All posts by Pierre-Yves Schmid

New positioning system doubles positioning speed for 450 mm

Known for innovation, Swiss firm Schneeberger AG Lineartechnik is currently developing a new positioning and movement system that will bear the name Double Gantry. Initial tests and analyses prove that speed of positioning can be almost doubled in applications such as wafer production. The Double Gantry should be on the market from mid-2014.

As of mid-2014, with the Double Gantry Swiss company Schneeberger AG will bring to market a positioning system which can almost double the production speed of wafer manufacturing production and testing systems.
As of mid-2014, with the Double Gantry Swiss company Schneeberger AG will bring to market a positioning system which can almost double the production speed of wafer manufacturing production and testing systems.

Mobile telephones, tablets, laptops and many other, routine electronic products are becoming ever more efficient and/or smaller. This is due to the semiconductor chips, miniaturisation of which seems to be endless. Inserting and testing structures (data highways) in these tiny electronic parts requires systems whose accuracy of movement has to be within micrometres and nanometres. The major chip manufacturers also expect optimum speed, as this has a direct impact on profit. In addition to the optical system, in order to best satisfy the requirements efficient positioning units are in great demand in production and test facilities. They ensure that the wafers dotted with hundreds of chips are quickly and accurately positioned.

Schneeberger AG is a leading provider of such movement systems. Markus Kindler, the company’s Engineering Systems Manager, explains: “There are major differences between the precision requirements of our customers and end users. Ever greater positioning accuracy, which falls within tolerances of tens or hundreds of nanometres for a movement area of 250,000 mm2 is, however, expected with progressive miniaturisation.” To explain: the ratio between a nanometre and a metre is roughly equivalent to the difference between the size of a hazelnut and the Earth.

Double Gantry: less weight, more speed
With their sights on greater efficiency, Schneeberger’s engineers are currently developing a new positioning system, which has already been comprehensively tested. The initial results are a reason for Markus Kindler to expect a real quantum jump in terms of increased performance: “We are assuming that the Double Gantry will double positioning speed in semiconductor chip testing, which will ultimately considerably increase productivity.”

The name Double Gantry reflects the decisive technical principle: two gantry axes are used. The X and Y axes are uncoupled. This is possible by arranging them in a cross and achieving independent movement through multiple guide rails. This innovative structure means the lower axis does not have to bear the weight of the upper axis, which massively reduces the lower axis’s speed in the usual stacked configuration. In the Double Gantry, the X and Y axes each bear their own weight, as well as that of the axis of rotation, the wafer and the clamp system.

Best values in terms of speed to precision
Speed and precision are equally important for achieving a high production speed. In the final analysis it’s a question of approaching clearly defined structures as quickly and accurately as possible. Production speed suffers if a positioning system moves quickly to a defined position, but has to be adjusted there for a long time due to lack of precision. It is therefore worth approaching the predefined structures quickly and accurately.

Schneeberger AG Lineartechnik
St. Urbanstrasse 12
CH-4914 Roggwil
[email protected]
Tel. +41 62 918 41 11

Fritz Studer Award 2014 – Innovative Grinding Technologies

As market and technology leader in cylindrical grinding, STUDER decided to endow the fourth research prize, the «Fritz Studer Award». In the fall of 2014 applications were submitted from many European countries.

Handing over of the Fritz Studer Award 2014 through Dr. Gereon Heinemann (Managing Director Fritz Studer AG, right) to the winner Dr. Eduardo Weingärtner.
Handing over of the Fritz Studer Award 2014 through Dr. Gereon Heinemann (Managing Director Fritz Studer AG, right) to the winner Dr. Eduardo Weingärtner.

