Open to new ideas, identifying and implementing innovations, improving efficiency, exploiting all of the potential – sounds a bit like management consultancy? Not quite: for machine operators or mechanical engineers these tasks are undertaken by us. A typical example was the development of a tool concept at Schuster Maschinenbau GmbH for its brand new and innovative "Schuster nxt" vertical lathe producing complex workpieces of impressive quality.
It's a common scenario for machining companies: you get the drawing for a component and then have to decide whether its creation is economically feasible with the resources you have at your disposal. As component complexity increases across all industries, this decision-making process becomes more difficult.
Wouldn't it be great to have someone at your side to shed light on these issues from a different perspective? "Our Project-Engineering Team is happy to step in at this point. Why? Because we have years of experience in developing innovative tool solutions and have the technical know-how to consider the machining processes holistically and in depth. Often precisely the things that machine operators simply do not have enough time for in their daily work," explains Steffen Baur, Head of Technical Management at CERATIZIT.
Being able to think outside the box in engineering is what distinguishes those who want better (are ambitious) from those who do better (are successful): So it is worthwhile making use of more than just your own expertise, and instead expanding your thinking a little – when it comes to machine size, for example. "Every day, during our machining trials, we see a variety of different machining centres and lathes in operation. Schuster Maschinenbau GmbH from Denklingen near Landsberg am Lech are a respected but no less innovative engineering company with whom we first came into contact years ago. They were looking for the perfect tooling to produce a complex demonstration part to highlight the capability of their brand new 'Schuster nxt' vertical lathe", says Steffen Baur. And they found what they were looking for.
Schuster Maschinenbau has been famous for fourty years for clever engineering solutions that appear in a variety of different industries. The company enjoys a leading position, thanks to constant innovation in terms of quality and precision, and the products developed at its headquarters are now exported throughout the world.
So, it is hardly surprising that a great deal of thought went into the latest development – including the axis of operation for the nxt lathe. "Unlike the conventional horizontal arrangement, this actually has a vertical orientation. Therefore, the key role is played by the main spindle, which in vertical pick-up lathes such as the Schuster nxt, is responsible both for machining the workpiece (turning, drilling, milling) and for all the automation," explains Matthis Rühle.
In general, there is one aspect of the Schuster nxt that is particularly economical: the amount of space it needs. The design can be far more compact, thanks to the vertical axis of operation, and takes up a minimum of 8 m² in the production hall. "Perfect for contract manufacturers, who have to scrimp on floor space without sacrificing quality!" adds Matthis Rühle. As the Schuster nxt is a "hook machine" weighing a mere 7 metric tonnes, it can also be moved somewhere else very quickly. The concept pays off, especially when low volumes are required, because the versatile automation options are important levers for efficiency.
Sheer feasibility is paramount for the demonstration part for the Schuster nxt, even coming ahead of efficiency. We dug deeply into our portfolio and put together a tool package that not only passed the demanding machining processes with distinction, it also captured the imagination of Schuster employees.
A total of nine individual machining steps were needed to make the demonstration piece: roughing, drilling, finishing, eccentric milling and trochoidal turning. "A bit of everything, you might say, and therefore an ideal arena for our tool expertise," reveals Andreas Armbruster, who was in charge of project development at CERATIZIT. A lot of current "stars" from our product lines therefore had their opportunity to shine. This includes, for example, theMaxiMill 491, the eight cutting-edged 90° shoulder milling system that even allows the inserts to be changed in the machine. Thanks to state-of-the-art Dragonskin coating technology, the precision-ground indexable inserts are extremely stable and smooth-cutting, as well as soft-cutting for optimum surface quality and significantly longer tool life.
The 20 to 40 percent higher cutting speeds – subject to the material and its properties – of milling cutters from the latest WNT SilverLine generation are impressive. The service life increases by 30 to 40 percent at the same time. In addition, the new SilverLine tools are quieter and reduce the burden on the machine. "Which is not essential for the Schuster nxt. After all, its mineral cast machine base makes it extremely robust and fully focused on sustainability – including durability," adds Matthis Rühle.
EcoCut, EcoCut, a product designed by CERATIZIT to make four different machining operations possible with this one tool, also featured. "The advantages are obvious: the different machining processes are combined and there is no need to change tools, which greatly reduces the set-up time and increases machine utilisation," says Andreas Armbruster, outlining the benefits. As three carbide grades with a Dragonskin coating were introduced, an even broader range of materials and different applications are now possible.
