When are ball rail systems and ball screw assemblies maintenance-free? More and more often! Read on to find out how linear motion technology is making machines even more productive and environmentally friendly.
Every automation specialist, mechanical engineer or plant engineer would like their machines to run reliably, efficiently and with minimal maintenance. The linear guides and screw drives in these machines should run for as long as possible, ideally with no need for relubrication. If the linear motion systems reach the end of their operating lives with their original lubricant, they were effectively maintenance-free.
Components now run even longer
Designed for optimum running, the ball bearing-mounted profiled rail systems BSHP and the ball screw assemblies BASA from Bosch Rexroth already have long lubrication intervals. And from now on, they need to be relubricated even less often. After all, the surfaces and tracks get better with each technical further development of the production processes. The linear motion technology experts at Rexroth check at regular intervals the extent to which the range of applications with maintenance-free linear motion technology is growing as a result.
The result of continual improvements: Ball rail systems BSHP in the sizes 25 to 45 with grease lubrication can run twice as long as they could before requiring relubrication. (Source: Bosch Rexroth AG)
Four times longer lubrication intervals
The results of the most recent tests show that the intervals for grease lubrication are now up to four times longer. In many applications with smaller loads, our linear motion technology components are now low-maintenance or even completely maintenance-free. For example, the latest generation of the ball screw assemblies BASA with diameters of up to 40 mm achieves up to 200 million revolutions – four times more than before – with their basic lubrication ex works. For size 32 with a 64 mm lead, this equates to a distance of around 12,800 km – the same distance as from Germany to Hawaii.
Thanks to optimized production processes, the lubrication intervals for ball screw assemblies BASA in size 40 or smaller are up to four times longer. (Source: Bosch Rexroth AG)
20,000 km without relubrication
Until its first “pit stop”, a runner block in the latest ball rail systems BSHP in the sizes 15 to 45 covers a distance twice what was previously assumed: up to 20,000 km is possible, the same distance as from Germany to New Zealand. Naturally, the actual performance in individual cases depends on the operating and environmental conditions. Thanks to the lubrication intervals which are now up to four times as long, our linear motion technology can now be used in many more applications with no need for relubrication.
Go easy on your budget and the environment
This is likely to appeal to machine operators too. After all, the lower the maintenance requirements of the linear motion technology, the lower the operating costs. The reduced lubricant consumption is also good for the environment. The linear motion technology from Bosch Rexroth is one step ahead when it comes to the engineering too: thanks to the online configurator, a component designed using the Linear Motion Designer can be configured ready for installation in just a few minutes and then ordered from the e-shop. CAD data are generated and provided automatically.
Ball rail systems BSHP achieve a high level of precision, lower friction forces and quieter running under load. (Image: Bosch Rexroth AG)
With extra rolling elements and a preloaded single nut, ball screw assemblies BASA achieve higher load ratings in spite of their short design. (Image: Bosch Rexroth AG)
Tip for design engineers:
Would you like to know the applications where our linear motion technology can now be used maintenance-free? Our software tool will tell you. Download the Linear Motion Designer now and design systems requiring less maintenance. Link: www.boschrexroth.com/lmd
Author: Sebastian Pfeuffer
Job title: Product Manager – Ball Rail Systems, Bosch Rexroth AG
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Smart MechatroniX for the Factory of the Future
With the new Smart MechatroniX solution platform, we at Bosch Rexroth are following the market trends in factory automation and paving the way to the Factory of the Future. The Factory of the Future will be much more intelligent, flexible, connected and software-based than factories today. And it will also be more sustainable and future-proof. As one of the leading suppliers of linear motion technology and mechatronic systems, we are close to our markets and know the current and future customer requirements. Against this backdrop, we have now added sensors, electronics and software to our best-in-class linear motion technology components in order to offer completely new mechatronic solutions.
Plug & Produce, Perform, Proceed...
...is the credo of Smart MechatroniX. The resulting cross-sector and cross-application benefits are as smart as the name itself: Simplicity and travel speed from development to the start of production, high performance during operation and sustainability thanks to permanent updatability and flexible use of components and modules. “Plug & Produce” sums up the advantages of the smart ready-to-use solution packages: easy and quick product selection, intuitive commissioning without any programming and quick adaptability for future requirements. What more could you ask for
In terms of “Perform”, we score as a leading supplier and user, not only with best-in-class linear motion technology components, but also with our expertise in factory automation and the IoT know-how of the Bosch Group. The results are intelligent mechatronic solutions that enable maximum process transparency as well as high productivity and efficiency during operation. And because the subject of sustainability plays an increasingly important role today, future-oriented benefits are bundled under “Proceed”: modular and retrofittable systems which allow flexible use of the long-lasting components in a manner which conserves resources. These are manufactured in our own CO 2 -neutral production facilities at various Rexroth locations.
