"We were the first company to offer 5-axis machining, and today deliver the highest machining accuracy and the latest machining equipment. The pace of innovation we reach today is only possible with PTC Creo and PTC Windchill."
Metalltechnik Vils, based in Vils, Austria, is part of a family business that’s been operating for more than 100 years. The company machines parts for some of the world’s sexiest clients: Bosch, Georg Fischer, Trumpf, Swarowski, AGCO and Kuka.
But just like everyone else, the team must compete as pressure increases from low-cost machine shops. To discover how the company does it, look at the name on the shop floor: DMG MORI, a PTC customer.
DMG MORI is the brand of DMG MORI SEIKI AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT, a global manufacturer of machine tools, turning centers, lathes, ultrasonic and laser machines. The German DMG MORI SEIKI group includes companies like DECKEL MAHO, GILDEMEISTER, GRAZIANO, SAUER and FAMOT.
Metalltechnik Vils’ most recent purchase from DMG MORI is the DMC 80 U duoBLOCK®, a 5-axis milling center for complex parts. “The duoBLOCK® is the best out there,” says Christoph Allgaier, commercial director for the company. “We can now maximize our capacity. Plus we respond to changes in orders quickly and flexibly within one day. This used to take us anywhere from one to two weeks.”
The latest generation of the DMC 80 duoBLOCK® is packed with new features: large traverse paths, higher table loads, and a high-capacity tool changer. The designers also included a fast, space-saving pallet changer and a large work area to set up large, multiple clamping devices or machine large parts.
DMG MORI’s quality, precision and speed to market required the right design tools. And according to Dr. Hans Gronbach, head of R&D at DECKEL MAHO, that required PTC Creo.
“We were the first company to offer 5-axis machining, and today deliver the highest machining accuracy and the latest machining equipment. The pace of innovation we reach today is only possible with PTC Creo and PTC Windchill.”
In the machining world, productivity is measured in terms of reliable precision, meaning that a machining center must machine parts within a couple of microns every single time. Reliable precision is often based on the rigidity, or stiffness, of the machine.
With PTC Creo Simulate, the latest duoBLOCK® design is optimized in terms of dynamic and static masses. “We have reduced the dynamic mass (mass of moving parts) by 50% and increased the static mass. This results in higher stability, long-term precision and lower overall energy usage,” says design team lead Roland Köchl.
PTC Creo enables 3D virtual prototyping so designers like Köchl and his team can test a range of structural properties of the duoBLOCK® early in the detailed design process and before making even the first physical part.
The bottom line? The team verified and validated its duoBLOCK® design early in the design process with fewer physical prototypes and produced a superior machine.
Multiple designers work on the development of a new machine and are responsible for different parts of the overall machine. Typically, each machine is divided into eight major subassemblies, like the automatic tool changer or the milling head.
With PTC Creo and using top-down design, each designer can evolve a subassembly concurrently in 3D, load the changes to assess daily progress, and identify and resolve issues instantly. “By using PTC Creo and its validation capabilities,” says Köchl, “we can check that both static and moving parts don’t clash or touch each other. That helps us cut back on physical prototypes. Plus, PTC Windchill ensures the team is working on the latest designs, and that all changes are tracked.”
With PTC Creo, the engineering team no longer needs to create 2D technical drawings. “There’s no need for them,” says Reinhard Musch, head of manufacturing for DECKEL MAHO. “The 3D model is significantly easier for teams to understand, is precise, and can be directly used for manufacturing – it’s very efficient.”
The latest generation of the automatic tool changer in the duoBLOCK® is based on a multiple wheel design, holding up to 400 machine tools and enabling tool swapping in just one second. A split-second 400-tool changer could never have been realized earlier – R&D time and costs would have been exorbitant.
By abandoning their old 2D-based approach and switching to PTC Creo, the machine traveled from concept to production in just 14 months (shaving 16 months off their previous release times). With improved accuracy and long-term precision, the duoBLOCK® is the highest performing center with the smallest footprint to date.
There were three benefits that saved the team the most time: early and constant 3D design validation and reviews, fewer physical prototypes, and sending the 3D model to manufacturing and partners.
For companies like Metalltechnik Vils, a great machine like the duoBLOCK® means more business. And a full order book means security for the next 100 years.
"We have reduced the dynamic mass (mass of moving parts) by 50% and increased the static mass. This results in higher stability, long-term precision and lower overall energy usage."