Removing Metal

Although there is an increased use of non-metallic materials in cars and components, there are still plenty of steel, cast iron, alloys, aluminum, magnesium, and other metals being transformed into parts on the one hand and chips on the other. Here's an array of equipment that can help make metal removal fast, accurate andefficient.

Trunnion table
Trunnion table adds axes.

Small But Flexible
The footprint of the GV-503/5AX vertical spindle machining center fromMori Seiki USA (Irving, TX) is comparatively small: 86 ft2. However, this doesn't mean that it is a small machine vis-à-vis functionality: it has a trunnion-type table that provides a 4th and 5th axis (the 5th has a range of +105°º to -15°º and tilts toward the operator) for producing complex 3D shapes in a single setup. The machine has a 19.69-in. pallet. The strokes are: X, 24.02 in.; Y, 29.72 in.; Z, 18.11 in. The rapid traverse rate is 1,653 ipm. The tool magazine handles 30 tools and a tool-to-tool change can be effected in 0.9 seconds.

Linear drives
Linear drives minimize non-cut time.

Complex Cutting
Doing complex components? Then check out the DMP 60 “linear” fromDMG America (Schaumburg, IL), which performs milling operations but, taking into account the fact that there are different materials being machined nowadays (e.g., magnesium) that are being transformed into shapes that require more than horizontal and/or vertical approaches, permits five-axis/five-sided machining. The machine is equipped with a revolving/swiveling platform that allows the work to be presented to the spindle (HSK-A 63; up to 8,000 rpm; 26.8 hp) at various positions. As dry machining is a possibility, and as chip handling is a challenge, this machine takes a cue from some turning machines and actually has an inclined bed. As for the “linear” in the name? It is about linear drives that accelerate the axes at >1.5 g to a rapid traverse of some 3,936 ipm.

Modular approach addresses varying requirements.

As You Like It
Russell T. Gilman, Inc. (Grafton, WI), has devised a three-axis module that permits adaptation to a variety of different machining applications such that a cell can be configured with the spindle oriented vertical (center mount) or horizontal (side mount) and the spindle belt driven (high horsepower, high torque for steel or cast iron) or with an integral motor (high speed for aluminum and composites). The whole driver is reconfigurable to meet changing production demands.

Ready to be dressed in a system

System Built
The Japanese arm of Enshu (USA) Corp. goes beyond building stand-alone machines and transfer lines; it actually supplies components to manufacturers including Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki. . .which are, presumably, machined on the equipment that it produces. Which brings us to the JE50S CNC horizontal spindle wing unit that is built without a work table and without guarding because it is built to be integrated by a systems builder into a high-volume system (where it will be integrated with a work table and guarding). So although it could be thought that this machine, which provides a 19.7 x 19.7 x 19.7-in. work cube, would be of interest to the integrators, those who are looking for fast (rapid traverse in all axes is 2,362 ipm), flexible and durable (the mean time between failure rating is 5,000 hours) equipment for their operations may want to take note. The unit is equipped with a gearless, 20-hp AC spindle (BT40 taper) that rotates at up to 12,000 rpm (oversized, oil-mist lubricated ceramic ball bearings have a design life of 40,000 hours). There is a 24-position tool magazine that provides a 3.1-second chip-to-chip change.

Designed for crank and cam bores.

Better Holes
Crankshaft and camshaft bores are both ideal machinable features for the BOA system from Lamb Technicon Machining Systems (Warren, MI), as it provides +/- 5 micron accuracy at depths of 30x the diameter being machined. . .and the bore diameters that can be handled within a 350 mm x 350 mm work zone range from 25 to 75 mm. There are an inverted spindle and feed axis; the toolchanger is mounted directly below the spindle. There is a bar support system that facilitates boring multiple parts or different diameters in the same station. “BOA”? Boring with Optimal Accuracy.

More than turning.

Beyond Turning
Although Hardinge (Elmira, NY) is known for its turning machines, it also produces a lineup of vertical machining centers. They’ve launched two sets of machines, one grouping that goes under the “high speed” category and the other “high torque.” (In terms of designations, there are the VMC600II (X = 23.62 in.), VMC800II (X = 31.50 in.), and VMC1000II (X = 40.16 in.) three models each; the Y- and Z-axis travels for all models is 20.08 in.) The high-speed units feature a 17.3-hp, 12,000 rpm Vector spindle drive and fast control processing (the controller is a Hardinge/Fanuc 18-MC) and feeds; the high-torque units have 175 ft.-lb. torque via a two-speed geared head, a 17.3-hp, 8,000-rpm Vector spindle drive, and heavy-duty 40-mm ballscrews.

Not the A77E, but it sibling, the A55E.

Blast Off
Although the “Rocket Table” isn’t unique to the A77E horizontal machining center from Makino (Mason, OH), as it is offered on other machines in the company’s lineup, this heavy-duty table—which operates at speeds up to 40 rpm (it positions 90º in 1.7 seconds and 180º in 2.0 seconds) and can handle loads up to 700 kg per pallet—is particularly notable on this machine as this A-series has a 50 taper spindle and a 500-mm pallet. The table doesn’t lift before rotating, which means that it can be positioned simultaneously with the Z-axis, which means that workpieces are put in front of the spindle pronto. Like a rocket, as it were. And also like a rocket, there is plenty of thermal control: of the spindle, of the ballscrew, and, to handle cutting and the consequent chips, a coolant capacity of 800 liters.

