Saturday, June 15, 2024

Addtoshape is ready to support and collaborate with electric motor designers to create today what many will do tomorrow

With the objective of enhancing power density, innovative axial flux electric motors are now available with the help of Additive Manufacturing
With the objective of enhancing power density, innovative axial flux electric motors are now available with the help of Additive Manufacturing

Addtoshape designs and manufactures, through additive manufacturing, innovative electrical components in pure copper for high performance electric power units.

Maximum freedom of expression

Complex geometries, otherwise not achievable with traditional, round or flat copper wire, are now achievable without limits, allowing maximum freedom of expression in terms of shape, function and performance.
Despite large-scale production capacities achieved by traditional windings, the growing pressure from environmental policies is pushing the electric motor sector to a leading role in the fight to reduce global greenhouse gases. To achieve this, it is necessary to reduce the carbon footprint of electric motors by further increasing their efficiency and power density. Traditional windings allow the production of electric motors with a vast range of power, torque and rotation speed.
However, limits of current electric motors are represented by a non-optimal filling of the volume available for the winding due to the predetermined diameter or section of the copper wire and by the bending limits imposed by copper and its electrical insulator. Indeed, volumes are not optimized due to the manufacturing and assembly process of the windings which do not fit the geometries of the slots. Furthermore, complex geometries cannot be created to counteract power losses at high frequencies. Finally, the current density in windings, on which power density depends, is strongly limited by the poor heat dissipation capacity of the innermost parts of the windings.

L-PBF powder bed metal additive manufacturing technology

The recent industrial stability represented by the L-PBF powder bed metal additive manufacturing technology allows the industrial production of pure copper parts with density close to 100% and very high electrical conductivity, even 102% IACS. Also the thermal conductivity reaches the maximum value.

The connection and the power transfer between concentrated windings is possible with compact, seamless 3D printed busbars

New geometries of windings and busbars are now accessible, with initial prototyping costs extremely lower than traditional costs, with higher performance and efficiency compared to the traditional method. An example? the design strategy of continuously modifying the cross section of the wire along the entire winding, keeping the area value constant, allows to obtain a more efficient winding at the same current value, or a higher power density.
Are you wondering what our solution is to guarantee the electrical insulation of these components? Contact us on info@addtoshape.com

Pure copper windings produced through additive manufacturing employ new and unique solutions to overcome the problem of overheating. A liquid cooling system can be integrated into the winding to dissipate the heat in a suitable way, with the possibility of cooling the most critical regions, allowing a level of motor operation with higher current densities.

The AM E-Engineer

A new professional figure is needed. That of the AM E-Engineer (Additive Manufacturing Electrical Engineer).
By applying the use of the design principles represented by DfAM (Design for Additive Manufacturing) right from the early stages of the design of an electric motor, the complete change of paradigm in the design of electric motors will take place by taking advantage of pure copper windings produced through additive manufacturing.

Green revolution, GROB Italy has accepted the challenge with promptness

2022-06-22 - Linea ROTAX

GROB Italy among the few able to perform the whole process of motor manufacturing
The fast progress of the green revolution has imposed a neat change of pace to all big players in the automotive (and non-automotive) industry that, to face the transition to electric, require their partners technical competences to generate innovative, performing and eco-sustainable solutions.
GROB Italy has accepted the challenge with promptness: relying on over thirty years of know how in the manufacturing of machines and lines for the electric motor and being a consolidated partner in the insertion technology, the company can position itself among the most reliable suppliers for Light E-Mobility applications and among the few on the market (the only one in Italy) able to cover the whole motor production process.
The line dedicated to the manufacturing of motors from 4 to 40 kW includes, in fact, winding, impregnation, rotor and assembly and therefore can offer a complete and efficient “turnkey” solution for two-wheelers and three-wheelers, but also microcars, vehicles “for fun” and e-marine.

