This is what maximum productivity per unit area looks like

Starrag is presenting the brand new, multi-talented Heckert T45 for the first time at AMB 2018. The characteristics: a highly compact, yet robust machine construction and a rotary swiveling unit with 15.7 inches pallet specifically developed for turning operations; and to go with it, a rigid HSK-T100 spindle for high cutting performance. This makes the Heckert T45 the ideal solution for productive complete machining in a wide range of applications.

Up to 30  % reduction in footprint and around 15  % increase in productivity  –  these were the significant benefits of the new compact 4- and 5-axis horizontal machining centers heralded by Starrag one year ago. Now, the Heckert T45  –  the powerful, high-end model specifically designed for turning and milling  –  is celebrating its world premiere at AMB 2018.

Dr Marcus Otto, Managing Director of the Starrag plant in Chemnitz, is excited by the possibilities: “The Heckert T45 is multi-functional. It is, in a sense, our Swiss army knife. The day-to-day work spectrum of this machining center ranges seamlessly from milling and turning to complex procedures such as gear milling. We have developed it for complete machining of a wide variety of demanding components in drive technology, hydraulics and general mechanical engineering.”

The low space requirements are almost unbeatable. The compact design of the temperature-stable and vibration-resistant mineral cast machine bed, with its central swarf conveyor and integrated cooling unit, means that space requirements are significantly lower than comparable machining centers on the market. The additional peripheral devices were intelligently integrated into the machine room to ensure first-class accessibility and servicing, despite the compact design.

Productivity: increases of up to 25 %

It also offers a high level of productivity. As opposed to components which require processing on multiple machines before completion, in most cases only one clamping operation is required – even for toothed parts. It eliminates the handling and waiting time during machine changes, as well as organization and the space required for interim part storage. The user also benefits from high process reliability and precision, since errorprone repositioning is not necessary. The Heckert T45 therefore achieves a productivity benefit of up to 25 % in comparison to conventional 5-axis centers when toothing workpieces.

During the development of this machine, the developers also focused on the well-known strengths of Heckert machines: high-quality, stable machine construction which provides long-term precision. Alexander Ludewig, Innovation Manager partially responsible for the development of the latest Heckert machines, explains: “We focus on high accuracy, beginning with the mechanical components. On top of this, we make use of the electronic compensation that is possible today. This way, we can guarantee the highest precision and process reliability over many years. These conditions allow our customers individual and highly productive manufacturing from batch size 1. “The high level of vertical integration in the Starrag Group, which includes all major assemblies down to the spindles, means the manufacturer controls everything  –  from the quality to the secure provision of spare parts.”

Stability: the basis for precision and process reliability

The key component in the Heckert T45 is the rotary swiveling unit. Here, the developers have impressed by managing to transfer the A-axis system, proven on the larger HEC centers, into these compact machines. “The double symmetrical mounting gives the rocker the perfect stability to process the workpiece dynamically and with high precision,” notes Alexander Ludewig. In addition, the rotary table masters even high-quality turning operations with ease, thanks to a maximum speed of 900 rpm. In order to enable high cutting performance at such speeds, Starrag supplies the Heckert T45 with a HSK-T100 tool holder as standard. 

This is because its large planar support provides the necessary rigid tool connection. In addition, the rotary table is available with freely-programmable hydraulic clamping systems. This enables the user to optimize the technology by adjusting clamping pressures during processing.

Flexibility: customer-specific configuration

The tool magazine offers the usual variety of options. The Heckert T45 can be combined with a classic chain magazine with 45 or 60 places, or with a linear chain magazine with up to 240 places. The tool stations allow a maximum length of 17.7 inches and the tool diameter can be up to 8.7 inches. The patented linear chain magazine, developed in Chemnitz, provides tools for use by the machine as dynamically as a simple chain does. This means the cut-to-cut time is mere seconds, even with the 240-place version.

Downtimes during workpiece change have also been further reduced in the Heckert. The new dual-pallet rotary changer now only requires a little under ten seconds. However, the customer also has the option to order this machine without workpiece changer and utilize direct loading on the machine table, or use it in linked production lines. In this case, the Heckert T45 is also available as a line module.

Flexibility also means that the Heckert T45 is prepared for various workpiece automation concepts – from a flexible manufacturing system up to large-scale production with directed workpiece flow. For entry into the world of flexible automation, the Chemnitz staff have even developed their own space-saving system which contains six pallets and a setup station  –  enough for a small, flexible manufacturing cell.

„Industrie 4.0“: from the details to the entire shop floor

The trend towards automated production cells and lines is not limited to “mechanical” solutions; it extends to digitalization. Starrag is paving the way for “Industry 4.0” in many ways. Managing Director Marcus Otto explains:

“Our developments cover the spectrum from digital integration of an individual machine through to the entire shop floor.” Accordingly, our machines are equipped with Profinet and IO-Link technology, providing a suitable basis for all types of data exchange as well as for implementation into customer-specific controller technology.

Starrag combines the “Industry 4.0” activities in the Starrag IPS (Integrated Production System), which is used across all brands and machines in the group. Starrag IPS consists, in principle, of three “shells” around the machine. The inner shell contains functions which have a direct impact on the machine and the cutting process. This includes monitoring cutting forces and vibrations, for example. The second shell concerns the machine’s communication with the outside world, which includes tool and workpiece management. The third level is used for networking the production and its integration into general systems such as ERP software.

Like all Starrag machines, the new Heckert T45 includes many details as standard that help make the Starrag IPS extremely beneficial. This includes sensors that constantly analyze the status of the machine. This can be used to optimize the machine status and to achieve both higher process reliability and planning security for service operations.

The fingerprint available on all Heckert machines is already well used. The current status of a machine is recorded on the basis of several parameters. It can be compared with the initial fingerprint which is taken when leaving the production facility. This makes it possible to recognize changes and introduce preventive maintenance measures. 

Performance Cutting on a Heckert T45