Achtung! Custom-Built Cut-to-Length Line Meets Stringent Specs

August 1, 2018

A new Burghardt + Schmidt cut-to-length line at Martinrea Honsel has a working width of 300 to 1250 mm, a cut length of 300 to 3500 mm, and handles strip thickness from 0.3 to 2.2 mm, with a maximum stacking height of 750 mm. The line satisfies tolerances for aluminum and aluminum alloy strips, sheets and plates defined in European standard DIN EN 485.
As a supplier of light-metal parts, primarily for the auto industry and known for their consistent evenness, narrow tolerances and high surface quality, Martinrea Honsel GmbH (MH), with facilities in Germany, Spain, Brazil and Mexico, and headquarters in Meschede, Germany, relies heavily on its equipment suppliers. One such supplier is Burghardt + Schmidt GmbH (B+S), whom MH commissioned late last year to provide a customized cut-to-length line to satisfy its quality requirements. (For more on Martinrea Honsel and Burghardt + Schmidt, see sidebar.)

B+S did just that. The new line, with a Schnutz GmbH (a B+S subsidiary) high-capacity leveler, guarantees leveling quality according to German, European and international standards, and meets MH requirements. Moreover, according to B+S officials, the new system ensures 97-percent availability.

Thomas Rünker, project manager at MH Germany, says that the increased maintenance requirements of the previous system made it difficult to keep up with parts demand. “The range of products manufactured at our plant,” he says, “extends from coils and sheets to stamped blanks for trim parts in the automotive industry or sheet-formed parts to decorate automobile interiors, to name just a few.” Rünker says it had become necessary to maintain the old system frequently, making it impossible to guarantee system availability.

“We already had collaborated with B+S on several projects that demonstrated their technical competency,” says Rünker, describing reasoning for choosing to work with B+S for this new line.

Evenness a Must

Schnutz fitted quick-change leveling cassettes to quicken inspection and replacement of the cassettes in the new line’s leveler. This shortened downtime and helped ensure improved machine availability.
A key requirement of MH Germany, where cold-rolled, wrought-aluminum alloys are cut to length, was that the new line provide consistently even strips for trouble-free processing downstream. An unwinder, used to remove the strips from the coil and feed them into a 23-roll leveler, ensures absolute evenness. MH Germany requires a working width of 300 to 1250 mm, as well as a cut length of 300 to 3500 mm and strip thickness between 0.3 and 2.2 mm. Moreover, the cut-to-length line, designed for as many as 40 cuts/min., needed to meet the length and form tolerances according to the DIN EN 485 European standard for aluminum and aluminum-alloy strips, sheets and plates.

“We manufacture those lines as a tailor-made solution in order to meet the conditions and specifications onsite,” explains Thomas Baral, managing director at B+S. “The system only needs slight technical modifications to handle steel and stainless steel, as well as other metals.”

Improved Machine Availability

“It’s our experience that the leveling unit defines the quality of each individual system,” says Rünker. “Good, reliable and regular maintenance of the leveling cassettes satisfies our requirements, as it is the only dependable way to avoid downtime.”

With leveling tools requiring rework from time to time, B+S handles this as an after-sale service at its factory in Siegen, Germany, and guarantees short delivery times if leveling cassettes are replaced.

To facilitate faster cassette inspection and replacement, Schnutz developed quick-change leveling cassettes. “These improve accessibility and, therefore, the maintenance can be reduced,” says Baral. “During maintenance,” he explains, “the operator removes the cassette completely from the leveler and positions it on a rack enclosed on a robust welded-steel-frame. A lifting gear picks up the cassettes so that they can be inspected and then reworked if necessary,” leading to minimal downtime and improved machine availability.

Drum Shears Accelerate Operation

The new line features an integrated swing-arm stacking machine to protect sheet surfaces. The swing arms are powered by three-phase servomotors with a controlled force-velocity curve.
Once unwound and leveled, strips are cut crosswise into metal plates. “We equipped the system with a drum shear to speed up the operating process,” reports Baral. “The material runs continuously and, therefore, a looping pit is not needed.” Not only does this make the system more compact, it also reduces the cost of footings. Clearance between the two blades, for the drum shear, adjusts automatically according to material-strength and thickness data, which is entered at the main operating console. This prevents unnecessary user errors while also improving operating speeds.

“The benefits of quick and individual adjustment for varying material properties are obvious,” Rünker explains. “It cuts tooling times and the cost of auxiliary process times, while allowing for quick corrections and intervention during production in case of any deviation from the customary quality standard. It also significantly extends the lifecycle of the cutting tools.” Additionally, the modern electronics in the drum shear and B+S’s proprietary software guarantee enable the narrow length tolerances requested by Martinrea Honsel.

Surfaces Protected

The Companies

Martinrea Honsel GmbH, founded in 1908 by Fritz Honsel as Fritz-Honsel-Gravieranstalt und Formenmacherei in Werdohl, Germany, became part of Martinrea International, Inc. in 2011. Since then, Martinrea Honsel has provided light-metal products to the automotive industry. The company has approximately 3000 employees worldwide, working in 10 plants in Germany, Spain, Brazil, Mexico and China.

Burghardt+Schmidt GmbH manufactures machines and systems for the cutting and leveling of metal strips. Its equipment, custom-built to suit the needs of customers, draws from the company’s experience in the thin-strip sector. The machines and lines are developed and manufactured at its headquarters in Remchingen, Germany.

Schnutz GmbH, part of the Burghardt + Schmidt Group since 2014, traces its roots back to 1846 when Martin Schnutz founded a smithy to focus on the design and construction of sheetmetal-processing systems. Schnutz built its first leveling machines in 1882.

Once cut, metal plates must be stacked to ensure smooth downstream processing. However, improperly deposited plates can damage the surfaces. “Our workpieces must satisfy strict decorative standards, so an impeccable surface is essential,” explains Rünker. “This means that they must not be scratched during stacking, and the edges must be absolutely flush.”

Such requirements prompted B+S to equip the system with a swing-arm machine to stack the sheets to 750 mm high, including the pallet, without damaging their surfaces. Special swing arms with powered transport rollers move the sheets. And, three-phase servomotors with a controlled force-velocity curve, used for the swivel and deposit movements, ensure precise swing movements. “In earlier iterations, these movements were powered pneumatically, but air is an extremely expensive medium,” says Baral. “That’s why we now use energy-efficient servomotors.”

Quick Delivery, Quick Commissioning

With each of the system’s manufacturing stages completed on schedule, B+S delivered a turnkey cut-to-length system with protective fencing to Martinrea Honsel last November.

“Although we rescheduled the delivery date,” says Rünker, “Burghardt + Schmidt still helped us by ensuring punctual delivery, and in doing so enabled quick replacement of the systems in our rolling mill.” MF

Information for this article was provided by Martinrea Honsel Germany GmbH, Meschede, Germany,; Burghardt+Schmidt GmbH, Remchingen, Germany,; Schnutz GmbH, Siegen, Germany,; and Abopr Pressedienst B.V., Munich, Germany,

Industry-Related Terms: Alloys, Aluminum Alloy, Case, Form, Lines, Pallet, Stainless Steel, Strips, Surface, Thickness
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms

Technologies: Pressroom Automation


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