Improved surface finishing and faster loading and unloading times were high priorities in the development of the new Peter Wolters AC microLine® 1000 with twin loaders and robot cell. Thanks to the new concept, the machine offers a greater degree of workpiece flexibility and throughput, and also has a smaller footprint. In addition to the new electrical linear axis, the innovative valve technology from AVENTICS forms the basis, including pressure regulators and cylinders, which are used in the entire AC series and the new rotary table.
The main task of the new twin batch processing machine is ultra- precise machining of workpieces with a maximum diameter of 320 mm and thicknesses up to 100 mm. Thanks to its modular design, the Peter Wolters AC microLine® 1000 is ideal for a wide range of tasks, including fine-grinding, lapping, honing, and polishing of surfaces.
“We use AVENTICS components in all our AC series machines, and have had excellent experiences for years,” says Alexander Unger, the engineer responsible for the project at the Lapmaster Wolters plant in Rendsburg. “Tailored to the concept of the latest AC microLine® 1000, we have also developed a new rotary table that offers maximum functionality as well as the compatibility essential for this type of concept. We are able to achieve this by also equipping the twin loader with AVENTICS pneumatics.”
The new rotary table is part of a high-tech automation concept for future tasks, which Lapmaster Wolters continually advances. The new loading and unloading unit used to insert workpieces in the carriers aim to shorten processing time. All this is made possible thanks to the use of a loading and unloading unit for carrier handling developed in-house.
“Handling is a true highlight,” emphasizes the engineer. “The loading and unloading unit is designed for fully automatic operation, allowing users to precisely set both the cycle time and speed. The design also helps reduce the time required to swap carriers.”
High-strength GPC series guide cylinders and weight-optimized MNI series standard cylinders are used to handle the carriers. The exact position and required travel time for the MNI mini cylinder are queried by the analog SM6 distance measuring sensor with a precision of ± 0.1 mm. This sensor can also be used to check material supply. The resulting preventive maintenance is another crucial factor speaking for AVENTICS components, as Alexander Unger confirms: “Their special features give machine availability and process reliability a major boost.”
Based on standard components, the sophisticated system is also used in the grinding machine, where the AVENTICS AV03 valve system with Profinet interface plays a main role. The system controls the cylinders and offers integrated pressure zone separation for the required pressures. AV03 also features up to 45% smaller installation dimensions, allowing users to integrate the multi-patented Advanced Valve into existing concepts without any problems at all. At the same time, the system offers major advantages for energy-conscious users.
The innovative valve system is the main component of the pneumatic control cabinet. As Alexander Unger points out, AVENTICS provided Lapmaster Wolters with a plug-and-play solution: “This enables end-to-end standardization, from hardware to handling. The complete assembly is tailored to our customer-specific requirements and is delivered with a test seal.” Last but not least, the flexible AES field bus control for the valve system supports all common fieldbus protocols.
“In addition to the valves crucial to the application, we have also managed to solve all stroke and travel motions with AVENTICS,” reports the engineer, pointing out the application-specific selection of cylinders from the comprehensive offering in order to achieve maximum process reliability. On the end of the AC microLine® 1000 fine-grinding machine, the ED02 series electropneumatic pressure regulators from AVENTICS play their part: They perform a key function in workpiece processing by controlling the contact pressure of the fine-grinding disc.
ED series valves combine control electronics, the pressure sensor, and direct drive via proportional solenoids into a single closed unit. With critical fluctuations in pressure, the pressure regulator shines, with its typical high dynamics: Based on a target-actual value comparison, it immediately generates the necessary pressure change on the outlet side to ensure process stability. “With this control technology, the pressure can always be tailored to the application and dynamically adjusted. The valve’s high control precision makes it ideal for optimized, energy-efficient machining processes,” confirms Alexander Unger.
Just how versatile AVENTICS components are can be seen in the AS series maintenance units, which ensure compliance with the required compressed air quality and cover the preparation processes of filtering, regulating, lubricating, and dehydrating. In its fine-grinding machines, Lapmaster Wolters uses the AS3-FRE filter pressure regulator of this series to control the system pressure.
The pneumatic concept of the AC microLine® 1000 with twin loaders will now be applied to additional fine-grinding machines from the company, allowing users to flexibly integrate them into different production strategies. The grinding machine and twin loaders form a single unit, with excellent production performance thanks to compact dimensions, high flexibility, and a high throughput. Based on the advantages of the rotary table, Lapmaster Wolters wants to use it in its AC 700 and AC 1250 for fine-grinding and flat-honing. The project manager is convinced of the AVENTICS pneumatics in use: “Here, you can clearly see how flexible and future-proof the system is.”