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04/02/2024|Richter Feingerätebau GmbH

Autonomous µm Level Precision Machining

Founded 60 years ago in Groß-Zimmern, Germany, Richter Feingerätebau GmbH is an experienced supplier in the fields of hydraulics, wind power and mold making. 

From single parts to special solutions, 21 specialists realize highly complex components with manufacturing tolerances in the μ-range. Richter Feingerätebau has relied on CNC technology from DMG MORI for machining since 1993. Good experience with the machining centers and lathes – including a DMC 80 U duoBLOCK – led to the installation of a grinding machine from DMG MORI in 2022. The special highlight: DMG MORI fully automated the TAIYO KOKI IGV-3NT so that Richter Feiningerätebau can utilize it optimally more or less around the clock.

Richter Feingerätebau GmbH
A camera captures the exact position of the components on platforms. The robot grips the workpieces with precision based on the images.

Improved productivity with consistent quality 

“As a supplier to demanding industries, we have always stood for high-quality products and absolute precision,” says Marina Gola-Richter, summing up the basic principles of Richter Feingerätebau. The second-generation family member has been managing the company founded by her father Wolfgang Richter since 2012 and knows the developments on the market very well. “Quality requirements are on the rise and components have to be available ever faster. In addition, competition is strong. In other words: in order to remain successful, Richter Feingerätebau must continuously increase its productivity – without any compromise in quality. 

Richter Feingerätebau GmbH
Wolfgang Richter, Founder; Marina Gola-Richter, daughter and Managing Director; Richter Feingerätebau GmbH

Thanks to the complete solution from DMG MORI, we can add two more unattended shifts to our production every day. And this with reliable processes and accuracies of to 2 μm.

Wolfgang Richter, Founder; Marina Gola-Richter, daughter and Managing Director; Richter Feingerätebau GmbH

DMG MORI for 30 years – now also in the grinding sector 

Richter Feingerätebau GmbH
DMG MORI integrated a blow-off station in the automation, which cleans each component before and after machining

A large part of this business philosophy is the high-performance machinery. This includes, among other things, ten machine tools from DMG MORI.

“The cooperation began in 1993 and, due to the good experience, has lasted right up until the present day”, says Marina Gola-Richter. The largest project to date with DMG MORI began in 2021. “When we needed to expand the capacity in our grinding shop, we decided in favor of DMG MORI (TAIYO KOKI) for the first time”, recalls Thomas Strauß, authorized signatory at Richter Feingerätebau. The decisive factor was the vertical machine design of the IGV- 3NT. “In means we make use of gravity and can grind components weighing up to 50 kg with maximum precision and using the lowest possible clamping force. Where the machine is concerned, even 100 kg is possible.” Workpieces up to ø 300 × 310 mm can be machined internally and externally. The company also sought an automated manufacturing solution. “DMG MORI was able to supply us with this, including an individual design and hardware from a single source,” adds Horst Hoferichter, head of technical management at Richter Feingerätebau.

2 μm process accuracy for wind power 

Richter Feingerätebau GmbH
Thanks to the use of several grippers, Richter Feingerätebau can also machine different workpieces automatically

In practice, the grinding process on the IGV-3NT involves several versions of a hydraulic housing and components for wind turbines. “The manufacturing accuracy achieved is 2 μm.” In order to hold these tolerances continuously and reliably, Richter Feingerätebau built an air-conditioned room for the machine. “Each component is measured using a touch-probe for in-process control during the machining process.” Equipped with internal and external grinding spindles, the IGV-3NT enables the grinding of internal, external and flat surfaces in a single setup. The internal grinding spindle operates at Richter Feingerätebau at up to 45,000 rpm. Alternatively, spindles up to 75,000 rpm are available.

Automated grinding as an individual special solution 

The special feature of the investment in the IGV-3NT is the automated process. DMG MORI in Japan designed this from scratch as a special solution. “We sent components to the team there and told them our ideas,” says Thomas Strauß about the beginning of the project. He is impressed by the result: “The system comprises 15 platforms that we can load freely with unmachined parts. A camera captures the exact position of the parts so the robot can later grip them precisely and move them into the machine,” is how Horst Hoferichter describes the configuration of the system. DMG MORI also integrated a blow-off device in the automation, which ensures cleaning of the workpieces before and after machining. To enable the automation solution to machine different workpieces flexibly, there is also a gripper station, which the robot uses depending on the order. As the automated IGV-3NT is a highly complex, customer-specific solution, the initial acceptance in Japan was carried out together with Thomas Strauß and Horst Hoferichter. “This made it far easier for us to coordinate final details”, Thomas Strauß explains. After completion, the entire system was sent to Germany and once again subjected to an acceptance test. “Despite the size of the project, everyone involved did a perfect job,” says Horst Hoferichter of the result. “And we had only one contact person who coordinated everything.” The system has been operating reliably since the end of 2022.

Automation solution for additional shifts and personnel reduction 

Richter Feingerätebau began automating grinding processes 15 years ago. “We wanted to benefit from the advantages this time as well,” says Thomas Strauß, justifying the extensive investment. “We work in a single shift, but this will ideally allow us to run two more shifts autonomously.” The reduction in personnel is also a key factor. “In view of the shortage of skilled workers, automated production brings an enormous benefit in day-to-day business.” For future investments Richter Feingerätebau will also focus on automation solutions. “We have already ordered a DMU 60 eVo for autonomous 5-axis simultaneous machining for this very reason.”

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