The Italian branch of GROB Group could deploy its expertise also in the production of lines connected with the rotor.
In the rotor line of GROB Italy, the operations of glue distribution and magnet insertion are both managed by robots, to grant high precision and repeatability of the final result. GROB Italy has in fact optimized the rotor manufacturing process by defining a reliable process sequence and a scalable layout according to manufacturing volumes and extending its flexibility to products, from the Light E-Mobility, up to power ranges normally used by both light and heavy commercial vehicles.

Rotor example

Among the most recent innovations, the development of solutions concerning segmented-stator and axial- flux motors are among the most frequent demands submitted to the company. GROB Italy can carry out the joint study and the prototyping of Segmented Stator and Axial Flux motors, with both round wire and rectangular wire conductor.

Highly productive but also sustainable machines: the GIT Connect software allows optimizing energy consumptions, monitoring performances from remote, limiting machine downtimes, executing an immediate check for the problem solving – everything without affecting the high product efficiency.

A company accustomed to manufacturing tailored solutions, both at technological level due to the availability of a Technical Office for studies of simultaneous engineering and prototyping, and in terms of Service and after sales. With a customer service available on a world scale, the company can provide for the training of the GROB service next to the installation site, so that the customer can benefit from immediate and direct service.

E-motor 400 – 800v Insulation & Thermal Management for Hairpin Stator Slot Liner

In the EV revolution, one of the most fascinating challenges is to ensure proper thermal management and electrical insulation of motors, batteries and other key components.
Politubes has engineered a revolutionary solution (EVtubes) improve stator slot thermal management and insulation of electric motors (EV & HEV), which use copper hairpins & I-Pins windings.
Copper hairpins guarantee better performance in terms of efficiency, power density, cost, acoustic impact and are in line with the latest technological developments in the E-Mobility industry, particularly with reference to EV traction motors.

For the insulation of stator slots with hairpin windings, Politubes suggests the use of custom-designed NKN (Nomex /Kapton /Nomex)* – NMN (Nomex /Mylar /Nomex)* insulating spiral tubing.
Multi-layer Nomex/Kapton/Nomex (NKN) spiral wound tubes are thinner than traditional insulators tapes and are supplied with thicknesses of only 0.13 and 0.19 mm without overlap.
The reduction in thickness and the absence of insulating film overlap within the slot guarantees some dramatic improvements in the following macro-areas:

  • Thermal Management
  • Insulation & Reduction of Partial Discharges
  • Filling factor, Performance and Motor Life
  • Handling, Mechanical Properties and Waste Reduction

Thermal Management

– The thermal conductivity within the stator slot improved dramatically due to the reduced thickness of the spiral wound tubes, which are produced without overlaps. Actually, the overlapped area of traditional tapes is one of the areas where the highest temperatures can be achieved;
– Overheating can reduce motor efficiency, deteriorate key components and reduce the resistance of electrical insulation. However, improved heat dissipation can translate into a positive impact on all vital matrix and motor lifetime;
– Reduction of dangerous heat peaks that can damage the magnetic flux of the rotors’ permanent magnets over time;
– UL system integration up to 220°C.

Insulation & Reduction of Partial Discharges

– Reduction of partial discharges (PD) thanks to hermetic tube closure;
– The hermetic tube closure provides a much higher level of electrical insulation than conventional films, where the overlapped area remains the weakest part in the insulation chain;
– Reduced risk of insulation displacement caused by micro-vibrations during motor lifetime and that can cause partial discharges (PD);
– Improved uniformity, thermal, dielectric and chemical insulation;
– Dielectric strength up to 12 kV;
– Excellent impregnation properties with traditional resins.

Filling factor, Performance and Motor Life

– The reduction in the size of the insulator due to the lower thickness and absence of overlaps makes it possible to increase the amount of copper inside the slot with consequent optimization of torque and improved motor performance;
to improve the filling factor of copper inside the slot with consequent optimization of torque and improved motor performance;
– The reduction of heat peaks and partial discharges guarantee longer motor life.