The research award targeted graduates from European universities and higher education technical colleges. All graduates, who have dealt with scientific topics or have had an applied research focus during their studies or as a subject in a dissertation and who are able to proffer substantiated results or partial results from their work can participate in the competition. The aim of the work is to strengthen the innovative power of the machine industry with technically feasible approaches.
The submitted topics were to be dedicated to one of the following fields:
− Innovative machine concepts or components for machine tools in precision machining
− Alternative materials in mechanical engineering
− Simulation models of dynamic and thermal behavior of machine tools
− Control and sensor concepts for machine tools
− New or further developed manufacturing technologies, especially in hard-fine machining, such as grinding, hard turning, etc.
The submitted projects were assessed by an expert jury. The jury was composed of Prof. Dr. Konrad Wegener, Institute of Machine Tools and Manufacturing at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Dr. Heinrich Mushardt, United Grinding Group AG and Dr. Frank Fiebelkorn, Head of Product Development, Research and Technology at Fritz Studer AG. The decision criteria for assessment included, for example, the ease of implementing the findings in the machine industry, novelty and idea of the research work, scientific content, form and correctness of statements and results.
With the topic of «On-Machine Wire Electrical Discharge Dressing of Metal Bonded Grinding Wheels», Dr. Eduardo Weingärtner from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Institute of Machine Tools and Manufacturing (Switzerland) had the honor to receive the Fritz Studer Award 2014.
The focal points of Dr. Weingärtner’s research are the examination of wire erosion as an alternative process for dressing metal bonded diamond grinding wheels. Dr. Weingärtner is involved not only in the development of a wire erosion dressing unit and its integration into a grinding machine but also in the modeling, simulation and optimization of the wire erosion dressing process. In his dissertation he developed a special wire guide, which is key to the feasibility of a reliable dressing process, as the precision and efficiency of the process were thus able to be increased considerably. With the thermo-electric model developed by Dr. Weingärtner, the performance of material removal by erosion can be predicted; the influence of relative speed on the erosion process is more easily comprehended and graphitization of the diamonds can be analyzed.

Evolution in the cleaning of powertrain components

What strikes the observer first about the new EcoCFlex 3 is Dürr Ecoclean’s proprietary scara manipulator replacing the standard 6-axis jointed-arm robot, as well as the machine’s exceptional design. A view under the hood reveals further details contributing to its superior process reliability, quality, energy efficiency and availability rates in pre-cleaning and final cleaning of powertrain components.

On the new EcoCFlex 3, one CNC controller for the machine and the integrated scara manipulator replaces the previously required PLC and robot control unit.
On the new EcoCFlex 3, one CNC controller for the machine and the integrated scara manipulator replaces the previously required PLC and robot control unit.

In the pre- and final cleaning of powertrain parts such as cylinder heads, engine blocks and crankcases, robot cells not just improve flexibility. They also allow parts to be cleaned in short cycles, which makes them an indispensable asset in advanced engine and transmission manufacturing lines. With over 400 robot systems built, Dürr Ecoclean of Monschau possesses plenty of experience and has gained extensive customer feedback on optimization potentials. Both went into the development of the new EcoCFlex 3 which is available in two sizes as a 3M and 3L version.

About the Dürr Group
Dürr Ecoclean is part of the Dürr Group worldwide and has over ten sites in eight countries with approximately 800 employees.The Dürr Group is one of the world’s leading mechanical and plant engineering firms. Products, systems and services offered by Dürr enable highly efficient manufacturing processes in different industries. Business with automobile manufacturers and their suppliers accounts for approximately 65% of Dürr’s sales. Other market segments include, for example, the mechanical engineering, chemical and pharmaceutical industries and the woodworking industry. Dürr has 93 business locations in 28 countries and generates annual sales of approx. € 3.2 billion with around 13,700 employees.

ARaymond wins Arburg Energy Efficiency Award 2015

The Arburg Energy Efficiency Award was officially presented on Tuesday 10 March 2015. The winner for 2015 is ARaymond, one of the world’s market leaders in clip fasteners for the automotive industry. Based on internal environmental guidelines, the French family-owned company promotes environmental protection in all 37 of its independent affiliates.

Smiling faces upon receipt of the Arburg Energy Efficiency Award 2015: The high-ranking ARaymond representatives Jürgen Trefzer, François Raymond (from left), Dominique Roullet-Revol and Tomas Cerman (from right), along with the Arburg Managing Partner Michael Hehl (center).
Smiling faces upon receipt of the Arburg Energy Efficiency Award 2015: The high-ranking ARaymond representatives Jürgen Trefzer, François Raymond (from left), Dominique Roullet-Revol and Tomas Cerman (from right), along with the Arburg Managing Partner Michael Hehl (center).

