Megamill Gives Bystronic A Strong Productivity Boost

In machine tool manufacturing, one of the main preconditions for ensuring productivity and delivery readiness is a cleanly structured production process, with precisely timed production sequences and reliably functioning manufacturing systems. This can only be achieved if the customer and supplier take a common, goal-oriented approach to production chain projects. This was the case for the project at Bystronic Laser AG in Niederönz, Switzerland, for the creation of a new production line for machining the frames of laser cutting machines.
Bystronic Laser AG is a world-wide technology leader in the field of sheet metal processing, specializing in laser cutting systems. Working jointly with EMCO GmbH from Hallein / Salzburg, they undertook a complete
redesign of the machine frame machining process, so that it could be carried out entirely by EMCO Mecof’s MEGAMILL high gantry milling machine.

A new partnership “The machine frame quantities had risen to such an extent, that our existing production cap-acity could no longer keep up. As a result, we were looking for a new machine with sufficient output capacity, that could meet our high quality requirements and would be flexible”, explained Raphael Kopp, Head of Production at Bystronic Laser AG. Raphael Kopp had a clear idea of what he wanted from the new machine: a high rate of parts produced per month, perfect accuracy for plane milling the guide surfaces of the machine frames (evenness of 0.05 mm on a guide track length of 3-4 m), and flexibility to be able to produce different types of components. Most of all, the machine table also would have to be large enough, because the system assemblies for the laser cutting machines require a considerable space. After visiting several manufacturers and evaluating machining test results, it became clear within less than four months that the new machine should be a MEGAMILL from Emco Mecof. Meanwhile, by working in close coordination, the key requirements and conditions for purchasing the machine were specified and verified, and the feasibility was demonstrated. Raphael Kopp describes how they came to make the purchase decision, “the decisive factor was certainly the shuttle operation. In other words, we can now clamp two workpieces on the machine table, one is machined, and the second is inserted, aligned and clamped in parallel. When the first part is finished, we move the milling head to the second half of the table and start the new job. The machine always keeps chipping away, so to speak. This brings us enormous savings in production time per frame.” Just-in-time production At Bystronic, production throughput has to meet tough requirements.

The production time for a laser cutting machine, from the automated welding of the machine frame, through manufacturing, painting, assembly, quality testing, and commissioning, to readiness for shipment, is 15 working days. The production of a machine frame alone up to the painted component must be completed in five working days. With the MEGAMILL, work is carried out in three shifts, with one unmanned shift. The machine frames, which are available in five different sizes and weigh around 5 t, are finished in 12 to 16 hours in a single clamping operation.

Complete machining is carried out in three steps:

  • Roughing: Production time approx. 5 hours; component stress relief.
  • Pre-finishing: Milling all features, holes, threads, etc.
  • Finishing: High-precision machining of guide surfaces (flatness of 0.05mm /4m) and reference dimensions.

Production must be process-reliable, because with this extensive production spectrum, malfunctions and errors, machine downtimes of longer than a single day can result in considerable costs, and machine frames are not kept in stock once they are finished. Process steps must therefore always be just-in-time.

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