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Secos Steadyline Tool-holder Technology

Secos Steadyline Tool-holder Technology

Added to MTDCNC by MTDCNC on 28 September 2012

Danish wind turbine manufacturer improves productivity by 269% using Seco’s Steadyline tool-holder technology.

A pioneer in developing commercial wind power in the 1970s, Denmark is home to two of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers - Vestas and Siemens Wind, and generates a higher percentage of its electricity, some 20%, from wind than any other country.

The global wind power sector is growing at an unprecedented rate, with a record 39.4 GW of capacity being installed last year. Much of the technology used to achieve these results was first developed in Denmark.

Denmark’s wind power sector has continued to expand at an average annual rate of 16% since 2000 but despite this impressive performance international competition, particularly from China, is forcing Danish wind turbine manufacturers and precision engineering companies within the supply chain to reduce their costs and increase their productivity in order to maintain their competitive edge.

One such company is Denmark’s AH Industries A/S based in Kolding which, through investing in Seco’s innovative Steadyline vibration-damping shell mill holder technology, has improved its productivity when milling main bearing housings (critical parts that are attached to the main frame of the turbine), by a staggering 269%!

AH Industries has been at the forefront of the wind turbine industry since the mid-1980s, and today the company’s parts are found in about 10% of wind turbines operating around the world.

As part of the company’s continuous improvement programmes it was identified that the in-house milling of the surfaces of the main bearing houses was having a negative impact on production and that to improve manufacturing efficiency and productivity – a solution was required.

Says AH Industries’ production technician Klaus Døssing:

‘We didn’t have any particular problems per se, but this manufacturing operation was taking more time than it should and it was very noisy too

‘If we tried to work faster (by increasing feeds and speeds), our existing tools would break – so we decided that we needed to develop a new way of tackling the problem.’

The issue was taken up by Seco’s International Wind Power Application expert – Tom Jakobsen – who realised that the vibrations experienced when machining the part could be eliminated and that machine cycle times could be vastly improved through the use of Steadyline – Seco’s vibration-damping shell mill tool holder.

Tom Jakobsen explains that the dynamic damping system features a vibration absorber that is positioned where the deflection is highest, at the front of the bar. This dampens the vibrations as soon as they are transmitted by the cutting tool.

‘It effectively eats the vibrations,” says Jakobsen, ‘and means you can push the tool harder and often work as much as three times faster than before.’

Using the Steadyline solution has enabled AH Industries to speed up the milling of these mountings significantly (up by 269%). Previous milling times per piece were approximately 30 minutes – they are now less than 10 minutes.

Other benefits have included improved tool life and the creation of a more reliable, repeatable and stable process.

Says Klaus Døssing:

‘The vibrations we experienced before were putting extra wear on the inserts, which meant that they had to be replaced more often. We have more than doubled insert life with Seco’s Steadyline.

The time saved by faster machining and less tool wear has resulted in substantial savings for AH Industries and the payback time on the initial investment (i.e. creation of the new machining process using Steadyline) has been less than three months.C

oncludes Tom Jakobsen:

‘AH Industries, by working in partnership with Seco, was able to take advantage of our global applications expertise and know-how. The collaborative, solutions-led business approach, that is the hallmark of Seco, is helping manufacturing companies throughout the world improve their productivity, performance and profitability’.

As far as AH Industries is concerned it’s clear that the emergence and rise of Chinese wind power companies show no sign of slowing. However, increasing worldwide demand for renewable wind energy means there will still be a place for Danish manufacturers – as long as they can compete on price, quality and lead times.

With Steadyline at least one Danish manufacturer’s competitive edge has not been blunted.

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