LESER Update December 2021

“Think BIG”: An XXL investment

The new manufacturing technology for very large safety valves is the largest single investment in the history of the site. It shortens the delivery times of Type 441 safety valves from DN 250 / 10 inches on upwards.
One DN 400 / 16-inch Type 441 safety valve weighs more than 1,000 kilograms/2,204 lb. It is nearly 2 meters tall. Handling and machining these large, heavy parts in production is a particular challenge. In response to growing demand for these valves in sizes up to DN 400 / 16 inches, the project “Think Big” was launched to develop a new manufacturing concept. This is how our “XXL-sized production” functions – at 7.2 million euros it is the biggest single investment in production equipment in the history of LESER:

Reduced effort: Monolithic valve body

To reduce the number of individual production steps, the project team replaced the multi-part weldment for large valve bodies by a single casting. 

New concept: Manufacturing cell 

To accommodate this specialized production equipment and the processes needed for very heavy, large-sized components, the project team developed the new manufacturing cell. It handles all process steps involved in making large components weighing up to 1,135 kilograms/ 2,502 lb: machining, measuring, part cleaning, welding and hydrostatic pressure testing. 

Substantial investment: Machining technology

Supported by the Chemnitz-based company StarragHeckert, the project team developed a custom machining concept. The six-axis machining center is an innovation at LESER. It is custom-designed for valve body machining and handles the entire manufacture of the part, enabling increased flexibility, set-up while machining, faster processing and lower production costs. The high performance of this machining center allows LESER to use it for the intermediate nominal size range up to DN 200 /8 inches, as well. Implementing this state-ofthe-art manufacturing technology has been the largest single machinery investment in the history of the Hohenwestedt site.

Digital: CAD/CAM integration

The machining process is simulated digitally using a Digital Twin. Using CAM software (Computer-Aided Manufacturing), LESER can now automate CNC programs based on the 3D part geometry for the first time. This avoids manual steps while the digital simulation of the production process accelerates the ramp-up phase. What is more, the CNC planning processes are standardized and transparent. 

Ready to move in: The new hall

To accommodate the new manufacturing cell, LESER changed the layout of the shop floor, bearing in mind a potential future expansion. By removing a firewall, two hall sections were combined. Several machines were repositioned without major disruption of ongoing operations.
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