Award recognises excellent energy efficiency performance
In his welcoming speech, Michael Hehl, Managing Partner and Spokesperson for the Arburg Management Team, emphasised the importance of the award: “With this award, we have each year since 2008 shown our appreciation for companies who, like us, take an innovative, all-embracing and global approach to the subject of energy efficiency and who excel on account of their corporate philosophy and activities.”
Arburg Energy Efficiency Award offers affirmation and motivation
Dominique Roullet-Revol, Chief Operations Officer at ARaymond, received the prize from the hands of Michael Hehl. Speaking on behalf of the entire ARaymond workforce, he expressed his thanks for the dynamic international cooperation and for the special award. “For us, the Arburg Energy Efficiency Award 2015 represents important and encouraging recognition of the consistent implementation of our global energy efficiency targets.” Environmental protection and energy efficiency have played an extremely important role at ARaymond for the past decade and are continuously promoted on a worldwide basis.

Increasing energy efficiency in all areas
In order to increase energy efficiency in injection moulding production, the focus is on reducing heat loss through insulation, as well as the use of energy efficient hybrid and electric injection moulding machines. Further measures include energy efficient cooling systems, the utilisation of the waste heat from the compressors and the reduction of compressed air leaks. One result of all the energy efficiency activities is the DIN EN ISO 50001 certification of the energy management system at ARaymond Germany.

ARaymond – 150 years in business
In addition to a responsible attitude towards the environment, Dominique Roullet-Revol also underlined respect for people as key factor in the company’s success. Over its 150-year history it has become evident that the company could never have succeeded without its employees, customers and partners such as Arburg. ARaymond has been developing, producing and selling fastening and mounting systems since its establishment in Grenoble, France, in 1865. The plastic, metal and hybrid parts produced by the company, now run by the fifth generation of the same family, can be found in millions of cars worldwide: in both interior and exterior trims, in drive systems, in electric cable routing, in thermal management and in fluid handling.

Arburg as a trendsetter
Guest speaker Prof. Rudolf Stauber, Director of the Fraunhofer Project Group for Materials Recycling and Resource Strategies, IWKS, spoke about the issues of economic growth and the conservation of resources. He explained that the combination of ecological and economic sustainability is now seen as an integral part of competitiveness and is firmly anchored in the strategies of many enterprises.

Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies Ltd. wins First-Ever International Additive Manufacturing Award

After considering a slate of leading-edge innovations in additive manufacturing from top global users and system suppliers, the jury for the inaugural International Additive Manufacturing Award (IAMA) has selected Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies Ltd., of the United Kingdom and Plano, Texas, as its winning submission. The award was presented on March 6, 2015, during a reception at The MFG (Manufacturing for Growth) Meeting in Orlando, Fla.


Hybrid Manufacturing’s submission is a hybrid kit innovation that can be integrated into any CNC machine to allow for metal deposition (via laser cladding), finishing and inspection of parts on a single machine. The hybrid methodology integrates directed energy deposition into multiaxis CNC machine, using a tool changer to change between processes.

“Hybrid technology is exciting because it offers a new way to adopt additive manufacturing – as an upgrade to a CNC machine tool. Adding tool-changeable deposition heads to an existing CNC machine enables 3D printing of metal, without the need to buy a separate machine,” said Dr Jason Jones, Co-Founder and CEO of Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies. “This significantly reduces costs and provides an intuitive adoption path for CNC operators. The combination of additive with machining offers new capabilities, including in-process finishing, that cannot be delivered by either technology independently.”

“As a team, we are very excited to win the inaugural IAMA,” Jones said. “We are grateful for the exposure it brings to hybrid processing generally, and specifically to the seven years of foundational innovations that we have led in this area. We express our thanks to all those who contributed to the award.”

Dr Jones will have the pleasure to make a presentation at the Additive Manufacturing European Conference to be held Tuesday 6 October 2015 during EMO Milano 2015. EMO is the undisputed leading exhibition of the machine tool sector. It is a true point of reference in promoting the contact between the demand and the offer of manufacturing systems, irrespective of sector trends

The IAMA is the result of a partnership between AMT-The Association for Manufacturing Technology and VDW-Verein Deutscher Werkzeugmaschinenfabriken (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association). AMT and VDW, with media support from Gardner Business Media and VDI Nachrichten and sponsored by the European Machine Tool Association CECIMO, first announced the annual IAMA at IMTS-The International Manufacturing Technology Show 2014 in Chicago, Il.

