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igus® Sp. z o.o.

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02-234 Warszawa

+48 22 863 57 70
+48 22 863 61 69

"We think in systems"

Universal energy chain construction kit for modular CNC machining centers

Whether stationary and movable gantry or bridge center: the CNC 5-axis technology of MAKA Systems GmbH demonstrates its capability in many sectors of chip-generating machining whether in wood, aluminum or plastic. And since then, different energy supply systems are installed from the around 80,000 parts of the comprehensive modular kit, significant savings and performance enhancements can be detected at the same time.

"We build and develop CNC machining centers and comprehensive machining solutions at the highest level," says the managing director of MAKA Systems GmbH,
Ulrich Gnädinger. "From decision-making to delivery of machines, we are a reliable partner for our customers, because we also attend to the machining center over its entire lifetime. "Production site is in Nersingen. The number of employees is around 140. With a subsidiary in the UK and worldwide trading partners, the mechanical engineering company is represented around the globe. Founded in 1952, it
is a pioneer in CNC machining. The business operations were realigned in 2010. "As every detail of the customized machine concept has been implemented in the past, today the focus is
on increased standardization," says the managing director. "Our stated goal is to provide largely modular machining centers in the very latest technology at affordable prices. For this reason, we are always open to constructive improvements. “

CNC machining center for the timber industry

A series of energy chains are used in this custom CNC machining center for the timber industry.

Intelligent energy chain solutions

"The customer's demands on the stability of the systems have grown steadily. The name of igus® appeared frequently in the specifications" says Reinhard Hiller, head of production & logistics. "And the cooperation has paid off. Over the years we have developed a variety of customized solutions for the energy supply of the individual units, which stand out clearly from the competition. Through intelligent energy chain solutions, we have saved costs from the beginning in double-digit percentages, while simultaneously increasing the performance. " Roland Singer, technical sales consultant, adds: "Especially when it comes to unsupported lengths, such as those found on the bridge centers, our energy chains score high. Here we clearly distinguish ourselves from our competitors. “

At present all current energy chain series that are installed in the CNC machining centers have already proven their worth in countless machining centers all over the world. In a machine for plastic and composite material machining, the CNC specialist has now decided to rely on preassembled energy supply systems. "The issue is our number one priority at present," Reinhard Hiller clarifies. "As we place more emphasis on standardization, we see a number of technical and economic advantages in the preassembling. “

Suction hose inside a clamp chain.

A suction hose is easily carried in a clamp chain.

From prosthesis to Panamera

The company MAKA Systems is divided into three divisions: wood, aluminum and plastics/composite materials. In the wood sector the CNC machining centers with 5-axis technology are indispensable. "Whether doors, piano body or wooden frames for children's playgrounds – our customers are convinced of our high-quality milling machines," says the MD. The market share in the high-speed machining of light metal, such as the machining of extruded profiles and technical components, is steadily increasing. In the aluminum business segment, versatile features and flexibility lead the applications in industries that provide the highest standards, for example, in the space-frame technology of automotive construction, airplane and rail vehicle construction and in façade construction. Molded plastic, as deep-drawn part, CFRP or GFRP component, is at the center in the plastic/composite material business segment.

"Challenging work on spatial objects are materialized with our 5-axis technology and excel in the aircraft interior design as well as in yacht or large model making," the MD summarizes the product portfolio. This is a complete service package fully for the machine. From a rotary table milling center for a highly-dynamic small parts production of prostheses up to the integration of a CNC machine in a time-dependent assembly line at the Panamera production – the mechanical engineering company offers the right solution for every customer need. The highly complex CNC machining centers are usually in continuous use under difficult conditions. Their stability must therefore be ensured. No company can afford a standstill. The installed components must function reliably. This is also true for energy supply systems.

