Established in 1949, 280-employee Franke GmbH is manufacturer of wire race bearings, but also now develops and manufactures lightweight rotational and linear movement systems, with or without drive, for use in such things as CT scanners.

Unsurprisingly, the first quarter of 2020 saw an increase in sales of components to the medical sector from 35% to more than 40% of turnover. Franke relies for its production on six DMG Mori machining centres with turning capability, including some with twin pallet change and an accuracy pack. The two additional DMC 125 FD duoBLOCK mill-turn centres will complement these.

Sascha Eberhard, managing director of Franke, explains: “We are being presented with a challenge during the pandemic of ensuring uninterrupted supply of our products to vital industries while at the same time diligently implementing social distancing and other protective measures in our factory.

“We have responded with two effective measures: strict separation of production shifts and a reduction in administrative staff present on site by means of home working.”

Franke has been helped in this change in its working practices, due to its long-standing philosophy of investing in automation and digitalisation. Eberhard points out that the company has eight current digitalisation projects in support of the development and manufacture of customers' special machines.

The company has used DMG Mori machining centres since 2008 to ensure flexibility of production. Depending on the type of product, batch sizes are between one and 1,000 pieces per project. Workpiece materials range from diverse types of wire through aluminium, brass and cast steel to plastics and carbon fibre.

Continues Eberhard: "The demands on production in this challenging sector are enormous. Our special bearings combine complex system components with sophisticated housing designs, seals and integrated direct drives. Their production requires highly accurate milling, drilling and turning."

Oliver Schröder, head of purchasing and material management, adds: "The DMG MORI duoBLOCK models in particular play a key role in our manufacturing. Milling and turning in a single set-up combined with automatic pallet change offers us the ideal package for machining highly complex bearing components from 300 mm up to two metres in diameter. Accuracy is to within microns.”

One of the two recently-ordered DMC 125 FD duoBLOCK machines will be equipped with the DMG Mori technology cycle gearSKIVING to enable in-house production of straight and helical external and internal spur gears using skiving tools, reducing both cost and throughput times.

DMG Mori DMC 125 FD duoBLOCK machine