Profiltech: Optimization of milling by utilizing optical tool measurement
By means of optical 3D measurement, stamping specialist Profiltech have optimized their milling processes in in-house tool manufacturing.
Precision, product safety, and consistently high quality standards - these are the strict requirements the products of Profiltech GmbH Stufenbandprofile have to meet. At the same time, the company's customized solutions demand a great deal of flexibility. In order to monitor the quality of its special tools used in the production of precision-milled profiled strips, Profiltech employs high-resolution optical 3D measurement systems by Alicona. Thanks to the repeatable and traceable measurements by these systems, Profiltech has been able to optimize its milling process and increase the service life of its tools significantly.
Technical Director at Profiltech
"In order to achieve the complex and fine milling geometries and grooves of the profiled strips, we use the InfiniteFocus system during both production and quality control of the finished milling tool. Due to the close manufacturing tolerances of up to ±4 µm and ever increasing requirements with respect to the precision of our products, we decided to work with Alicona."
Tool measurement minimizes edge breaks and increases edge stability
In the manufacture of stamped parts, using precision-milled profiled strips, also called contour strips, has become one of the preferred production methods. The strips are usually made from copper or other common millable non-ferrous alloys and their use can in many cases replace separate processes like stamping. Similarly, assemblies whose constituting elements would normally need to be produced from several strips can be manufactured more economically in one single stamping operation. Based in Baden-Wuerttemberg in Germany , Profiltech Stufenbandprofile is the world market leader in the manufacture of precision-milled profiled strips. Its customers include companies from a wide range of industrial sectors, such as electrical engineering, the automotive industry, information technology and computer engineering, as well as from other high-tech areas.
The company's printed strips are used in the manufacture of connectors, contacts, complex semiconductor components, and various other products. In virtually all of these applications, the printed strips and their fine geometries are highly customized individual solutions. Consequently, the development and production of customer-specific printed strips must be accompanied by innovative and process-integrated quality assurance.
Optical 3D measurement of special tools for the precision milling of profiled strips
Corinna Ruess, Technical Director at Profiltech, elaborates: "We use special in-house-developed machines and milling cutters for the machining of our printed strips. Since 2014, we have been reyling on Alicona's optical measurement system InfiniteFocus to assess the quality of these special tools." For its milling tools Profiltech uses highly advanced cutting materials that are known for their extreme hardness and stability such as polycrystalline diamond. The company's specially developed milling technology makes it possible to produce profiled strips with highly precise channels, smallest radii of 50 µm and above, and Ra roughness values less than or equal to 0.20 µm. "In order to achieve the complex and fine milling geometries and grooves of the profiled strips, we use the InfiniteFocus system during both production and quality control of the finished milling tool," Corinna Ruess explains.
Robust measurement of cutting-edge geometry and chipping
Precise measurements are carried out particularly with regard to geometry and chipping of the cutting edge. This reduces the risk of cracks and improves edge stability. Thanks to the LED ring light, workpieces with varying surface and reflection properties can be measured quickly and intuitively. One of the many demanding customer-specific applications of profiled strips is the production of power LEDs. The highly complex geometries and extremely small dimensions of these products can only be achieved at the required level of precision by using profiled strips. The trend toward ever smaller and more complex structures as part of miniaturization posed a new challenge to Profiltech. These high customer expectations made it a logical step for the company to turn to Alicona's solutions. Corinna Ruess of Profiltech elaborates: “The skidless systems and light microscopes we used to work with couldn’t deliver satisfactory results and weren't able to achieve the required depth of focus. Due to the close manufacturing tolerances of up to ±4 µm and ever increasing requirements with respect to the precision of our products, we decided to work with Alicona."