TURNING DAYS Süd is moving to Friedrichshafen in 2017

The 7th edition of the TURNING DAYS trade fair begins on the 14th of April in Villingen-Schwenningen, but the exhibition space has been fully booked since the end of April last year.
About 90 companies, who would also like to exhibit at the show, cannot take part due to the restricted exhibition area at the current venue, which is one of the reasons why the trade show will take place in Friedrichshafen from 2017 on.

New visitor potential in Friedrichshafen
In the search for a suitable event venue for the trade show, the organisers very quickly identified Friedrichshafen: the exhibition halls are very suitable. TURNING DAYS Süd 2017 will have an extra 3 800 m² of exhibition space available compared to 2015, which is sufficient to be able to offer all the companies on the waiting list an appropriate exhibition surface.
The new trade show location also provides new and previously untapped visitor potential. Even if a few exhibitors from Villingen-Schwenningen and the local area will lose their habitual trade fair “at their front door” and visitors from Heuberg and the Black Forest area will have to accept a slightly longer journey to get to the fair, at the same time the fair will attract new visitor groups: the region of Lake Constance and Upper Swabia is home to many users from the turning industry, Austria wasn’t a target of previous events and Friedrichshafen is much more visible for bordering Switzerland than the Black Forest town of Villingen-Schwenningen. “The region is getting bigger”, sums up Dr. Reinhard Walz von Gewatec, “and this provides the trade show with new opportunities to evolve and develop”. The trade show will, however, retain its regional character.

Hexagon Metrology adds non-contact roughness measurement function to the white light sensor

Hexagon Metrology has announced feature enhancements to the non-contact PRECITEC LR solution for high-accuracy coordinate measuring machines (CMMs), enabling the optical sensor to be used for roughness measurement on a range of part types.

Enhanced PRECITEC LR boosts optical inspection capability for CMMs
Enhanced PRECITEC LR boosts optical inspection capability for CMMs

Designed to deliver accurate inspection results on even the most challenging workpieces, the PRECITEC LR uses focused white light to take measurements with particularly high accuracy at the submicron level. Featuring a large acceptance angle and high axial resolution, the sensor enables users to inspect complex parts with inclined, curved and aspherical surfaces and dispersive or reflective material types.

Available for the Leitz PMM-C, Leitz Ultra and Leitz Infinity models from Hexagon Metrology, the PRECITEC LR can be automatically exchanged with tactile sensors within a measuring program, turning the CMM into a multisensor solution for a variety of applications. With no handling differences compared to tactile probes and a measurement range that corresponds to that of the machine, minimal operator training is required.

“The PRECITEC LR is a really versatile optical sensor that integrates quickly and easily into a system and significantly improves the measurement potential of a CMM,” said Micha Neininger, Product Manager for sensors at Hexagon Metrology. “A very small spot diameter enables operators to use this non-contact solution for optical roughness measurements, making it possible to check surface variations even on fragile or malleable parts where tactile inspection is not an option.”

The PRECITEC LR is available to order immediately with new Leitz PMM-C, Leitz Ultra and Leitz Infinity machines or as a retrofit option. The roughness measurement function requires the QUINDOS roughness software module.

About Hexagon Metrology
Hexagon Metrology offers a comprehensive range of products and services for all industrial metrology applications in sectors such as automotive, aerospace, energy and medical.

With more than 20 production facilities and 70 Precision Centres for service and demonstrations, and a network of over 100 distribution partners on five continents, the company empowers its customers to fully control their manufacturing processes, enhancing the quality of products and increasing efficiency in manufacturing plants around the world.

Hexagon is a leading global provider of information technologies that drive productivity and quality across industrial and geospatial applications. Hexagon’s solutions integrate sensors, software, domain knowledge and customer workflows into intelligent information ecosystems that deliver actionable information. They are used in a broad range of vital industries.