Products and solutions, 2001-09-11, 02:00 AM
Krupp Gerlach increases capacity with new forging line
At its Homburg facility in Germany`s Saar region, Krupp Gerlach GmbH has started production with a fully automated forging line featuring a 6,500 metric ton forging press. It will be used to produce crankshafts weighing up to 35 kilograms with a cycle time of just eight seconds, making it the fastest and highest-capacity forging line in the world. The 50 million mark investment will increase annual crankshaft forging capacity at Gerlach`s Homburg plant to around 150,000 tons. With further forging facilities in Germany and the USA, the Gerlach group can now produce some 240,000 tons of forged crankshafts per year. Krupp gerlach is part of the Powertrain business unit of ThyssenKrupp Automotive.
The forging press at the center of the new line can be used to carry out pre-forming, pre-forging, finish-forging and deburring operations, a sequence requiring three separate machines on a conventional forging line. The crankshafts are transferred inside the press by a walking beam system. At the same time, the forging dies are sprayed with a mixture of water and graphite to cool them and minimize wear. The press owes its short cycle time to the fact that unlike on conventional presses, spraying and part transfer take place simultaneously.
Downstream from the forging press is a combination press which also combines operations - in this case calibrating and twisting - for which a conventional line would require separate machines. The red hot crankshafts are transferred between the presses by robots; after forming they are deposited on boards and then automatically transported to a high-bay storage system which can accommodate around 2,000 parts. After cooling, they are transferred by a computer-controlled conveyor system to the final inspection station.
While increasing its production capacity with the introduction of the new forging line, Krupp Gerlach has also gained a leading international position in terms of technology. The Saarland-based forging group is one of only two companies worldwide capable of manufacturing the full spectrum of forged crankshafts needed to cover current car and truck-making requirements.
Krupp Gerlach has particular expertise in forging crankshafts for V6 cylinders and for the new W engines which Volkswagen will be using in its top-of-the-range models. Ger-lach partnered Volkswagen in developing these W engines: limited packaging space and high demands on ride comfort call for relatively intricate crankshafts with large counterweight rotation radii, narrow bearings and very thin and wide counterweights. In part Krupp Gerlach uses a three-stage forming process to produce these components. Depending on design, the crankshafts are additionally twisted after deburring, i.e. the center bearings are turned by up to 72 degrees.
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