Burkhardt+Weber Fertigungssysteme GmbH, part of Gruppo Riello Sistemi, has been developing and manufacturing machine tools since 1888. As early as 1958, the company developed its first numerically controlled (NC) machine tool using a radio wave controller. Today, Burkhardt+Weber focuses on large machining centers and special-purpose machines. Its machines can be found in manufacturing applications, including the machine tool industry.

Burkhardt+Weber is challenged to succeed in spite of worldwide cost pressures, so it must capture the technological knowledge of its experts and make it available to new staff; work virtually as much as possible, including the use of digital mockups in virtual shop floor spaces; use standardized modules for the configuration of variants; and achieve the highest precision and reliability in its in-house production of main components in order to balance speed, weight and size on every project.

From 2-D CAD to PLM

Given these challenges, Burkhardt+Weber compared its existing, drawing-oriented design process with a product lifecycle management (PLM) solution based on 3-D computer aided design (CAD). The company’s management wanted to establish a continuous process that led from modeling to the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, SAP R/3. The management also wanted a system that could manage standard and purchased parts, which make up approximately 80% of a machine tool. It was noted that the manufacturing department should be able to receive 3-D models as a basis for programming, with the developed programs made available to the controls via direct numerical control (DNC).

“Such a project would not work with five different software providers,” says Peter Schuller, CAD administrator, who was responsible for the selection and implementation of the PLM system. The company chose instead an all-in-one solution from Siemens PLM software (Plano, TX). Siemens was able to offer the broadest solution platform as well as strong support from its partners BCT Technology Enterprises GmbH (Neu-Isenburg, Germany), Tesis PLMware (Munich, Germany) and A + B Solutions GmbH (Schwaebisch Gmuend, Germany).

A five-member team implemented 22 workstations of Siemens’ NX (formerly Unigraphics NX) digital product development system and two NX computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) programming seats, along with Siemens’ Teamcenter digital lifecycle management solution in order to serve as the central product data management source for product engineering and design. Teamcenter was configured with PLMeasy templates, roles and processes, which are tailored for the component manufacturer’s manner of operation.

Innovation from the Start

The first project done in 3-D clearly indicated the advantages the new technology could deliver, particularly in the area of innovation. Siemens designed an automatic magazine for 570 tools that delivers a new level of flexibility in the largest size range. Now tools can weigh up to 165 pounds and can have a length of up to 3.2 feet, such as boring bars for cylinder heads. The high execution speeds of up to 656 feet per minute can be reduced to guarantee perfect process security. Loading and unloading is accomplished by a turning station and automatic process surveillance. This, and automatic length measurement and tool cone cleaning-which includes flushing and brushing during the machining process-allow Burkhardt+Weber to offer a new level of unattended machining.

During design, the 3-D approach proves its worth, allowing the creation of assemblies containing manufactured components, purchased standard parts, commercial bar profiles and welded subassemblies. Drawing generation, the change management process and bill of material creation now run smoothly. A Tesis-built interface from Teamcenter to SAP/R3 makes sure that after drawing information is released it is automatically available company-wide in tagged image file format (TIFF). During the release process, BCT’s 3-D-Pool program writes standard parts data to SAP R/3. “In the past, valuable time was lost in these areas,” says Schuller. “By automating these processes in Teamcenter, we gain time for genuine development tasks.”

Integrated in-house production

All core parts of Burkhardt+Weber’s machines-particularly the big, complex components-are produced in-house using its own machining centers. With Teamcenter, models can be used as a basis for NC programs, even when the assembly is not yet released. Associative links ensure that the data will be permanently updated.

NX CAM’s ability to simulate machining sequences is an important step in the new development process. “Through the simulation of each operation in every setting, we make sure that the subsequent machining runs smoothly,” Schuller notes. The direct integration of all NC programs, tools and setup sheets, drawings and JT visualizations-a 3-D data format-is made possible by FIT4TC, the factory integration tool for Teamcenter from A+B Solutions. This tool is responsible for the DNC transmission of actual and target data, NC programs and machine optimized programs to Teamcenter. The program is in direct contact with the controls of the machining centers and a Zoller tool-initializing device.

Integration of Siemens 840 D

Next year Burkhardt+Weber will further improve the DNC operation of its machines-which are equipped with the Siemens 840 D control-through a direct integration of the control with Teamcenter. That will make it possible not only to transfer NC programs to and from Teamcenter at the DNC terminal, but also to collect remaining tool lifetime information in the machining centers. Every required cutting tool for new work pieces will be quickly identified by its ID numbers and its remaining running lifetime. This will allow the tool magazine for the next manufacturing task to be prepared including tool lifetime and necessary new tools.

Siemens PLM Software

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  • NX CAM’s ability to simulate machining sequences results in shorter manufacturing cycle times.

  • During design, the 3-D approach enables Burkhardt+Weber to meet increased demand met without adding staff.

  • The product lifecycle management (PLM) solution enables automated processes that saves time for development tasks.