A New machine from Breton to Volvo
The Pilot Plant & Concept Center of Volvo in Torslanda, Gothenburg - Sweden recently enhanced its workshop with a Breton 5-axis milling center represented by Ahlsell Maskin in the Swedish market. According to Jan Olof Mattsson, experienced regional salesman at Ahlsell Maskin, the partnership with Breton and Ahlsell Maskin began in 2000, when they sold the first machine in Sweden.
About ten years ago, Volvo started searching for funds to replace the previous milling machine. Eight years ago, Volvo and Ahlsell Maskin first made contact. It was in this laboratory that we started talking about the possibility of purchasing a larger machine. – Jan Olof Mattsson, regional salesman at Ahlsell Maskin
About two years ago, Volvo began the search for a machine that best suited their needs and chose Breton from a shortlist of three possible candidates. Prior to this, Breton had never been a Volvo supplier, therefore, meticulous examinations were conducted to assess the candidates’ ability to meet technical requirements.
In Volvo’s qualification assessment, a maximum of 100 points can be obtained, taking into account various aspects that Volvo considers fundamental, such as price, environment, philosophy, and quality of service. Breton got 97 points. – Jan Olof Mattsson
It was a matter of creating a standard Flymill machine, with some features specifically designed for Volvo. After a year of production, the final test was carried out in Italy and the machine was ready to be sent to the clients. Mattsson concludes that in the end, Breton won the negotiation with several factors. In the screening process of Breton and its competitors, no one seemed to fully meet the customer’s requirements. The critical point was the movement of the z-axis: as long as the stroke range goes from 1.5 to 2 meters, there are no particular problems. When the RAM exceeds 2.5 meters, it becomes particularly sensitive in terms of dynamic stability and temperature changes. Even though the actual difference is only a few hundredths of a millimeter, it is enough to compromise the final result in terms of precision and surface finishing.
The latest development in automotive technology is a must for fast-paced production in a cost-effective setting. After conducting a deep market analysis, Volvo found the best solution according to its needs. They compared three machine manufacturers which were selected on the basis of precise technical specifications, giving particular attention to reliability and customer service performance on providing quick assistance. They were able to count on Ahlsell Maskin, who was already integrated in the Swedish market.
Machine investments are necessary to cope with shorter and shorter lead times, it is essential to increase the productivity of our machines. – Ulf Mellbin, manager of NC-milling & Precision Engineering at Volvo
Today, Breton has upgraded the milling machine product line with larger models which include expanded working areas, delivering increased efficiency and shorter work durations.
In view of the enlarged product size, we needed a larger work area of 8 l x 2.5 h x 3.5 meters, a z-axis travel of 2.5 meters and maximum precision requirements to which Breton has given the necessary importance and has fully satisfied. – Ulf Mellbin
The enlarged size of the new machines required new foundations and the relocation of some machines in the adjacent laboratory at Volvo. They first excavated almost 2 meters, in which the gigantic milling center was positioned, equipping it with joints to absorb vibrations caused by other activities.
Nowadays, aerodynamics is fundamental and most of the products we manufacture with the new machine focus on this aspect. The automotive industry pays particular attention to reduce fuel consumption as much as possible; machines are also used for checking final components which, being in real form, are very similar to the finished products.
So far, we have worked hard to manufacture our own equipment here, such as tables and plates for cars clamping, and we have drilled adapting holes according to our own machining techniques. We drilled about 700 holes in a material that was not particularly soft. In the long run, this will give us the opportunity to make the most of the machine’s full potential based on the products we are about to produce. So now we are very happy and optimistic. We are now working to bring the machine up to the optimum operating speed: the aim is to keep it in operation in the evening and during the weekends without the presence of operators. The sooner we can increase the productivity of the machines, the greater the return on this investment will be. – Ulf Mellbin
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