The introduction of precision and high-performance moulds has led to ever-increasing demands on mould manufacturers in recent years. Since the precision of the shape is determined by the dimensional accuracy of the electrode, it is essential to carry out accurate measurements of the size and shape of the electrode before processing the shape. Article by WENZEL.
The LHF 2517 is a large portal measuring instrument of gantry and bridge construction for medium and large workpieces. (Courtesy of WENZEL)
Changyuan Technology (Tianjin) Co. Ltd (CHYUAN) specialises in the development and manufacture of automotive injection moulds. With a planned production capacity of 450 million moulds, the company aims to develop into one of the largest single manufacturers of automotive injection moulds in northern China.
For increased efficient production of precision moulds, CHYUAN has commissioned an automated production line for electrodes and mould inserts, which enables the integration of electrode disassembly, processing, inspection, repair and offline processes. Since the measuring system used is the key to quality assurance, CHYUAN prefers the use of coordinate measuring machines (CMMs).
A CMM provides one of the most effective solutions for measuring and collecting dimension data. First, it can replace a variety of surface-to-surface measurement tools and expensive combined gauges. Secondly, the CMM can reduce the time required for complex measurements from hours to minutes. Thirdly, it guarantees both the efficiency and accuracy of measurement of size, shape and positional tolerance of the electrode.
Automated Measurements in the Direct Production Environment
CHYUAN relies on the WENZEL coordinate measuring devices XOrbit77 and LHF 2517. The figures represent the measuring volume in the X and Z axes of 700 mm x 700 mm and 2500 mm x 1700 mm, respectively. The XOrbit was seamlessly integrated into the production line for electrodes and mould inserts for automated 3D coordinate measurement in 2019. The CNC measuring device is ideally suited for the shopfloor environment and can be equipped with switching measuring and optical sensors. The XOrbit offers excellent value for money with high mechanical precision and low operating costs.
Meanwhile, the LHF 2517 is a large measuring instrument in gantry and bridge construction for medium and large workpieces. The floor-level design of the LHF allows easy assembly with large parts with high freedom of movement for the user. The double drive in the Y-axis of the LHF ensures high measuring speeds and excellent stability of the guides.
A raft of new and enhanced functionality features in VISI 2021 – the latest release of Hexagon’s specialist mould and die CAD/CAM software.
CAD analysis benefits from a new function which improves the suite of analysis shading modes. Draft Analysis has been added to the existing Undercut and Accessibility shading, performing an on-the-fly analysis of the draft angle. This uses the same technique as in the undercut mode, but extended to more ranges. The colours and angular value of each range can be changed by simply clicking on the colours or numeric labels on the graphics toolbar.
Repair functions used in the Repair Invalid Faces of Bodies command are now integrated in the Validate command. It is now also possible to zoom in on any potential issues using the Auto Zoom function.
Developments to the CAD Reverse module enhance the Reverse and Casting processes. VISI Product Owner Marco Cattaneo explains that the scanning operation has been improved with the shaded view, giving better and faster feedback.
With Point Scanning, the shaded point cloud is now shown during the scanning operation, giving the operator an immediate view of what has been correctly scanned, and if anything is missing.
An additional option has been added to automatically create a mesh as a scanning result, which he says is particularly valuable when a quicker, rather than detailed, result is needed.
Enhancements to probing during the Reverse process now detect the correct diameter of the part in relation to the position of the probed points. A Circle/Slot probing feature has been added for probing and designing a circle or slot, giving several options to guarantee the probed element is the correct size and in the correct position.
MOULD – Body to Mould
Additional options to existing commands, along with new items of functionality, make part position management considerably easier.
With Body to Mould, there is a new option to select multiple elements, including solids and surfaces, and move the selected bodies to the mould position. During the part positioning, ‘non-uniform scaling values’ can now be defined by the user, and the system automatically sets the relative shrinkage data in a special Assembly Manager field (Bill of Materials).
With Mould to Body, the system allows multiple element to be selected, including solids and surfaces, and to move the complete mould back into Body position. “This will be valuable for operators using CMM to check tools in the body position. When they select the part to move back, they get an option to select multiple elements to go with the tool back to Body position,” says Marco Cattaneo.
PROGRESS – Part Unfolding
To provide a powerful and complete solution to this new unfolding approach, additional features have been included for flanges and non-linear bends. The Part Definition feature has been improved, giving better and faster part analysis, identifying the different face types, defining material, and setting linear bends unfolding. Different colours can be set, relating to different neutral fibre values, giving quick identification for unfolded linear bends and fibre value.
A new feature manages flange unfolding on the analysed part, and shows the result in preview mode, so the operator can evaluate the result and set different parameters, while preserving the link with the original part. This automatically recalculates the flanged part, meaning all linked parts can then be rebuilt in reference to a modification on the original.
