Smart chamfering

A leader in the energy industry turned to us to solve a bottleneck in its production cycle. The shell and tube heat exchangers manufactured by it require thousands of holes in the sheets and baffles. Each hole must be chamfered, which requires accurate identification of the position of the previously drilled hole. An additional requirement was the adaptation of the customer’s 2003 gantry machine for this purpose.

We proposed to install a second gate on the existing beds. The new gate is equipped with 2 milling–chamfering-drilling vertical units. Each of the vertical units has a 3D laser scanner that is integrated with the NC system of the machine tool. This allows to make each hole with an accuracy of +/- 0.1mm (in each plane). After scanning the detail, a machining program is generated automatically (the operator’s task is limited to clamping the work piece and determining the base point).

In addition, we used a unique solution that allows the spindle to move by ±46mm in the “X” axis and ±100mm in the “Y” axis without the need to move the whole vertical unit or the gate.

Thanks to this, we finish the hole in less than 4 seconds. This means that a sheet with 5,000 holes is chamfered in approximately 5.5 hours by our machine tool.

Each of the vertical units can also perform milling and drilling operations. Each is equipped with a 16-position tool changer.

As part of the project, we also modernized the existing gate and the original vertical milling unit installed on it. In addition, we repaired a complicated rotary union transferring the necessary media to the angle head and used a modern BERG tool clamping.

Each of the two gates (new and existing) now has an independent Siemens numerical control type 840D sl. The gates can work simultaneously and independently of each other. There are a total of 11 CNC axes + 2 spindles on the new gate (a total of 18 drives).

In both gantry gates, the movement is carried out by 4 servo motors (gantry system with electronic backlash compensation by a master/slave system).

The chamfering itself is carried out with a specially designed connecting rod system, which significantly increases the life of the entire machine tool.

We like such challenges the most 🙂