SCHUNK on Doosan: Insights, Retrofits and Automation
The highest quality machine tool in the world won’t get much done without proper workholding or tool holders in the spindle. That is why we collaborate with some of the world’s finest manufacturers of gripping and clamping systems. That is where companies like SCHUNK come in. In this article, we will explore how we work with this innovative organization and how this relationship brings added value to our customers.
Building Customer Connections
SCHUNK is a 3rd generation family business that manufactures accessories for machine tools like tool holders, lathe chucks, lathe chuck jaws, vises and quick-change workholding. Based in Germany, the company is represented in 50 countries.
In a move to put management teams closer to its customers in the U.S., and to be more integrated into the machining community, SCHUNK recently opened a Tech Center in Houston, Texas. Ron Wright, Director of Sales, was selected to head the operation.
“The Tech Center consists of a showroom which has machine tools in place to show off our accessories,” Ron said. “The machine tools are on display from various machine tool builders, and naturally Doosan is one of them.”
Along with highlighting SCHUNK accessories, Houston also has a manufacturing operation for both repairs and the machining of adapters and flanges to support the local oil and gas market. The same business model will be applied to Detroit and Northern California in the next couple of years to support their specific local industries as well.
The current focus in Houston seems to be on minimizing setup and job changeover times. “Many industries appear to be going towards high-mix, low-volume production,” Ron remarked. “So, setup is definitely a critical thing to consider.” SCHUNK has a quick- change jaw system for turning centers, quick-change pallet systems for milling machines and quick-change gripping systems for robotics. In the showroom, Ron might show how fast you can go from one job to the next by using SCHUNK's quick-change pallet system on a Doosan DNM series 3-axis vertical machining center.
Of course, Ron also finds widespread curiosity among his customers about robotics and automation. When it comes to machine tool tending, SCHUNK has taken the lead in providing EOA tools for robots. What they see currently is the need to automate workholding to the machine tool vs. part loading to a fixture. SCHUNK can offer fixture automation accessories like this that would be perfect in even low volume situations.
The DNM Series Has It Covered
SCHUNK decided to purchase the DNM 5700 that was on loan from Doosan. The machine worked great for demo purposes, but SCHUNK found it even more useful on their shop floor thanks to the built-in features that make short work of any workpiece. For example, the DNM 5700 comes standard with an 8,000 r/min CAT40 BIG-PLUS spindle that is coupled with a 20HP motor. Cross roller linear guideways keep the machine sliding quickly without sacrificing any rigidity.
But since Texas is Oil and Gas country where workpieces are big and heavy, Ron started thinking they might need to upgrade to a larger machine to make wider diameter adaptor plates used to marry a workholding chuck to a turning center.
Representatives from Ellison Technologies, Doosan’s local distributor, were able to show Ron he has all the machine he needs right there on the floor. Besides having ample XYZ axes travels, the DNM 5700 was designed with enough room for SCHUNK to be able to load and machine a 40" diameter flange using an A-axis retrofit table. There was a good amount of space to get the workpiece in and orient it to machine all the different bolt hole patterns. The optional Z axis column riser was a big help and the 51.2” by 22.4” table holds up to 2,205 lbs., so weight is not a problem. Ron was convinced and now runs the big jobs on the DNM 5700.
This insight from Ellison is typical of their relationship with SCHUNK. “Ellison is always focused on providing the customer with more than just the Doosan machine,” Ron commented. “They talk about a complete process and unique accessory combinations that may be perfect for a customer’s particular application.”
At times, Doosan, SCHUNK and Ellison have all teamed up to consolidate operations and cut down on setup time in customers’ operations. For example, in 2016, a global manufacturer of valves and actuators purchased two PUMA TT1800SY turning machines. These are twin turret machines with a sub-spindle and Y-axis coupled with a parts conveyor. SCHUNK provided chucks and custom jaws to match the forgings they were going to machine. Where this part was previously done in three operations, the live tooling, sub-spindle and Y-axis capability on the PUMA TT1800SY allow them to do it in one.
Recently, six NHP 4000 horizontal machining centers were installed at the same customer, all outfitted with SCHUNK tombstones. Parts made on this machine were originally done in six operations; now it’s down to two. The machines in the NHP series are feature heavy and built for massive metal removal with 15,000 r/min spindles and 2,362 IPM rapid feed rates.
Doosans in Deutschland
SCHUNK's headquarters in Germany also uses almost 30 Doosan machine tools to manufacture their lathe chucks. They are considered to be the perfect value machine for their processes – heavy duty, fast and reliable.
“Doosan means value for us,” Ron remarked. “From turning out product at our headquarters to demonstrations in our new Tech Center, they’ve been getting the job done for 15 years.”