Maschinenfabrik Berthold Hermle AGMaschinenfabrik Berthold Hermle AG

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24 x 7-R – the productivity formula for FMS


CNC 5-axis high-performance machining centers with robot feeding to and from workpiece magazines are the "moneymakers" amongst the Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS).

MAWAtec AG from Selzach does 90% of its business with the Swiss market - that means being able to do a lot more than just producing turned and milled parts. As Dominik Lehmann, MAWAtec's CEO, puts it: "Our focus is definitely on more complex parts which we can manufacture from practically all materials that can be machined. Whether that means steel, aluminum or special materials like titanium, Inconel and PEEK - we procure the material, ensure the implementation of the right technique and supply not just the know-how, but also the required personnel and machine capacity."

When machining technicians take a close look ...

MAWAtec is constantly on the lookout for technological innovation, so it already started using 5-axis machining ten years ago. A team led by production manager Roland Stauffenegger investigated machining systems for over a year to test their performance. The result: Hermle's C series was the winner by a clear margin. As Roland Stauffenegger points out: "The overall concept of the C 30 U CNC 5-axis high-performance machining center satisfied us across the board, be it the way it is constructed with three axes in the tool and two in the workpiece, the integrated design of the NC swiveling rotary table, the tremendous stability and rigidity, the excellent accessibility from the front and above, the spindle output, the control system - or that we know the service is good." After the first C 30 U had been installed, the question arose as to why the machine should have to remain idle overnight. As a result, and in close cooperation with Hermle, the workpiece handling was automated, interfaces were defined and the machine was upgraded. New cstomers, new orders: The original C 30 U was followed by another at the end of 2007, and number 3 came in the fall of 2008.

Automated operation retrofitted by the experts

The latest C 30 U, with 189 tool pockets and an enlarged tool-change magazine, had all the options needed for upgrading to robot-aided workpiece handling. 18 months later, the time was ripe - and Hermle was able to exploit its experience in the field of automated solutions for RS2 robot systems. MAWAtec decided to implement its own pallet construction specially for the handling and positioning of raw-sawed or laser-cut blanks. "95% of the parts that we work or handle in the system are sawn or lasered, and not deburred. With our universal pallets, we can flexibly take up parts ranging from small items (4.5 x 23 x 19 mm) to large ones with maximum dimensions of 55 x 450 x 160 mm (thickness x width x height) using relatively simple holding mechanisms," explains MAWAtec CEO Dominik Lehmann.

So if there are sufficient workpieces, production can continue round the clock, apart from downtimes for maintenance, servicing and changeovers. The bottom line is: The Hermle machines at MAWAtec are a byword for best reliability, performance and machining precision!

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