- Thielenhaus Technologies GmbH
- Schwesterstr. 50
- 42285 Wuppertal
- Wolfgang D. Riedel
New possibilities in crankshaft microfinishing:
Shoe follows function
After evaluating statistics from its fleet network, a well-known truck manufacturer has ascertained that a high percentage of reported crankshaft damage is due to particularly large loads on the bearings radii. Working closely with the German high-precision machine tool manufacturer Thielenhaus Microfinish, the manufacturer therefore decided to perform finishing work on the bearings as well as on the transition radii. In order to achieve the same surface quality on the crankshaft journals and radii, Thielenhaus developed a special tape contact shoe. The new RadiusFlex shoe technology presses a finishing tape with a special profile on both sides into the radius, allowing radii to be machined up to 90°. This represents a significant break-through from the previous 60°. The manufacturer’s goal was thus successfully achieved.
Flexible in diameter
The leading machine tool manufacturer for microfinishing is developing prototypes and filing patent applications for a variety of other innovative tape contact shoe systems. In addition to the conventional hard or soft shoes, Thielenhaus is developing a shoe that uses a kind of belt system to adapt to the component’s size. With the DiaFlex technology, crankshafts with the same bearing widths but different diameters can be machined without swapping the shoes. In practice, it often happens that, due to higher torques in three- or four-cylinder motors, a few millimetres more of bearing diameter are needed with the same motor concept and gauge. The DiaFlex shoe adapts to the respective diameter and can compensate for differences of up to 15 mm without changing shoes.
Correcting the crown shape
Also currently under development are tape contact shoes for generating or correcting profile and crowning on the bearings. With the ShapeFlex shoe, the tape contact shoe pressure can be varied over the diameters width. This makes it possible to work on the edges of the bearing points with a slightly elevated specific pressure to support or even generate a slight crown shape, or to achieve the desired crowned shape with minimal variation in crowning and symmetry.
Platforms for individual machine concepts
The different shoe systems can all be integrated in Thielenhaus’s CrankStar machine platform, which features horizontal and vertical versions for machining passenger car or truck crankshafts and can be adjusted to the specific needs of each manufacturer. Based on the manufacturer’s requirements regarding part handling, cycle times, quality tolerances, part variations and machining tasks, Thielenhaus can develop a machine concept that is precisely tailored to the needs of the customer.
Consistent roundness improvements
In order to achieve the same roundness improvements on main- and pin bearings, the CrankStar employs pneumatic technology to counterbalance pin bearing forces of +/- 5 Newton. This ensures that the machining forces on the rotating crank pin are kept constant and that the mass forces that occur between the shoe and bearing are compensated. The roundness is thus improved to exactly the same extent on all bearings, whether pin or main bearings.
No more risk of deformation
When microfinishing weight-optimised, small dimensioned crankshafts for compact engines, the machining forces used to clamp and oscillate the workpiece can produce minor deformations. This then has a negative impact on the crankshaft bearing diameters, including profile and cylindricity. To counteract this, the CrankStar regulates axial tailstock forces utilising a hydraulic servo control mechanism. The technology is able to compensate variating oscillation strokes and frequencies as well as different part lengths.
Ergonomics and flexible automation
In the standard version, the CrankStar is capable of machining crankshafts for engines with three to six cylinders, in some cases even without major retooling. In addition to centre- and pin bearings and thrust faces, the CrankStar can finish oil seal diameters and deburr bores in the flange. Thrust face machining occurs via a special unit while the workpiece is oscillated. Even with vertical machine concepts, the CrankStar comes with up to 33 percent longer intervals between tool changes than the industry standard, featuring a tape capacity of 300+ metres. The vertical solution allows a quick belt change from the front of the machine, without requiring the withdrawal of an entire tool carrier package.
The CrankStar can be adapted to a variety of automation systems. Vertical machines are designed to be loaded either from the front or the back. Thielenhaus is currently examining possibilities to minimize idle time during the loading/unloading operation.
Innovative machine solutions and tape contact shoe systems open up new possibilities for engine manufacturers and their suppliers, enabling the microfinishing of crankshafts of various designs simpler, faster and more cost-effective. Via company locations in Europe, the Americas and Asia, Thielenhaus offers its extreme precision microfinishing solutions around the world.
Further information can be obtained from: Thielenhaus Technologies GmbH, Division Microfinish, P.O. Box 201855, 42218 Wuppertal / Germany, Telephone +49 202 481-0, Telefax +49 202 450445, Thielenhaus Microfinish Corporation, 42925 W. Nine Mile Road, Novi, MI 48375 / U.S.A., Telephone +1 248 349-9450, Telefax +1 248 349-9457, or online at www.thielenhaus.us
The machine solution can be viewed via tablet or smartphone in 3D with the CrankStar app, which can be downloaded for free from iTunes or Google Play Store.
Thielenhaus Technologies GmbH
Microfinishing, also known as superfinishing or short-stroke honing, is the ideal machining process for achieving extreme precision surfaces and component geometries, and removing amorphous surface layers in the magnitude of 2 µm. Honing stones, cup wheels and microfinishing tape or film can be used to generate surface roughness or geometrical accuracy within a previously defined window that often spans a few tenths of a micron. Indicated below are a number of parameters which can be optimized using Microfinish:
With facilities in Europe, America and Asia and a worldwide service network, Thielenhaus has adapted itself to the market conditions and to the customer needs all over the world.
Commitment to quality: Thielenhaus machines are employed by leading manufacturers across the world for a good reason - their high reliability, productivity and production quality. Thielenhaus continuously pushes the limits of precision machining, enabling its customers to achieve workpiece qualities that were previously impossible.
All solutions from a single source: Extreme precision is the specialty of Thielenhaus, and over the years the manufacturer has built the world's largest portfolio of Microfinish solutions, ranging from industrial equipment for large and small manufacturers to just-in-time tool delivery and other services. When it comes to Microfinish Thielenhaus is the one-stop shop.
The flexibility of Thielenhaus is its customer's advantage: The manufacturer adapts the machine solutions to the customer's component, loading/unloading preferences, cycle time requirements and other specific needs. The modular design of the machine platforms accommodates even tricky components.
New challenges and innovation are the passion of Thielenhaus: They are proud of their 430+ patents in surface finishing technology as well as of numerous market-leading platforms and pioneering innovations. Thielenhaus constantly seeks to improve the machining concepts, always keeping in mind the challenges of tomorrow.
Customer support all over the world: With customer service locations in six countries and service agreements with a network of agents and distributors, Thielenhaus is able to provide quick service on short notice practically anywhere in the world. The customers also benefit from a 24/7 hotline and Online Direct Service.
Thielenhaus is known as a highly experienced problem solver: Anyone can be a problem solver, but with more than 70 years of developing Microfinish solutions, the Thielenhaus staff have probably seen and solved more Microfinish problems than anyone else in the industry. When it comes to splitting microns, the Thielenhaus in-depth knowledge of the microfinishing process is unsurpassed.
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