Concept for flexibility.

The Modular Approach
If you’re making engine blocks or heads, transmission cases, or other products with varying demand requirements and comparatively frequent design changes, then the Flexible System Transferline (FST) concept developed by Heller Machine Tools (Troy, MI) could be the solution in that this approach is based on modules that can be reconfigured to fit demand. There are three primary elements:

  • Interface M: Stationary or palletized fixtures; rotary tables can be used
  • Interface S: Head change units, single-spindle tool changes, fine boring units, etc.
  • Interface H: Standard and customized multi-spindle heads. There is a central control and individual station controls that are networked. Think rapid ramping and reconfiguration.

Achieving better surfaces.

Not Superficial
While there has been a notion that honing is essentially something of an art meant to provide a final finish, the MHS KROSSGRINDING System fromSunnen Products (St. Louis) is meant to dispel that. This modular machine can remove on the order of 0.004 to 0.006 in. of material to produce consistent and accurate bore diameters with plated diamond tooling or metal-bond, multi-stone superabrasives. What’s more, the machine can provide a crosshatch surface finish that’s important for oil retention for such applications as bushings and bearings. Because of its vertical configuration, it can be readily loaded/unloaded, manually or via automation. Up to four spindles can be fitted to a single system.

Designed for lean operations.

Lean Machine
The folks at KIA Heavy Industries (Hackensack, NJ) say that their KV25IIP moving column, bed-type vertical machining center is designed for “lean” cellular setups. That’s because it is comparatively narrow: its width is just 57.5 in. What’s more, coolant and chips are deposited at the rear of the machine, thereby facilitating central collection. The machine is quick: tool-to-tool changes can be done in just 0.9 sec.; pallet changes can be performed in 4 seconds; and rapid axis travel is 1,181 ipm. Of course, it can work as a standalone, too.

Family Affair
Ex-Cell-O (Sterling Heights, MI) has been promoting its linear motor driven XHC series of machining centers for the past several years. It is now complementing them with two more series of machines, the XP and the XS line up, machines that employ ballscrews . Since all of the machines are modular, the notion is that there can be a veritable plug-and-play approach to setting up a system with three-axis units. The machines have a 500 x 500-mm or 630 x 630-mm pallet size. The XP series is essentially engineered to handle light steel/cast iron and nonferrous materials; the XS is more for steel and alloys.

Two spindles and a robot, too.

Let The Robot Do It
Not only does the TNW-34TC CNC chucker from Fuji Machine America (Lincolnshire, IL) come equipped with dual spindles, but it also features an integrated robot that can be used to change chucks. Consequently, the machine, designed for high-volume production, is quick: there is a loading time of 2.5 seconds per spindle. The worksize for the machine is 8 x 4 in.; the maximum weight that can be handled is 11 lb. per move. There is a high-speed 10-position turret that indexes in 0.2 seconds. The machine permits machining the same part on each of the spindles; the front and rear of each part (i.e., spindle A, then spindle B); or two different parts simultaneously.

Fixed tool turning or rotating tool ops: your choice.

Do It Your Way
Consider: ID and OD turning of parts that fit within a 50.4 x 25.6 x 24-in. (X, Y, Z) work cube, parts such as planetary gear housings. Then, the vertical machining center—which has a precision VTL-type spin table (23.6 in. in diameter; a speed up to 200 rpm; a 1,760-lb capacity)—can also, as machining centers are wont to do, drill, mill, tap, ream, and bore. In a single setup. Spinning the part rather than the tool for the turning operations means that there is the ability to achieve a 1.8-micron roundness. The VU65A from Mitsui Seiki (Franklin Lakes, IL) is equipped with a 25-hp, 6,000-rpm spindle drive motor that has 615 Nm of torque.

Makes parts fast.

Run Fast
Quick turnaround in production machining is certainly possible with the QT-250 HP from Mazak (Florence, KY) as, for example, the 12-tool turret bidirectionally indexes at a rate of 0.2 seconds per step. The gearless, variable-speed motor provides rapids in the X of up to 1,200 ipm and 1,300 ipm in the Z. The 20-hp spindle provides speeds from 40 to 4,000 rpm and 259 ft-lb. of torque (hydraulic clamping of the turret facilitates heavy cutting). The machine is equipped with a 10-in. chuck. The bar capacity is 2.75 in.; the maximum cutting diameter is 15.7 in.; the maximum cutting length is 19.7 in. Further facilitating speed is the Tool Eye feature, which, once the tool tip is placed in contact with the device, automatically measures the tool and registers the data in a file so that trial cuts, diameter measurements, and data offsets can be eliminated.


Built to Make It
Durability and accuracy are two of the characteristics engineered into the Diamond DMV500 vertical machining center from Daewoo Heavy Industries (West Caldwell, NJ). For example, consider the ballscrews on each of the axes: centered between the integral box-type induction hardened and precision-ground guideways that are bonded with a fluoroplastic resin and hand scraped; these are double-nut ballscrews that are supported on each end by angular contact thrust bearings. This means repeatability. The bed is a one-piece Meehanite casting, which means that there aren’t thermal distortion issues (ditto with the ballscrew arrangement) and good dampening qualities. The 20-hp AC spindle drive provides up to 10,000 rpm. The axis movements are 40.2 x 19.7 x 20.1 in., X, Y, Z. Rapids can be 1,180 ipm X and Y; 944 ipm Z.