Machine tool saves precious preassembly time
SONOTRONIC processes PIK-Trunking at the press of a button
Trunking is used in many areas of machine and plant engineering. The trunking bodies and covers have to be cut to length and lateral cut-outs made to suit the actual installation situation. As these preassembly tasks can represent up to 75 % of the total installation costs, there is great potential for rationalisation, which machine manufacturer SONOTRONIC has already exploited.
Since 1974, SONOTRONIC has developed and manufactured systems and components for forming joints in plastic using ultrasonics, infrared and heating element technologies. Today, SONOTRONIC Nagel GmbH has a workforce of about 350 and is the market leader in ultrasonic special machinery construction for the automotive industry. Whether it is using ultrasonic punching to create precise openings for the installation of parking sensors in car bumpers or assembling high-quality door trim panels using ultrasonic welding: the SONOTRONIC customer list includes many of the industry's leading manufacturers. In addition, the company develops and produces high-tech ultrasonic systems for the packaging, foodstuff, textile, medical and environmental industries.
"The advantages of our technology are plain to see," says Christian Schächtele, Deputy Assembly Manager: Ultrasonic machines work almost wear free. Cold welding saves energy, does not use adhesives and introduces very little heat into the components. "This means they do not go out of shape or change their material properties."
Electricians decide the methods of installation on site
"No plant or system is the same as any other," points out Christian Schächtele, whose team produced dozens of customer-specific machines last year. Modern machining centres incorporate a great deal of complex control engineering technology. Bus technology, decentralised drives alongside countless actuators and sensors can be seen everywhere. All sorts of energy and data cables connect the decentralised units with the control panel and the main control system. "These cables must be protected against mechanical damage and routed safely through the machinery," says the assembly engineer. In these situations, the electricians have the final decision on how best to complete the installation. SONOTRONIC uses PIK-Trunking from PFLITSCH among other products for cable routeing.
Substantial time to be saved on cable routein
"I was familiar with the trunking system, its advantages and the purpose-made tools and machine tools from my time with a previous employer and naturally I introduced them at SONOTRONIC as well," recalls Schächtele. "We install up to 20 metres of trunking depending on the type of machine," he estimates. And it all has to be individually cut, shaped and assembled. Instead of cutting and configuring individual lengths of trunking by hand to suit the specific installation situation on site, Christian Schächtele and his colleagues use a portable machine tool for this task. "With the MaxiCut, we can precisely cut the trunking bodies and covers within seconds to the required length," enthuses Schächtele. "Otherwise we would have to laboriously mark out the sheet metal trunking, clamp it and then cut it to length using a band saw."
There is also similar potential for savings in the creation of the lateral cut-outs. Here there is no need to dismantle the trunking, cut out the surplus sheet metal or spend precious time deburring the cut edges. The notching punch on the MaxiCut does the job at the press of a button. "Perfectly fitting lengths of trunking are ready for use in just a few minutes thanks to the PFLITSCH machine. Earlier, we would have had to allow up to two hours processing time," says Christian Schächtele, totalling up the time saved. With about a kilometre of trunking per year, the MaxiCut pays for itself in the first year of use. “Not to mention the accurate dimensions and the excellent appearance, which would be very difficult to match doing the job by hand,” says Schächtele, while also highlighting the noticeably improved working conditions. which also does away with the need to use special protective equipment.
The compact MaxiCut unit is integrated into a workshop trolley that needs only a 230 V connection to operate. The tools – made from high-quality cutting steel and optimised for use on PFLITSCH trunking – work accurately to produce a low-burr finish and precise dimensions, reproducible time after time. Their service life is practically unlimited due to replaceable and resharpenable cutting plates. The notch punching module for lateral cut-outs can be replaced by an indenting unit that will make the necessary recesses in trunking covers. "In order to be able to react quickly to changes in the electrical cabling plans during installation on site, we use PFLITSCH's rechargeable battery-powered tools," says Schächtele. They are also perfectly designed for cutting and shaping trunking.