People looking for either machining on six faces of a workpiece or for machining of two of the same parts at the same time or machining of two different workpieces at the same time or...well, you get it, there are plenty of options...should consider the Ideo 2 transfer machining system from Mikron Corp. (www.mikron.com; Monroe, CT). This machining system is capable of handling workpieces-be they steel, aluminum or something in between-measuring up to 250 x 250 x 250 mm. There are two modules and two 33-kW spindles that rotate at up to 14,000 rpm. There are two automatic tool changers each holding 32 HSK-A 63 tools each. Tool change can be performed in 1.6 seconds. Essentially, the Ideo 2 is a machine that is good for small-lot runs or large; a production machine or a machine that can handle JIT tasks. In other words, it is a single machining center that can be put into duty in a variety of situations.
The machine measures 5,130 x 3,227 x 2,571 mm (length, height, width). Although it is compact, it is fabricated with a particular emphasis on rigidity. That is, the base has a double-wall structure. Then between the two walls there is a cast mineral material put in place so that even if there is high metal removal occurring, the machine exhibits stability.
The three-axis machining module has a box-in-a-box configuration. Brushless servomotors are deployed. The X, Y, and Z axes strokes are 250, 350, and 300 mm, respectively. The brushless servos, combined with control via a digital converter, permit acceleration in all axes at up to 10.2 m/s2 (or approximately 1 g). The top speed of the axes is 40 m/min.
In addition to which, there is the A/B axis that provides rotation of 2 x 360°. This ability to rotate the workpiece about in space is what permits the machining of all six faces of a workpiece in a single setup. As setup times tend to be the most deleterious on total cycle times (absent problems like broken tools, and it should be noted that the Ideo 2 offers electronic tool breakage control that not only checks breakage, but also tool wear), this ability for six-faced machining in a single setup is key. The A-axis can rotate 360° in two seconds; the B-axis can rotate 360° in one second. The B-axis has free rotation while the A-axis can move ±182°.
The Ideo 2 is equipped with a Fanuc 31i control. This control offers two channels such that it is possible to simultaneously perform five-axis machining with each of the spindles. Or, programming can be performed on one of the spindles while the other is running.