Thread production on an industrial scale always involves high standards both in terms of quantity and quality. After all, it is not just a matter of machining large numbers of components. At the same time, each individual thread has to be produced to a high level of precision. What is more, this has to be achieved with increasingly demanding, high-tensile materials. The situation is no different at the IBMO company: among other things, the Polish automotive supplier manufactures brackets for car trailer axle mounts. LMT FETTE’s new Protec thread roller enables significantly lower tool costs and higher productivity.
When you hear where this IBMO product is used, you immediately know it presents difficult challenges: these solid brackets form part of the mountings for trailer axles that are used to transport boats. As a result, these components are made of high-tensile heat-treated steel to guarantee the necessary stability. However, this job does not involve just one type of bracket manufactured on the spot in Poland. The components and their threads vary considerably depending on the size and type of trailer. “In other words, two factors come together at IBMO that are typical for chipless thread production with thread rollers,” explains Dirk Marbs from Technical Customer Service at LMT FETTE. “On one hand, it is important that the threads on the component are produced with great precision, in large numbers and, of course, fault-free. On the other hand, there is also a need for flexibility. Varying kinds of threads and different batch sizes are often produced on one machine. These factors also present a special challenge for the tools used.”
Protecting the entire roller
The fact that IBMO decided to use LMT FETTE’s new thread roller with Protec coating was also influenced by its earlier experiences with this forming process, as Waldemar Michalak, CEO of IBMO, makes clear: “In the past we produced roughly 10,000 brackets – in other words, 20,000 threads – with one set of tools. The used rollers then had to be changed, which naturally increased tool costs substantially. As a result, we were looking for an alternative.” LMT FETTE tool specialists were able to offer a tailor-made solution with Protec thread rollers. Produced using thin-film technology, the Protec coating adheres strongly to the roller surface and protects the entire roller against the enormous pressure created by the rolling process. The thin-film coating reacts elastically and optimizes the rolling process as a result of its favourable frictional properties. In addition, the LMT coating experts tailored it to cope with the special loads that occur when working with hard materials from 900 N/mm2. “The results of these efforts can be seen at LMT customers like IBMO,” says Blazej Szala, application engineer at LMT Poland. “Protected by the coating, tool life increases massively.”
Three times the amount of output with just one set of tools
In fact, it is now possible to produce up to 30,000 brackets and therefore 60,000 threads with one set of Protec tools. That represents a threefold increase in comparison to the previously used rollers. There is thus a significant reduction in the total number of tools needed – and in tool costs.