The ideal "problem-solver" for high-speed plastics milling

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The ideal "problem-solver" for high-speed plastics milling

SMP uses the powRgrip® tool clamping system in plastics machining: Improved balancing precision and concentricity compared to heat shrinking.

10 December 2012

Samvardhana Motherson Peguform (SMP), one of the leading plastics processing companies in Europe, was looking for a new tool clamping system as a problem-solver for the milling of combined composite plastic components for the automotive industry. The powRgrip tool clamping system from Swiss tool manufacturer REGO-FIX meets all of the requirements.

SMP is a system partner to the automotive industry and a worldwide supplier of plastic parts, complete systems and modules for vehicle interiors and exteriors. The group of companies includes several sites in Germany, including the company headquarters in Bötzingen near Freiburg, as well as sites in Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Mexico, and China. In 2011, the 302 employees at the company site in Meerane generated sales totaling around €73 million.
High quality and cost-effective manufacturing are the top priorities for the plastics specialist – for example in the milling of combined composite plastics. In one example – a plastic sill cover – the challenge lies in the wide range of different properties of the various plastic materials that need to be machined in a single pass of a carbide single tooth cutter. The cutter is required to deliver a perfect cut from the plastic carrier material (PCABS) through the intermediate layer of PUR rigid foam to the tough PVC skin that needs to be cleanly cut off. The final product requires no further machining or finishing and is passed straight on to the final assembly stations in the factory.

According to Volker Große, application engineer in the plastics milling and welding department at the Meerane plant: "When servicing the spindles, we noticed above-average spindle wear. This was caused by the tool clamping system we were using at the time. Due to this bad imbalance, vibrations were being transferred to the spindle. This resulted in exceptionally high tool wear combined with chatter marks on the product. The balance properties of the tool holder used play an important role (especially for high-speed machining at speeds of 38,000 rpm). We needed a solution fast! We decided to test our heat-shrink fixtures against REGO-FIX powRgrip tool holders, which clamp the tool without heating it up."

Heat-shrink fixtures "caught cold"

During the comparison, powRgrip`s strengths were evident. The powRgrip tool fixtures offered the lowest imbalance in the overall system. Even after multiple clamping and unclamping cycles, these values remained constant.

"In the past, we noticed wear on the tapers on the heat-shrink holders we used”, remarked Volker Große.“ After repeated heat-shrinking during which material was heated up, an imbalance resulted. Now that we have made the switch to powRgrip®, concentricity is far more precise. The service life of the spindle has been noticeably extended. Since then, tool consumption has dropped considerably."

In addition to more precise concentricity and excellent balancing precision, powRgrip also impresses plastics processors with the ease and simplicity with which tools can be changed using the automatic clamping device. With just a push of a button, the tool is hydraulically clamped within seconds. There is no heating, and the system is ready to use immediately.


Fast return on investment

This new investment in the powRgrip tool clamping system has quickly paid off for SMP. There is now no longer any need to replace the several heat-shrink chucks of type HSK-E 25 that used to wear out every year. The company has also managed to lower costs in the three-shift operation since a lot of time is now being saved thanks to the reduction in the number of tool changes.

Volker Große sums it up, "The REGO-FIX powRgrip system is the perfect solution. Since we introduced the new system, our work has been cost-effective and user-friendly. The good balancing properties, precise concentricity and the noticeably longer service life of tools and spindles were the key factors that won us over."

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