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Close Up: SHW UniSpeed 5

Manufacturing throughput time has a variety of factors related to it.

Manufacturing throughput time has a variety of factors related to it. These include machine setup time, processing time, transport time, batch size, and resource availability. It has been determined that transport time tends to be a huge driver of the amount of time required for throughput. And the transport time (i.e., getting parts to and from a machine) is generally amplified by waiting time (i.e., waiting for the opportunity to get under the spindle). So from the standpoint of manufacturing equipment, it is undoubtedly better to have a machine that can do plenty of work in a single setup, thereby minimizing the amount of time that might be taken up by transporting a part from one machine to another.

Which brings us to the UniSpeed 5 from Bohle Machine Tools (Plymouth, MI; www.bmtbohle.com). It is a universal traveling column machining center that is capable of performing five-sided machining on sizable parts, as it has an X, Y, Z work area measuring 63 x 63 x 47 in. It can perform standard milling. Contour milling. Circular milling. Thread milling. It can drill, ream, tap, and thread-form. And thanks to the SHW universal spindle head, which offers 64,800 programmable spindle orientations, it can perform these machining operations horizontally, vertically, or somewhere in between. The standard milling spindle has a 35-kW drive and can provide spindle speeds of up to 6,000 rpm. An optional high-frequency spindle provides speeds up to 30,000 rpm. Positioning is performed rather rapidly, too: the rapid traverse rate is 98 fpm and the acceleration rate is 2g. Machine column travel (X-axis) is 78 in. There is a 90-tool automatic tool changer; the tool storage capacity is 90 tools. The toolholder is either CAT 50 or HSK 100-A. The UniSpeed 5 uses a Siemens 840D CNC system for control.

Now the fact that this is a machine that is capable of performing multiple rotating tool operations on five sides of a workpiece means that it can certainly help reduce manufacturing throughput time. But there's more. Because the UniSpeed 5 also has the ability to perform turning operations on workpieces.

The machine table is 63-in. in diameter. It has a load capacity of up to 13,200 lb.; there is an integrated manual balancing system. The swing is 78.74 in. So simply put, the machine is capable of not only performing milling operations, but turning, as well. Which certainly helps reduce the need to move parts from one machine to the next. What's more, because parts have reduced setups, there is the possibility of minimizing tolerance errors that can occur during multiple clampings.

To ensure that the machine is capable of performing demanding machining operations, it is constructed with a machine bed that is produced with a composite material. Essentially, it is a combination of a special concrete combined with steel fabrications. According to Bohle, not only is no special machine foundation required, but the UniSpeed 5 can be installed in five days. 

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