Güdel has increased its global production capacity for machining large components. Its new machines can automatically process parts that are up to 15 m long, 1.4 m wide and 1 m deep. The demand for Güdel gantry robots has grown consistently over the years and, as a result, the company needed to enlarge its own production facilities.
Güdel began developing its own long bed milling machine, known internally as the LFM, in 2008. The machine came into operation in 2009. It is used to machine the large components that form part of Güdel's automation systems. The machines available on the market did not meet Güdel's requirements, because their traverse path in the Y and Z axes was too long in relation to the milling length. In addition, they did not fulfill Güdel's high quality standards. As a result, Güdel decided to design and build its own solution.
Over the last few years, the utilization of the machine steadily increased and had almost reached 100%. It was definitely time to develop and improve the machine even further. Since then Güdel has built another four of these production machines. Two of them are located at the company's headquarters in Langenthal in Switzerland. A further two have recently been dispatched to other sites to allow customers on different continents to be supplied with Güdel's products more quickly. The two newest machines have now been brought into operation and are already manufacturing components on a two-shift system at Güdel's sites in Ann Arbor in the USA and in Lingang near Shanghai in China.
The performance of the Güdel machines is impressive. Each milling machine has a Reiden milling head which can be used in a horizontal and a vertical position. This allows parts in a clamp to be machined on five sides. The maximum spindle speed is 7000 rpm and the maximum torque is 750 Nm. The machines can meet the tolerances of only +/-0.02 mm which are required for the TMF linear axes, for example. Each machine is equipped with up to 40 CNC tools.
During periods of normal operation, the machines run on a two-shift system. However, at peak times, this can be extended to three-shift production. The machines produce between 200 and 300 kg of steel swarf during each shift.