This Tecnalia researcher set out to design an eco-efficient, high-volume milling machine, but without compromising its productivity: “Normally, the aim of these designs is to make the machine as solid as possible. But that is not the case in my model, and this signifies a profound change in this area.” He has reduced mass in order to give priority to dynamism, and in this way has cut consumption by 20%. He submitted his thesis at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) under the title Metodología para la concepción de fresadoras de gran volúmen productivas y ecoeficientes (Methodology for the conception of eco-efficient, high-volume production milling machines). This innovative approach has also been applauded by the highest-impact journal in the sector (International Journal of Machine Tools and Manufacture).
Large-volume milling machines are about three or four metres high and 10-15 metres long. They are used to produce large-sized parts, like supports for railway carriages (‘boogies’), for example. Equipment of this type tends to be heavy and unwieldy, difficult to move, and that is why it consumes a large amount of energy in these tasks. That is what Zulaika’s research has focussed on. For example, if the machine has a column weighing five tonnes, he has set about making it lighter and leaving it at three or four tonnes: “If I reduce the weight of the machine’s components by 20%, the energy reduction is proportional.”
Productivity, the starting point
There have basically been two limits on these weight reduction tasks: the risk of weakening the components too much and having to maintain the same productivity. There lies the crux of the research, since Zulaika has created an innovative simulation model to establish and find out these limits in advance. It is innovative, because the aim is productivity, and all the rest is built up on the basis of this: “I have incorporated the dynamics of the machine and that of the process into an inclusive model. I decide what the aim is as regards productivity, and the model tells me what limits the milling machine has. It is as if a doctor were to diagnose the machine: we are told which components are too robust and which are too weak.”
What is more, this researcher has applied the simulation model he has created to a real milling machine, thus verifying its usefulness. Specifically, the model has enabled him to develop a new machine four metres high for a company in the sector. The results have exceeded expectations.
Firstly, Zulaika carried out a diagnosis of this new milling machine, and to do so, took as the starting point the level of productivity of the machine used previously at this company. Following the indications of the simulation model, he reduced the weight of the parts of the machine that were too robust and reinforced the weakened ones, thus achieving a 20% reduction in its mass. But he also added shock absorbers to cushion the jolts between the components when the milling machine is working. Thanks to this complementary measure, productivity has not only been maintained but also increased. “The aim in itself was to maintain productivity and to cut energy consumption; that is sufficient for any company. But in the end, when the two measures were combined, the results were better than expected,” explains the researcher. In comparison with the machine previously used at this company, productivity has increased 100% in the best tests. There they now work with the new optimised milling machine made possible by the simulation model.
About the author
Juan José Zulaika-Muniain (Zarautz, Basque Country, 1971) is a graduate in Industrial Engineering (University of Navarre) and a Doctor in Mechanical Engineering (UPV/EHU). He wrote up his PhD thesis under the supervision of Norberto López de Lacalle-Marcaide, Professor of Manufacturing at the UPV/EHU. The research was done at Tecnalia’s Industrial Systems Unit. Work was also done in collaboration with the company Nicolás Correa S.A. of Burgos (Spain). Zulaika currently works as a researcher at Tecnalia.
Amaia Portugal | EurekAlert!
New data unearths pesticide peril in beehives
21.04.2017 | Cornell University
New rice fights off drought
04.04.2017 | RIKEN
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy