What is special about Müller’s high-pressure systems?
Martin Müller: One of Müller’s most ambitious aims, and it’s something we’re very proud of, is that we construct such tremendously compact high-pressure filtration systems. It’s a known fact: if you want something to be compact, you’ve got to “lose weight” somewhere. This is then usually done through the performance or the adaptability of the systems to the customer’s processes, or the possible uses overall. Or all three. But at Müller, we’re not prepared to compromise. We combine these very parameters: compactness, performance, flexibility with regard to performance configuration, and uses. And that’s what makes our high-pressure systems so special. Because it is this high claim that enables us to ensure our primary aim and motivation: to positively influence our customers’ process stability and offer them maximum efficiency in the field of cooling lubricant technology with compact high-pressure systems. And I think that when it comes down to it, that’s what makes our systems so special.
Our claim often brings us close to limits. How do we still manage to fulfil it? And keep on doing so? Well, we keep on developing – based on market findings and by trusting ourselves to blaze entirely new trails with our products, such as the combistream, the combined unit consisting of high-pressure system, chip conveyor and machine tank. We also offer a large, perhaps even the largest, application-orientated, differentiated range of compact high-pressure systems for sliding headstock automatic lathes. Thanks to a clever construction kit, we are able to offer the best possible adjustment for this range. To achieve this, we invested heavily in close co-operations with leading machine manufacturers and initiated so-called system partnerships. One key advantage for our customers: fast, smooth and efficient operation on the partner machine – for more than 80% of Citizen, Star, Tsugami and Tornos machines. And of course, the “Müller inside” also determines the “Müller outside”. At technology level, we opt for first-class, efficient technologies, for instance in high-pressure generation for pressure-regulated piston pumps or frequency-controlled drives or our self-cleaning automatic filters. And even when we use standards, we try to make them even more efficient in their compactness. One excellent example is our exchangeable wire mesh filter element that, thanks to its much larger filter surface than conventional bag filters, offers a much better service life. Plus it’s washable and reusable. This brings us back to the efficiency aspect, not least in the sense of reducing operating materials, to say nothing of saving resources.
What needs to be borne in mind when designing such as system?
Martin Müller: You have to remember what will ultimately fit on it. So not only to determine the requirements for the high-pressure system or chip conveyor, but in particular to take into account the requirements that apply to the process. A number of parameters need to be defined, and one particular question has to be asked first: what is actually done on the machine; what chip types, what materials are processed, what kinds of chips may be created, and how dirty is the machine likely to get? On the other hand: what tools and tool holders are used? What pressure and flow rate do I require? Is the system in constant operation or only sporadically, in the emulsion or in oil? All this determines and defines the high-pressure system, in other words, the choice of the right high-pressure technology and filtration concept. As you can see, great care must be taken to choose the accurate design of the high-pressure system, especially if you want to make the most of the process, quality and efficiency advantages that high-pressure has to offer. At Müller, it is important that we are able to provide expert advice, and we also offer aids and qualification programmes.
Is there such a thing as the ideal high pressure for chipping?
Martin Müller: Well, that’s an exciting question. If I were a lawyer I would say: “It depends.” As a high-pressure specialist, I’ll say: “Yes, of course there is – either combined with absolute precision or in the maximum configuration.” In order to interpret this answer correctly, we need to consider your question from a slightly different angle. It will also enable us to better understand the meaning of the particular approach. Put simply, there are two major groups, or machining shapes, of chippers. On the one hand, major series of a particular part that operate permanently on a machine. This means it is possible to combine the system at the best possible price, which in turns means the costs are recouped quite quickly. So that would be the absolutely accurate version. On the other hand, though, we have the classic “job-shop” that tends to manufacture small series to order, often has to retool, and struggles to determine both processing and materials for the future. And this is where a maximum version could make sense. There’s a reason why I say “could”. So what would this version look like? Well, if, for instance, one were to take for a sliding headstock lathe a combined high-pressure system combistream with an integrated chip conveyor and bottom cleaning plus high-pressure pump with regulating pump technology plus maintenance-free automatic filter in full-flow and bypass flow, plus specific priming of the low-pressure pump from the machine tank etc., then the result would be a machine on which very many different materials could run safely and reliably: from normal steel, brass and stainless steel to a highly alloyed material such as titanium or other medical steel. Many of our customers do this. However, this tremendous flexibility does come at a price. It is important to me that you always look at the details together and consider the options and possibilities. We want to help our customers to make clever investment decisions. To us, long-term partnerships and satisfaction matter far, far more than our maximising turnover at any price.
What developments is your company currently working on?
Martin Müller: Well, we’ve got a few things bubbling away. At product level, we are currently working on several exciting innovations, one of which we shall be launching this autumn. We’re also working on our special range for China. We took the plunge there last year in order to serve the market. At component level, we are constantly developing our technologies and concepts. There’s a lot going on with regard to increasing efficiency, process stability and safety. Something else we shall be offering is a very cleverly integrated flow-rate solution for our products. And of course, we are also constantly working on new building block solutions for our system partners’ new products. From products and interfaces to “hardware”. We’re currently making special boxes for long items. Then we’re also working on instruments, including digital ones, that will make it even easier for our customers to access their high-pressure units.
And which innovations will you soon be surprising the market with?
Martin Müller: Well, as you so aptly put it, we want to surprise the market, so I’m not going to give much away. But I think that, in autumn, we’ll be showing a product that once again proves that we have the courage to be constantly re-thinking high pressure. And be surprising. Because this solution will have all the features and values of a Müller product, but it will raise the aspects of flexibility and compactness or adjustment to existing spatial situations to a new level. flexibility and compactness, respectively adjustment to existing spatial situations, to a new level. But let us surprise you!