Handling, Mechanical Properties and Waste Reduction

– The absence of overlaps reduces the risk of jamming when inserting hairpins into the slots, reducing scrap and increasing productivity;
– Reduction accidental cases where the insulation tape is pushed out of the slot during hairpin insertion;
– Reduction of the risk of displacement of the insulation when curving the hairpin;
– The usage of Nomex 410 instead than 464, reduce the
Nomex dust on stator during hairpin insertion;
– Superior mechanical tensile strength.
Nomex /Kapton /Nomex tubes are custom-designed for both 400V and 800V motors.
For 800V motors we recommend the use of special grades Nomex (818 – 864) and Kapton MT+ with state-of-the-art dielectric, heat dissipation, flame resistance and durability performances.
NKN insulating spiral wound tubes can be formed inside the slot or can be easily inserted onto copper bars taking the rectangular shape of hairpins.
World-leading companies in process automation already offer fully automatic systems for inserting NKN tubes into stator slots.
For automotive applications, Politubes also supplies ultrasonically welded caps made from a combination of Nomex 411 and heat-shrinkable polyester used for insulating joints, motor cable terminations, and other components ensuring uniform insulation throughout the system.

The European one stop solution for windings

Politubes is an Italian company specialized in engineering spiral wound tubes and insulator caps for the electromechanical and automotive sectors.
This is a hyper-validated technology as demonstrated by almost 50 years of activity and several patents obtained through continuous innovation.
UL TEOU 2 – 8 nr E350605 and ISO 9001:2015 certifications are a guarantee of the company’s philosophy. Politubes, also started the process of getting IATF 16949 certification.

For over 50 years, FAET has been one of the main European companies in the electromechanical components and spare parts market. FAET can supply everything required for the construction of windings for electric motors, generators, transformers… in all insulation classes.
The goal, together with Politubes, is to be the European one stop solution for all insulation components with products dedicated to electric vehicle sector.

*(Nomex and Kapton are DuPont registered trademarks)

Light E-mobility: about the relevance of rotors in the manufacturing of electric motors

GROB Italy plant, Pianezza (Turin)
GROB Italy plant, Pianezza (Turin)

The certainty of a stable process is one of the most important values for a customer; the availability of a partner that, besides expertise, can offer a line provided with all necessary phases for the process is, instead, a real added value.
The know-how gained by GROB Italy in over thirty years of activity in the design and implementation of lines for the electric motor grants sector customers an unrepeatable product quality that, besides, features also the institutional soundness of an international group.
The line dedicated to the light mobility promoted by GROB Italy has been ideated to supply an efficient reliable turn-key solution for manufacturers of electric motors that work on power ranges from 4 to 40 kW. Consisting of the four phases demanded for manufacturing – winding, impregnation, rotor and assembly – the product relies on stand-alone machines that, instead, can be also integrated into a transport line when higher automation is demanded.
Utmost attention has been paid to the machine dedicated to the production of the rotor, an element of extreme relevance in the production process of the electric motor. A rotor made in precise repeatable modality is in fact necessary so that each motor has identical performances; GROB Italy has developed a sound performing technology, able to manufacture this component stably, in both the permanent magnet and in the winding version.

GROB Italy has developed a sound performing technology, able to manufacture rotors stably, in both the permanent magnet and in the winding version

The rotor typology most used in the Light E-Mobility world is the permanent magnet one, where high-performance magnets are introduced inside the rotor or positioned on its external surface. In the rotor line by GROB Italy both operations of glue distribution and of magnet positioning are managed by robots, in order to grant high precision and repeatability of the final result.

GROB Italy has optimized the rotor manufacturing process by optimizing a reliable process sequence and a scalable lay-out according to manufacturing volumes and extending its flexibility to products, from the Light E-Mobility up to power ranges generally used by both light and heavy commercial vehicles.
The lines dedicated to IPM rotors include a loading table of semi-packs, the glue distribution station, the magnet insertion, the furnace for the glue solidification, the station for the semi-pack assembling, the shaft insertion and they integrate the final balancing station and the magnetization station.
The standard solution can be modified and/or integrated by further processes depending on customers’ demands.