WTX HFDS, the world's first high-feed drill, showed most impressively how rewarding it is to use four effective cutting edges. Machining time with the WTX HFDS is reduced by up to 66% compared to the usual market standard for two-edged and three-edged speed and high-feed drills. "It was used in 10, 12 and 16 mm diameters for the Schuster component, and came up with best times! Despite the fast pace, the Schuster nxt achieved the best surface quality in conjunction with the solid drilling console directly on the machine base. And what about tool life? Last but not least, there are four spiral coolant holes making sure that the cutting edges are always optimally cooled and that the WTX HFDS is notable for its long tool life," stresses Steffen Baur.
Drilling takes high priority in general at Schuster Maschinenbau. This makes it easy to set up the Schuster nxt as a drilling expert, with various options. "We are particularly proud of being able to reproduce the high overall precision of the machine when drilling in position tolerances between 7 and 10 µm. If drilling operations are essential machining processes for you, we have included an additional drill spindle in the 'high-performance drilling' equipment package and in precision bore machining. This takes our customers to the next level of metalworking," says Matthis Rühle.
Trochoidal milling? No longer a novelty. "But up to now, trochoidal turning has rarely been an issue in production halls, simply because there was no relevant CAM software available. But now the tide has turned, thanks to HyperMILL and MAXX Machining from OpenMind: We have now expanded the proven concept of trochoidal milling to cover the rough machining of all turned parts, as well as developing trochoidal turning with CAM programming – and also implemented this in the Schuster nxt," says Steffen Baur, with unmistakable pride.
And what is the point of trochoidal turning anyway? Firstly, shorter cycle times and fluid machine movements, but also longer tool life, increased process security and less wear. All properties that make the machining process more effective and above all more efficient – not least thanks to our matching button inserts and tool holders.
The design of a machine like the Schuster nxt is already geared to sustainability, so our monitoring and control system such as ToolScope is just what is needed. The system continuously records signals from the production process in the machine. This data is visualised and used to monitor and adjust the machine. Depending on what is to be monitored and optimised, the user has different options to choose from.
For example TS-PM, process monitoring, where ToolScope automatically learns the optimum process flow and then responds to any deviations in the machining operations. "It's a little like being the mother of the ToolScope modules, because many sub-processes come together there. It detects tool breakage, reducing resultant damage to the tool, workpiece and machine. It can be adapted to the production processes quickly and easily and enables unmanned production through 100% inspection of the workpieces. This helps many customers to achieve ideal market positioning," says Steffen Baur.
TS-AFC feed control accelerates the process where it is safe to do so and simultaneously protects the tool by intercepting load peaks. This reduces cycle times and provides overload protection, increases tool life and improves machine availability. The ToolScope CD module uses an acceleration sensor to detect impact collisions at high speed. An emergency stop is triggered in less than 1 ms to prevent major damage. This reduces the repair costs for tools, reduces machine downtime and simultaneously documents the collisions.
With the Schuster nxt, the engineering company has launched onto the market a sustainable, precise and highly flexible machine concept that can be perfectly tailored to customer requirements. "We also score highly for '100% made in Germany' quality, and an excellent price-performance ratio. Thanks to the modern
Fanuc controls and touch display, operation is intuitive and extremely simple. The machine can also be customised for every scenario when it comes to material flow," emphasises Matthis Rühle. What is more, it never takes longer than four months to fully configure the Schuster nxt, ready for shipment. And help is provided within 24 hours for servicing. "Because our commitment to quality obviously extends way beyond the actual purchase!" adds Rühle.
Quality is also the keyword for tool selection: "We really are impressed by the tools that the Project Engineering Team has put together for us. We are so convinced by them that we recommend CERATIZIT tools for each new nxt purchase. Depending on the machine configuration that has been ordered, CERATIZIT puts together an individually tailored tool package to meet customer requirements!" says Matthis Rühle.
What do the team from Schuster and Project Engineering Team from CERATIZIT have in common? They are both passionate about finding the perfect solution and have an in-depth understanding of the individual, customer-specific application profile. "By working together, we are constantly able to identify overlaps in relation to our basic strategy," states Matthis Rühle. "This is certainly one of the reasons why we have achieved such excellent results in this particular project!" adds Steffen Baur contentedly.
If you want to see everything that the nxt can do with our tools, go to the YouTube channel of Schuster Maschinenbau or watch this video: