Materials  //  Composite materials

Safe milling of composite materials with reduced dust formation – HG GRIMME SysTech CNC machines

Processing lightweight materials such as fibre composites with a milling machine is very different to processing plastic or metal. This is because milling fibre-reinforced plastics produces a huge amount of dust which presents a real challenge for companies when it comes to health and safety in the workplace. With a CNC machining centre from HG GRIMME SysTech, you are perfectly equipped to handle these milling processes – because we offer specially developed extraction options for every CNC machine.

Composite materials – CNC milling with an extractor and the right milling tool

Composite materials are made from two or more unmixed base materials. When the individual base materials are joined together, you get a material that combines all the beneficial properties of the base materials for the component that will then be produced. Composite materials are frequently designed to produce a high level of rigidity and strength. This property makes them suitable materials for use in lightweight applications and therefore very appealing to many industries.

The only problem is that milling composite materials produces large amounts of dust. Whereas fine dust poses a health risk to the machine operators if they breathe in the dust and chips, suspended particulates may cause electric short circuits. This is why our development team has focused on the issue of dust formation in the design process and developed various extraction systems or air vents as options that can also be added to the design of our CNC machining centres.

As well as having an efficient extraction system, it is also vital to use the right milling tool to reduce dust formation as much as possible. In addition, using the appropriate milling tool can also curb the amount of noise produced. We will be happy to develop the perfect milling tool for you, adapted to suit your CNC machining centre and the material that is going to be processed.

“We want to achieve the highest possible milling speed, a high feed rate per tooth, combined with a long lifespan for the cutter, producing a low amount of dust and a perfect quality of surface finish for our customers.”

Andreas Waibel, Application engineer

Opening the control cabinet? Wait! – Beware of short circuits and fine dust

Despite all the safety measures in place, a factory hall in which CFRP is milled will never have the atmosphere of a cleanroom. It is simply not possible to prevent a certain proportion of the fine dust from getting out of the CNC machine. All it takes to cause a short circuit is a single chip.

“You do not need a pile of chips for a short circuit; all it takes is a single chip, thinner than a human hair, in the wrong place, for example on a semiconductor element. This does not just creep up either, it simply goes bang,” explains W. Grimme. This is why when processing CFRP material it is strictly prohibited to open the control cabinet while milling is taking place. To make sure the machine does not fail, we seal every single cable leading to or from it and equip it with its own clip. This makes the control cabinet as sealed as possible, and there is also positive pressure inside it. As the pressure is equalised when the cabinet is opened, it is inevitable that air will be drawn from the factory hall into the cabinet. This is why it is particularly important to exhaust the air around the cabinet before it is opened and ideally place it at least six metres away from the CNC milling machine.

The Sinamics S120 drive components as well as the machine tool control technology originate from Siemens. It is also working on these material-specific problems. Solutions might include preventing short circuits for example by providing appropriate protective coatings or creating the greatest possible gap between the elements that a chip will need to bridge.

CNC machining centres for composite materials – a selection

CNC milling centres
CNC machining centre for small workpieces

The answer for effective milling of small workpieces. A real multi-talent thanks to the double-shaft spindle and the automatic tool changer.

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CNC milling centres
CNC gantry single milling machine with shuttle table

You can use it to mill plastics and composite materials effectively. It is also designed for the option of tandem operation.

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CNC milling centres
CNC milling machine universal with gantry design

A universal powerhouse with a rapid traverse of 80 m/min. Tools can be changed at any time on the G-S-F/Universal.

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Individual requests?

Do you have specific requirements and require a CNC machining centre that is specifically tailored to meet your demands? Then please contact us directly – we will be happy to advise you!