Samples of the light e-mobility line, together with the other numerous novelties of GROB range, will be presented at CWIEME Berlin 2023, Hall 1,2b, Stand B10-C11 where the company will show the whole line of solutions proposed in e-mobility and electric motor ambit. On this occasion, it will be possible to analyse thoroughly also the numerous additional services, including the brand-new GIT Connect, software purposely studied by GROB Italy to optimize the machine performances and to reduce its environmental impact.

GROB Italy and Light E-Mobility: the motor manufacturing is accomplished here

Overcoming the pandemic and acquiring more awareness of the need of replacing models and lifestyles that have nowadays become obsolete has speed up the transition towards a more efficient and sustainable urban mobility. According to the Report on the global market of light electric vehicles (LEVs) dated 2022, the sector will rise from 78.5 to 122.7 billion dollars by 2027 concerning the Personal Mobility, Shared Mobility, Recreation & Sports, Commercial and Gardening: a remarkable growth for which many companies are already getting ready.

Solutions for light e-mobility up to 40 kW

The extreme reliability of GROB Italy’s technology is deeply rooted into 30 years of expertise gained in the sector as manufacturer of lines for the electric motor manufacturing. The high efficiency and flexibility of its products are a must of the company that, first as DMG meccanica and afterwards as GROB Italy, has always stood out on the market for the reliability and the high quality of the solutions offered.The line dedicated to the Light E-mobility for electric traction motors was ideated to meet customers’ requirements fully. Compact, versatile and highly performing, it is ideal for the implementation of motors with a power range from 4 to 40 kW. Application sectors are manifold and include not only the market of two and three wheels and of microcars, but also “for fun”, agricultural and e-marine vehicles.

A single reference partner for the whole production process

If 2023 will be the turning-point year for electric mobility, the insertion technology still confirms to be the best solution in terms of quality/price for the volumes demanded in light e-mobility ambit.
For those who shift to light electric, then, the round wire still remains the ideal choice and GROB Italy, as consolidated partner in the insertion technology, is today of the very few reference companies on the international market (and the only one in Italy) that can fulfil the whole motor production process.
The line for the Light E-mobility implemented and presented to the public in 2022 includes, in fact, all manufacturing phases – winding, impregnation, rotor and assembly – and can therefore offer an efficient “turnkey” solution to customers”.
Moreover, to satisfy all requirements, machines can be supplied stand-alone or integrated with a transport line when more automation is demanded.
The automation integration can be carried out in successive phases directly in the installation factory.

A global service

If design and manufacturing are a strictly “Made in Italy” product, the customer service is a plus at disposal on a global scale. GROB Italy provides in fact for the training of the GROB service next to the installation site so that customers can benefit from immediate service.

FAET Testing facilities: UL Sealed tube chemical compatibility test

FAET laboratory participating in UL THIRD PARTY TEST DATA PROGRAM, is able to execute the Sealed Tube Test for the UL Electrical Insulation System Modify.
The participation allows FAET to execute tests on customers’ behalf and results are accepted by UL as if UL itself had directly obtained them, certifying the conformity to the UL 1446 standard.
Thanks to this test, manufacturers can modify the adopted EIS by introducing new materials for greater diversification of their supply chain.

FAETs mission is simplifying the daily routine of OEM, including the manufacturers of electric motors that need a certified Electrical insulation system in their inside.
The laboratory headquartered at Rozzano is unique of its kind in the SEMEA area, then the relative proximity to the structure, especially for the South area of Europe, is a logistic plus that allows avoiding travels overseas.
Highlights include the possibility of interfacing with a single partner in the process of modification and adoption of the insulation system, with specific advisor skills in design choices.
Besides, the availability of the materials to be tested or their easier provisioning are benefits that add to the others, permitting a saving of the time needed for the test execution.

