Hurco - Case Study

Automated cell for mould production reduces set-up times

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Automation reduce number of component set-ups

Helmut Böhler, manager of the toolroom explained, “Our department works on the same principles as the main factory, but flexibility needs to be even higher. Batch size is low and frequently one-off. To maximise utilisation of our machines, we look to automation and also to reducing in the number of component set-ups. We try to integrate cycles that were previously performed sequentially on one or more machines into a single operation, such as the high-speed milling and jig grinding of prismatically shaped components. The approach is not only more efficient and less costly but also increases accuracy due to fewer reclampings.”

Since 2003, Blum has relied on high-speed milling centres from Roeders. In the early days, they were used for producing highly accurate EDM electrodes in copper or graphite. With the more recent machining centres, the focus shifted to hard milling and jig grinding on a single platform.

Workpiece datuming is carried out automatically within the machine by a measuring probe. The part does not have to be fixtured accurately, saving time, as its position and orientation are allowed for in the control, which automatically recalculates the NC program. Periodic in-process measurement of key parameters allows tool offsets to be sent to the machine control to ensure machined parts stay within tolerance. As they are automated, the Roeders machines can be used with minimal operator involvement, especially as grinding tools can be exchanged in a similar way to the milling cutters and drills.

In the Blum toolroom, the mix of jobs involves not only complex geometries that need to be programmed off-line but also simpler parts that can easily be programmed directly at the machine. The suitability of the Roeders RMS6 CNC system to accommodate both approaches was an important criterion. Moreover, as it was developed in-house, the control software is able to be easily upgraded.

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