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.
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.
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 publicationsMarkus Isgro EMAG GmbH & Co.KG Austrasse 24 D-73084 Salach Phone: +49(0)7162/17-4658 Fax: +49(0)7162/17-199 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Janine Lahr | EMAG eldec Induction GmbH
More functionalities: Microstructuring large surfaces with a UV-laser system
05.07.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
A factory to go
04.07.2018 | Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences
19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences