Brakes are used in many diverse branches of industry and for a variety of different applications – from forklifts to crane systems and industrial washing machines to stage technology and wind turbines.
Precima Magnettechnik GmbH in Bückeburg, Germany, specializes in these braking systems. Reliability and longevity are two of the most important requirements for brakes according to the engineers at Precima.
“Our brakes are often used in safety-relevant systems such as lifts and cranes. When it comes to this kind of application, any failure would be unacceptable. Since its inception, Precima has not experienced a single failure of its safety-relevant braking systems. This fact highlights the quality of our products, of which we are very proud,” says Andreas Nagel, manager operations CNC, Precima.
40,000+ Brakes per Month
The company makes more than 40,000 brakes a month. To be able to produce these quantities and maintain the quality, Precima relies on cutting-edge manufacturing technologies. In 2009, the company invested in four vertical pick-up turning machines from EMAG. These machines produce housings for brakes used primarily in wind turbines. Production consists of two islands with two vertical pick-up turning machines and a machining center each. Purchase of the first VL 5 was in 2009, quickly followed by another VL 5, a VSC 7, and a VSC 315.
Precima was convinced they had the right machines when their high degree of efficiency surprised everyone.
|Left to right: Helge Prester, area sales manager, EMAG and Andreas Nagel, manager operations CNC, Precima
“We had tried vertical pick-up turning machines from other manufacturers before, but were repeatedly faced with quality issues. Quite simply: they all showed a lack of power. Now, with the EMAG machines we are completely satisfied. Series production was up and running in an amazingly short time; and since then we have been producing,” Nagel states.
One thing that most convinced Nagel it was the right decision was the vibration characteristics of the machines. The housings are made of steel St52-3, a material that places great demands on the machining process
“In the past we were again and again faced with the problem of vibrations that had an instant, negative effect on tool life and surface finish. Where these housings are concerned, our customers are so sensitive about quality that even a little scratch is unacceptable, despite the fact that it would have no effect on the efficiency of the brake. They quite simply expect absolute perfection,” Nagel explains.
The EMAG turning machines meet these requirements. The high degree of rigidity of the machines and the outstanding vibration damping quality of the base in Mineralite (six to eight times better than that of cast iron) allows for very high feedrates and cutting speeds required in precision hard machining.
Working Toward a Common Goal
A machine is only as good as the person that operates it. For this reason, Precima decided to have their staff undergo a thorough training process.
Nagel explains: “Our people were at EMAG for three days of intensive training. I was particularly impressed by the high proportion of practical training. After only three days, we were almost ready to operate the machines on our own. But in an effort to solidify the operating staff’s knowledge base, and to give them a sense of security during the initial phase, we opted for some production handholding.”
|Batch sizes of brake housing production at Precima Magnettechnik are near 2,000 per week.
EMAG provided Precima with two service engineers whom – together with the Precima staff – set up the machines on their workpieces and answered any questions that came up.
“In addition, we had an apprentice attend right from the beginning – i.e. from the installation and commissioning stage onwards – so that he could acquaint himself in detail with the machine concept. He is now operating the machines almost with his eyes closed,” Nagel says.
Speed Plays a Role
The high productivity rates of the machines did, of course, play a pivotal role in the decision to invest in EMAG machines. The workpieces are produced in families, at a rate of 2,000 components per week, in three shifts, plus eight hours on Saturday. Process design also had to be completed in the shortest possible time.
Nagel states: “We deal in top-quality products, which are in high demand worldwide. Because of the heavy demand, we had to expand, massively, our production capacity. That is only possible with a partner competent enough to react with the same dynamic. We found that partner in EMAG.”
In the end, it took just three months from project design and decision-making, commissioning and staff training, to fully functioning three-shift production.
Precima Magnettechnik GmbH
To watch a range of EMAG machinery in motion, visit the video page.