Nagel Maschinen- und Werkzeugfabrik GmbH, Nürtingen / Germany, will be presenting solutions for honing, superfinishing and grinding at EMO 2023. Highlight topics include an expanded portfolio for customers from the bearing industry, the machining of spherical surfaces and winning a major design prize. Another new addition to the range is a system for robot-assisted cutting edge preparation.
Superfinishing technology is playing an increasingly important role in many industries. This is because superior surfaces reduce friction, which in turn reduces energy consumption and emissions. In addition, excellent surfaces simply ensure that moving components function perfectly for many years. One area of application is the bearing industry. In the past, the precision machining experts in Nürtingen have mainly focused on rolling elements. But that has now changed: At the beginning of 2023, Nagel acquired the Italian grinding machine manufacturer O.ERRE.PI. The company, based in Buriasco near Turin, supplies machines for grinding and finishing rolling bearing rings. Rolling elements and bearing rings - this closes the circle for Nagel. Since the 1960s, O.ERRE.PI has been in close contact with the best-known bearing manufacturers, so the machines from Piedmont are well known in the industry. Now the Italian company is presenting itself for the first time as a new member of the family at EMO - on the Nagel stand. Included in the luggage: a surface grinding machine for bearing rings. "With the integration of O.ERRE.PI into the Nagel Group, we are a full-range supplier for the bearing industry," says Andreas Schmohl, Head of Superfinishing at Nagel. The merger also opens up new opportunities for O.ERRE.PI. Since the merger, existing and new international customers will be supported even more intensively by the Nagel Group's worldwide network of subsidiaries and agencies, which will take over the service and procurement of the machines. "The first projects on the American market have already started," explains Andreas Schmohl.
All-rounder - spherical surfaces and more
A special application of superfinishing is spherical or concave surfaces, especially spherical surfaces. Typical workpieces are spherical pistons for axial piston engines and pumps for mobile hydraulic systems, for example in agricultural and construction machinery. Some of the most stringent requirements - Ra values down to <0.005 - are found in medical technology, for example in joints for hip implants. Visitors to the stand will be able to see a NaSphere finishing machine that has been designed specifically for such applications. The machines in this series are based on a unique concept that is completely different from superfinishing machines for shaft-type workpieces. Shaft machining uses oscillating tools, while spherical surface machining uses rotating tools, i.e. tools on a spindle. As a result, the tool corresponds exactly to the mating shape of the workpiece. The workpiece itself is usually clamped in a swivelling clamping system. To achieve maximum quality, economy and process reliability, the machines are equipped with highly sensitive electronics. These include, for example, a sensory ball-centering system, force sensors to optimise process quality, workpiece height measurement during machining and a new tool detection system. Strictly speaking, the spherical shape is only a special case, so a NaSphere machine can also machine flat surfaces. It is therefore a very flexible machine concept. So flexible, in fact, that it can be used for processes other than finishing, such as honing, grinding or brushing. In this respect, a NaSphere can be set up for complete machining operations. A practical example of this is planetary gears, where the finishing operation is not spherical, but a face machining operation using a cup tool. All this makes it clear that the NaSphere machines are highly application-specific. "We develop the machines around the task, so to speak," emphasises Christian Feuchter, Technical Sales at Nagel. "For example, the number of spindles or finishing stations can vary greatly depending on the processes, metal removal rates, cycle time or surface quality. There are also horizontal and vertical spindle arrangements. In the case of vertical spindles, a linear or rotary cycle machine arrangement is possible.
Design with distinction
On the subject of honing, Nagel will be presenting a machine from the EcoHone series at EMO. The EcoHone is characterised by a compact design and many high-end features. These include an integrated robot for fully automatic operation. The robot does almost everything: it changes tools and gauges, handles (loads and unloads) the workpieces and performs secondary operations such as pre-checking, re-measuring, brushing or blowing. In addition, the machine monitors the condition of its tools and reports when maintenance is required - convenience at I4.0 level. Although the EcoHone has only a single spindle, it is capable of performing 3-4 honing operations, replacing a multi-spindle honing machine. However, a multi-spindle EcoHone machine concept is also in the pipeline.
When designing the EcoHone, the focus was not only on the sheer wealth of features, but also on the design, i.e. the interplay of design, attention to detail, modernity, sustainability, operation and much more. In short, the aim was to create a complete package with exceptional design features and a high degree of innovation. The developers have fully succeeded in meeting this challenge: The jury of the Baden-Württemberg FOCUS OPEN 2023 International Design Award has awarded the EcoHone HRX, the horizontal version of the machine, the highest "FOCUS Gold" distinction. The award ceremony will take place on 9 November 2023. "The award is a valuable endorsement of our work. It shows that we are among the leading suppliers in an international comparison," says Erkan Hodza, development manager and product manager for the EcoHone honing machine at Nagel. And he continues: "When manufacturing companies put a new production machine on the procurement list, design is increasingly becoming part of the decision-making process".
Robotic solution for edge preparation
The robotics team at Nagel develops automation solutions for a wide range of applications. A project with TBT Tiefbohrtechnik in Dettingen/Erms has resulted in a solution for the fully automatic preparation of the cutting edges of solid carbide deep hole drilling tools. The background: With cutting tools, a razor-sharp cutting edge is counterproductive. Optimum cutting performance is only achieved with a rounded or prepared cutting edge. The preparation makes the cutting edge more stable, which leads to a decisive improvement in tool life and process reliability. Nagel's robotics experts have further developed the solution from this project and are now targeting all manufacturers of moulds with geometric cutting edges. The system on the stand is very compact, with a 6-axis collaborative robot at its centre. Robert Haman, Business Unit Manager Robotics at Nagel, explains the specifics: "Brushes are used to prepare the cutting edges. Depending on the type of tool and the results to be achieved, we provide the appropriate brushes. An advantage of the concept, he continues, is that free-form cutting edges can also be machined without any problems. He also describes the integrated measuring technology, including evaluation software for recording and displaying the cutting edge parameters, as a "key feature" of the system. The system is supplied by Alicona Imaging GmbH.
With its system, the specialist for optical 3D measurement technology from Graz maps VDI/VDE Guideline 2654 ("Characterizing and Measuring Cutting Edges"). The company is itself a member of the corresponding VDI/VDE working group. Thanks to its convenient functions, the system can be used not only for preparation but also exclusively for measuring tool cutting edges. Another highlight is the automatic loading unit, which enables unmanned operation from several hours to a complete shift. This is available as an option.
Nagel at EMO 2023: Hall 11, Booth E13
Nagel Maschinen- und Werkzeugfabrik GmbH www.nagel.com
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