Heller To Promote Industry 4.0
On the Heller stand at MACH 2018, the focus will be the group's worldwide drive towards integration of its machine tools and controls into the Industry 4.0 environment so that its customers can gain maximum advantage from increased productivity and accuracy.
The company has adopted the name Heller4Industry for the suite of modules it offers (www.heller.biz/en/company/press/news/article/industry-40/). Daily presentations by German expert, Bernd Zapf, Head of Development New Business & Technologies at the Nuertingen headquarters, will underscore the strides that have been made.
Matthias Meyer, Managing Director in charge of the Heller's subsidiary in Redditch stressed, "I am particularly pleased that our group is putting so much emphasis on and resource behind HELLER4Industry globally, as it is already translating into real benefits for our customers, including in the UK and Ireland.
"Industry 4.0 is not just a gimmick, as some would have you believe, but a cornerstone of advanced manufacturing. It allows the last few percent of productivity to be extracted from an already efficient production process and results in considerably more benefits in the case of less well-optimised manufacturing environments."
Within the HELLER4Industry portfolio, HELLER4Operation is an easy-to-use, operator-oriented user interface. Touchscreen controls at the tool and workpiece loading stations promotes rapid and easy operation, facilitates the manufacture of individualised products and helps to integrate production into the value chain.
The HELLER4Services interface focuses on transparency of digital manufacturing and maintenance. The module forms the basis for evaluating machine data and statistics to reduce downtimes. Additionally, visualisation of specific information such as status displays of axes and spindles enables users to predict wear and implement preventative maintenance to avoid unscheduled downtimes.
HELLER4Performance includes workpiece-specific analysis for optimisation of a process and extraction of real-time data over the internet, plus evaluation and graphical display in the cloud.
In practice, it could for example map tool paths and workpiece tolerances in parts of a cycle where tool wear is expected. That section of the sequence would be simulated on the machine without cutting metal so the paths actually traversed by the tool could be recorded and compared with the workpiece design. The ability of the machine to actually produce the part to the required accuracy could then be determined.
Other innovations within this module include optimisation of cutter positions inside a rack tool magazine to take into account the next workpiece to be machined, reducing cycle times by up to 20 percent; and adaptation of workpiece traverse speed according to its weight, allowing higher dynamic performance when machining lighter parts.
The operator can choose to accept or reject these alterations and the same applies to automatic feed control, whereby the operator can set the limits between which the machine can autonomously adjust the override. Heller can point to customers enjoying machining time reductions of up to 20 percent using this feature.
The overall aims of HELLER4Industry are a reduction in customers’ cycle times and hence in the cost of workpiece manufacture together with higher component accuracy and repeatability. Will additional sensors be needed in the machine, however? Unlike some other manufacturers, Heller is minimising their inclusion, as each additional sensor poses a potential risk of failure which could compromise machine availability.
Heller harnesses SINUMERIK-Edge technology
Heller's approach to improving production processes, therefore, is based on today's enhanced possibilities for extracting and evaluating more data from existing sensors and making better use of it using additional computing power in the control and Siemens SINUMERIK-Edge technology.
The latter is designed to improve production processes, for which the control manufacturer claims breakthroughs in four inter-related areas. They are the amount of high-frequency data that can be collected during machining; the architecture it has developed to process terabytes of that data in just a few minutes; the semantic data model that defines how the information relates to the actual machining process; and the applications available for analysis, optimisation and feeding back meaningful results to the control.
Heller-Siemens imaging drives process improvements
Also in cooperation with Siemens, Heller has developed a new imaging method, comparable to magnetic resonance imaging, employing algorithms used in the medical engineering sector fed with signals from a machine tool. Without the need for cameras or additional sensors in the machine, the resulting high resolution image of the workpiece is displayed on the operator's panel and on a PC web browser. It is allowing more meaningful results to be obtained through high quality comparison of workpiece and machining data to improve production processes.
Pay-as-you-go with HELLER4Use
Heller has completed the range of HELLER4Industry applications with HELLER4Use, a flexible operational model for its machining centres. Based on data collected from machine(s) on a shop floor, a customer is billed only for the time it is actually producing components, subject to a minimum number of running hours. A manufacturer is therefore able to take advantage of high quality, efficient production equipment without capital expenditure, while maintaining the right to return or exchange the machine.
Following its launch at EMO 2017 last September, the pay-as-you-go scheme, which includes provision for servicing and preventive maintenance, has already been taken up by a number of firms in continental Europe and it is being actively promoted by Mr Meyer and his team in the UK and Ireland.