Changing requirement profiles

The different materials that are machined on the CNC machines pose different requirements on the energy supply. Dust, chips, abrasive materials increase the wear. Then there are the issues of mobility, speed and duration of use. 100 m/min and strokes of 40 and 50 m are no rarity. "Especially the accelerating and slowing down of the masses must not stress the power supply constantly," says Reinhard Hiller. The chains are filled with electrical, pneumatic and also hydraulic cables in some cases. The operating pressures particularly in hydraulic cables reach several hundred bars. When the load changes, the cables within the energy chain develop a life of its own. "We have only good experiences. They are so securely laid that we have not found any problems as yet," says Reinhard Hiller.

Particularly proven in a number of CNC special machines are the special clamp chains that can take suction hoses in diameters from 36 mm to 300 mm. Should the hose be routed within the energy supply system, the only way is through larger energy chains, which are of course much more expensive to buy. The relatively light air hose can however be routed separately without any problems along the actual energy supply system, without having to compromise on the movement.

Preassembling in the future

To get the cost structure under control in the long run, MAKA Systems has decided to concentrate on the prefabrication of basic component assemblies without the end customer determining it. They are then installed from stock. "We put more emphasis on this platform strategy especially in the industry-specific solutions," said Reinhard Hiller. "Here the preassembled energy supply systems play an important role. "
As the travels of the axes have been clearly defined earlier, chain and cable lengths are set to 100% and are quickly installed. In this context, the mechanical engineering company basically singles out the installation-friendly energy chains, which have proven themselves in daily operation. The way to the preassembled energy supply systems is always the same: Project engineers are on site to look at the machine or plant, define interfaces and chain lengths. Under normal circumstances − depending on the requirement profile − all the necessary information are available in a few days, so that the dimensioning can be done appropriately for each model.

From left: Ulrich Gnädinger (MAKA Systems), Roland Singer (igus®), Systems), Michael Offner (igus), Reinhard Hiller (MAKA).

From left: Ulrich Gnädinger (MAKA Systems), Roland Singer (igus®), Michael Offner (igus®), Reinhard Hiller (MAKA Systems).


The advantages for the customers are obvious. The procurement of the numerous individual parts are dispensed with. The number of suppliers and orders can be reduced many times over. There are no storage costs. The preassembled energy supply system is delivered on time. There are over 1400 cables as standard for all drive and bus systems '
available from stock. There are also countless plug connections, terminals and more than 80,000 plastic parts. They are assembled according to order and delivered after testing, in order to avoid compromising on quality and reliability. "In our case, we have only mounted the energy supply and use the freed capacity in our company for other purposes," says Reinhard Hiller. "Given the positive experience with the pilot project, we will be doing more on the assembling in the future. " Only in the special CNC machines in the high-end range, the advantages of preassembling are not expected to be of consequence. "There are absolutely customized products that are individually designed from A to Z. “

The machine in monoblock design is impressive in the single-version with best conditions for top machining quality at maximum feed rates.

The machine in monoblock design is impressive in the single-version with best conditions for top machining quality at maximum feed rates. The application is in the trimming and finishing of thermoplastic and plastics. The energy chain with the routed suction hose is clearly visible.

The name says it all

The platform strategy reveals its first successes. Two machines,
which have been pre-fabricated as component assemblies and found in stock,
are sold within a very short time to a supplier in the automotive industry for the processing of aluminum. "We have also saved a lot of installation time through the preassembled energy supply systems and were able to deliver quickly," Reinhard Hiller clarifies. The company sees itself as a system integrator. "We think in systems and want to persist in combining the individual parts of our machines to modules and to mini-systems", says the MD. "We want to take this step together with our suppliers. In this environment, of course, the preassembled energy supply systems also play an important role, because in the long run they pay off. First, procurement costs are reduced and second, we can flexibly react to our specific utilization capacity. " The CNC machining centers are the heart of the production. If they fail, the entire production stands still.

"And we want to avoid outages and related services at all costs," concludes Ulrich Gnädinger. "We have had in recent years the best experience with the energy supply systems and will enter into new projects together in the future. “

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