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High-tech materials precision machined

Umetec’s core business is the production of high-quality components for surface-coating systems, using state-of-the-art machining centers. The SINUMERIK 828D CNC performs precision work.

Umetec Gerätebau GmbH, Germany

Umetec Gerätebau GmbH, based in Germany, has established itself as a supplier of indi­vidual parts and assemblies in high-vacuum technology. A large number of companies in the packaging and medical technology industries, as well as in the aviation and aerospace field, use the company’s products in surface-coating systems. Perfectly functioning CNC-controlled machining facilities are indispensable if the company is to reliably complete its just-in-time orders.

Unitech machines guarantee quality

Umetec, which specializes in the production of individual parts and very small-lot production of medium-size components, machines a variety of materials. According to production manager Mirko Kretzschmar, the high surface qualities to be achieved on sealing surfaces are a particular challenge for the machining centers. Before purchasing the first machine tool, managing director Hans-Rolf Schwalfenberg made a series of in-depth comparisons: “A high level of reliability, quality, and good service with the best possible price/performance ratio were important to us. When it came to the latter, even back then I was impressed by the SINUMERIK controlled Bridgeport GX 1600 by Unitech.” Umetec has since added to its equipment: a total of four Bridgeport milling machines and one Hardinge GS turning machine by Unitech are now in use. The Bridgeport GX 1000 three-axis vertical machining center was acquired at the end of 2010. Lutz Geppert, Unitech sales engineer, points out that “the linear guides used in the Bridgeport GX 1000 provide optimum stability and long-term accuracy. Consequently, this machine achieves high levels of repetition and positioning accuracy.”

Flexibility thanks to uniform control technology

Both the machine’s properties and those of the CNC used are crucial to manufacturing productivity. The company therefore chose SINUMERIK 828D. Production manager Kretzschmar explains, “As all our machine tools are SINUMERIK controlled, we can deploy our employees flexibly.”

With its state-of-the-art processor technology and software architecture, SINUMERIK 828D delivers extremely high precision, thanks to what is referred to as 80-bit nano accuracy. As a result, it is possible to eliminate rounding errors in the software and guarantee exact path guidance. The control system is equipped with the SINUMERIK MDynamics milling technology package so that its performance can be utilized to its full extent. It ensures that the relevant surface quality and precision required can be achieved within the shortest possible machining times. The key to this is in the new Advanced Surface intelligent path control, which includes an optimized look-ahead function, among other things. Kretzschmar confirms, “As a result, we can always obtain the ­accuracy our client needs.” Equipped with the SINUMERIK Operate user interface, the screen is similar to that of a standard PC. This is why Kretzschmar is also delighted with the new machine’s operator-friendliness.

Workpieces made easier

As the Umetec skilled workers carry out 90% of the programming of their milling machines ex­ternally, there is only limited need for SINUMERIK Operate’s advantageous programming methods. However, the Hardinge GS 200/66 turning machine is a bit different. Employees like to use ShopTurn, the graphically animated step sequence programming, which is simply designed and quick to operate. It is also possible to switch at any time to programming in the new programGuide.

The production manager considers the standard measuring and swivel cycles (CYCLE800), which enable workpieces to be set up effortlessly in set-up and automatic mode, particularly convenient for the milling machines. The Animated Elements function offers a different type of entry support. Umetec craftsman Eric Ziltz explains, “The planned machining operation comes to life with animated graphics when the tool is selected.” Kretzschmar adds, “It’s particularly helpful for new employees, as this means they can carry out the programming procedures ­intuitively.”

Sights set on five-axis technology

Managing director Schwalfenberg follows developments within the industry very closely to ensure the success of Umetec Gerätebau GmbH. He explains: “The trend is toward larger, more complicated systems. As a result, the individual parts and assemblies we are required to produce are getting larger and more complex.” He sees this not so much as a problem but as a challenge: “We have space for more machines. We have already purchased a new Unitech five-axis milling center – of course it also has a Siemens CNC: SINUMERIK 840D sl, actually.”