Maschinenfabrik Berthold Hermle AGMaschinenfabrik Berthold Hermle AG

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How mechatronics makes good vibrations

10.12.2012

The global music market is profiting from 5-axis machining technology with highly flexible prototype production for the quickest possible time-to-market.

"Guitar tuning from outer space" - that is about the only way to describe what even experienced guitarists can hardly believe: the limited edition "Robot Guitar" manufactured by the world famous GIBSON company is based on a mechatronic tuning package from Hamburg!

It is common knowledge that Hamburg has developed into a creative market place for the music sector. Less well known is the fact that it is also where the "robotization" of the tuning process for guitars began and is still based.
But to begin at the beginning: At some point during his 20-year career as a guitarist, Chris Adams finally got fed up with having to tune his guitar again and again, and came up with the revolutionary idea of "robotization". It was soon obvious that such a "tuning fork" could have a great future if it did not interfere with the acoustics, the design, the weight or the handling. So after the idea came the task of designing and then manufacturing the device.

"Harmony made in Hamburg"

"We had to develop the hardware and software from scratch," recalls Chris Adams. "TRONICAL has been into tuning musical instruments since 2005, but still this project was full of completely new challenges.
In order to concentrate the available know-how and ensure a short time-to-market phase, we decided to implement the mechatronic solutions for tuning the guitar ourselves. We didn't want to have to rely on service providers who might see us as freaks and not really understand what what it's all about. And anyway, we wanted to be highly flexible and not have to wait around for others."

HERMLE enters the stage

TRONICAL, which now employs 40 people, sought and then found the required equipment. The first thing was to gather information about the performance and working area of the machining center. So TRONICAL's mechanics team visited the Nortec trade fair in Hamburg on the search for the right machine. And they found HERMLE.
Before they had even left the fair, they ordered a C 30 U with an NC swiveling rotary table (Ø 630 mm), a motor spindle with 18,000 rpm, an HSK A 63 tool holding fixture, a RENISHAW touch probe and a tool failure measurement and monitoring system. With the amply dimensioned working area (X = 650, Y = 600, Z = 500 mm) and the NC swiveling rotary table they could be sure that all component sizes could be handled.
As Chris Adams puts it: "The HERMLE C 30 U fulfills all our requirements in respect of technical capacity, performance, precision, flexibility, speed and quality. That makes it an essential element for ensuring rapid, autonomous work. In our business, time-to-market has to be fast, and with this universally adaptable machine we can be sure of being able to fulfill the developers' requirements and wishes in respect of prototypes, adaptations and modifications without delay.

 AN OUTSTANDING SUCCESS

"Investing in the machining center was the best decision we could have made; without HERMLE we wouldn't be where we are now. The investment has proved its worth many times over in view of the rate of development, priority management and instantly being able to try out ideas. Especially as all the products can be developed up to series production almost completely without being dependent on mechatronic service providers."

The success of the products made by Chris Adams and his team completely proves the point: the automated guitar tuning system has received prestigious awards at the most important music fairs worldwide. The success story looks like becoming a serial, as new developments in the form of manufacturer-independent tuning kits for retrofitting are in planning.

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