has eight edges.
The tool life of the new milling cutter is considerably longer than that of its predecessors under identical operating conditions—even with its negatively aligned indexable insert. And on top of that, the cost per part is also reduced by 58 percent.
If the weight of PCD tools is reduced, as a rule significantly higher cutting data can be used. Along with design freedom, the possibility of weight optimisation is one of the crucial advantages offered by 3D printing. Due to the specially developed structures inside the tool, which cannot be manufactured conventionally, the weight can be reduced significantly.
New bell tool with low weight, long tool life and best cutting data
An example of how MAPAL uses this advantage of 3D printing in practice is the new bell tools with brazed PCD inserts. Bell tools are used for the external machining of hose connections, among other applications. These connections, for example on turbochargers, must satisfy complex contour requirements. Manufacturing must be correspondingly precise. Existing processes are also subject to continuous improvement so that manufacturing is cost-effective and reliable in series production.
MAPAL has therefore optimised the existing, conventionally manufactured bell tool. Using the selective laser melting process, the inside of the tool has been modified – instead of solid material there is now a specially designed honeycomb structure. As a consequence, the tool is 30 percent lighter and the tool life is increased by approx. 40 percent due to the damping effect. It is therefore possible to machine faster; the machining quality remains at the same high level.
In total the machining time has been reduced by 50 percent. Furthermore, the cooling channel design has also been optimised. The new bell tool is of hybrid design. Using selective laser melting, the new tool geometry is printed on a highly precise tool body with a HSK-63 connection. The additively manufactured part is subsequently machined conventionally. Then the PCD inserts are brazed in place and cut to shape using a laser.
The turbocharger has been state-of-the-art in diesel vehicles for some time. And almost all automotive manufacturers offer a turbocharged petrol engine. Why? The turbocharger makes comparable performance with a smaller engine capacity possible and that contributes to the advance in downsizing. Turbochargers also help to achieve lower fuel consumption and are therefore fundamental in meeting strict emission limits. MAPAL offers the complete process for machining these parts, including tools.
Challenge for machining tools
Most turbochargers are exhaust gas turbochargers. These look different at almost every automotive manufacturer and have a special geometry. Common to all: there are very high temperatures when they are used in vehicles with petrol engines. For this reason, the turbine housing, the so-called “hot side” is manufactured from very abrasive, heat-resistant materials. These materials represent a particular challenge for every machining tool.
MAPAL has taken up these challenges and developed new cutting materials and tools. The company offers the complete process for machining turbochargers, including all tools, for example drills, milling cutters, reamers and mechatronic actuating tools – matched to the related geometry of the turbocharger. The company also assists its customers during the continuous further development of processes, to reduce cycle times and to increase tool lives. As such, combination tools that undertake multiple machining operations in one machining step form part of the portfolio.
A large part of turbocharger machining can be implemented using tools with ISO indexable inserts. Including many machining processes on the challenging hot side. MAPAL has developed a cutting material specially matched to the machining of heat- resistant cast steel and that offers long tool lives and therefore high cost-effectiveness, despite the abrasiveness of the material.
Complex boring tool with ISO indexable inserts
It is necessary to machine the V band on every turbocharger. Along with the material properties, an interrupted cut is often a challenge here during pre-machining. MAPAL relies on a complex boring tool with ISO indexable inserts to pre-machine the V band as well as to pre-machine the internal contour of the turbine. The tool therefore machines internally and externally simultaneously. Multiple steps are machined. The tool operates counter-clockwise to transport the chips out of the component and to prevent damage to the internal contour of the turbine.
Complex boring tool with ISO indexable inserts
Turning on the machining centre using TOOLTRONIC
A particular challenge during the machining of the turbine housing for exhaust gas turbochargers is the main turbine bore. Its manufacture is subject to close tolerances in relation to shape, position and surface finish. The bore is bell-mouthed shaped to generate the best possible flow characteristics. MAPAL undertakes this machining operation using TOOLTRONIC with the LAT attachment (linear actuating tool). TOOLTRONIC, a mechatronic tool system, is a full NC axis integrated into the existing machine controller. The mounting tool is fitted with three inserts, one for roughing and two for finishing.
Turning on the machining centre using TOOLTRONIC
New face milling cutters for roughing
MAPAL recently announced a milling range with pressed, radial ISO indexable inserts. The milling cutter for roughing the face surface on the turbocharger housing comes from this range. The ISO indexable inserts with 16 usable cutting edges are the highlight of this face milling cutter. As such the usage of the tool is particularly economical.
New face milling cutters for roughing
Diameter turning tool with tangential technology
The new tool from MAPAL for pre-machining the catalytic converter flange is also particularly cost-effective. Tangential technology is used on this diameter turning tool. Due to the upright and horizontal installation of the LTHU inserts, in effect eight cutting edges can be used per indexable insert.
Diameter turning tool with tangential technology
The four tools mentioned demonstrate, on the one hand, the different machining tasks on a turbocharger and, on the other hand, symbolise the variety of tools and know-how available from MAPAL.
Under the product name OptiMill-3D, MAPAL is announcing a new high-performance programme of solid carbide milling cutters specially developed for tool and mould making. Along with extremely heat-resistant coatings and special carbide substrates, these tools are characterised in particular by the dimensions and geometries specifically adapted to mould making.
High-feed machining with high material removal rate
Suitable for milling hardened parts with a hardness of 45-66 HRC, with the OptiMill-3D-HF-Hardened with four or six cutting edges MAPAL is announcing two new high-feed milling cutters for hard machining. So that the tools also work reliably even in difficult application conditions such as an interrupted cut, MAPAL has developed a special face geometry.
The milling cutter with four cutting edges is used above all for roughing as well as for pre-finishing. Due to the fewer number of cutting edges and the related more generous dimensioning of the chip flutes, reliable removal of the chips is ensured. This milling cutter is also the tool of choice for machining with long projection lengths and in deep cavities.
The milling cutter with six cutting edges can be used optimally for roughing and pre-finishing, as well as for finishing flat surfaces with a high feed rate. It produces the best surface finishes and flatness. The equivalent, the OptiMill-3D-HF, with three and four cutting edges is available for soft machining. The dimensions here are matched to the OptiMill-3D-HF-Hardened.
Highly accurate corner radii for maximum precision
The corner radius milling cutter OptiMill-3D-CR-Hardened is used for finishing 3D moulds up to a hardness of 66 HRC. It produces very good, smooth, high-gloss surface finishes with maximum feed rate. Crucial here are the highly accurately manufactured corner radii. The OptiMill-3D-CR-Hardened is available in the diameter range 4-12 mm with different lengths and corner radii.
Efficiency in pre-finishing and finishing on 5-axis machines
The new circular radius milling cutters OptiMill-3D-CS are predominantly used in mould making in deep cavities, for complex free-form shapes as well as for the manufacture of turbine blades and impellers. The special feature of the tools is the optimal geometric combination of radius and form cutter that makes a larger path spacing during pre-finishing and finishing possible. The machining time can be significantly reduced and the quality of the surface finish on the parts significantly improved. For machining deep, difficult-to-access cavities, the OptiMill-3D-CS in droplet shape is the first choice. Large surfaces and surfaces with tool restrictions are machined highly efficiently using the milling cutter in the tapered shape.