Perfect aluminium surfaces catch the eye
What makes a car fascinating? Why is it fun to drive? Of course, the acceleration, the smooth purring of wheels and even the noise of the engine all play a role. However, an appealing interior design is just as important as the driving experience. Faurecia Angell-Demmel produces components that have a major impact on the appearance of car interiors: the international automotive supplier is a market leader for high-quality components with genuine metal surfaces – ranging from individual switches to entire consoles.
- Teamwork for an ideal composites product solution: (l. to r.): Andreas Winkler of LMT Sales Süddeutschland, Sebastian Weber, Process Optimization Milling at Faurecia and Heiko Simonis, application engineer Composites & Plastics Machining.
A project at the plant in Kennelbach near Lake Constance proves that the successful machining of components does not depend solely on using the “right” tool. Efficient production processes and high component quality were achieved through active cooperation with the application specialists at LMT Tool Systems.
Increase in operating life
The decorative aluminium panels produced at the Kennelbach site are created in a complex manufacturing process. The material itself presents a real challenge for machining experts because the aluminium surface conceals a glass-fibre reinforced thermoplastic based on a copolyamide, and both layers of material have to be machined at the same time. “An LMT Belin special coated tool with left-hand helix eventually provided the perfect solution,” explains Heiko Simonis, application engineer at LMT Tool Systems. “The tool was developed to deal with the specific requirements of this sandwich material and guarantees perfect surfaces and edges without burrs.”
However, quality was only one aspect of the job. The high quality standards have to be secured with a high level of continuity over the longest possible tool life. This was where LMT Tool Systems special expertise in coatings came into play. The carbide substrate, the coating and the microgeometry of the tool were steadily optimized until it eventually became possible to double the operating life of this specialized tool: they now only need to be changed after 30 to 50 machining operations on high-precision components.
Cooperation was crucial
Active cooperation between LMT Tool Systems and Faurecia Angell-Demmel was a crucial factor in the project’s success. Application specialists from both companies worked together on site to find the ideal production solution. Cutting parameters, rotation speeds and even the direction of the cutter on the component were all optimized. “Numerous factors play a role when you’re processing aluminium composites in a machining centre. For example, you have to find the perfect angle at which the tool enters the material,” explains Sebastian Weber, machining technician at Faurecia Angell-Demmel. “Combining our process and plant knowhow with the tool expertise of LMT Tool Systems was decisive. The machine was programmed and set up perfectly. The result is qualitatively perfect components and an economically optimized production cycle.”
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