Three Smart MechatroniX solution packages in the starting or test phase
Three smart solutions: The Smart Function Kit for pressing and joining applications, the Smart Function Kit for handling tasks and the compensation module Smart Flex Effector.
The Smart Function Kit for pressing and joining applications, which was presented at the Hannover Messe 2019, allows Plug & Produce and requires zero programming. It consists of an electromechanical cylinder, a force sensor, a motor, a servo drive, a motion control as well as a software package that enables easy commissioning, operation and process analysis. Other advantages include easy product selection and dimensioning via LinSelect as well as quick online configuration and ordering.
The Smart Function Kit for handling tasks is currently in preparation. It consists of smart single or multi-axis systems, innovative control technology and software for versatile applications where components or workpieces have to be moved precisely and reliably from A to B in a defined space. The associated software package once again allows for straightforward commissioning, operation and process analysis.
We are currently developing the Smart Flex Effector, a compensation module with an active measuring function to increase the precision, e.g. in handling robots, and to open up completely new areas of application for robots and Cartesian systems. The Smart Flex Effector can be used in a wide range of applications. For example, when it comes to joining small tolerances, quality documentation, Tool Center Point detection or compensation of position drifts in the x-, y- and z-direction. This means that there will be completely new possibilities here in the future.
Component monitoring as our next goal
Other important topics for the Factory of the Future are ball screw assemblies and linear guides with intelligent sensors for condition monitoring or predictive maintenance. These smart solutions will further reduce machine downtime and maximize plant availability. Curious for more? Just click here: www.boschrexroth.com/smart-mechatronix Watch more videos:
Smart MechatroniX – the new solution platform https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYQcGtWh_tk&list=PLRO3LeFQeLyN9mKIWsPbnOEzvKbO46MsP
Smart Function Kit for pressing and joining tasks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhtLtv5VtEY&list=PLRO3LeFQeLyN9mKIWsPbnOEzvKbO46MsP&index=3
Smart Function Kit for handling tasks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbqtCACg8SI&list=PLRO3LeFQeLyN9mKIWsPbnOEzvKbO46MsP&index=2
Smart Flex Effector https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7J8CGmPgkFc&list=PLRO3LeFQeLyN9mKIWsPbnOEzvKbO46MsP&index=9
Author: Dr. Simon Hertenberger
Job title: Head of Product Area Mechatronics within the Linear Motion Technology Business Unit
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Whether it’s for individual parts, or series production, industrial 3D printing is becoming increasingly important for the manufacturing industry. With its latest 3D printing system for high-performance plastics, GEWO Feinmechanik GmbH is responding to the resulting requirements. By providing modern automation solutions, Bosch Rexroth is contributing its industrial experience and allowing the technology to be connected to the world of automation in manufacturing.
GEWO has decades of experience when it comes to developing and manufacturing complex workpieces for the semiconductor industry, aerospace, medicine and research and always meets the most stringent quality requirements in the process. Additive manufacturing machines are another future-oriented mainstay of the company. The PERFORMER 260 (Fig. 1), the latest product from the company’s GEWO 3D business division, celebrated its premiere at last year’s formnext.
Fig. 1: The new PERFORMER 260 3D printing system from GEWO 3D (Image source: GEWO Feinmechanik GmbH)
The advantages at a glance
“At GEWO, meticulous mechanical engineering and focusing on customer requirements are in our blood. We took this into account when developing the PERFORMER 260,” said Martin Stangl, the person responsible for marketing and sales at GEWO 3D.
The high build volume temperature of 260 °C offers clear advantages when it comes to the warpage and adhesion of the printing material. The system is thus well suited for the additive manufacture of high-performance plastics (Fig. 2).
