Breton Automotive Technology

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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
 
Breton reconfirmed as technical partner of Renault Formula One Team
Shortly after the installation of the second MATRIX 1500, Rob White, director of Enstone HQ and Ian Pearce, head of production of Renault Sport Formula One Team share their impressions. Here is what they said:

What is the key to succeed in Formula One?
F1 is first of all, a team sport. In order to succeed in F1 you must be competitive in every part of the activity. Every part of the team must find technical advantages throughout the process, starting from cars design and development to their manufacturer (pieces included), whether it’s wind tunnels or full-scale cars. We must also look for advantage in terms of lead times and value for money. It is extremely important for all the team to succeed; there’s a thousand people in them and pulling them together as a family is really important. It’s a challenge for the leaders and all the members.

How important is the work of the R&D department?
For F1 team, R&D means finding advantage within the sporting and technical regulations; it’s more development than research. It’s important to improve every single process, from the design to the manufacture of each piece. Our partnership with Breton allowed us in improving the way in which we manufacture our pieces, both the technical performances and the speed in their delivery.

How did your collaboration with Breton start?
We involved Breton as soon as we started looking for a technical partner to develop and improve our skills to machine composites of greater dimensions.

Why did you choose Breton?
We identified Breton as Technical partner because it understood not only our today’s requirements, but it was also able to look to the future. We are confident that what Breton has in the pipeline will be relevant for us to move forward and improve.

Are you satisfied with Matrix machining centers?
We are particularly pleased with the accuracy and precision with which the pieces are manufactured and impressed with the speed rate with which we can cut materials such as carbon and resin. We immediately reached a good understanding with the Breton team on the requirements we had in terms of machining envelope and accuracy and the production rate we needed to achieve.

What were you looking for?
Our main goal was to improve accuracy and flexibility in our machines and in the components we use. The machines and in the components we use. The machine tools supplied to us by Breton have surpassed our expectations in many ways. We’re extremely pleased with their accuracy and speed and now we are capable of machining the biggest and smallest components with improved accuracy.

What do you bet on to succeed?
Speed is key to us in Formula One. There is not only a race on the circuit every 2 weeks but also in cars’ improvement. The quicker you can do it, the better you can improve. The speed of Breton machine and of its high-milling technique has enabled us to improve our cars’ performances and components supply. A small difference can make a big difference in the performance, so precision is absolutely key from the very start of the manufacture components and their delivery. The more accurate we are at the beginning, the less problems you’ll have when changing.
Vertical machining centers
Our different vertical machining centers include a comprehensive selection of solutions dedicated to precision engineering applications in such fields as aerospace, mold & dies, and automotive industries. We design, manufacture and commission high-speed machining centers with overhead-gantry architecture to provide the optimum performance on any type of material ranging from the toughest superalloys to the lightest composites, across steel and light-alloys.

FLYMILL-FLYMILL HD
5-axis overhead gantry machining center design to provide its best efficiency on machining operations for large parts made of superalloys, stainless-steel and ferrous materials.
 
EAGLE
5-axis overhead gantry machining center which provide the best efficiency on medium-large size application of light alloys, composites, resins, and low-density materials. The wide range of available configurations allows the Eagle series to machine other materials such as steel and stainless-steel laminates.
MATRIX-800 & MATRIX-1000-1300
High-precision 5-axis overhead gantry machining center particularly suitable for roughing, semi-finishing and finishing operations on medium-large parts made of steel, light alloys, or special composites. Designed for high accuracy and high dynamics (jerk, accelerations and speed) avoiding the use of linear motors to allow for considerable energy saving to ensure the necessary thrust even for the most demanding operation.
MAXIMA
Multitasking vertical machining center which combines the best of 5-axis milling with high performance turning on medium-large parts made of superalloys, stainless-steel, ferrous materials, and light alloys. Maxima is unique in its kind since it is extremely versatile in performing multiple machining operations on a virtually unlimited range of parts.
RAPTOR
5-axis overhead gantry machining center particularly suitable for high-speed operations, from roughing to finishing, on medium-large parts made of light alloys, composites, resins and low-density materials. Raptor incorporates the most robust structures of its category and the highest quality components to ensure versatility, precision, and stability over time.
Ultrix
Multitasking 5-axis vertical machining center, trunnion table architecture and independent turning bar, for milling, turn, and high-precision grinding operations. Engineered to provide its best efficiency on titanium, special alloys, steel, and light alloy applications.
XCEEDER
Multipurpose 5-axis vertical machining center and trunnion table architecture for milling and high-precision grinding operations. Engineered to provide its best efficiency on titanium, special alloys, steel, and light alloy applications.

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