Higher speeds, greater perfection, finer precision – enormous performance increases have been achieved in the production process since a North German manufacturer of marine engines began relying on an LMT tool to machine one of its components. LMT experts have now been asked to help the company optimize other machining processes.
The “roller guide housing” is by no means a small component of marine engines: in the middle of a rectangular roughly 500 by 400 millimetre cast-iron plate sits an almost 300 millimetre cylinder.
The precision machining of the metal plate – in effect, all the way round the cylinder – is a major production challenge. On the one hand, the cutting operation has to produce a perfect surface and, on the other, it has to reach almost to the edge of the raised cylinder. “The requisite face milling directly at a 90-degree angle presents a great challenge,” explains Carsten Wegner, application engineer at LMT Tools. “Normally tools with a large projecting arm are used for this job. However, vibrations then often occur and surface quality suffers as a result.”
LMT scores points with innovative tools
Working on the spot with the customer, the LMT team, which also included field engineer Frank Wieland, was able to recommend a special LMT innovation: the Univex Premium with TERAspeed inserts. This tool is always deployed when a straight edge has to be produced on a component. Combined with the new TERAspeed cutting insert, it achieved exceptional performance at the shipbuilder: compared with the previously used cutter, tool feed was three times faster. Furthermore, the tool was able to take the strain five times longer, representing a substantial cost-benefit for the user. In all, the cutting operation lasts just six minutes.
Additional production steps now under scrutiny
“The customer is extremely impressed. Surface quality has improved discernibly and is now considered the new standard at the firm,” says Wegner. Against this background it should come as no surprise that the success story is continuing. The tool experts are examining other production steps in collaboration with the shipbuilders. “Cooperation is important for success. We analyze the cutting operation and recommend an appropriate tool. Everything depends very much on LMT’s specialized know-how about different tool applications,” acknowledges Wegner.