Fig. 2: Example workpieces from the PERFORMER 260: collecting piece, cross-flow structural part for gas heat exchangers, wing segment, fixing bracket with gaps to reduce weight (Image source: GEWO Feinmechanik GmbH)
Dimensions of 450 x 450 x 350 mm together with the high build chamber temperature make the PERFORMER 260 one of the biggest FFF printers currently available in its power class and enable it to meet most customer requirements. Not only the dimensions but also the printing speed play a key role in ensuring economical manufacturing. With acceleration of up to 6 m/s 2 , travel speeds of up to 300 mm/s and a material throughput of 0.5 kg/h, GEWO 3D is a leader on the market.
MTX – a tried-and-proven CNC system for industrial 3D printing
With the open CNC system MTX from Bosch Rexroth, the PERFORMER 260 features an extremely high-performance control system for a precise and reliable printing process, one that has proven itself in numerous industrial applications. The latest XM42 control hardware as well as a wide range of software functions which are usually found in highly automated machines tools are used (Fig. 3). This ensures the shortest possible cycle times and enough computing power for highly dynamic, coordinated movements including the entire process monitoring and optimization.
Fig. 3: Powerful, intelligent and connective: the CNC system MTX from Rexroth (Image source: Bosch Rexroth AG)
In additive manufacturing, the requirements regarding the human-machine interface differ from those in classic machine tools. Users expect clear operating screens which can be used intuitively and show only essential information. The MTX offers the Easy-HMI solution for producing these screens. In combination with multitouch screens, operating solutions with large virtual buttons which render physical operating elements unnecessary can be achieved.
Through the use of the MTX, GEWO 3D has successfully entered the IoT world. The OPC UA server included in the control system allows the 3D printer to be seamlessly connected to automation systems in production in order to achieve functions such as job management, performance monitoring or quality control.
Digital twin for virtual commissioning and printing monitoring
In addition to high-performance control hardware and software, the CNC system solution MTX uses the IndraWorks engineering tool to support users when planning, commissioning and troubleshooting machines and during the initial test for production processes. IndraWorks makes available a virtual CNC system MTX which has the same software and functions as the real control system. In conjunction with Rexroth’s Virtual Machine Simulation solution, a digital twin for a machine can be configured.
The resulting 3D simulation solution has the same user interface as the real machine and makes it possible to test and assess the production process virtually (Fig. 4). In addition to displaying movement patterns, the application or removal of materials is visualized, and the process is monitored for collisions. In additive manufacturing, long-running printing programs are the norm. Here, the digital twin significantly increases the simulation speed. Printing programs that would usually run over several hours can be simulated in a few minutes – with identical system behavior.
Fig. 4: Additive Manufacturing (AM) process simulation within the MTX user interface (Image source: Bosch Rexroth AG)
GEWO 3D and Bosch Rexroth – a strong combination for additive manufacturing
With the PERFORMER 260, GEWO 3D shows that a 3D printer can meet the high standards expected in industrial production. By using high-performance components and innovative functions, GEWO 3D sets benchmarks for many product features in additive manufacturing. Among other things, the automation components from Bosch Rexroth make this possible. Peter Berens, Head of Business Development CNC Systems and the person responsible for the additive manufacturing market segment, is also satisfied: “Together with our customer GEWO 3D, we have once again shown that our solutions are the lever which allows 3D printing to be integrated into an industrial environment and ensures quality, reproducibility, economy and reliability.”
Author: Dr. Karsten Kreusch
has been working as a specialist for simulation in the product management for CNC systems at Bosch Rexroth AG in Lohr am Main since 2017. After studying electrical engineering and obtaining his doctorate on the subject of "Verification of numerical controls on virtual machine tools", he began his career at Bosch in research and development in the field of machine tool simulation.
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We’ve developed a software component called Locator, which reliably determines position and orientate of mobile robots such as AGVs (automated guided vehicles) and AMRs (autonomous mobile robots). Christopher Parlitz, Head of Development of Intralogistics Robotics at a Bosch Rexroth start-up, explains why this key technology is a breakthrough for vehicles in intralogistics and other applications.
Why has the introduction of autonomous vehicles been so complicated?
Autonomously moving vehicles have been around for decades, but their introduction is still a complex project that takes months or even years. Tracks and reflectors are installed throughout the hall, and highly qualified experts teach the vehicles to their surroundings over a long period. The Locator reduces the engineering effort and accelerates the path to a turnkey product. In the future, the aim is to make it as easy to start up an autonomous vehicle as, say, a forklift truck, without requiring expert knowledge.
How does this simplification work?
