Shorter model life-cycles, increasing demands on quality, and technological innovations continue to drive developments in high-tech industries such as car or aircraft manufacture. Hardening best shows the effect this has on the production environment. As many key components go through this process at one stage, it is a process that not only has to be highly accurate, but also guarantee consistently high component quality. Committed to the requirement of reproducibility, the specialist at eldec’s modular hardening machines offer exceptional precision and economic processes. “Reproducibility” is an indisputable requirement in car production, since an automobile as a product is reliant on the unvarying component quality of the drive shaft. The indispensible hardening process, where the components’ micro structures undergo a change to considerably improve stability, must guarantee constant reproducibility.
The Eldec experts are very well aware of the fact that the interaction between key components such as inductors, generators and coolant systems, and a multitude of other components including indexing tables, spindle drive and control systems, is of the utmost importance. Over the last three decades German-based Eldec has further developed their hardening technology and in February of 2013 the company became a part of the EMAG Group. Precision and the integrity of the production process are important to eldec experts, as Dr Christian Krause, head of application technology, explains: “We are frequently contacted by companies that require their components to be of exceptional quality, and we can guaranteed that with our system technology.“ At the center of it is the Modular Induction (Mind) hardening machine, offered in various sizes of Mind, Mind-M and Mind-S.
Using modular technology, the machines are configured to suit individual workpiece dimensions, hardness profiles and production requirements. The modular system ensures that only well proven components are used, increasing machine stability and guaranteeing that the technology can be offered at an advantageous price-performance ratio. “The engineering of the machine is, of course, greatly influenced by the workpieces to be hardened“, explains Krause. “Requirements are discussed in detail with the customer. This is followed by the gradual assembly of the eldec Mind-system, selecting the required key components: basic machine, energy source, inductor, coolant system and automation components, where required.”
The machine builder relies on their accumulated know-how and quality details for every component, resulting in a machine that considerably improves the economic viability of the process: •The basic machine base is constructed of massive, high-precision welded components and includes the main column for the Z-axis. The vibration resistant construction ensures top machining accuracy. Depending on the clamping system used, eldec machines can accommodate workpieces up to 1,200 mm diameter. •Available generators are micro-processor controlled single- or dual-frequency with a capacity of 5 to 3,000 kW. They are highly efficient and allow the required energy to be adjusted with great precision. Their performance also adjusts itself automatically, and with equally great precision, to that of the inductor used. •The inductor/tools are manufactured according to customer specification, using 3-D-CAD software. Made with the help of state-of-the-art machinery by an experienced staff, they are of micrometric accuracy. .
Performance data of the Mind-technology from Eldec is impressive, processing a driving pinion in as little as 14 seconds. The component is, through automation or manually, inserted into the indexing table of the machine and the hardening process takes between 100 milliseconds and a few complete seconds. After quenching, the hardened steel is gradually tempered and the machining cycle is completed with the subsequent cooling process. “Of decisive importance to us is not just the high speed of the process, but also the precision of the hardening operation”, states Krause. “For instance, on eldec machines the variation in effective hardening depth is no more than ±0.1 mm, an extremely low value within hardening technology.”
Please see the upcoming issues of Gear Technology and Gear Technology India for more on these developments from EMAG and Eldec.