The test consists in the comparison between an original insulation system called “Reference” and one or more systems customized by the customer and called “Candidate”. The test provides for the insertion of all components into two glass tubes, one containing the components of the original system and one with the components of the new system.

The tubes are closed with specific flanges and stored in an oven for 14 days, at a temperature exceeding by 25° the one of the systems under testing.

After opening them, the electric discharge test is executed on twisted pairs, at least 10 per tube. Therefore, 10 results per tube are achieved and averaged out, the average value of the “candidate” tube is compared with the average value of the “Reference” tube.
If the average calculated for the modified system is within 50% of the original one’s value, the test is passed and then that modify EIS can be used for manufacturing the electrical insulation system under construction.

FIND OUT MORE
For over 50 years, FAET has been one of the main European companies in the electromechanical components and spare parts market. FAET can supply everything required for the construction of windings for electric motors, generators, transformers…in all insulation classes.
Group turnover is €27mln with more 3000 active customers and exports in 50 countries.

Design and manufacturing of custom-made electric motor test benches

TBT provide innovative and completely personalized solutions for electric motors testing dedicated both to new products development and upgrades of existing benches.
The company is able to test from few watts up to MWatt with high-accuracy instrumentations from top brands; TBT test benches are capable to correctly acquire current voltages and power from direct supply or through inverters (specially designed solutions) with outstanding accuracy.
Motors and drives have been developed and optimized by ABB specifically for TBT applications and are perfectly integrated into the various needs by proposing synchronous, asynchronous and high torque (low speed) servomotors.
The high level of optimization achieved, allowed the company to obtain excellent results in terms of dynamic response, such to ensure the quality and accuracy supplied by TBT benches.
Typical application for test benches are: AC Motors test benches (also in accord to High Efficiency rule: CEI EN 60034-2-1); DC Motors test benches; Brushless Motors test benches; Electro pumps test benches; Electro gear reducers test benches; Gearbox test benches; Electrospindles test benches (high speed).

Vertical Turning Center from EMAG Scherer: Machining Large Quantities of Stator Housings with Speed and Precision

Rapidly growing quantities in the production of electric cars – this is still a long way off at the moment. Electric cars still account for a relatively small proportion of total car sales. But there are exceptions, as demonstrated by the use of EMAG Scherer’s technology at a supplier in Central America. A total of 12 CNC vertical turning centers of type VDZ 520 XL ensure that up to 3,000 stator housings used solely in electric car motors are machined every day. This solution is extremely accurate and reliable. Which performance features of the machines is the focus on?

Electric mobility is currently in a transitional phase, at least according to analysts from BloombergNEF. They maintain that the number of electric cars sold rose to 2.5 million worldwide in 2020, which corresponds to a growth rate of 20 percent – although this number was higher in recent years. On the other hand, the “hot spot” is changing. Although in recent times China has driven the development, the role of the European market is now becoming more important. Quantities are rising more quickly here than in the rest of the world. Irrespective of this, BloombergNEF is predicting a bright future for this technology.

EMAG Scherer with experience in the manufacture of electric cars

Mechanical engineering is playing a major role in this development. It has to develop the production technology to enable reliable and precise manufacturing of key components of the electric drive – in much larger quantities than before. For EMAG Scherer this development is not a long way off, since the machine manufacturer with headquarters in Alzenau near Hanau already has experience in a key electric motor component: the complex and at the same time very thin-walled stator housing. As early as in 2018, the specialists developed a highly efficient solution for cutting machining based on the CNC vertical turning center VDZ 520 XL on behalf of a Central American supplier.

Eight processes take place on the stator housing in only 240 seconds of chip-to-chip time. Ultimately about 320 components can be produced per machine and day, although the customer ordered six machines in order to produce higher quantities. In the meantime twelve machines are being used, which clearly shows that this solution is meeting expectations in every respect.