New HF 3500 5-axis horizontal machining centre built in the UK
MACH 2018 will mark the UK launch of the HF 3500 5-axis, horizontal-spindle machining centre. It will give Heller particular satisfaction, as it is one of the models being built in the new manufacturing flow line at its Redditch factory, along with the larger HF 5500 and numerous sizes of 4-axis machine for global markets.
The company is one of only two currently building machine tools in the UK and as a consequence is ideally placed to provide enhanced levels of service and support to customers.
The HF 3500 is intended for 5-sided or simultaneous 5-axis dynamic machining of medium to large batches of complex prismatic parts, from small workpieces to heavier components up to the 550 kg maximum table load. An optional Speed Package enables 10 m/s2 acceleration and rapids of 90 m/min to be achieved, reducing chip-to-chip time by approximately 10 percent compared with the standard machine.
Working volume is defined by X / Y / Z travels of 710 / 750 / 710 mm, with generous interference contours. Feedback of axis position to the control is via linear scales for maximum precision. The machine can be equipped with a lift-and-rotate pallet changer for series 5-sided production, while pallet automation solutions are available.
The fourth and fifth axes are provided by a rotary table on a +30 to -120 degree swivelling trunnion, both with direct drive, which moves towards the spindle rather than vice versa. According to Mr Meyer, the configuration minimises vibration of the spindle and hence of the cutter for better component accuracy and increased tool life.
Four motor spindle options are available with speeds up to 18,000 rpm and torques up to 354 Nm. The lift-and-swivel toolchanger has two NC axes for short idle times and consistent operation. Chain-type tool magazine capacities are HSK-A 63: 54, 80 and 160 pockets or HSK-A 100: 50, 100 and 150 pockets. A central, open chip conveyor ensures efficient swarf collection and removal, already promoted by the free chip fall characteristics of the horizontal-spindle design.
Main target customer groups for HF series machines are the automotive supply chain and the general machine building industry, although it is interesting to note that the first HF 3500 off the UK production line went to an aerospace subcontractor in the West Country.
The machining centres are characterised by inherently rigid construction of the bed and column, while the trunnion is supported by a counter bearing for dynamic rigidity even at high loads. Recently, Heller demonstrated impressive cutting capabilities. Using a 100 mm diameter face mill, a chip removal rate of 470 cm3/min was achieved when machining 1.2312 steel with an axial 3.5 mm axial depth of cut and a 75 mm radial depth of cut.
HF series machines are equipped with a Siemens Sinumerik 840D sl control and a double pivoting main operator panel with a 24-inch touch screen. A new operator interface compatible with Heller4Industry, quick access technology in the control and XTENDS optional expansion applications support the user. An work area camera is available to aid setting and monitoring functions.
At the show, the HF 3500 will be connected to the open-platform, cloud-based visualisation software, MindSphere, part of Siemens' SINUMERIK-Edge, which continuously monitors machine condition.
HF 3500 video 1: www.youtube.com/watch?v=1g_L2BVQdP8
HF 3500 video 2: www.youtube.com/watch?v=vy_Nsjsj4Zw
Training for 5-axis machining
An advanced training machine designed to raise the skill level of horizontal machining centre operators away from the shop floor will be on show for the first time. Fitted with a new, Industry 4.0-compatible operator panel, the latest CNC ProfiTrainer builds on the capabilities of an existing 4-axis training machine with a rotary table by offering the option of an additional +30 / -120 degree A-axis.
The fully configured, functional machine, which is powered by a single-phase electrical supply, is likely to be of interest to industrial training establishments, colleges and schools, especially as it is small enough to be transported between different educational centres if necessary. Larger OEMs and subcontractors may also choose to adopt the machine for operator training. There is a rental option, with payments subtracted from the purchase price if a customer later opts to buy the machine.
The realistic simulator is fitted with a full version of the Siemens 840D sl control. Having 200 mm linear travels driven by servomotors at up to 15 m/min over linear rails, the machine is designed to mimic realistically the operation of a full-size Heller machine tool. However, it can also be used to provide training for any make of prismatic machining equipment in a safe environment.
The facility, which is designed to tolerate operating errors, provides skills training without tying up a machine on the shop floor, which would result in lost production. Furthermore, the risk of a crash occurring on a real machine is eliminated, avoiding potential repair costs. Another benefit of the training unit is that its small size encourages trainees to try out new things.
Heller is a machine tool company renowned for its commitment to education. At any one time, apprentices account for 10 per cent of its global workforce, a figure mirrored at the UK factory in Redditch. The company is keen to transfer this ethos to the outside world and ensure that students and shop floor staff are also trained to a high standard.