An interface with Hexagon’s G-code simulator, NCSIMUL Advanced comes as a cost option in VISI 2021. Marco Cattaneo explains that NCSIMUL manages the complete machining process from the NC program to the machined part.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis and the looming economic recession, the aluminium castings market worldwide will grow by a projected US$32.1 million from 2018 to 2025, driven by a revised compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1 percent, according to a new report by Global Industry Analysts Inc.
Die casting, one of the segments analysed and sized in this study, is forecast to grow at over 6.7 percent and reach a market size of US$51.3 million by the end of the analysis period. An unusual period in history, the coronavirus pandemic has unleashed a series of unprecedented events affecting every industry. The die casting market will be reset to a new normal which, going forward in a post COVID-19 era, will be continuously redefined and redesigned. Staying on top of trends and accurate analysis is paramount now more than ever to manage uncertainty, change and continuously adapt to new and evolving market conditions.
The United States is forecast to readjust to a 4.9 percent CAGR, while within Europe, Germany will add over US$971.8 thousand to the region’s size over the next seven to eight years. In addition, over US$938.1 thousand worth of projected demand in the region will come from the rest of European markets. In Japan, the die casting segment will reach a market size of US$2.4 million by 2025.
Amid the growing push for decoupling and economic distancing, the changing relationship between China and the rest of the world will influence competition and opportunities in the aluminium castings market.
Against this backdrop and the changing geopolitical, business and consumer sentiments, the world’s second largest economy will grow at 10.2 percent over the next couple of years and add approximately US$8.5 million in terms of addressable market opportunity.
As production begins to ramp up in some sectors, mould and die manufacturers turning to automation of design and manufacturing to regain lost revenues.
Swoosh Technologies & Solutions, a certified-Smart Siemens Digital Industries Software business partner, has noticed more interest in mould and die-specific programs that automate tasks in the design and manufacturing of moulds.
“By automating some of the more tedious and predictable steps in the production process like creating parting surfaces or feature recognition for CNC programming, manufacturers can step up the speed of production throughput with the workforce they have in place,” notes Dan Wibbenmeyer, Managing Partner at Swoosh Technologies.
“And in an industry like consumer products or automotive, speed of delivery and cost will determine who receives the order.”
A recent survey from the American Mould Builders Association found that most plant operations fared well during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic operating at full capacity, while only two percent had to shut down operations entirely. Those who specialise in the medical device market are seeing the highest production levels with 91 percent of companies reporting they are 90-100 percent staffed and 55 percent looking to add staff.
The Department of Science and Technology – Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC) is ramping up production of medical face shields to meet the Philippines’ demands for personal protective equipment (PPEs) for the frontline workers battling COVID-19.
Through its Additive Manufacturing Center, DOST-MIRDC was initially producing 50 3D printing face shields a day. To ramp up its production, DOST-MIRDC has fabricated a plastic injection mould at the Die and Mould Solution Center in its Bicutan, Taguig City compound. Using plastic injection technology, it has boosted its production capabilities to 2,500 face shields a day.
Furthermore, DOST-MIRDC has partnered with Omnifab, which fabricated another injection mould, and Megasamsotite Plant in San Pedro, Laguna which serves as another site for mass production—totalling production of another 2,500 face shields daily.
“With the mass production of the medical face shields being done simultaneously in Laguna and in Taguig, we can assure the enhanced protection of our frontliners,” said Engr. Fred P. Liza, Chief of the Materials and Process Research Division, and Project Leader of the DOST-MIRDC’s Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMCen).
In addition, the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI), another DOST R&D institute has 3D printed 100 face shields for Philippine Heat Center.
“As we make change happen through research and development, we find ways in helping out our new heroes facing COVID-19. We shall continue to look for better means to support our frontliners through research and development,” said Rowena Guevara, DOST undersecretary for R&D.
Model and mould-maker Sammer, Machining Centres located in Eugendorf near Salzburg, Austria, is mostly engaged in the production of moulds for the automotive industry, including cylinder heads, crankcases and transmission housings. By Winfried Weiland, head of marketing, Blum-Novotest GmbH.
Ironjaw’s clamping force booster system for injection presses can be adapted to all types of mould. It increases the capacity of the injection press which enables 30 to 60 percent more clamping force, depending on the machine’s configuration.
The clamping-force system can be used for automotive, building and construction, as well as other industries. The actual device attaches to the tool along its parting line, activating when the mould closes and then unclamping prior to the mould opening. Four sizes are available, which can boost injection moulding machine clamp force by 25, 50, 125, and 200 tons.
