Open House 2016 Hermle launches affordable 5-axis machining centre

Editor: Barbara Schulz

Germany – From 20 to 23 April 2016, Hermle was once again hosting its traditional Open House event in Gosheim, Germany, which was expected to attract more than 2000 visitors (final figures to be confirmed). The new affordable 5-axis machining centre C 250 took centre stage.

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Hermle Open House 2016, Gosheim, Germany: Alfons Betting and Franz-Xaver Bernhard, members of the board, and Udo Hipp, head of marketing (l-r) in front of the new C 250 5-axis machining centre.
Hermle Open House 2016, Gosheim, Germany: Alfons Betting and Franz-Xaver Bernhard, members of the board, and Udo Hipp, head of marketing (l-r) in front of the new C 250 5-axis machining centre.
(Source: Schulz)

Smiling faces at Hermle's annual press conference: Franz-Xaver Bernhard, member of the executive board, announced an 8% increase in the company's order intakes in 2015 (€360m) compared to the previous year. An increase he didn't expect, he said and added that the world economy seems unaffected by the current global unrests.

All in all there were 30 machines on display during the Open House event, with accents on automation and additive manufacturing, as well as a special concurrent show covering tooling technology and CAD/CAM software, with over 50 well-known suppliers attending.

A new 5-axis machining centre was taking centre stage at the machine tool manufacturer's headquarters: Designated C 250, the economically priced machine is the latest model to be added alongside Hermle’s high-end machining centre program. There is no compromise on quality of build or functionality, however, Bernhard, said. The only proviso is that the machine is available with a limited range of options.

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"Since we introduced our first lower-end 5-axis machining centre, the C 400, in 2012, we have sold around 600 machines, including many new customers," Bernhard said. "We listen to our customers and are selling a comprehensive overall concept, which doesn't stop with selling the machine. Our customers know it is worthwhile to invest in a Hermle not only in the high-end range, which is what Hermle is known for, but also in the lower-end." Lower-end doesn't mean low quality, though, Bernhard emphasised, but rather a reduced number of options, only one available CNC and reduced dynamics, when compared to a C 32 or C 42, for instance.

Within the Hermle range, the C 250 is an entry-level model into the world of 5-axis and 5-sided machining. Nevertheless, it is in no way inferior to the “large” models, Bernhard said. Thanks to the large swivelling range of the workpieces in the work area the C 250 offers a very large working area relative to its footprint, he explained. The C 250 is equipped with a Heidenhain TNC 640 controller. The TNC 640 offers diverse programming functions, while Hermle simplifies programming and operation even further with a comprehensive range of extra features. Machining setups for a wide range of milling strategies are already included as standard.

According to Bernhard, Hermle aims to deliver as many as 80 C 250's this year (all of Hermle's machines are made in Gosheim), and 20 machines are already sold.

Additive manufacturing using MPA technology

Of course, Hermle was also showcasing its in-house developed MPA technology. It is a versatile tool for the generative creation of large-volume components offering a widespread field of applications. It is especially in the field of injection moulding and die casting tools where the MPA technology can play to its strength. One of its prominent features is the possibility to complement precast blanks with additively applied components. The results are hybrid-manufactured components entering new dimensions in additive manufacturing with weights up to several hundred kilos and dimensions larger than 500 mm in diameter, Hermle explains.

Moreover, copper elements can be embedded whereever a conformal cooling layout with cooling channels is not possible due to design constraints.