Producing large components several metres long and wide for trucks and cars, scaffolds and space rockets cost-effectively and in large series calls for ingenious special-purpose machines and automated plant. These are developed, produced, assembled and installed by Hage Sondermaschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG. The stamping and cutting tools required for this are machined by the Austrian specialists on an MV2400S.
“Can do” is the principle put into practice in the company by current Managing Directors Florian and Stefan Hampel. Originally founded by Gerfried Hampel with just three colleagues in a garage, the business is now an internationally recognised special-purpose machine manufacturer under successful second-generation management.
The striking feature of the spacious production halls is their sheer size. This is where special-purpose machines and plant that fill shops up to sixty metres long are produced and assembled. The production facilities also encompass all the production steps necessary in metalworking and plant engineering. Among other things, these include steel construction activities for machine frames, the precision machining of small gear components, the installation of electrical equipment, controls and switch cabinets, and finally the assembly and commissioning of complex plant. Peter Leitner, Executive Manager at Hage in Obdach, explains: “A high degree of vertical integration is one of our competitive advantages. This way, we can bring innovations particularly at the concept and design stages to fruition quickly and flexibly on our high-output special-purpose machines.” He stresses above all the inventive capabilities of his skilled employees. “Our ideas and our competent design engineers have been instrumental in the achievement of our outstanding position on international markets. We develop special-purpose machines and plant to order that meet all of our customers’ requirements in terms of economy, rapid cycle times and quality of the finished products,” Leitner reports.
The company in Obdach mainly works to customer specification. This applies particularly to plant that continuously converts up to 12-metre long semi-finished products into components for scaffolds with flexibly alternating programs. This involves the sawing and cutting of tubes and sections of steel and aluminium, the stamping or milling of penetrations, the introduction of bores and threads, and finally the storage of the sorted finished components. The special-purpose machine manufacturer also develops and realises complex plant enabling the customer to fully machine parts for automotive bodies, e.g. bumpers (crash management components), floor pans and boards of truck cargo beds, side walls and sectional beams for rail vehicles, and frames and columns for process-engineering and agricultural silos and similarly large items.
We’ve been machining precision parts on wire-cutting machines from Mitsubishi Electric since 1984. We’ve been impressed by their optimum combination of technological quality and economy.
In addition, the Austrian specialists have set up a series of large, 5- to 7-axis machining centres in gantry and column designs with workspaces measuring up to 70,000 x 6,000 x 2,000 mm. In addition to the usual conventional machining methods, they are also capable of joining large aluminium components using the friction stir welding process. For this, the manufacturer has developed special tools that will fit into standard toolholders. Such special-purpose machines are mainly used by component suppliers and manufacturers in aviation and aerospace, in order to machine shaped segments into conical and cylindrical hoods and containers for rockets, for example. The beneficial feature of this is that these aluminium parts can be milled and welded in a single pass on a single machine without reclamping. On such a machining centre operated in Obdach, the special-purpose machine manufacturer also provides process development and test machining as a service.
Short cycle times and maximum quality.
Building on their outstanding expertise acquired from innovative production processes and practical machine technology, the specialists at Hage have now also developed and built a series of 3D printers. These operate with filaments of plastics that are supplied from coils, melted in multi-axially positioned heating nozzles and applied in thin layers to build up the programmed component geometry. On these printers, it is possible to produce prototypes and small series of components with unusual geometries that are incapable of being produced conventionally. As a special innovation, one variant of the 3D printer has a workspace of up to 1750 dm³ and a platform rotating and pivoting (4th and 5th NC axes) in two axes. This makes it possible to build up components with either much less of or even none of the previously required supporting structures. On these 3D printers, it is also possible to extrude metals such as titanium, stainless steel and copper as filaments and additively manufacture components with them.
Wire-cutting precision components of hard materials
For this broad spectrum of special-purpose machines, a large number of components of hard materials are needed in small series, Leitner says. This applies among other things to stamps and dies, bearing bushings and guide rails for stamping tools that are installed in high-productivity machines, as well as nozzles and guide elements for 3D printers and similar components.
“We’ve been machining such precision parts on wire EDM systems from Mitsubishi Electric since 1984. We’ve been highly impressed by these machines’ optimal combination of technological and economic quality,” Leitner continues. He tells us that one of the wire-cutting machines from Mitsubishi Electric ran for over 20 years virtually malfunction-free. This made such an impression on the skilled hands at Hage that they have consistently invested in wire-cutting machines from the same manufacturer. To stay in line with the current state of the art and to be able to exploit innovative technologies, the special-purpose machine manufacturer installed and commissioned an MV2400S NewGen in 2018. “We benefit from the exceptional quality of the machines from Mitsubishi Electric. This means setting up the machine, switching it on and getting straight on with production,” says Leitner.
Outstanding quality of Mitsubishi Electric machines.
His skilled employees are equally impressed by the performance and functions of the MV2400S. They report that there is very little downtime. The machine needs only minimal maintenance. It also has a sufficiently large workspace for the large stamping tools. In addition, larger plate can be clamped so that several identical parts can be cut in an unmanned operation. Owing to the dependability of the wire-cutting machine, this can be done trouble-free overnight and into the weekend. The technicians, including Johann Mischlinger, confirm that this is made possible by the extremely dependable and proven automatic wire threader. With its Tubular Shaft Drives and its optical measuring systems, the MV2400S achieves the best compromise between accuracy and working speed for the specialists in Obdach. “Compared to machines equipped with linear drives, the MV2400S is also much more energy-efficient in operation,” Leitner adds. Programming in Obdach is performed at external 3D CAD/CAM workstations using the SolidWorks software. The NC programs are transferred via a network straight to the wire EDM system. The technicians are very happy with its updated operating strategy. It needed to be adapted to the now integrated functions and their operation, but it didn’t take long, they claimed, for them to appreciate the benefits of the new control panel.
Finally, Executive Manager Leitner stresses that the recent investment in the wire-cutting machine from Mitsubishi Electric has been fully vindicated. He sees this decision fully confirmed by his experience of the rapid and competent after-sales service and short-notice supply of maintenance accessories and replacement parts for the wire-cutting machines from Mitsubishi Electric already in operation in Obdach.
Name and place of company:
Hage Sondermaschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG
Turnkey special-purpose machines and automated plant for the high-productivity manufacture of metal and plastics components for road and rail vehicles, aviation and aerospace, and the construction industry
Hage Sondermaschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG
8742 Obdach / Austria
Tel +43 3578 2209
Fax +43 3578 2209 16
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