A higher level of technology allows radius grinding machines to have more powerful software, grinding of larger workpieces, while having easier maintenance. Contributed by Studer
Grinding machine specialist Studer is bringing three new radius internal cylindrical grinding machines to market. These are intended to replace theCT700 and CT900 models.
The main fields of application of the company’s new S121, S131 and S141 radius grinding machines are the manufacture of dies, especially in the packaging industry, where tungsten carbide and ceramic are primarily processed, and the production of hydraulic components such as axial pump pistons, guide plates and housings made of hardened steel, cast iron and copper.
Other fields are the production of complex workpieces with several tapers greater than 20 deg to 90 deg in a single clamping, where the main applications are in the watch and medical technology with extra-hard materials such as industrial ceramic, sapphire and tungsten carbide, as well as the manufacture of human implants for shoulders, knees and hips from ceramic and titanium.
Out With The Old
In the past, this range of parts was covered by the company’s universal internal cylindrical grinding machines CT750 and CT960. With its market entry, the new S121 radius grinding machine will now take over the range of applications of the CT750, while the S131 has been designed for the previous component range of the CT960.
New with the S141 radius grinding machine is that the machining of larger workpieces is also now possible:
The swing diameter above table is 250 mm for the S121, 300 mm for the S131 and 400 mm for the S141.
External diameters up to 160 mm can now be machined with an external grinding wheel 250 mm in diameter.
The maximum length of parts including clamping device is 300 mm for all three radius grinding machines
The maximum workpiece weight including clamping device is 100 kg.
There are good reasons why Studer is replacing the successful CT models, which translate into increased customer benefit.
First and foremost, a higher level of technology has been achieved with the new radius grinding machines. This is evident in the machine bed, which now comprises of Granitan and thus offers higher dampening levels, thermal stability and guidance accuracy. It is also reflected in the StuderGuide guideway and drive system with linear motors, which features high wear resistance, a long working life and high dynamics (interpolation possibility).
The main benefit which customers can derive from the new machines is the extended range of parts possible due to the larger size of the machine, and the new dressing concept which, thanks to the new arrangement on the B-axis (simultaneously swivelling workpiece table) is not only simpler, but also offers greater thermal stability and mechanical rigidity.
The fact that the new S121, S131 and S141 are now also manufactured according to the Thun modular principle also means non-variable parts in maintenance and service and consequently a higher availability of service technicians. It also means harmonisation of the components and, with the new design and improved ergonomics, an increase in the machine’s value.
Special mention should be made of the StuderSIM software in regard to the new radius grinding machines. This software acts as an assistant, with which workpieces derived from a drawing can be completely defined, all necessary geometric data for the grinding cycles can be generated and with which the grinding process can be checked and visualised by means of simulation on a PC or on the machine.
It is complemented by hardware which features the previously mentioned Granitan machine bed and the StuderGuide guideway and drive system with linear motors. It also includes X and Z-axes in a cross-slide arrangement as well as a cross slide, which in the case of the S121 can either take one spindle, two spindles in parallel or two spindles on a hydraulic turret, and in the case of the S131 and S141 comes with a 4-position turret with direct drive.
The machines are also equipped with a workhead on a simultaneously swivelling B-axis, a dressing spindle or a fixed dresser on the B-axis and a measuring probe on the grinding head. Other new features are, finally, the enclosure and the control console in the Studer design.
The S121, S131 and S141 radius grinding machines differ from the universal cylindrical grinding machines of the same name in a number of technical details. The B-axes of the radius grinding machines are set up simultaneously and offer interpolation (from -60 deg to +90 deg), while the universal cylindrical grinding machines have a swivelling table, which can be positioned from -10 deg to +20 deg.
In addition, the spindles on the radius grinding machines are arranged at the rear of the turret, while this is the other way round on the cylindrical grinding machines: they are at the front. There are also differences in the dressing concept. The radius grinding machines have the dresser on the B-axis, while the cylindrical grinding machines are equipped with two swivelling dressers.
Last but not least, the S121 to S151 cylindrical grinding machines use the Studer operating system StuderWIN, while the new radius grinding machines use the StuderSIM operating system.
In addition to the S121, S131 and S141 new radius grinding machines, Studer’s platform of internal cylindrical grinding machines includes the simple S110 and S120 machines, the S121 to S151 universal internal grinding machines and the S122 production internal grinding machine.
Five machines have been replaced (S120, S145, S151, CT700, CT900), enabling four new market segments to be opened up. The S121 universal internal grinding machines are small machines for a large application range, the S122 production internal grinding machine is a machine for large component output and high availability, and the S141 and S151 universal internal grinding machines (700 and 1,300 mm) are machines for long workpieces.
Finally, a fourth market segment is opened up with the new S141 radius grinding machine for parts up to 400 mm in diameter.
4-position spindle turret (high-precision) with direct drive.