Angle heads have been state-of-the-art in the machining of complex parts for many years. They are used in particular for machining the inner parts of housing components in aircraft engines or stationary gas turbines, because it is often impossible for the main spindle to reach into the interior of the housing or to swivel in this position. Sophisticated workpieces made of materials that are hard to machine, such as titanium or nickel alloys, require the use of many different tools here as well as replacement tools due to the heavy wear. To date the changeover of tools in the angle head was either carried out manually while the machine was standing still, with the consequences for personnel costs and cycle times this involves, or by means of the automatic changeover of complete angle heads, that were either carried along or held ready on special pallets for each replacement tool. This results in high investment costs and a limitation of the system as a whole. In order to get around these uneconomical solutions, DMG MORI and BENZ GmbH Werkzeugsysteme have together developed an angle head for DMG MORI series machines that enables the automatic changeover of the front tools.
Low throughput times and the maximum achievable degree of unmanned production are the standard criteria for ensuring a high level of competitiveness in the world of machining. This is especially true in the fiercely competitive aerospace sector. “The so-called green-button process is being used increasingly in this branch for the machining of parts, a process in which manual intervention is no longer necessary”, explains Michael Kirbach, Head of the DMG MORI Aerospace Excellence Center. The challenge of integrating an angle head in this production process is all too familiar from numerous customer projects. “Our aim was to find a solution in which just the front tools could be automatically changed over in the angle head.” Customers of DMG MORI had also confirmed the need for such a solution in a survey. It was, however, a new project for a leading engine manufacturer that ultimately triggered the realisation.