The customer: The customer is a US$ 55 million company having largest integrated infrastructure in the Indian Subcontinent involved in the manufacturing and supply of quality auto-components to OEMs in India and abroad. With three plants and five regional offices in India and two overseas offices the customer has a well established global supply chain and has established quality systems conforming to TS-16949 global standards/
The Manufacturing challenge:
Flexible machining of 6 models of axle shafts with machining cycle requirement of 3.4 minutes / component (any model)
An axle shaft is a central shaft for a rotating wheel or gear. On wheeled vehicles, the axle shaft may be fixed to the wheels, rotating with them, or fixed to the vehicle, with the wheels rotating around the axle. In the former case, bearings or bushings are provided at the mounting points where the axle is supported. In the latter case, a bearing or bushing sits inside a central hole in the wheel to allow the wheel or gear to rotate around the axle.
Axle shafts are classified according to their use as drive axle shafts, dead axle shafts and lift axle shafts.
The customer’s axle shaft models are being produced from Forged steels with typical hardness between 235 – 277 BHN and prominent machining operations to be conducted are drilling & chamfering operations.
The Manufacturing Solution:
After studying the manufacturing problem and the solution, BFW suggested its Horizontal Machining Center with Hydraulic fixture for a single component loading with minimum interchangeable elements.
The machine thus selected – BFW’s H400 E Special Horizontal Machining Centre with a hydraulic fixture capable of accommodating all 6 axle-shaft models.
The unique point of this machine was that it was supplied without pallet changer or indexing table but with specially designed machine guards and a special loading arrangement with side opening for a component of length of 1200 mm.