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Efficiency in production and quality are important parameters in sheet metal processing. This also means that the burrs are removed before further processing or installation, especially in the case of laser-cut parts. Against this background, a manufacturer of security vehicles has invested in precisely fitting new system technology.
Special protection solutions for the automotive industry are manufactured at Farmingtons Automotive GmbH in Georgsmarienhütte. The Welp Group, to which the company belongs, has been operating as a specialist in the delivery of security products to UN organizations (NGOs), authorities, VIPs, police, judiciary, banks and security service companies around the world for over 40 years. The requirements and standards that are placed on the manufacturing and processing technology of the components are correspondingly high. Now the company has invested in a deburring and brushing line from Lissmac Maschinenbau GmbH from Bad Wurzach.
Achieve higher quality and faster processes
As a result of the Welp Group's new strategic orientation, it was also necessary at the Georgsmarienhütte site to focus more on process efficiency and thus also on process capacities. Another point is the increased focus on the OEM target group and the related quality requirements, says Torsten Rieger, Managing Director of Farmingtons Automotive GmbH. Against this background, it was necessary to tackle various challenges. For example, with a view to corrosion protection, the coating quality should be increased and more cost efficiency achieved through faster processes. And work safety and working conditions should also be improved. So they were looking for the right system technology.
Gerold Hilger is responsible for production control in the company and, together with Leonid Muliar, was responsible for the project and the associated new acquisition. He brings with him complex knowledge in the field of laser and brush systems from previous activities. So the idea of using a brushing machine was born.
At Farmingtons Automotive, laser cutting is done with oxygen. This creates an oxide layer on the cutting edges from which the coating can flake off again. There is also a risk of injury due to the sharp edges. And last but not least, the scale has to be removed from the armored steel that is processed in the special vehicles in Georgsmarienhütte, Hilger summarizes the situation. If possible, all three technical tasks should now be solved with the new system technology.
Process the sharp edges of the laser process
The first contact with the machine manufacturer Lissmac took place in 2018. The situation was analyzed together. The results were presented in a qualified manner through tests with components. On the basis of these key data and the specifications from Farmingtons Automotive, Lissmac developed a suitable machine concept.
The aim was to cover the greatest possible variety of components in the parts with the system technology. After all, around 1,500 different components are manufactured in Georgsmarienhütte from a wide variety of materials and in different thicknesses. Furthermore, the machine should remove the oxide layer in just one work step and round the edges on both the top and bottom, says Leonid Muliar.
But at this point in time, Farmingtons Automotiv was already planning to purchase a fiber laser. A cutting burr is created especially with the fiber laser. Once again, extensive tests were made with sample parts and the results were evaluated. And once again, different system concepts were created with a view to the new acquisition of the fiber laser, says Dirk Schürstedt, Area Sales Manager Metal Processing at Lissmac, describing the decision-making process.
New plant meets all requirements
The decision to invest in Lissmac technology was made in mid-2019. Linked mechanically and in terms of control technology, the Lissmac steel brushing machine SBM-M 1500 B2 is located directly behind the SBM-L-G1S2 grinding machine.
With the grinding and deburring machine, which works in the dry process, parts made of steel and stainless steel can be machined alternately on both sides in just one work step. It is designed for deburring and uniform rounding of the workpiece edges on the outer and inner contours. The steel brush machine also works in the dry process. Four counter-rotating brush belt units with inclined brushes, two each on the top and bottom, ensure optimum cutting-edge processing. The sheets to be processed run automatically through the machine. The four brush belt units brush off the oxide layers on all inner and outer edges. In just one work step, edges and surfaces that are suitable for coating are created on both sides. Process reliability is also guaranteed with an automatic thickness measurement.
And the new system also scores with a view to the working conditions. The dry dust extractor enables the exhaust air to be fed back into the room with a purity of 99.9 percent.
Significant savings potential achieved
Farmingtons Automotive is very satisfied with the results achieved with the Lissmac machines. With the new system technology, parts from one to fifteen millimeters and materials from structural steel to armored steel are processed today.
Almost 80 percent of the components can now be processed with the new system technology. This means that, in relation to the range of machined parts, only nine grinding hours per week are required instead of the previous thirty hours, says Peter Schulte, Production Manager for Vehicle Construction. In this context, the personnel costs in the process were significantly reduced. Since the machine also removes the scale, the cleaning costs are also saved.
And employee satisfaction has also increased. With the new system, it is no longer necessary to work in the grinding cabin with hearing protection and a mask. Employees are now better protected by the system's dust filters.
The company has now also become more flexible when it comes to manufacturing new components. Both large and small components can be processed in the same way as different thicknesses and materials. This means that you are well positioned for future trends and requirements.
And last but not least, the important issue of quality is taken into account. The components manufactured in Georgsmarienhütte are primarily used as special protection modules for off-road vehicles, pick-ups and vans and are later screwed into the vehicles. Depending on the customer's requirements in terms of equipment and the specific vehicle, that is between 40 and 70 components per vehicle. These so-called component kits are safety-certified and must therefore meet the highest quality requirements and be manufactured with a correspondingly precise fit. A résumé documentation is indispensable for vehicles of this type, because their use is ultimately also about protecting human life.
At the end of 2020, the production area in Georgsmarienhütte was expanded by 6,000 square meters. In this context, however, Peter Schulte is already thinking about the next efficiency issue: "In the long term, there are plans to introduce automation between the laser and the deburring-brushing machine." So Farmingtons Automotive is well positioned for the future.
Author / Editor: Annedore Bose-Munde / M.A. Frauke Finus