The MaxiMill 271 tool system from CERATIZIT offers efficiency, process security and flexibility. What sounded good in theory turned out to be the perfect opportunity for Panchal Machinery from Ahmedabad in Gujarat, India, to cut their cycle times for manufacturing gear box components drastically
Founded in 1971, Panchal Machinery has established a strong position in the Indian Gear industry as a manufacturer, exporter and supplier of a wide range of Industrial Gear Boxes – fulfilling the high quality standards in the domestic as well as the international market. They claim themselves “One Stop Solution for all Industrial Gear Box needs as a manufacturer”, which Vivek Tomar, Vice President / Technical Management & Product Management from CERATIZIT India Pvt. Ltd., gladly confirms: “We knew ‘Panchal Machinery’ for many years and saw the potential to upgrade their manufacturing output with a new tool system which we found appropriate for their needs. So during a visit to their production site they gave us the opportunity to reduce the cycle time, improve their processes and also suggest how to make these components on one machine instead of three plus a final manual operation.”
The CERATIZIT team studied the complete process as well as monitoring the tool and operation wise details. “We found that there were four major operations carried out on different machines. For example they used vertical machining centers for the first boring operation, then machining of the component’s foot, another boring and facing operation on horizontal machining centers and finally drilling and tapping as a manual operation. All in all they needed three machines for the component which resulted in a total cycle time of 183 minutes”, Mrudang Joshi, Sr. Sales Manager at CERATIZIT India Pvt. Ltd., remembers.
One goal was to combine all operations into one single horizontal machining center to minimize the time-consuming changes from one machine to the other. “These are unproductive times that actually threaten productivity. So we decided to have all operations done on their latest machine, the DMG MORI NHX 6300, which had all the features that could handle these operations”, Tushar Kargathiya, Assistant manager of CERATIZIT explained. “And with that we proposed a possible cycle time of 60 minutes – instead of the 183 min they took now!”
While analysing the production processes the CERATIZIT team found out that Panchal Machinery had some issues with vibrations during the machining process. But to reduce the cycle time to improve productivity also means improving the cutting parameters, whether it is by feed rate or by reducing the number of passes in machining. “That was actually not possible without doing some improvements in the fixture to avoid vibrations. So our team assisted the customer to add some extra clamping to improve rigidity. With that we could use our tools with higher parameters that were not possible without the additional fixture”, Vivek Tomar adds.
To further optimize the machining process the CERATIZIT team decided to use the MaxiMill 271-12-Fräser cutters for some roughing and finishing operations, for example of the components’ foot. The tools Panchal Machinery used previously could deliver a cutting speed of vc 120 m/min whereas MaxiMill 271 could increase that up to vc 150 (m/min). Moreover they boosted up the feed rate from 0,12 mm/tooth and 320 mm/min on the previous tool to 0,18 mm/tooth and 601 mm/min with MaxiMill 271.
The major concern at Panchal Machinery was to get better chip control because the material – an austenitic stainless steel SS304 – is well known for being difficult to machine as it produces sticky and long chips. Here the MaxiMill 271-12 Masterfinish geometry played out its advantages in excellent chip control and fist-class surfaces due to the wiper insert. Furthermore, the system stands out thanks to the cutter’s excellent wear behaviour and also impresses with optimal chip formation and removal. Specially designed rake angles offer a smooth cut and less spindle load compared to the competitors.
Where Panchal Machinery needed five passes in the past CERATIZIT sped up the whole process to only two passes. “All in all we cut the cycle time of the foot and face machining from 19.5 min down to 7.6 min. As an overall cycle time we predicted 60 minutes which we undercut by one minute and therefore achieved less than a third of the previous results. But as that was not enough we increased the tool life from 7 to 13 machined components with the MaxiMill 271-12”, Vivek Tomar adds proudly. “Furthermore, the most critical and important part for any stainless steel machining is to get minimum burrs, otherwise you have to do a lot of rework or afterwork. Gladly we minimized this as well”, said Manish Panchal, Production Manager, Panchal Machinery.
Thanks to the excellent results the CERATIZIT team achieved for Panchal Machinery they got the opportunity to optimize another machining process for gearboxes. “We are really proud of this project: Having convinced a new customer of our skills in improving productivity by observing and analyzing the whole machining process is the one point. And turning this company into one of our key customers in that area is a great honor!”, Vivek Tomar resumes.