Table of contents:
- 1. Conserve resources with durable products
- 2. Efficiency can be sustainable
- 3. One machine for everything
- 4. Save raw materials through better preparation
- 5. Recycling of waste
- 6. Less lubrication
- 7. Observe the CO 2 balance of the supply chain
- 8. More accurate software
- 9. Artificial intelligence prevents idling
- 10. Pay attention to the sustainability of the raw materials
Video: 10 Examples Of Sustainability In Machine Tool Construction
2023 Author: Hannah Pearcy | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-24 11:12
The topic of sustainability and climate protection is penetrating more and more into industry. There are several reasons for this: On the one hand, there is an increasing awareness of sustainability, users and customers place more value on the topic. On the other hand, the requirements in terms of climate protection are also increasing - and are expected to increase much more in the future
In the following, machine tool manufacturers report how they contribute to more sustainability. The companies can be seen with their ideas at this year's AMB from September 15th to 19th.
1. Conserve resources with durable products
Products often end up directly on the garbage after individual components have been worn out. Clamping device manufacturer Hainbuchen shows that this can be done differently. The manufacturer relies on the long service life of its products, which goes beyond the natural wear and tear of individual components.
For regular maintenance and inspections, Hainbuchen, for example, offers to re-vulcanize clamping elements that come into contact with the workpiece, to level out any unevenness and to recoat wear points. The costs for this are far less than the purchase of new products.
Hainbuchen explains that users themselves could also do more to make their clamping devices more durable. Ideally, you should briefly stop the machines once a day to clear them of chips and dirt. Due to lack of time, however, this often falls by the wayside.
2. Efficiency can be sustainable
Sustainability has to be worth it, because the profitability of the company is a top priority for many users. For Stefan Nitsche, head of product management at Hainbuch, it is the task of the tool industry to combine sustainability and efficiency.
An example of this is a modular system with which machine tools can be easily adapted to different production orders: For example, it is no longer necessary to replace the entire clamping device for different workpiece geometries, but only to insert the appropriate adapter into the clamping device.
This should pay off, especially for contract manufacturers. Here, manufacturing companies often change their clamping devices several times a day in order to machine different components. When changing entire clamping devices, such a change process takes 20 to 30 minutes, with the modular system it takes one to two minutes. The quick changeover, according to the product manager, helps to save entire machines - which in turn contributes to sustainability.
3. One machine for everything
Many users want to produce in a more environmentally friendly way, but there is often a lack of options. For example, components with nine setups often have to be produced in four different machines: turning, cubic machining, gearing and grinding.
It is more resource-efficient to combine these different machining steps as much as possible in one machine, which the machine tool manufacturer Burkhardt + Weber offers, for example.
Managing Director Olaf Furtmeier explains: “If these steps are carried out in three setups and only one machine, the entire process will be more efficient. And we also prevent so-called parts tourism."
Delivery times and risk would also decrease if a component is machined with just one setup. "The ecological footprint is improved by saving resources, energy, time and space." The challenge for the machine tool manufacturer is to deal with machining methods that were previously unknown to him - in this example, grinding and gear cutting.
How sustainability can pay off
4. Save raw materials through better preparation
The saving of raw materials in the machining of workpieces is rather be regarded as prior art. According to Gerhard Knienieder, managing director of the tool manufacturer Emuge, the machining process has been moving towards the "near net shape" for several years: the workpieces are adapted to the shape of the finished component before machining, in order to allow for the machining allowance as much as possible possible to reduce.
The closer the raw part is to the finished component, the faster the job is done and, as an additional benefit, there is less chip waste in production. As a consequence, roughing machining, for example, decreases, while finishing is gaining in importance.
5. Recycling of waste
The recycling of waste has also been well established in the metalworking industry for a long time. Metal chips and other production waste are collected by the manufacturing companies themselves or by specialized recycling companies and returned to raw metal extraction. According to managing director Knienieder, this is an important and familiar process, especially with precious metals containing cobalt and tungsten, as are also used at Emuge in tool manufacture.
6. Less lubrication
Another sustainability trend in the metalworking industry: Instead of large quantities of coolants and other lubricants, minimal quantity lubrication is increasingly used: If only a drop of oil is required for machining, this is of course extremely resource-saving. This technology is already being used, particularly in series production in the automotive industry. According to Managing Director Knienieder, the task of tool manufacturers is to prepare more and more tools for this type of use.
7. Observe the CO 2 balance of the supply chain
In the long term, it is essential for companies to check the sustainability of the entire production and supply chain. In the future, companies should approach suppliers, for example, in order to be aware of the CO 2 balance of the purchased raw steel. Knienieder predicts: “In a few years we will have to be able to demonstrate what the CO 2 footprint of our individual products is like. It is therefore important not only to document the energy consumption, but also to assign it. And of course to continue to reduce emissions in the long term.
8. More accurate software
Not only with the machines themselves, but also with the software there is still a lot in terms of sustainability. Kai Lehmann, sales manager at software manufacturer DP Technology, explains how sustainability found its way into her new CAM system for CNC machines. "We have integrated a lot of knowledge into the software in order to make the preparation for machining sustainable in terms of programming. A key aspect is that we have achieved a high level of reproducibility. “The goal must be to get to the finished product quickly and easily on the machine. If more machined parts are good parts because the repeatability of the processes is improved, this has a direct impact on the conservation of resources.
Climate protection and industry - how does it work?
9. Artificial intelligence prevents idling
Improved operational utilization leads to less idle time and positive environmental effects. The software provider DP Technology implemented this using artificial intelligence. The software can react faster to changing situations in the future. For example, a machining job that was originally created for a Siemens control can also be quickly produced on a Heidenhain, or machining that was planned on a milling machine can be carried out in just a few steps on a turning / milling machine.
10. Pay attention to the sustainability of the raw materials
In addition to functionality and compatibility with machine components, the lubricant provider Oelheld GmbH pays particular attention to using sustainable raw materials and focuses its development on environmentally friendly and resource-saving products. According to the regulations, the products contain neither heavy metals nor aromatic hydrocarbons and are also odorless and skin-friendly.
Oelheld has also laid down the careful use of resources in its own mission statement and relies on energy-saving plant technology and production systems in its own production. According to the company, newer buildings such as the company's own technology center and a company building in the USA are designed to be particularly energy-efficient and include, for example, modern air conditioning technology, ventilation technology and lighting technology.