Experts for sophisticated components

But how did this assignment come about in a field of work that represents uncharted territory for many machine manufacturers? “The customer contacted us at a trade fair,” explains Alexander Ott at EMAG Scherer. “It certainly played a role that we have been making a name for ourselves for many years with efficient machining solutions for sophisticated components. From the very beginning it was clear that this was a special task with regard to the component geometry and demanded tolerances.” The technical data of the stator housing confirmed this assessment. For example, the finished component has a wall thickness of merely four millimeters – with tolerances of only 0.016 to 0.25 millimeters and very precise roundness. At the same time, there are many bore holes and grooves, and the geometry is not rotationally symmetric.
The specialists subsequently adapted the production processes perfectly to meet these conditions. In the VDZ 520 XL, eight cutting processes take place in succession on the injection-cast blank – from the highly precise roughing and finishing of internal surfaces, external connecting surfaces and sintered bushes up to the milling of grooves and drilling or milling of various cross and oblong holes.

The components are aligned and centered with high precision. Customized clamping solutions ensure process reliability.
The components are aligned and centered with high precision. Customized clamping solutions ensure process reliability.

A special role is played by the customized clamping solution from SAV, in which the sensitive component is aligned and centered with high precision. Furthermore, the entire design of the machine is advantageous. Its vertical machining ensures optimal chip flow in spite of the closed stator housing, its synchronous drive technology with 64.4 kW power and 1,110 Nm nominal torque ensures reliable, quick machining processes and the stable cast machine bed guarantees good damping behavior.

Machining time decreasing further

Furthermore, the entire production process is extremely uncomplicated. The operator places the blanks on the corresponding revolving conveyor and takes them off once they are fully machined. The conveyor serves as an integrated part storage device which means the machine can operate for a time without supervision, while a highly efficient process takes place inside.

The NC round shuttle serves as an integrated parts storage device from which the working spindles load themselves
The NC round shuttle serves as an integrated parts storage device from which the working spindles load themselves

A pick-up spindle picks the components off the drag frame and feeds them at high speed to the machining area with integrated 12-station tool turret.
Short distances ensure minimum chip-to-chip times. The specialists from EMAG Scherer are currently working on further optimization. For example, a multi-cutter will be used in future in the tool turret to decrease the machining time by a further 30 seconds.

Two operations on the stator housing in a single machine

Overall, EMAG Scherer is adapting these and similar mechanical engineering solutions very precisely to the tasks of the customers, and even complex processes do not pose any problems. For example, the specialists have designed a VDZ 420 XL DS with two spindles for a Chinese customer, in which two different operations take place in succession on the stator housing: roughing and finishing of the external geometry (OP 10) and roughing and finishing of the internal surface and connecting surface including a few drilling and milling processes (OP 20). The solution includes an NC rotary axis between the two machining areas. It is used to unload the workpieces between OP 10 and OP 20 with the correct orientation and transfer them. The cycle time for the component is only 130 seconds, with both operations running simultaneously on two components. Undesired idle times are reduced to a minimum.

The integrated 12-station tool turret also picks up driven tools.
The NC round shuttle serves as an integrated parts storage device from which the working spindles load themselves.
A flip-over unit is also integrated
A flip-over unit is also integrated.

In this context, EMAG Scherer is ideally prepared for the “electric car boom,” according to Alexander Ot. “We benefit from our experience, because the quality of such production processes on a complex component is always determined in the early phase of the design. This is when we apply our complete knowledge – to the various tool applications, the design of multi-functional tool machines and their control and interlinking. We show the customer any problems in a transparent manner and illustrate how we intend to solve these problems during the quotation phase. The main objective is always to produce optimum components – in the cycle time and quality requested by the customer. This applies, of course, also to every electric motor component.”More

More information here:
Complete Machining of Electric Motor Stator Housings

Expert Insights: Mobile electrification – Where Next?

Parker Hannifin, the global leader in motion and control technologies, will present a new ‘Expert Insights’ tech talk on Thursday 18 November 2021. International keynote speaker Mark Jeffries will moderate the discussion on the topic of mobile electrification with two Parker leaders.

