Regular further development is one of the strengths of MAG's cold rolling mills business unit.
The company has continued its success with the basic XK 2 series in the form of the hydraulic-free, electronically synchronised XK 6 models. The XK 8 series added, among other things, extended CNC functionality and increased flexibility, while the large, similarly equipped XK 12 enabled production of truck-axle and transmission shafts.
The task: design a highly efficient, compact cold rolling machine
In August 2018, the CRM business unit at MAG placed an order with engineering people's Competence Centre in Ulm, Germany, asking us to design a highly efficient cold rolling machine that also needed to be as small and lightweight as possible. Accordingly, the CRM business unit, which was overseeing development of the new plant directly, commissioned the ep CC Ulm and provided the following detailed specifications:
• FEM-calculations including the optimisation of current designs
• 3D CAD design of the listed assemblies and their individual parts
• Detailed construction of the assemblies and individual parts including the creation of drawings
• Mapping of the assembly structure in MAG's PLM system (Agile)
• Creation of a 3D model that realistically represents the machine movements
From project start to fleshed-out concept
ep project manager Alexander Meier and the project team – consisting of team coordinator Stephan Lange, Daniel Borrego, Thomas Celtik and Manfred Weindl – initially carried out the FEM investigation of the supplied data after completing some preparatory measures. Due to the extreme machining forces, the stiffness analysis proved to be a major challenge. Installation-space investigations allowed a precise picture of the technical situation to be obtained – including the processing forces during the rolling process as well as possible deformation of the plant and its effect on the accuracy of the resulting products. On this basis, a number of conceivable implementations and variants were discussed. The results were incorporated into the MAG systematics; the concept design was validated and presented using FEM.
Drawings and assemblies
This was followed by a revision phase, after which the data was imported into MAG's PDM system. Components were modelled and the team obtained information from manufacturers (including foundries). Drawings were created on request using customer templates from MAG's PDM system. The following main assemblies were defined on the basis of the assembly sequence: the tool slide, the movement axes, the C-profile for holding the internal components and the base frame, which also serves as an oil collecting tank.
Different variants and their effects were discussed and simulated. In particular, the movements of the infeed axes and the dimensioning of the oil pan required careful consideration. The practical experience of MAG technicians was used in conjunction with input from suppliers to determine the feasibility of – and cost factors for – the resulting models. A constant theme was discussions about the benefits of further optimisations: "Where should we opt for the high-end solution, where are cost-savings the more sensible alternative?" After the testing phase, the construction of the machine was completed. This was followed by inspections by ep and MAG. After approval, the parts lists were prepared and the complete assembly delivered.
Organisation and software
The project duration was six months, during which the team worked with Siemens NX 12, SolidWorks Simulation and Agile PLM. Communication was made easier thanks to a VPN connection from the site to MAG using hardware provided by MAG. Queries were answered on a regular basis, and regular project deadlines allowed MAG to directly influence the design process through feedback from internal meetings. "The communication with MAG was important and ran smoothly," said team coordinator Stephan Lange in praise of the consistently positive collaboration. The transfer of knowledge facilitated the rapid implementation of concepts and early identification of potential problem areas. Face-to-face meetings on site ensured a continuous understanding of the product and facilitated change requests for the existing lines. Direct inspections of the system accelerated the development process," says MAG design manager Florian Beutel. "The finished design explicitly meets the expectations and requirements of MAG."
A mature product
The MAG XK 851-8E combines the desired attributes of a highly efficient yet comparatively small and lightweight cold rolling machine. It is designed for the machining of simpler workpieces and, thanks to a newly applied technology, achieves extremely precise results that can be optimised in the course of the respective processes. Thanks to the system developed at the ep CC, the MAG cold rolling mills business unit can now offer its customers a whole new level of quality and practicality.
The ep Competence Centres as design partners
The XK 851-8E was the first order for a complete plant that the ep Competence Centre Ulm had received from the MAG IAS cold rolling machines business unit. MAG views the project as a successful start and can now envisage further collaborative projects with ep. For the Ulm CCA it was a welcome challenge – and one for which they were well prepared. "We have extremely competent engineers here who work responsibly and in a customer-focused manner," says Michael Göhring, Head of the Competence Centre's design team. "Our motto, 'getting to know each other – analysis – consulting – partnership' is geared towards long-term partnerships. We will do everything we can to live up to this goal!"
The CC's spectrum of needs-based services includes time and cost planning, CAD, CAE and made-to-measure FEM, as well as implementation, training and technical documentation. Further CCs are offered by ep Stuttgart and ep Mannheim, the services are available nationwide. "We target our services so that they unburden our customers' teams," adds Michael Mayer, Head of CC Stuttgart. "This applies to the CC Design teams well as to the CC Electrical/Electronic, Software and Technical Documentation departments."
Further information is available in our Competence Centre Flyer.
Extract from the ep magazine #18 (11/2019).
Text: Annette Schlenker
Photos: Rampant Pictures