Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

MICO Generators from eldec: Full hardness and short processes for the tool and mold making industry

22.11.2016

Tool and mold making professionals routinely face many challenges unique to their industry. In order to ensure the stability of the tools produced, very hard grades of steel are required, however, specialists must also be able to precisely shape this material for use in creating demanding components for things such as car body manufacturing. In other words, quality in the toolmaking process has an enormous impact on quality in automobile manufacturing. It is clear that under these conditions the final surface hardness of the tools is essential, and additional hardening of the cutting edges is usually necessary. The production planners at Werkzeugbau Laichingen, in Ulm, Germany, have been relying on technology from eldec: Their cutting edges are hardened by mobile and robust MICO generators. This flexible technology significantly decreases and simplifies the production process.

Experts often describe toolmaking as a link between development and production with a considerable impact on the industrial value added. This is why the industry is considered a trendsetter for the continued development of production technologies ­and is always in search of new solutions to improve workflows and quality.


Complex molds at Werkzeugbau Laichingen: The active parts are hardened with eldec technologies.


Energy source and cooling system in one: MICO generators provide users in the tool and mold making industry with the necessary flexibility.


The mobile system can be moved quickly to different application locations on the factory floor. Operation is easy, allowing for quick hardening processes at the cutting edges.


On request, the required inductors (tools) are also custom made at eldec.


An intuitive user interface with touchscreen simplifies the configuration of the MICO.

Cutting-edge hardening is no exception. This process hardens the features of the tool that later have to bear the greatest load in the punching or embossing machine. The stability of the cutting edge is decisive in determining the length of the  tool life.

Benefits of Induction Hardening

Toolmakers generally use edge-layer hardening where the outermost layer of the cutting edge is heated to about 800 or 900 degrees Celsius (1,472-1,652 degrees Fahrenheit), depending on the material. The "quenching", where the real transformation takes place, then happens by natural cooling in the ambient air. As a result, the surface of the edge is harder and more resilient to wear (toolmaking typically requires a hardness of between 54 and 56 HRC), while the core of the material retains its toughness. Various methods are available to achieve these results.

Toolmakers primarily use either flame hardening, the very expensive laser hardening or, alternatively, induction hardening. Why is that? "For starters, all these methods have flexible applications. Even large, bulky components with complex geometries can be produced manually or automatically when using lasers", explains Stefan Tzschupke, Head of Business Development Generators at eldec. "However, induction hardening offers significant advantages in terms of processing quality and time, as well as safety and cost. Our technology is becoming increasingly important for a growing number of toolmakers." A quick look at the characteristics of the eldec procedure confirms this assessment.

The cutting edge is heated by induction. This way, the tool reaches the required temperature much quicker, because the heat is delivered directly to the volume underneath the surface. With flame or laser hardening, only the surface itself is heated at first. eldec energy sources also make it possible to precisely control power, current, or temperature, enabling users to respond optimally to special requirements as well as the ambient conditions of the process. As a result, the hardening pattern is very uniform. "Another benefit is that the process generates no toxic or explosive gases that might contaminate the workplace", adds Tzschupke. "Finally, its good energy efficiency makes our technology much more environmentally friendly than flame hardening."

Significant Reduction in Cycle Time

The company Werkzeugbau Laichingen is a new eldec customer that relies on the advantages of induction hardening. At its locations in Laichingen and Leipzig, the German company has comprehensive knowledge and experience ranging from tool design to complete production processes and comprehensive services for pressing and shaping tools. The specialists also provide the in-house presses for the start and phase-out of series production.

"We are able to respond to customer needs on extremely short notice, as missing or incomplete tools can cost a lot of money. We are continuously working to improve and further shorten our production processes", says Gottlieb Schwertfeger, who is in charge of purchasing and quality management at Werkzeugbau Laichingen. "In pursuit of this goal, we recently changed the processes for cutting-edge hardening, which had been taking too much time overall."

