With the rapid evolution in engine and powertrain technology occurring in the market today, it is imperative for production machine suppliers to respond to the changing needs of their customers without sacrificing the core concepts of quality and service.
Over the years, honing has expanded its horizons. Today, our machines are capable of Nano-honing; a combination of laser roughening the surface in preparation for coating application, applying coating and honing. We also provide Position-honing, which involves rough boring and fine honing. The latest technology in honing is Form-honing. Form-honing creates a predictable shape during the honing process which translates in a nearly cylindrical shape during operation to reduce friction and emissions.
In our conventional engine world, the lowering of CO2 emissions and fuel consumption continue the drive to new materials, thermal coatings and new bore shapes. Likewise, new tools, improved sensor technology and machine controls have evolved to meet these challenges. As a result, OEMs are moving toward Form-honing.
Simulation has taken giant leaps forward, as well. Shape data evaluation, shape data transfer, setup and machining all occur in a virtual environment today. High predictability leads to enhanced machine response for better output with quality — goals that have never changed in our industry. Form-honing Professional’s innovative individual dynamic drive of each honing stone achieves the optimum result in creating a defined asymmetrical shape for high engine efficiency, compensating for anticipated distortions.
Laser honing is producing high-accuracy grooving and texturizing of surfaces in the 5-30 micron range. This technology is achieving substantial oil and fuel reductions, reduced friction and increased horsepower. It is currently in use on the full stroke of a cylinder. Laser structuring has further uses on cams, connecting rods and press fit connections to improve static friction between surfaces. It often replaces shot peening, diamond plating and even select honing operations, all in a stress-free machining environment with short processing times and reduced tooling costs. Laser roughening, used in the Nano-honing process, creates a base profile on the surface for high adhesion strength for the subsequent coating process.
Precision honing is the core of our company and the combination of this technology with advanced surface treatments has driven a sea of change in our business model. Increased training, honing technology seminars and our Gehring Tech Days, where current and future customers learn from our tech specialists, are all vital parts of our machines-to-market strategies. At the Gehring Tech Days, we have now engaged our own business partners to speak on such topics as advanced coating materials and the digitalization of today’s enterprises. We recognize the complementary evolution of data gathering and utilization occurring today and are responding accordingly, as these aspects of the business relationship are vital with customers of all sizes.
The need for a holistic approach to machine and tool development is our ongoing goal.
Functional performance, surface finish achievement with documentation as well as the commissioning and servicing of our machines, whether for single location shops or global customers.
We live in a vibrant automotive industry today, producing 17 million-plus light vehicles annually in North America. Our company has built relationships with the major OEMs and tier vendors, precisely because of our innovations in honing and tooling technologies, along with our ability to service machines on a global basis. Utilizing the most advanced technologies to build and link our machines, capture production data and establish the most appropriate approaches to problem-solving, we have reaped the benefits of business success. The future will clearly demand innovative solutions for the continued reduction in emissions and fuel consumption and overall production requirements of our current and future customers. We’ll be ready.
Michael Schaefer is president of Gehring LP.