in Vol. 20 - May Issue - Year 2019
Perfect Surface Finish By Innovative Machine Designs
Soran Jota, Managing Director of OTEC
As a technology leader in the field of mass finishing machines, OTEC develops and produces innovative machine designs for perfect surface processing. The grinding and polishing systems, which are exclusively “Made in Germany”, offer an ideal solution in terms of precision and cost efficiency. For more than 20 years, the company’s motto “Perfect surfaces worldwide” has shaped all our inventions and patents, as well as the actions of our entire team. Managing Director Soran Jota answers some questions about the company’s latest developments.
(?) MFN: How has the company developed in recent years?
(!) S. J.: We have been active in the market as a surface technology specialist since 1996. From the smallest of beginnings, company founder and Managing Director (Dipl. -Ing.) Helmut Gegenheimer created a company that has grown into a global supplier of machines for precise and cost-effective surface treatment. Over the years, we have succeeded in developing and realising optimal processing media and application parameters for more and more materials, workpiece geometries and objectives. The great success of our machine technology lies, inter alia, in the automation of manual processing applications. OTEC makes possible perfect surface machining - more economically than conventional processes and with results that are more precise and quality-driven and are more consistent than manual processing. Such smooth surfaces, defined rounded edges and a perfect sheen are - now more than ever - a high priority for many business sectors. Frictional forces can be reduced and thus energy saved and, for example, service lives of tools can be significantly increased. In order to meet our client's highest requirements, experienced professionals work together in Sales and Development on practical solutions. OTEC is a global technology leader due to its broad range of surface treatment machines. Moreover, we are top-of-our-field internationally with our systems for deburring, grinding, smoothing and polishing.
(?) MFN: What drives OTEC forward?
(!) S. J.: High customer satisfaction and innovation are the key benchmarks by which we measure our success. We want to offer our customers individual solutions for their surface processing challenges. This is why we are constantly working to improve our processes and technologies. We never stand still. We are constantly developing customised solutions for our customers, tailor-made to suit their specific area of application. This motivates us to optimise our own processes and workflows constantly. The focus is always on consistently developing our machines and methods to meet the demands of our customers. In this way, we are creating new products and technologies that are of huge benefit to the majority of our customers’ for example, our newly developed stream-finishing machine, the SF 1 ILS, which is specially tailored to the requirements of the tool industry.
(?) MFN: You mentioned the newly developed SF 1 ILS stream-finishing machine. What is so special about this machine?
(!) S. J.: The SF1 ILS with chain loader offers quick and efficient processing and is particularly important where company size is increasing and with it the quantities to be produced. The machine is specially tailored to the requirements of the tool industry and, thanks to automated loading, offers considerable cost advantages. The machine requires no expertise in robotics, and is designed for maximum user-friendliness. Automatic loading takes place via the loading unit and a chain loader which has 64 or 160 stations, of which 5 are intended for collets, in each case. The machine can process tools of different lengths and diameters in one batch. Workpieces and collets can be changed automatically as required. This requires around 14.5 seconds. Processing times range from 30 to 300 seconds, depending on the process and workpiece geometry. The SF 1 ILS is suited both for stream finishing and pulse finishing in the wet or dry process. But thanks to its compact design, it is still very space-saving. Stream finishing enables very short processing times, and simultaneously high process reliability. One of the main differences between SF and other technologies is that the processing forces are much higher. Compared to other surface processing methods, stream finishing can remove material faster and more precisely. It covers a wide range of processes, from deburring through high-gloss polishing, smoothing and polishing to edge rounding, depending on the workpiece requirements. The high flexibility of the SF 1 ILS makes possible different areas of application, such as the processing of cutting tools, stamping and forming tools or other rotation-symmetric components, such as spindles and screws. All these features make the SF 1 ILS an extraordinarily effective and flexible machine. Ideal for processing small batch sizes and frequently changing series, it even comes at an attractive price.
(?) MFN: What are the most important target markets for the SF 1 ILS stream-finishing machine?
(!) S. J.: The tool industry is an important target market here, as the quality of stamping, forming and cutting tools is considerably enhanced by processing in the SF 1 ILS. The service life of cutting tools is significantly increased thanks to a defined cutting-edge preparation. A smooth tool surface also helps to create a faster chip flow and improved coating adhesion. Frequently, stamping, forming and cutting tools are given a hard material coating, causing droplets. These droplets can be removed in a targeted fashion with the SF 1 ILS. This ensures an optimal tool surface and reduces wear. Likewise, by polishing and smoothing forming tools, the flow properties can be improved during the forming process. The stream-finishing method offers the optimal solution for many tasks. Thanks to their long years of experience, our process development specialists are able to define the optimal processing parameters for our customers' workpieces. The objective is a perfectly optimised tool offering the best performance and the highest quality. Depending on the requirement and the tool, this is possible within just a few seconds using the pulse-finishing method.
(?) MFN: You mentioned the "pulse-finishing method". Can you explain this technology to us?