Companies across the globe are pursuing decarbonization as part of their emissions reduction strategies, including Parker who this year announced a goal to become carbon neutral by 2040. Many off-road machinery and transportation companies are focused on electrification, and this option is a game-changer – enabling vehicle design engineers to work with an entirely new architecture.

In the second discussion of the series, Parker’s Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Mark Czaja, and VP of Business Development – Motion Systems Group, Paul Horvat, will discuss the implications of clean technology. The talk will explore how mobile electrification is evolving, key sustainability considerations and the possible influences of technology advances, business investment and government policy.
The discussion will be broadcast online from 15:00 CET on Thursday 18 November 2021. Interested parties can register for access here:

Expert Insights: Mobile electrification – Where Next?
Tech talk Online
Thursday 18th November 2021 | 1500 CET (0900 EST)
REGISTER HERE

 

IoT Solution leads to better output: supplier MAT relies on IoT solution from EMAG and perfects housing production

The EDNA Lifeline Dashboard was developed to specifically meet the requirements of MAT. Production planners, shift supervisors and machine operators always have the current production data in view.
The EDNA Lifeline Dashboard was developed to specifically meet the requirements of MAT. Production planners, shift supervisors and machine operators always have the current production data in view

For many production planners, IoT in production is still a visionary principle: machines form a fully integrated system that production planners monitor, control and evaluate from a central location. This approach is no longer a vision of the future as is demonstrated by an impressive production solution at MAT Machining Europe GmbH, headquartered in Immenhausen. The automotive supplier manufactures complex differential gear housings on fully automated EMAG production lines – including extensive data monitoring and evaluation of machine data.
The aim is to significantly increase line output and significantly improve process reliability. The overall system is already firmly implemented in the workflow.

The production process at MAT Machining Europe GmbH for the differential gear housing is impressive: The company has a total of five large production lines, each with seven EMAG machines, which are linked via TrackMotion from EMAG.

The production process at MAT Machining Europe GmbH around the differential gear housing is impressive: The company has a total of five large production lines, each with seven EMAG machines interlinked via TrackMotion from EMAG
The production process at MAT Machining Europe GmbH around the differential gear housing is impressive: The company has a total of five large production lines, each with seven EMAG machines interlinked via TrackMotion from EMAG

A so-called TransLift unit travels “through” the machines on a rail system and transports the component from one pick-up station to the next. Various preliminary processes are carried out on the housings: turning of the first side, including machining of fits and bores, turning of the second side and the outer contour, and – in the final set-up – internal machining of the spherical shape and fitting bores. Finally, washing, measuring and marking follow. In total, almost 2 million differential gear housings are produced at MAT per year at the Immenhausen location alone.

Win-Win-Situation

Why has the company now decided to digitize this highly automated solution and make innovative use of the production data it generates? “We generally rely on highly efficient state-of-the-art production solutions, which we are constantly developing further. Digitization is naturally an important topic here,” says Axel Dräger, Head of Engineering at MAT Machining Europe GmbH. “At the same time, we knew that EMAG has made great efforts around IoT in recent years and is quite interested in testing new IoT solutions with users and getting qualified feedback. So for both companies, the whole thing is a win-win situation.”

The EDNA Lifeline Dashboard was developed to specifically meet the requirements of MAT. Production planners, shift supervisors and machine operators always have the current production data in view.
The EDNA Lifeline Dashboard was developed to specifically meet the requirements of MAT. Production planners, shift supervisors and machine operators always have the current production data in view

Due to this partnership, the project initially started with workshops in spring 2019: MAT managers introduced the IoT experts from EMAG and the partner companies EXXETA, intuity and anacision to the production processes surrounding the differential gear housing. Subsequently, they defined conceivable use cases and developed technological solutions, which included the EDNA Cortex software and various prototypes of the apps used today (the system here is similar to the basic principle of smartphone operating systems). At the same time, the EDNA Core – an industrial PC – as well as the acceleration sensor, EDNA Neuron 3DG, were installed in each machine. It is important that EMAG’s solution has a completely modular software and hardware architecture that can be easily implemented in the users’ IT infrastructures and most EMAG machines (even older types). Connecting additional sensor technology is also no problem.

