Drive solutions for even a hundred axes DRIVE TECHNOLOGY Partners and pioneers – Lightweight Solutions GmbH and Wittenstein alpha GmbH came up with a com - pletely new production line for Lisocore, the new lightweight material. Lightweight Solutions GmbH, as the name suggests, the company specializing in developing lightweight construction materials from renewable raw materials, has developed a new, patented lightweight material based on natural fibers, called Lisocore. Its outstanding properties are the outcome of a unique design: at least two thin cover layers are locked firmly in place by a three-dimensional core structure. This new material is up to 70 % lighter than conventional composite wood panels. With its exciting material properties and wide range of applications such as furniture production and interiors, exhibition and display systems, interior fittings for homes, ships and yachts, stage and set constructions, transport packaging and logistics, Lisocore is arousing huge interest from numerous potential customers. Hurdles along the way One of the main challenges for Lightweight Solutions GmbH was to manufacture the lightweight panels in a technically and commercially efficient way. The project was also of particular interest for the German Ministry of Environment, which offered its support and funding from the Environmental Innovation Program. Michael Schäpers, Managing Director of Lightweight Solutions and inventor of Lisocore explains the fact, that despite all the support and funding from the ministry, the company faced challenges in erecting an appropriate production line, as no suitable machines or standards for its special manufacturing requirements existed in the market, nor was there any extensive experience the engineers at Lightweight solutuions GmbH could draw from. The Bavarian firm therefore decided to design the necessary production line with automated handling system itself. Remembering the challenges that came along the way, Michael Schäpers adds “It wasn’t an easy undertaking because many of the requirements, like the servo drive technology for handling the panels, only became clear gradually and they’ve also changed a number of times since.” While going over the design of drives, Michael Schäpers and lwsmaschinenbau GmbH, a subsidiary of Lightweight Solutions, were thoroughly impressed by the consulting expertise they encountered with Wittenstein’s engineers. As a reliable partner for engineering and drive technology, the company was able to trust Wittenstein alpha’s competency. “The fact that Wittenstein alpha provided us with broad and prompt support throughout the project life in the form of large-scale simulations and detailed sizing calculations was also crucial to our ability to control the handling kinematics safely and reliably”. Solutions for a 100 axes The Lisocore production line has a footprint measuring around 500 m 2 and a capacity for 2 million m 2 of the lightweight material per year. “The line drills cover layers made from different materials, either with or without a decorative coating, then it applies the adhesive fully automatically and later combines these layers with the 3D core”, explains Marcus Wehner, Research & Development Manager at Lightweight Solutions. All kinematics relevant for performance were simulated and optimized by Wittenstein during the project phase with the help of the cymex-5 sizing software. “This proved to be a particular challenge when it came to the pivoting unit of the servo mechanism for flipping over the cover panels because rotary and linear motions are superimposed there simultaneously”, adds application engineer Daniel Meißner of Wittenstein alpha GmbH’s sales office south-east. Taking a look at the production line, from this first station via the diverse handling units to the automatic drilling, gluing stations and the heat press, all the way to the final palletizing machine, it is evident that it is ‘Wittenstein in all axes’. After discussions and joint brainstorming sessions Wittenstein was able to deliver a solution with finely tuned hypoid and planetary gearheads as well as linear rack-and-pinion systems. The new WORLD OF INDUSTRIES – MOTION, DRIVE & AUTOMATION 3/2017
02 View of the drives for the two servo mechanisms which flip over the wooden panels near the cover layer feeding station 01 An SPK+ 240 at each end (blue) places the composite wood panel down on the conveyor belt production line with about 100 axes altogether, where each one is equipped with various servo gearheads from Wittenstein from size 240 SPK+ right-angle gearheads with an integral output stage, RP+ series planetary gearheads, CP series gearheads in functionally optimized sizes and XP+ and TP+ gearheads – some of them designed as rack-and-pinion systems, that reliably control even complex motion profiles for handling the lightweight com posite wood panels. For engineers at Wittenstein, nothing motivates more than a positive feedback from a client. In this case, Michael Schäpers and his company Lightweight Solutions GmbH, who expressed his satisfaction about Wittenstein alpha’s professionalism and expertise linked to drives and gearheads and further adds “They helped the project to flourish and successfully incorporated several essential changes to the design – often with repercussions for the line as a whole. What’s more, receiving engineering support from a single supplier saved us a lot of time and minimized the risk of errors.” The foundation has thus been laid for more Lisocore production lines and sustainable cooperation. Photographs: Wittenstein alpha GmbH 03 Michael Schäpers, Managing Director of Lightweight Solutions and inventor of Lisocore (left) in conversation with Daniel Meißner, Application engineer at WITTENSTEIN alpha GmbH (right) 04 Z lift of the servo flip-over mechanism with an RP+ 040 as the rack-and-pinion gearhead (left) and pivoting arm with an SPK+ 240 gearhead (blue) www.wittenstein-alpha.com About Wittenstein The Wittenstein Group is an expert in mastering the continued development of all the relevant technologies of mechatronic drive technology. They have united seven strong fields of business under one roof. Amongst other things they develop, produce and sell high-precision plane tary gearheads, complete, complete electromechanical drive systems, as well as AC servo systems and motors. Their fields of application include robots, machine tools, medical technology as well as aerospace.