Strausak Mikroverzahnungen specialises in the manufacture of high-precision machinery used in the watchmaking and apparatus manufacturing industries. To enable the continued precise machining of parts no bigger than a grain of dust, Strausak recently retrofitted its machining centre using technology from Siemens. The new electrical control and drive components make for significantly easier machine setup and commissioning, saving valuable time. Another benefit is that the compact components used take up a minimum of space. Strausak plans to retrofit all its machines with Siemens solutions in the medium term to leverage the benefits of using an integrated concept from a single supplier.
Depending on the manufacturer and level of quality, mechanical watches can comprise over 1500 components – some hardly bigger than a grain of dust.
Depending on the manufacturer and the level of quality, mechanical wristwatches can comprise over 1700 perfectly interacting components. The ultra-precise machining of gears less than a millimetre in diameter with seven teeth throws up a number of challenges. No friction is admissible between the bearing pivot and the ruby, meaning that the surface of the pivot has to be absolutely level. Because polishing alone is insufficient to achieve this, the watchmaking industry uses what is known as a burnishing process, which is a combination of stock removal and surface hardening. After 50 years in use, Strausak's burnishing machine was ripe for an electronic retrofit, which the company opted to implement using control and drive technology from Siemens. A burnishing machine is fitted with a burnishing disk, a carbide wheel with tiny notches which rotates at between 1000 and 1500 revolutions per minute. The notches remove projecting material and the pressure exerted by the disc compresses the surface of the pivot, making it harder and more stable.
Since completion of the retrofit, each of the burnishing machine's four motors has been controlled by a Sinamics S120 servo drive system. The four Sinamics converters are linked over the open Industrial Ethernet standard Profinet to the higher-level Simatic ET 200SP distributed I/O. Like the drive system, this also benefits from its own integrated safety functions. Commissioning is rapid and simple using a web server, and Strausak uses a Simatic KP400 Panel for operation.
The four motors of the burnishing machine are controlled by Sinamics S120 servo drive systems and are linked to the high-level Simatic ET 200SP distributed I/O over Profinet. The new controller significantly simplifies machine setup and commissioning.
"The new controller enables significantly simplified machine setup and saves us time," says Simon Andres, CEO of the retrofit project partner Andres Antriebstechnik. A technician involved with the project at Strausak, Markus Alaimo, adds: "I simply plug the cable into the laptop and enter the IP address – after that, everything's self-explanatory. And you don't need to be a drive specialist to commission the drive systems." Following on from the successful machine retrofit, Strausak is already planning further improvements. "Long-term, we intend to upgrade all our machines to Siemens components. This will not only ensure we're working with an integrated concept but also simplify our warehousing," says an enthusiastic Alaimo.
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