(!) S. J.: The PULSEFINISH principle is based on precisely defined and quickly repeating movement intervals between media and workpiece. This means that the clamped workpiece is immersed in the media flow of the rotating container and accelerated to over 2,000 rpm in a very short time. The workpiece in the media is increased to maximum tangential acceleration and decelerated back to zero; this takes place within 0.5 seconds. As a result, a relative speed of up to 30 m/s and acceleration of up to 40G are achieved.
The advantage of the PULSEFINISH is that the contours of the workpiece are very well maintained and the process times are extremely short – the PULSEFINISH mass-finishing process is probably the fastest ever, even for complex components such as worm shafts, gear wheels or camshafts. Thus deburring, rounding and smoothing from e.g. Rpk 0.2 μm to Rpk 0.1 μm in less than a minute and in a single operation is not a rarity. The PULSFINISH was specially designed for the tool and automotive industry, as with it, requirements such as process reliability, speed and processing quality in large series manufacturing are satisfied. With automotive components, not only are roughness values reduced and grinding grooves removed, micro cavities are also created. Lubricating oil collects in these micro cavities. This oil is not displaced on contact as it is with conventional grinding grooves. Thanks to an evenly smooth surface with micro cavities and low Rpk values, only minimal wear occurs and friction losses are reduced. The heat, stresses and material abrasion caused by friction are detrimental to the precision and service life of all components, while lower friction means less energy consumption and wear. The component characteristics of camshafts, gear wheels, engine valves, gear shifters, worm shafts and gear parts are significantly enhanced with our process.
(?) MFN: Are you also active in markets other than the tool and automotive industry?
(!) S. J.: Yes, we supply our surface technology to many different sectors. For the stream-finishing machine, for example, the aerospace industry is an important area of application. These components are exposed to extreme environmental influences. The demands placed on the surfaces, materials and manufacturing procedures used are therefore correspondingly high. But customers in the fields of medical technology, jewellery, stamped, turned and milled parts and the production of components as additive manufacturing also utilise our machine technology.
(?) MFN: Tell us a little about the rest of your product portfolio. What other machine types do you offer in addition to the stream finishing systems?
(!) S. J.: In addition to the stream finishing systems, we offer other mass-finishing machines for various applications and production sizes. For small parts and large quantities that can be machined in a bulk goods process, the CF disc finishing machine is ideal. With this method, a rotating plate at the base of the process container sets workpieces and granulate in a toroidal flow. This very intense processing is up to 20 times more effective than traditional vibrators. In the CF machines, the unique zero gap system means that even very small and thin parts can be machined cost-effectively and without damage. In addition, it offers a broad spectrum of processes, from deburring through to high-gloss polishing. The simple handling of the CF machine is also impressive.
For larger workpieces, that are individually clamped, our drag-finishing machine is used. DF series drag-finishing machines are designed to machine large or heavy workpieces. They can be used for small- and large-series manufacturing. With drag finishing, the workpieces are secured in special holders and moved through a container of grinding or polishing granulate in a circular motion at high speed. This creates contact pressure between the workpiece and the abrasive, which quickly delivers optimum processing results of the highest quality. In addition to the classic variants such as wet and dry processing, there are machines that are specifically adapted to different markets such as the DF Tools for the tool industry or the DF Pharma for the medical/pharmaceutical industry.
(?) MFN: Why do customers opt for your machine technology? What are the advantages?
(!) S. J.: Our customers benefit from the comprehensive technical expertise of our specialists who understand how to create the perfect interplay of machine and abrasive; they also profit from the high-quality machining standards synonymous with the "Made in Germany" label. This guarantees trouble-free operation and a long service life. A host of patents and utility models bear testimony to our capacity for innovation and prove that our technology is constantly developing. "Perfect surfaces worldwide" is our mission and we are constantly discovering new solutions as part of this – even for difficult machining tasks. We are guided by the demand for utmost precision and optimum adaptation to each customer’s requirements. We also focus on the cost efficiency of the machines. For example, depending on the requirements profile, our Automation series stream-finishing machines can be set up for automatic loading or fitted with integrated automatic loading. The SF Automation can thus be easily integrated as a key element of any production line. This guarantees extremely short process times and high-cost efficiency.
It is important to us also that we have a dependable technology that offers maximum process reliability. Nonetheless, should our assistance be required at any stage, it is vital that we are present on site with specialist personnel. With a global distribution network comprising more than 60 distributors, OTEC can be on site anywhere we are needed and we are always a reliable partner. Alongside the standard offers such as the in-house hotline, we also offer services that are specifically tailored to our customers. This offer includes, for example, remote maintenance via the OTEC teleservice or the "24/7 service in Europe", a 24-hour emergency service, which guarantees absolute process reliability wherever you are in the world.
(?) MFN: Do you have anything else you would like to add? Are there particular plans in place for 2019?
(!) S. J.: One highlight of 2019 will be the new design for our disc-finishing machine. The CF series guarantees absolute reliability, sophisticated technology and perfect machining. In the future, this will be evident from the design too, as our CF series is getting a new, high-quality makeover. We will be presenting this, among other things, in September at the EMO in Hanover. We look forward to meeting our national and international customers at the fair so that we can show them our latest machine developments!
MFN would like to thank Soran Jota for this interview!