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05/16/2022|CeramTec GmbH

State-of-the-art in training 4.0 – interactive, paperless and future-proof

With the "Industry 4.0" training package from the DMG MORI Academy, CeramTec GmbH has brought its training workshop up to date with the latest CNC technology.

Picture: CeramTec GmbH, CC BY-ND 3.0 DE; A camera inside the DMU 50 2nd Generation sends the image of the machining operation to a large display.

With over 100 years of development and production experience, CeramTec GmbH is considered one of the leading manufacturers of advanced ceramics or technical ceramics. These are used in over 10,000 products for a wide range of industries – from medical technology and electro mobility to energy and environmental technology. With more than 3,400 employees and production facilities and subsidiaries in Europe, America and Asia, CeramTec has an international presence as a manufacturer and supplier. The company is hoping to recruit expert young talent from a total of 140 trainees. At the headquarters in Plochingen, they can expect a training workshop that has been equipped with CNC technology from DMG MORI since 2016. Initially, an NEF 400 and a DMU 50 2nd Generation were installed, followed by a CTX alpha 500 in 2020 – all as part of the DMG MORI Academy training package.

Technical ceramics – from the raw material to the finished product

Picture: CeramTec GmbH, CC BY-ND 3.0 DE; In 2016, CeramTec installed a DMU 50 2nd Generation and a NEF 400. This was followed by a CTX alpha 500 in 2020.

Implants for hip protheses, grinders in coffee machines piezo technical elements in electrical engineering, or sliding, bearing and sealing elements in engine construction, for example, are just a few examples of the many uses of technical ceramics. “CeramTec covers the entire manufacturing process from raw material to finished product,” explains Sammy Frey, Head of Training at CeramTec. He says the starting powder is pressed into so-called green parts – usually spheres, cuboids or plates – and machined on CNC machines. “The material is easy to machine at this stage, but the clamping technology is very demanding to ensure that the components are not destroyed.” After a sintering process, the components are so hard that machining is only possible with diamond tools. “The training package from DMG MORI offers our apprentices every opportunity to learn digitization as well as CNC programming and machining in a practical way.”

CNC technology from DMG MORI experienced live at AMB

Picture: CeramTec GmbH, CC BY-ND 3.0 DE; The CELOS user interface with SIEMENS control and SinuTrain programming software was a convincing purchase argument for CeramTec.

Each year, CeramTec in Plochingen prepares six to twelve trainees in the professions of industrial mechanic and machine and plant operator for the challenges of metal cutting – with the goal of employing them at CeramTec GmbH in the long term.  Sammy Frey comments, “After conventional milling and turning of metal and plastic components, instruction begins on the CNC-controlled machine tools.” Towards the end of the apprenticeship, an internal training course in the handling of high-performance ceramics is also on the curriculum, he adds. Sammy Frey and Albrecht Baumann have successively modernized the training workshop in recent years. A visit to AMB 2016 finally brought him into contact with DMG MORI. “When we saw their machine portfolio live at the trade fair, we were impressed by the control technology.” There was also a unique training package via the DMG MORI Academy, he says.

DMG MORI Academy with attractive training package

In the first step, CeramTec purchased a DMU 50 2nd Generation and a NEF 400 after receiving advice from the DMG MORI Academy. The training package also included practice-oriented user training at the DMG MORI Academy, a UNO 20|40 tool presetter and workstations with the CELOS PC version and the SinuTrain programming software from SIEMENS. In addition, the DMG MORI Academy provides a TrainingBox, including training materials with sample workpieces in a case and the associated documents. “The training package from DMG MORI offers the trainees every opportunity to learn programming and machining in a practical way,” says Sammy Frey. He adds that CELOS also has a benefit at the machines: “We can show training documents and component photos digitally on the display.” The 21.5” multitouch display is housed in the comfortable ERGOline control panel. With interactive apps, the uniform CELOS user interface and the Sinumerik 840D control system, an important step is being taken toward digitalization. All training machines are networked in a digital learning environment. 

Complex manufacturing processes already in training

Picture: CeramTec GmbH, CC BY-ND 3.0 DE; With counter spindle, tailstock and Y-axis, the CTX alpha 500 machines even demanding workpieces in one process.

Above all, CeramTec purchased the DMU 50 2nd Generation universal milling machine with foresight, as Sammy Frey explains: “We work with 3+2 axes in training, but it is not impossible that 5-axis simultaneous machining will also be on the curriculum in the future. We will then be ideally equipped for this.” More complex workpieces are also machined on the CTX alpha 500 universal lathe, which was installed in the 2020 training workshop. It has a counter spindle, a tailstock and a Y-axis. “This allows our trainees to finish machining demanding workpieces completely from all six sides.” Later in their day-to-day work, he says, this is increasingly common practice.

Future-proof working environment for apprentices

Picture: CeramTec GmbH, CC BY-ND 3.0 DE; In addition to the machines and programming software, the DMG MORI Academy training package also includes training documents and sample components.

With CNC technology from DMG MORI, CeramTec GmbH has created a modern working environment for its trainees that, on the one hand, optimally prepares the next generation for the future of manufacturing. For example, a full HD camera was installed in the DMU 50 2nd Generation, which sends the manufacturing process to a large display so that all trainees or school classes can watch. On the other hand, it is of course about inspiring young people, finds Sammy Frey: “Young people grow up very close to technological progress. With innovative manufacturing solutions, we as an employer want to adapt to this progress.”

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