Ostrach-based family business Neher develops special tools for the international manufacturing industry and to ensure its successful market position, the company recently opted for the VPulse 500 wire erosion machine from VOLLMER. Developed by the Biberach based sharpening specialist, the VOLLMER machine allows Neher to manufacture its PCD-tipped (polycrystalline diamond) tools with a high surface finish.
“We manufacture customised diamond tools for our customers which generally have complex geometries, particularly when it comes to combination tools such as milling cutters and reamers”, states Gerd Neher, Managing Director of the German Neher Group in Ostrach-Einhart. “For this we rely on the erosion technology from VOLLMER and we recently decided to purchase the fully automated VPulse 500 wire erosion machine.”
Often more than 150 special tools per order
Neher is one of the leading manufacturers of special tools made from PCD that are mainly used in the automotive sector. Neher develops bespoke circular milling tools, face-milling cutters, stepped reamers and also combination tools for its customers. The tools are specially tailored to the components they are intended to manufacture. Tool development generally originates from the design drawing of the component and with the machining of complex components such as gearbox housings or steering boxes, Neher can see up to 30 different PCD tools developed for particular components. As the customers generally want a quantity of each tool, more than 150 special tools can be specified for any particular order.
Wire erosion – around the clock
Neher uses wire erosion for processing its PCD cutting edges. The process is ideal for tools such as contour cutters or stepped reamers that have complex geometries. With the VOLLMER VPulse 500 wire erosion machine, even the tiniest inner radii can be machined precisely. Typically, special tools require machining times that range from 30 minutes for simple reamers up to 20 hours for complex combination tools.
“Thanks to the fully automated VPulse 500, we can work in single-shift operation and still manufacture around the clock and also over the weekend”, states Anton Juric, application engineer at Neher. “For this, we use the external tool memory of the wire erosion machine where we can store a total of 16 different tools.”
Simple operation for error-free work
VOLLMER has equipped the VPulse 500 with a new erosion generator and advanced technology that allows the production of batch sizes from 1-off to large quantity batches. The modern machine kinematics ensure high profile accuracy, not only in production but also in servicing. Another key reason Neher decided to purchase the VPulse 500 was its simple and intuitive operation. The touchscreen allows you to easily program and control the machine for quick, error-free work.
Expansion of business overseas making good headway
Neher is currently planning on purchasing another VPulse 500 to boost the targeted level of growth. In summer 2017, Neher concluded a joint venture with the American company Star SU from Michigan (USA). With locations in the USA, Canada, Mexico and Brazil, as well as many years of experience in the North American manufacturing industry, Star SU is a competent partner for the overseas market. The plan is to now use the new VPulse 500 on site in the USA.
“Wire erosion plays a central role in the production of PCD special tools, which is why we also further developed our tried and tested technology”, states Dr.-Ing. Stefan Brand, Managing Director of the VOLLMER Group. “Neher has been with us from day one in the design and implementation of the VPulse 500 and they played a big part in ensuring that the machine meets the high requirements of the tool manufacturer.”