More Efficiency in the Machining of Spherical Components

What do automotive engineering, aerospace and valve technology have in common? Spherical components such as spherical plain bearings play a decisive role in all those industries. Regardless of their specific use, all applications are united by high quality standards.

In these high-performance areas, uncompromising reliability and durability are required. But how can a supplier combine the highest quality standards and process reliability with maximum flexibility and cost-efficient production in a future-proof solution?

Increasing productivity

As a solution provider for high-precision surfaces, Supfina boasts decades of experience in superfinishing combined with state-of-the-art automation technology. In this way, not only can specific superfinishing advantages such as lower roughness or improved microgeometry be achieved in the machining of spherical components, but smart automation also increases overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

A robot handles flexible components.

Automation as an integral part of the machine

Automation as an integral part of the machine

One example of Supfina’s solutions is the highly automated LCM TS superfinishing system. This system for machining spherical plain bearing inner rings was developed with the customer’s needs in mind and combines proven technology with several innovations. The components are picked up for machining without centers, in a so-called “roller mill”. In the past, the setting and adjustment work on these units was often very time-consuming and required a great deal of know-how on the part of the machine operator. This is precisely where Supfina's development work began. Additional NC-axes and measuring systems were integrated in conjunction with the intelligently designed software, ensuring the shortest possible setup times. A 6-axis robot is located inside the machine, handling components with a high degree of autonomy. The focus here was on optimum coordination between the robot, the machine control system and the operator, with the result that the automation system can also be changed over very quickly from one type of workpiece to another without requiring any special programming skills on the part of the operators.

In a dynamic environment, the need for flexibility of a production process is crucial. Whether small volume, changing component requirements, or innovative products, a modular production structure guarantees a short response time and high flexibility. Supfina develops individually tailored process solutions here, which can be quickly adapted to changing requirements and expanded on a modular basis.

The components are picked up for centerless processing in a roller mill.

The components are picked up for centerless processing in a roller mill.

Automated and efficient for high-tech components

One company that has relied for years on the expertise of Supfina is a mechanical engineering company based in the Black Forest, Hirschmann GmbH. As one of the leading companies in the field of high-end spherical plain bearings, the spherical components made by the German manufacturer can be found in satellites, aircraft and racing cars, among other applications. Here, the high-performance bearings with innovative superfinished surfaces ensure reduced wear, higher load capacity and more dynamics in all driving situations. It is therefore not surprising that the spherical plain bearings from Hirschmann have now also found their way into the production vehicles of a whole range of well-known automotive manufacturers.

Since 2016, the Supfina LCM TS has been producing without interruption at Hirschmann in three-shift operation, ensuring minimum tolerances even for complex parts.

Supfina LCM-TS

Unique on the market

The Supfina LCM-TS provides a unique overall solution for machining spherical components. The optimal interaction of process technology, machine, automation and man offers the user the maximum possible flexibility and economic efficiency.

Supfina - your partner for future-proof manufacturing systems.


Supfina Grieshaber GmbH & Co. KG

Schmelzegrün 7
77709 Wolfach / Germany
+49 7834 866-0
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Supfina Machine Company, Inc.

181 Circuit Drive
North Kingstown
RI 02852-7439 / USA

+1 401-294-6600
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