In the past, tools were mostly treated on site by flame hardening. The alternative was laser hardening at external contractors – an additional logistical effort that has now become unnecessary thanks to the fast induction hardening process. Since the fall of last year, the company has used a MICO generator from eldec as the energy source.

This flexible energy container is perfect for toolmakers. A generator, cooling system, and hose bundle are packed into a compact housing that is available with casters if required. Users are able to easily move the machine wherever it is needed on the factory floor and an intuitive user interface with a touchscreen simplifies the configuration.The processes at eldec also ensure that MICO generators have high stability and a long service life as they are developed for challenging manufacturing applications. Before shipping, they undergo comprehensive testing and are held to extremely high quality standards.

Developing In-House Know-How

“We are more than satisfied with the technology", says Gottlieb Schwertfeger of Werkzeugbau Laichingen. "We’re already saving a lot of money. While we are improving our processes, we’re also simultaneously developing new know-how around the technology which will later directly benefit our customers. For example, we are optimizing the hardening and subsequent annealing processes to improve the fit and configuration of the device for the relevant active part of the tool.

The quality and efficiency of the process are continuously being perfected." The technology is being used in a wide variety of punching, bending, and forming tools. It creates a uniform hardness distribution on many straight and arched surfaces and radii. The flexibility of the applied technology is very important.

For eldec, the above application example has something of a model function, since experts are seeing a lot of market potential for their flexible generators, as Tzschupke confirms. "Our new MICO series is providing a major solution for the energy source and cooling system. It covers a wide range of services and can be fitted with many different tools, which gives toolmakers a lot of options for implementing perfect and efficient hardening processes. We want to bring these strengths to the market even more than before in the coming years.

Contact for press and publications

Markus Isgro
EMAG GmbH & Co.KG
Austrasse 24
D-73084 Salach
Phone: +49(0)7162/17-4658
Fax: +49(0)7162/17-199
e-mail: misgro@emag.com

www.emag.com

Janine Lahr | EMAG eldec Induction GmbH

More articles from Machine Engineering:

nachricht One third less consumption: Industry & research work together on fuel-efficient SI engines
04.03.2019 | Forschungsvereinigung Verbrennungskraftmaschinen e.V.

nachricht Large bearing test bench starts continuous operation
28.02.2019 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Windenergiesysteme IWES

All articles from Machine Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Revealing the secret of the vacuum for the first time

New research group at the University of Jena combines theory and experiment to demonstrate for the first time certain physical processes in a quantum vacuum

For most people, a vacuum is an empty space. Quantum physics, on the other hand, assumes that even in this lowest-energy state, particles and antiparticles...

Im Focus: Sussex scientists one step closer to a clock that could replace GPS and Galileo

Physicists in the EPic Lab at University of Sussex make crucial development in global race to develop a portable atomic clock

Scientists in the Emergent Photonics Lab (EPic Lab) at the University of Sussex have made a breakthrough to a crucial element of an atomic clock - devices...

Im Focus: Sensing shakes

A new way to sense earthquakes could help improve early warning systems

Every year earthquakes worldwide claim hundreds or even thousands of lives. Forewarning allows people to head for safety and a matter of seconds could spell...

Im Focus: A thermo-sensor for magnetic bits

New concept for energy-efficient data processing technology

Scientists of the Department of Physics at the University of Hamburg, Germany, detected the magnetic states of atoms on a surface using only heat. The...

Im Focus: The moiré patterns of three layers change the electronic properties of graphene

Combining an atomically thin graphene and a boron nitride layer at a slightly rotated angle changes their electrical properties. Physicists at the University of Basel have now shown for the first time the combination with a third layer can result in new material properties also in a three-layer sandwich of carbon and boron nitride. This significantly increases the number of potential synthetic materials, report the researchers in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Last year, researchers in the US caused a big stir when they showed that rotating two stacked graphene layers by a “magical” angle of 1.1 degrees turns...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

A peek into lymph nodes

15.03.2019 | Medical Engineering

Novel methods for analyzing neural circuits for innate behaviors in insects

15.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Converting biomass by applying mechanical force

15.03.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>