Schaeffler and DMG MORI are collaborating on the creation of bearings using additive manufacturing technology.
DMG MORI and Schaeffler Technologies signed a cooperation agreement at Japan International Machine Tool Fair (JIMTOF 2016) that has the objective of jointly pursuing development work in the field of additive manufacturing of rolling bearings. Additive manufacturing is a strategic focus in Schaeffler’s development roadmap.
“Both partners complement each other perfectly to drive the future of machine tools, as well as the continuing development of rolling bearing technology. Our joint “Machine Tool 4.0” development project has already demonstrated this with great success. Our cooperation in additive manufacturing means another very important strategic area for the future,” said Dr Stefan Spindler, CEO Industrial of Schaeffler AG.
Laser deposition welding for rolling bearings
The basis for the joint development work will be a Lasertec 65 3D made by DMG MORI, a five-axis machining centre including a laser metal deposition welding unit, which will be used at Schaeffler. The goal is to develop the additive manufacturing technology of what is called laser metal deposition welding so that it can be used for the flexible manufacture of rolling bearing components for prototypes and small batch sizes. The focus here is on process issues as well as on the materials used and their suitability for the process. In laser metal deposition welding, a material is simultaneously melted and applied to a surface. In this case, the material is metal powder. The heat source is a high-performance laser. This additive manufacturing process is combined with conventional five-axis machining in the hybrid facilities developed by DMG MORI so that the resulting components can be finished immediately afterwards.
Continuing marketing partnership
Both companies also extended their marketing partnership, which began this year, to 2017 at JIMTOF. As part of this cooperation, Schaeffler is DMG MORI’s marketing partner worldwide for bearings and linear guides. As early as 2016, Schaeffler participated successfully in in-house exhibitions, technology symposia and training courses held by DMG MORI. This cooperation is expected to increase even more next year. The operators of machine tools in particular will benefit from the cooperation in two ways. First, it will help to demonstrate bearings, linear technology and direct drive technology, as well as new ideas in sensor systems and linking components. Second, it will help to show how these can be used for predictive maintenance, increasing efficiency and process optimisation.
Added value through digitalisation
At JIMTOF in Tokyo, Schaeffler and DMG MORI presented the “Machine Tool 4.0” innovation project jointly with other partners. The project links existing technology with new digitalised components from sensors to the Cloud. Two prototypes were set up based on the fourth-generation DMC 80 FD duoBLOCK universal milling and turning machining centre. Additional sensors for measuring vibrations, forces, temperatures and pressures have been integrated in almost all bearing positions relevant for the machining process in the prototypes of the innovation project in order to obtain optimum information about the machine’s condition.