A manufacturing concept for flexible production of prismatic powertrain components—from engine blocks to transmission housings—is offered by Heller Machine Tools. The company’s ModuleLine System (MLS) allows manufacturers to respond to changes in part designs or volumes.
At the center of the modular design, scalable MLS is an automation system that transports components and tools between machine modules. The system’s control determines automatically which five-axis machining unit offers which operation and transports the component to the required machine. Tool change time is said to be near zero.
A component buffer integrated into the system ensures components are supplied to all machines while machining continues. The machine and the automation system are independent of each other, so each machining module determines when they receive components for machining. This virtually eliminates long part transport times, and each machining module is continuously working.
Flexible machining modules of the system can machine five sides of the component in one setup and can master changes. It also combines flexibility for component changes and system extensions: The system can be extended, and different modules can produce in serial or in parallel layout. According to the company, the high degree of scalability makes the MLS an ideal solution for the automotive industry.