Although the general market environment has become more difficult, the production of agricultural machinery in China is booming more than ever, whereby even social processes play a role as increased deployment of machinery compensates for migration by agricultural laborers. One of the largest Chinese tractor manufacturers relies on the expertise of the LMT tool specialists for the production of its engines.
Changes in China can usually only be measured in gigantic numbers. One impressive example is the development of the population in the various regions and conurbation centers. According to the export trading experts at Germany Trade and Invest, 10 million people leave the rural regions of the country and migrate to the cities – every single year. Over the next 30 years, the number of people living in rural areas is expected to decline from 700 million to 400 million. This dramatic development is accompanied by increased mechanization of agriculture with tractors and other machinery compensating for the decline in manual labor. Against this background, experts are anticipating huge demands for agricultural machinery. Even in the past few years, the sector has recorded enormous growth rates. According to the "China Association of Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers" (CAAMM), turnover has recently been increasing by around 25 percent a year.
Rapid increase in piece numbers
The Chinese agricultural machinery construction plant YTO is planning even more monumental figures. In only three years, the production volume is to increase from 60,000 (currently) to 450,000 vehicles in 2015. Considering these growth rates, the focus is on the complex and high-precision production of efficient engines at the YTO location in the Chinese metropolis of Luoyang where quality and process reliability must be equally guaranteed. At the same time, the feasibility of production must also be safeguarded when piece numbers increase rapidly year by year. "This is obviously a challenge even when using complex system tools", confirms Jürgen Richter, Team Leader Segment Housing at LMT Tool Systems. "They have to be able to guarantee the requisite precision and process reliability over long service lives."
All main machining operations use LMT tools
And the same applies to cylinder heads and cylinder blocks for the powerful tractor engines: all main machining operations at YTO are performed using LMT tools – a testimony to their quality as emphasized by Richter: "The machining precision of cylinder liners is a matter of only a few micrometers. The tool, processing parameters and processes selected are therefore of decisive significance. We have provided our customers with decisive support and advice in this area." A slide-controlled fine-boring head from LMT Kieninger machines the seat of the valves while a single-blade reamer from LMT Belin defines the valve guide. Line boring bars are used for machining the cylinder block. And the ultimate in engine construction – boring the cylinders and crankshaft bearings – is handled by complex slide tools from LMT. "We can integrate our know-how here in an ideal manner when it comes to developing the optimum tool solution for a specific task at industrial scale. That was also important for YTO", adds Richter.