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Intelligent Machines for Intelligent Production

JUNKER partner4JU and JUSTAR

Grinding machine manufacturer JUNKER has brought the industry 4.0 concept to life in a single machine: the JUSTAR machining center grinds finished tools from rods in just a single clamping set-up. This is made possible by the partner4JU: a program, which represents individual digitalization of machines to suit precise customer requirements.

With custom-made machines, JUNKER is offering its customers individual solutions. In this age of industry 4.0, the grinding machine manufacturer is extending its range of services even further. The industry leader is taking machine and system digitalization and adapting it to suit customers’ exact needs. To do so, JUNKER has developed its own system called “partner4JU”.

The JUSTAR is an example of how JUNKER is putting partner4JU into practice. The complete machining center takes care of the tasks of several machining centers fully automatically, thanks to the interplay between several intelligent components: digital networking of work processes and complex assemblies.

The JUSTAR is the result of a customer request. The specification read “economical production of small batch sizes” and “quick processing of orders”. The engineers at JUNKER focused on reducing tooling times, since transferring the workpiece from machine to machine increases the production time. The innovative solution then became clear: all individual production steps should take place in a single machine. This speeds up the process, thereby reducing delivery times.

Intelligent Control integrates all individual production steps in a single machine

Production begins with the blank bar stock being fed into the machine. The JUSTAR then grinds the contour, square section, groove, peel flute, thread and chamfer in a single clamping set-up. The finished workpiece is also separated and unloaded fully automatically. The next piece of bar stock is then drawn in and the process starts over. Special assemblies are responsible for each of the grinding assignments. Each assembly requires detailed information, about the workpiece, prior processing or subsequent grinding operation, for example. The JUSTAR initially receives this essential information via programming, and later in the form of real data that is recorded during the process.

Part of partner4JU: digital measurement system for precision and a long service life

One of the features that sets the JUSTAR apart is its clever digital measuring system with automatic measuring correction. This intelligent system detects the exact dimensions of the workpiece and corrects them as necessary. For the next workpiece, the optimal values that were previously determined are automatically used as a basis, which means that re-grinding is no longer required.  Due to this fully-automatic workpiece measurement and correction process during production, the machine only produces OK parts. There are no rejects. The grinding center also continuously passes relevant data from assembly to assembly during the production process. This means the machine works with real data, making it exceptionally precise. Cutting tools produced on the JUSTAR have a service life that is up to 50 percent longer than thread taps manufactured on line machines. The measurement system is also an important quality assurance tool. The recorded values are fully documented and made available. This provides the user with verifiable measuring protocols for each product and important proof of quality for end customers.

Digitalization provides an economical path from prototypes to series production

The grinding center enables economical production of small series and prototypes. As the JUSTAR replaces several machines, only one machine needs to be programmed and set up, making work preparation much easier. Programming can be carried out at any time, in any location. There are no machine hourly costs. The digitalization of the JUSTAR allows quick and easy setup. The majority of the modules are CNC-controlled, keeping the tooling time to a minimum. The JUSTAR’s strengths, namely short work preparation times, emerge especially during production of small series and manufacture of prototypes. In these cases, the grinding center can be used in bypass production alongside ongoing line production. Small batch sizes, individual product samples and urgent customer orders can thus be processed rapidly. In addition, the grinding center offers unbeatably fast delivery times. The JUSTAR is also suitable for production of larger batch sizes: the grinding center can be used for fully unmanned series production overnight or on the weekend. The fully-automatic changer for 30 grinding wheels, the high-performance grinding spindle with high cutting capacity, and the automatic coolant nozzle tracking ensure that mid-size quantities also leave the machine with the same level of workpiece quality.

Industry 4.0: new geometries, lower costs

The machining center also impresses with its ability to create unusual workpiece geometries. In the JUSTAR, the machining process, from the bar stock to the cutting tool, takes place in a single clamping set-up. This enables the manufacture of very intricate geometries, which cannot be achieved on a production line. When it comes to precision, at some point, re-clamping is not possible, because, for example, the clamping element is no longer available. Another advantage of the JUSTAR is that it does away with buffer management. Only the bar stock needs to be stored. In contrast to line production, there is no need for intermediate storage of semi-finished products. This keeps stock to a minimum, which means lower logistics costs and, in turn, cost savings in the production process.

Competitive edge with an intelligent machine

With partner4JU and the intelligent JUSTAR grinding center, JUNKER is offering manufacturers of cutting and forming tools a real competitive advantage. Only one machine needs to be programmed and setup for production. No further time is spent on tooling allowing even the smallest batch sizes to be economically produced overnight. This enables tool specialists to respond significantly quicker to customer requests than their competitors. As machining takes place in a single clamping set-up, tools with completely new geometries can be produced. And production of prototypes is also considerably easier. Thus manufacturers can offer their customers services and products that used to be impossible.