Georg Schöpf, x-technik FERTIGUNGSTECHNIK
Automotive suppliers have
the challenge of complying with the ever-increasing demands of the OEMs. Large
batch sizes of components need to be delivered, just in time, with
reproduceable, ever-higher quality. Lightweight construction is of increasing
importance and, therefore, so is the manufacture of bigger, lightweight
structural components made from aluminum and magnesium.
high-pressure die-cast components.
machining center DZ 25 P from the CHIRON Group.
Short cycle times with
high precision and reliability.
GF Casting Solutions
Altenmarkt GmbH & Co. KG is a premium supplier for this kind of part. The
firm was founded in Austria in 1972, under the name Alucon, and later was
operated by Mössner Druckguss. It has been part of GF Corporation since 1999.
For over 20 years, the firm has focused on manufacturing components for
automotive production. Product and process development for high-pressure
die-cast components is one of its specialties. »We are constantly facing the
challenge of manufacturing bigger and bigger components. To keep the weight of
the components as low as possible, you end up with die cast parts with low wall
thickness, which creates its own challenges for high-pressure die-casting and
manufacture,« explains Reinhold Brunnthaler, Senior Expert for Mechanical
Machining at GF Casting Solutions. Over the years, the experts in high-pressure
die-casting, from Styria, Austria, have expanded their knowledge and expertise
for the necessary process steps. Now, they're in the position to offer the
entire value chain, from simulation to high-pressure die-casting to mechanical
machining and part coating, as well as checking for efficiency, and seamlessly
documenting the entire process.
The benefits of the 25 Series at a glance
Twin-spindle machining of
Best possible access to
the working chamber
ndependent X-axis and
Process easily visible
thanks to separation of the operating and loading sides
Compact, flexible machine
Intuitive operation via
via robots or gantry
High level of in-house production
services cover all process steps right up to ready-to-mount components, and we
have all the necessary machining methods in-house. Cutting plays an important
role in this. Our fleet of machines comprises almost 50 machining centers. With
high-pressure die-cast machines with closing forces of up to 4,400 t, we
machine nearly 14,000 t of aluminum and magnesium per year and each part
requires some form of post-processing«, Brunnthaler justifies the high capacity
»Working together with the CHIRON Group development team allowed us to create a machine that perfectly fits the profile of our orders. In the end, it far outdid our initial list of requirements and meets all our needs, even regarding precision.«
Senior Expert for Mechanical Machining at GF Casting Solutions in Altenmarkt
CHIRON DZ 25 P twin-spindle machining center, which was first put into
operation in February 2020, has a development story that fits perfectly with
the process development objective of the GF Casting Solutions site. Dirk
Schmid, Head of technical Sales Germany, Austria, Switzerland at the CHIRON Group
SE, remembers »We've been working with Georg Fischer for over ten years now.
There are more than 15 machines of the CHIRON Group working at the site in
Herzogenburg and in Altenmarkt. We knew that the requirements for batch sizes
and the dimension of the parts were constantly increasing. Because we wanted to
support customers like GF to work more efficiently, we asked GF in 2015,
whether they were interested in helping us develop a highly productive,
twin-spindle machining center.«
Loading and unloading during operation using pallet changers guarantees high levels of efficiency.
GF Casting Solutions in Altenmarkt specialized in the manufacture of high-pressure die-cast components made from aluminum and magnesium for the automotive industry. These are produced in a wide range of batch sizes depending on requirements.
»We wanted to bring a machine onto the market that was perfectly tailored to the requirements of the automotive and aviation industry. Operators like GF Casting Solutions were the perfect development partner for this. The 25 Series unites stability, dynamism and precision.«
Head of technical Sales Germany, Austria, Switzerland at the CHIRON Group SE
The aim was to develop a
manufacturing system precisely tailored to the needs of automotive suppliers
for machining structural components. »We compiled a feature list with a precise
profile of requirements for a new, twin-spindle machine concept. Of course, we
started from the necessary machining steps, but we also rethought the
composition of the machine from scratch. A shuttle table concept for equipping
the machine during operation, as well as a quick tool changer for reduced
change times. We also had to keep in mind the high safety requirements,«
Brunnthaler goes into detail about the design.
Prioritizing stability and ergonomics
The main focus was on
highly productive machining of complex structural components. This was one of
the reasons that the CHIRON Group opted for mobile gantry design for the new
development, rather than the tried-and-tested a traveling column design. »The result
was an extraordinarily stable and rigid machining center which also fulfills
all our wishes in terms of precision. We found out precisely which factors are
relevant for cycle times and focused on those in particular. It became clear
that tool changing and workpiece positioning were crucial aspects for this,«
Schmid says. The turntables, mounted in parallel on the bridge of the A-axis
with an 800 mm spindle distance, can be fitted on the loading space and
swiveled in. Both HS motor spindles run on independent Z-guides, enabling
mirror machining and compensation of possible component distortion.
Experts from both the CHIRON Group and GF Casting Solutions worked together on the development project. (rear, from left to right) Wolfgang Prokopp, Dirk Schmid, both CHIRON Group; Dieter Brenner, Reinhold Brunnthaler, Frank Otto, all GF Casting Solutions; (front, from left to right) Michael Hintsteiner, Mathias Ahrer, Christian Fellner, Christian Platzer, all GF Casting Solutions.
Capacity for high productivity
The significant rigidity
of the machine allows high dynamics and very fast axis acceleration, as well as
fast rapid traverse speeds. Two separate tool magazines with space for 60 tools
each, offer independent tool change on each spindle for short Chip-to-Chip
times of 3.5 s. With axes of 800 x 1,100 x 800 mm (X/Y/Z), it's easy to machine
large parts and the spindle torque of 200 Nm at 20,000 rpm is transferred
safely to the tool via a HSK-A63 interface. The new TouchLine operating panel
is based on a Siemens 840 D sl.
»The positive experiences
with CHIRON machining centers allowed us to win GF Casting Solutions Altenmarkt
as a development partner for the new structural component machine. The previous
machines are, for the most part, also universal. The DZ 25 P is one of the
newest developments from the CHIRON Group, ideal for structural components for
the automotive industry. It's a true workhorse in terms of performance,
productivity and reliability,« Dirk Schmid looks satisfied as he finishes his
explanation. Reinhold Brunnthaler adds, »Our cooperation with the CHIRON Group
was really very fruitful. We regularly refined the details together with
developers until the set-up was thoroughly perfect. During the installation
test phase we actually produced suspension struts for Audi and then immediately
moved to three-shift operation. This helps us achieve the current rates of
around 270 parts per shift; which is a huge increase in productivity compared
to the old system.«
Group also offers a solution for larger structural components now, with the DZ
25 P in one size bigger. The new 28 Series with 1,200 mm spindle distance
perfectly complements the CHIRON Group portfolio. Based on the same machine
platform, the new CHIRON series are precisely designed for the various
workpiece dimensions, covering the whole range of sizes and complex components
for automotive and aerospace applications.
GF Casting Solutions
Altenmarkt GmbH & Co. KG was founded in 1972 in Obersteiermark (Austria),
under the name Alucon, and was later run by Mössner Druckguss. In 1999, Georg
Fischer took over the plant and, since then, it has been manufacturing
high-pressure die-cast components from aluminum and magnesium, primarily
serving the automotive industry from its base in Altenmarkt. Around 600
employees manufacture 14,000 t aluminum and magnesium each year on
23 high-pressure die-casting machines. 47 machining centers and numerous
specialized machines, heat treatment systems, coating systems and laser,
grinding and deburring cells complete the fleet.