Vehicles equipped with the Locator won’t need mirrors, reflectors or fixed geometric shapes in their environment. This means that, unlike in the past, no construction measures will be required. With just one click, the user will be able to put the Locator into operation. An intuitive user interface based on 3D technology is provided for this purpose. The vehicle captures and maps the environment with the help of a laser scanner that’s attached to the vehicle. The entire area is covered by remote control and then creates a map. This map is either stored on the vehicle or, if several vehicles belong to the fleet, on a common server. Subsequently, localization is possible immediately.
And what happens if a pallet is moved and the environment changes?
The software automatically records changes in the map and notifies all the vehicles in the fleet. Without human intervention, they adapt their environmental knowledge accordingly.
For which vehicles is the Locator suitable?
For all of them, actually. The software component is universally applicable. It supports many commercially available laser sensors and industrial computers and adapts to the vehicle software like a Lego brick via open standards. On request, we can also supply the necessary hardware. The Locator is explicitly aimed at all manufacturers of mobile robots who want to implement localization with a minimum of engineering effort, using only one sensor, and market their vehicles as an off-the-shelf product. With this key technology, they can also break into new applications, for example in retail or in hospitals.
For more information visit www.boschrexroth.com/laserlocalization
Contact: Christopher Parlitz Job title: Head of Development of Intralogistics Robotics at a Bosch Rexroth start-up
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Is inductive measuring an alternative to conventional glass scales? A guest post by Karsten Radestock, Flying Optic Developer at TRUMPF Werkzeugmaschinen.
The advantages offered by laser cutting are evident: sheets of different thickness and made from different materials can be processed quickly, precisely and efficiently. Even complex tasks can be executed in a single step without having to change tools. Nevertheless, at TRUMPF Werkzeugmaschinen we continuously strive to implement improvements. A recent example concerned linear motion technology. The material which is melted by the laser is blown out of the kerf during processing by a stream of gas and settles on the linear axes as fine dust. If the distance measuring is carried out using glass scales, they need to be regularly cleaned in order to prevent any errors from creeping in. This, however, costs time and money.
Is inductive distance measuring a better solution?
Our development partner Bosch Rexroth prompted us to look into a more robust and lower-maintenance alternative when it presented its newly developed IMS to us. For us to even entertain the idea of making a change, we needed to ensure a comparable level of precision but it was also of paramount importance that the inductive measuring system, including linear guide, should be able to match our machines in terms of their impressive dynamics. After all, our “flying” cutting units move over the workpiece with up to two times gravitational acceleration and travel speeds of up to 300 m/min. In order for this to be tested under realistic conditions, we provided Bosch Rexroth with actual laser dust. The results showed that the IMS not only ensured the same level of measurement accuracy but, when combined with the BSHP ball rail system, also demonstrated the required mechanical properties.
Stable and high-performance overall solution: the IMS which is integrated into the linear guide combines the guiding and measuring functions together. (Bosch Rexroth)
Optimized mounting and maintenance
We are now using the IMS-A across a wide range of machine series. In particular, we incorporate the IMS-A-DQ version into the Y axis of the new 2D laser machines of the TruLaser Series 1000 and 3000 and Series 5000 fiber. The integrated SIEMENS DRIVE-CLiQ interface enables plug-and-play connection of the drives. Assembly and production times have been significantly reduced on account of the fact that fewer connection points are required compared to with glass scales and in particular since an entire rail and the work involved in aligning it are not required. The integrated combination of measuring system and linear guide is also easier to service. As such, the runner block can, for example, be replaced independently of the measuring system. The IMS also provides data on the current level of contamination and hence the type of information required to ensure predictive maintenance.
The TruLaser 5030 / 5040 / 5060 fiber laser cutting machines boast high productivity, efficiency and high-quality results. This also includes the inductive distance measuring. (Copyright: TRUMPF Werkzeugmaschinen)
Approval from the field
We have found both a contamination-resistant and a sustainable alternative to glass scales in the IMS inductive distance measuring system. After all, its service life depends on the linear guide chosen – in our case the extremely stable BSHP ball rail system. Overall, many of our processes have been simplified as a result – from design and mounting right through to production and service. Our customers also confirm that the new measuring system is less prone to contamination than the glass scales used previously. And there’s no clearer endorsement of the direction you’ve taken and choices you’ve made than positive feedback from the field.
Author: Karsten Radestock is in charge of modules for motion units of 2D laser cutting machines at TRUMPF Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH + Co. KG. The mechanical engineer has worked at the Ditzingen site since 1998.
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