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04/25/2023|NEHER GROUP 

PCD Tools for E-Mobility Applications

At the NEHER GROUP in Ostrach, which was established in 1990, 110 experienced engineers develop and manufacture highquality special tools for metalworking and woodworking, as well as molds, gages and other devices. The company's customers come mainly from the automotive industry, the aerospace industry and general mechanical and plant engineering. A special focus is currently on electromobility applications, which repeatedly present the team with new challenges.

cnc laser Changeover between different powders on the LASERTEC SLM model
Changeover between different powders on the LASERTEC SLM models is quick and easy with the aid of rePLUG exchangeable modules.

The NEHER GROUP has been implementing its production for many years using innovative manufacturing technologies from DMG MORI – from demanding machining and additive manufacturing on LASERTEC SLM machines to cutting blanks on a LASERTEC 20 FineCutting machine to automated processing on machines from the LASERTEC PrecisionTool series.

cnc laser - Gerd Neher, owner and managing director (right) and Tobias Niess, development NEHER GROUP
Gerd Neher, owner and managing director (right) and Tobias Niess, development NEHER GROUP

Additive manufacturing on the LASERTEC 30 SLM gives you absolute design freedom – be it cooling channels close to a contour for durability or bionic structures that provide outstanding rigidity and optimum vibration behavior. And what's more, the weight saving compared to conventional tools is between 30 and 70 percent.

Gerd Neher, owner and managing director (right) and Tobias Niess, development NEHER GROUP

Customized PCD and CVD tools for e-mobility

Our core competence lies in the complete development of sophisticated PCD or CVD special tools,” explains Gerd Neher, who is the second generation to manage the NEHER GROUP. Polycrystalline diamond is a very hard cutting material which gives tools a long service life. “If a customer wants to manufacture a specific component, we implement the optimum tool for precisely that application.” A sector which is rapidly expanding is special tools for electromobility applications.

E-Mobility: Green Technology with new Challenges for Tool Design

The precision machining of a stator housing, i. e. the housing in which the rotor of the electric motor rotates, requires comparatively long and therefore heavy tools. “The weight is too much to ensure low-vibration and precise machining for numerous existing machines in the way that the cutters are normally used,” says Tobias Niess, who is responsible for developing the tools, describing the challenge. The weight can be reduced in two ways: “By using lighter materials such as titanium and new production methods, but above all with the aid of innovative manufacturing technologies from DMG MORI.”

cnc laser - PCD and CVD precision tools
The NEHER GROUP develops and produces top-quality PCD and CVD precision tools for innovative applications in a wide variety of industries, including electromobility in an increasing number of cases.

LASERTEC SLM: bionic structures using powder bed AM

One such technology is additive manufacturing. The NEHER GROUP uses powder bed technology from DMG MORI to manufacture tool bodies – a LASERTEC 30 SLM and a LASERTEC 30 DUAL SLM. “The layer-by-layer build-up takes place directly on a previously milled interface,” says Tobias Niess. Additive manufacturing gives you complete design freedom. “On one hand we can integrate cooling channels close to the contour, which improves the durability of the tool. On the other hand, we can use the Finite Element method to create bionic structures inside the tools which provide maximum stability and optimum vibration behavior.” You also get a weight saving of between 30 and 70 percent compared to conventional tools.

LASERTEC Precision Tool: Precision cutting edge machining

cnc laser 5-axis LASERTEC PrecisionTool
The two 5-axis LASERTEC PrecisionTool machines can economically produce 1 μm sharp cutting edges, defined cutting edge radii of 3, 6, 9, 12 or 15 μm and negative chamfers.

The cutting segments of the tools are first cut out of PCD or CVD blanks and are then brazed on. The NEHER GROUP uses a LASERTEC 20 FineCutting from DMG MORI for cutting. “The laser penetrates through blanks up to 3.8 mm thick,” says Tobias Niess. The diamond tools get their final “finishing touch” in the form of laser finishing. A LASERTEC 20 PrecisionTool and a LASERTEC 50 PrecisionTool from DMG MORI are used in this case. The two 5-axis precision laser machines can economically produce 1 μm sharp cutting edges, defined cutting edge radii of 3, 6, 9, 12 or 15 μm and also negative chamfers. Thanks to High Speed Mode 3.0, the laser can operate at speeds of up to 3.0 mm/min. The technology is therefore up to 210 percent faster in comparison to spark erosion (EDM) and unit costs are reduced by 56 percent. The service life of the tools is increased by a factor of 2.5 thanks to laser processing.

User-friendly software for programming cutting edges

DMG MORI has implemented the industry standard GTR as a programming solution for cutting edge machining, which allows the importing of EDM projects and requires little training when you switch to laser processing. Special software features also make it easier to program rotary and fixed tools, chip breaker geometries and negative chamfers.

Unmanned shifts thanks to automated laser processing

The cutting edges are processed even more economically thanks to the automation solutions installed by DMG MORI. For example, the LASERTEC 20 PrecisionTool has a PH 10 handling system with space for up to 54 HSK tools. The LASERTEC 50 PrecisionTool is equipped with automation that can change tools weighing up to 30 kg. “In this way, we can utilize both machines unmanned at night and at the weekend,” adds Tobias Niess.

Optimum solutions across the entire process chain

As far as Gerd Neher is concerned, the integrated product portfolio of DMG MORI is an important argument for long-term cooperation: “Tool manufacturing is an excellent example of how we have installed innovative manufacturing solutions from DMG MORI across the entire process chain.” With a new DMU 200 Gantry for mold production and a DMU 50 3rd Generation and a CLX 350 for the training workshop, it emphasizes the good collaboration. He goes a step further: “We would like to organize our production so that it is paperless in future – with PLANNING & CONTROL from ISTOS.”

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