Axle production rides on microfinishing systems

Axle production rides on microfinishing systems

DAIMLER CHRYSLER'S DETROIT AXLE PLANT NEEDED TO upgrade axle production. The project involved improving axle-shaft quality, making the process more operator friendly, containing coolant, and eliminating unintended downtime. All this, the automaker accompl

Two-spindle Impco 1040EX microfinishing machines improve the circular geometry and surface finish on axle shafts for a major automaker.


DAIMLER CHRYSLER'S DETROIT AXLE PLANT NEEDED TO upgrade axle production. The project involved improving axle-shaft quality, making the process more operator friendly, containing coolant, and eliminating unintended downtime. All this, the automaker accomplished by replacing eight aging finishing machines with two new 2-spindle microfinishing systems from Impco Machine Tools.

The systems are Model 1040XEs, which remove the effects of grinder chatter, improve circular geometry, and create a no-lead microscratch finish on pins and shafts. This results in a perfect seal between rotating components — a condition vital in most pumps, compressors, and transmissions.

At the plant, the 1040XEs microfinish bearing seal diameters on forged steel axle shafts for a 30% improvement in circular geometry. In 10-sec cycles, the systems produce 5 to 20-µin. surface finishes, which were previously at 32 µin.

Each machine processes two shafts simultaneously. The process is flexible, however, because the machines can do any axle in a range of 9 different shafts in any station at random. "Stations accept only the shaft for which they are set up, so the machines are error-proofed," says Ryan Budek, manufacturing engineer at DaimlerChrysler.

Machine changeover takes minutes. And the 1040XEs accommodate any type of driven shaft from 0.25 to 2.5 in. in diameter and up to 27.6-in. long.

System rotating tables provide the plant with convenient and continuous direct loading/unloading of parts outside the machining envelope and away from coolant and microfinishing heads. The tables rotate loaded parts safely into work areas, and light curtains protect operators by automatically resetting after an interruption. This, according to Budek, eliminates one of the main causes of unintended machine downtime.

Each modularly designed 1040XE provides dry-floor operation and easy access to tooling and abrasive from the front of the machine. Single-piece guarding keeps all tooling and coolant contained to protect operators while permitting easy part loading.

Impco Machine Tools
Lansing, Mich.
impco.com

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