To meet the demand for ‘world-class’ HMCs for the Indian and global market, BFW has developed the Orion-series of next-gen HMCs. The project was initiated 5 years back as a platform development by the Indian & German engineering team. Today, Orion platform is a preferred choice over imported machines for many reputed auto-component makers and other HMC users in India. Going ahead, we see Orion as a global brand making its footprint in geographies outside India. The Orion story is a successful case study in structured product development process.
Indian manufacturing is looking ahead for sustainable enhanced growth. Thanks to long-term policies, decisions like GST by Govt and focus on attracting investments in diverse industry segments. The below mentioned segments are expected to grow at healthy growth rate.
- Auto sector, a major user of machine tools, will grow by 3.5 to 4 times from the current size of US$ 74 billion to reach about US$ 300 billion by 2026. The Indian auto industry has already become the third largest one since 2016.
- General engineering and consumer durables are likely to grow at 15% during the next two years.
- New emerging sectors like defence & aerospace, consumer durables, and green investments in auto sectors are likely to enhance demand for machining centres in the coming years
India is the 13th largest manufacturer of machine tools in the world as per the Gartner’s World Machine Tool Consumption Survey Report 2016. Domestic manufacturers have about 30% share of HMC’s consumption in India. The primary drivers for imported machines are higher productivity, precision and reliability. Japan, Germany, Italy and Korea dominate the import machine segment.
To cater to this demand and to favourably improve Indian built HMCs on an equal footing with imports, BFW has introduced the Orion series of next-gen HMCs for catering to the growing requirements of the user industries.
The ‘Orion’ philosophy
Orion is a prominent constellation of eight bright stars located on the celestial equator and visible throughout the world. Orion series is a constellation of eight next-gen horizontal machining centres setting new benchmarks in specifications and performance for our global clients. It is a result of Indo-German engineering excellence for clients seeking cutting edge performance.
The engineering philosophy behind Orion next-gen HMCs is based on four strong principles of:
- Operator ergonomics
The design philosophy behind Orion is ‘modularity in design’ or a design approach that subdivides a system into smaller parts called modules, which can be independently created and then used in different systems. Orion platform has three series, covering a range of pallet sizes starting from 500 x 500 pallet up to 1250 x 1000 pallet sizes. Orion horizontal machining centres are designed and manufactured to deliver excellent machine precision with the use of high-precision components and of thermo-stable materials, which include:
- Robust structural parts made of cast iron for high rigidity and damping
- High precision roller type LM guide-ways and DIN standard high precision ball-screws
- Spindle cooling, ball-screw core cooling and motor flange cooling with PID control
- Heidenhain linear scale (optional) for higher precision
The primary design objective of Orion product series was to develop next-gen horizontal machining centers with the following features:
- Precision & productivity
- Aesthetics & ergonomics
- Compact footprint with space-saving measures
- Completely modular construction with interchangeable spare parts
Design principles of Orion series
Orion Precision: Proven precision of Orion is a result of the winning combination of the below-mentioned characteristics:
- FEM analysed structural parts: Due to the FEM analysis, the following features in the developed machine could be improved:
- Radial stiffness improved by 55% with reference to machine column without increasing weight for enhanced cutting performance
- Resonance frequency of column improved by 15% with reference to existing column for enhanced servo dynamics
- Thermally stable machine column: Use of refrigeration – type chiller help to control column temperature with reference to inputs fed by evenly spaced & placed temperature sensors along the column
- Ball-screw core cooling: Ball-screw core cooling through deployment of an effective mechanism has often ensured high positional accuracies
- Axes motor flange cooling: Effective axes motor flange cooling has helped to minimise transfer of motor temperature to the machine structure, hence ensuring thermal stability of column and guaranteeing stable machine performance
- Spindle cooling: Effective cooling of spindle bearings and motor coil, hence ensuring superior & precision spindle performance
- Rigid bed: Use of a rigid, cast bed of single-piece construction has contributed to minimising the effects of temperature variation
Orion Productivity: Proven shopfloor productivity through operations of Orion HMCs is a result of the greatly improved features that have been incorporated in the machines:
- Servo-driven tool magazine: Use of servo-driven tool magazine ensures optimal clamping and unclamping sequencing complete with error sensing mechanism to correct magazine movement during operation. Tool magazine comes with 40/60/80 tool capacity options. Due to servo-drives, tool loading and unloading is made possible even while machining.
- Servo-driven ATC: Servo-driven high speed ATC ensures fast, smooth and reliable tool change with the capacity to handle tool weights up to 12 kg
- Efficient chip disposal system: Efficient chip disposal is made possible through locating the chip conveyor within the bed along with the addition of:
- Direct chip disposal from stocker side
- Rear side chip disposal
- Dual chip conveyor with hinge and scraper conveyors to handle steel, cast iron and aluminium chips
- Ample shower wash facility to avoid chip accumulation 16/40/70 bar coolant through pressure with drum and cyclone filtration system
- Oil skimmer to remove oil content & improve coolant life
- Rotary-type servo-driven APC: Rotary type servo-driven automatic pallet changer for quick and smooth work piece change irrespective of load. APC arm up/down movement is guided on LM guides.
- Servo-driven index table: Servo driven index table with 1° x 360 divisions positioning with Hirth coupling of ±1 arc seconds accuracy
- DDRT table: Use of state-of-the-art direct drive rotary table for highest positioning accuracy, reliability & speed
Orion Reliability: Proven machine reliability of Orion HMC operations is a result of the use of a combination of sub-systems that ensure safe & stable operation of the machine at all times:
- High quality lubrication system: High quality lubrication unit and cartridges ensures minimal losses due to friction during movement and hence stable machine operation
- 60-tools magazine: Use of a large magazine capable of operating 60 tools gives additional flexibility to schedule continuous machining cycles involving numerous tools and operations
- Sensors box: Sensor box with moulded cables, plugsocket connectors and LED indicators ensure easy, error-free operation of temperature sensors with seamless feedback mechanism
Orion Aesthetics & Ergonomics: Spectacular machine aesthetics & looks and improved ergonomics to build in ease of operation is a result of the combination of these features:
- Wide operator Access: Wider operator door with large windows for easy access & visibility. Provision of swivel type operator panel for easy operation.
- Easily accessible maintenance panel: Easily accessible maintenance panel has ensured ease of maintenance for service personnel
- Wide APC door: Wide APC door for easy access to workpiece with a convenient loading height of 1100 mm
- Well-illuminated work area: Use of LED lamps for APC loading, tool loading, and machining area ensures better illumination for operator to monitor machine during and between cycles
- HMI screens at tool loading station: Provision of HMI (Human Machine Interface) ensures that the operator chooses the right tool & maintains the right tool sequencing during and between machining cycles
- Foot switch at tool station: Provision of foot switch helps operator control tool clamping & unclamping during and between machining cycles
Performance against known ISO standards
The Orion series of machines are known to achieve high levels of static & dynamic accuracies that have often exceeded or bettered the values specified by known ISO standards. Due to these reasons, it is well-placed to meet all known and implied user industry requirements with respect to productivity, precision and reliability.
Redefining next-gen performance
Market acceptance: Orion platform has established itself during the last five years. The product is gaining on-market acceptance with each passing day. BFW has significantly enhanced the manufacturing capacity to meet the increasing demand of HMCs.
Orion is already a preferred choice of many Indian clients and is rapidly increasing its footprint in India. BFW will take forward the Orion next-gen HMCs and establish it as a global brand. It is in process of launching its 5-axis range of HMCs being branded as Orion FX, salient features of which are universal head, high pressure through-coolant, zero-point clamping and uninterrupted chip flow.