Output increase of 11% – process reliability improved

The handling of the data by the customers is again done with the help of the EDNA Lifeline Dashboard, on which the mentioned apps for different applications are installed – the customer can decide what exactly can be seen and in which arrangement. In the case of MAT, this includes the “Part Quantity Forecast” for a forecast of the output quantities per shift, the “Cycle Time Monitor” with information on the current cycle times of machines or lines, the “Smart Tool Change” with information on the remaining tool life, the “OEE Monitor” for a detailed breakdown of the current OEE and the “Health Check” on the machine condition. “Overall, the amount of data is actually so diverse that we have only analyzed a portion so far,” explains Dräger. “Nevertheless, the initial results are impressive. For example, we have already eliminated various ‘time wasters’ and are well on the way to an increase in output of eleven percent. That is, of course, a tremendous value.” The specialists at MAT also benefit from ongoing sensory monitoring: the system determines a precise “health value” of the drive as well as the spindle and indicates any wear at an early stage – a major plus for the process reliability of the production lines. The same applies to the precise prediction of the right time for tool changes.

The digitalization of MAT production continues apace, with the next lines already being equipped with the EDNA system from EMAG
The digitalization of MAT production continues apace, with the next lines already being equipped with the EDNA system from EMAG

In addition, the EDNA system is firmly implemented in MAT’s workflow: On the one hand, production planners or shift supervisors use the dashboards to determine the quality of parts that are currently being produced. On the other hand, operators can plan their workflow better with the help of the software because they are back at the machine on time after a break or always have the “right” tools ready when a tool change is due.

MAT is setting the course for a digital future

“Many are talking about it, we are building the digital factory right now!” “That sums up one of the main topics that drives us. While everyone is talking about digitalization, MAT is in the middle of implementing it and making sure that machines communicate with each other. Only through consistent automation and autonomization of production processes, can manufacturing costs in the automotive sector be kept in line with the market,” explains the responsible Managing Director of the MAT Transmission Division and CEO of MAT Europe, Ingo Bitzer.

Focus on further use cases

Overall, both partners by no means consider the entire project to be completed – on the contrary: The digitization of MAT production is continuing apace, confirms Dr. Andreas Kühne, Lead Data Scientist at the company anacision, in which EMAG holds a stake: “Our common goal is to equip further lines with this IoT solution. We also want to implement new uses, such as tool breakage detection. Because of this, we continue to exchange ideas closely.” In the end, the question remains as to the cost of such a project – and here the IoT specialists at EMAG came up with a surprise: The hardware retrofit of large production lines – for example, the integration of IPCs including cabling – is completed within a few days. In the case of a single machine, only one day is needed. This is possible because all the preliminary work is done at EMAG, where the system is configured precisely for the desired solution and prepared for connection to various machine controls. After implementation in the machines on site, the user benefits very quickly from the desired functionalities and process improvements.

Peter Strohm, Business Development Lead IoT, presents the new EDNA HMI operating panel for the control of vertical lathes to Klaus Fischer, MAT Plant Manager
Peter Strohm, Business Development Lead IoT, presents the new EDNA HMI operating panel for the control of vertical lathes to Klaus Fischer, MAT Plant Manager

“The EDNA Industry 4.0 solution consisting of the IoT core, software and dashboard has already been available to all customers for some time, is convincing more and more users, and is constantly being further developed,” Kühne summarizes the status quo at the southern German machine manufacturer. “According to initial feedback, OEE increases significantly with EDNA and we even estimate that a ‘return on investment’ is possible after about one year, when the data obtained is evaluated and used to derive actions.” Incidentally, users benefit from a comprehensive, open and future-proof IoT ecosystem. With EDNA, EMAG is laying the foundation for the intelligent production of the future.