Economically Advancing Metalcutting

Matthew Jaster

Here is a look at some of the equipment developed by Mazak for improved manufacturing operations.

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HCU Offers Fast, Flexible Machining

Looking for a cost-effective means for comparatively short-run production? If so, then Mazak (mazakusa.com) may have the answer with its Horizontal Center Universal (HCU) 4000 and the Mazak HCU 5000 with a robot cell. They offer top-of-the-line machining capabilities at a fraction of the cost of other alternatives. That’s because, explains Mike Kerscher, Mazak product manager/machining centers, the company decided to focus on providing the capabilities and functionalities otherwise found on more expensive equipment in a more economical package.

The HCU 4000 comes standard with a 12,000-rpm, CAT 40 spindle capable of removing steel, aluminum and cast iron materials; an optional 20,000-rpm speed is also available. A cam-driven automatic tool changer significantly reduces non-cut times on the HCU 4000 by quickly exchanging tools and getting the spindle back in the cut. Tool storage capacities of 40, 80, or 120 tools promote continuous machining operations.

An NC-positioning table gives the HCU 4000 4-axis capabilities, while an optional NC-rotary table makes 4-axis simultaneous contouring possible. The square pallet (15.75 in.) allows the machine to process accurate parts up to 24.8 in. in diameter and 35.4 in. high. Machine travels measure X (22 in.), Y (25.2 in.), and Z (25.2 in.). 

The Mazak MX Hybrid Roller Guide System enables the machine to efficiently distribute loads in four directions: radial (clockwise and counterclockwise) reverse radial, and lateral. It provides more surface contact than balls and less friction than slides. 

SMART CNC shortens job set-up times by allowing operators of all skill levels to develop machining programs. In fact, programming time is 75% faster with the SMART CNC compared with machines using EIA/ISO systems. This is especially effective when processing workpieces requiring simple turning, milling, drilling and tapping operations. 

The HCU 5000 offers the same tech as the HCU 4000 with an optional robot cell. This could be as simple as the robot changing parts on a fixture/tombstone or as complex as the robot changing out fixture plates on the tombstone to achieve multiple machining operations in one set up. The robot cell can also incorporate multiple additional value added operations like: part marking, coating applications, gauging, deburring. The value added operations allow the customer to reduce previously necessary labor hours required to finish a part since the robot cell now processes a raw part into a finished part without operator intervention. The cell permits lights out operation which could not be possible with a standalone machine. 

VCU Line Produces Small, Complex Parts

Mazak also offers the Vertical Center Universal (VCU) 400A 5X and Vertical Center Universal (VCU) 500A for producing small, complex parts. The VCU 400A 5X employs a five-axis rotary/tilt trunnion table with durable, high-speed roller gear cam technology to produce small complex parts up to 15.74 in. in diameter and 12-in. high. A standard 10,000-rpm, CAT 40 spindle is also available in 12,000 and 20,000 versions. 30-tool or optional 40-tool storage capacity ensures continuous machining operation. The VCU 500A with a three-axis table brings advanced technology and production value to small parts processing. It processes basic part geometries up to 19.68-in. wide x 19.68-in. deep x 12-in. tall. And, like the VCU 400 series, the machine’s standard 10,000-rpm CAT 40 spindle is also available in 12,000 and 20,000 versions.

The VCU 400-5X is fitted with the Matrix 2 CNC control, specifically for five-axis machining. A five-axis spline interpolation function included in the control’s software provides smooth toolpaths from long block-by-block programs, easy tool vector control and shorter cycle times as well as five-axis surface finishes.

The VCU 400 and VCU 500 offer 13 different machine configura-tions, including three-axis and five-axis versions, various X-axis stroke sizes and pallet changing capabilities.

Hyper Quadrex 250 MSY

This multi-tasking turning center delivers fast cycle times with twin turning spindles. This allows a single part to be machined on all surfaces or two different parts can be machined simultaneously on one machine. The machine’s twin turrets work independently or together. In cases where the part configuration permits, balanced machining can potentially remove up to 25% of the cycle time.

With large diameter bearings for support and rigidity, the 4,000-rpm, 35-hp main spindle features a 10-in. chuck and 3.6-in. spindle bore for handling bar stock up to 3.1 in. in diameter, while the second 5,000-rpm, 30-hp spindle has an 8-in. chuck with an optional 2.55-in. bar capacity. Both have full CNC C-axis control for part positioning and contouring with indexing increments of 0.0001°.

Both the upper and lower turrets, as standard, accommodate 12 tools each and have 4-in. Y-axis travel capability for off-centerline operations. Rotary tool spindles on each turret deliver 6,000 rpm and 7.5 hp for milling and drilling multi-tasking functionality. Matrix 2 CNC controls round out the features.

QTS 200M Turning Center

The QTS 200M turning center can add milling, drilling and tapping to its turning capability. This gives the machine multi-tasking abilities for even shorter part processing times. A 25-hp, 6,000-rpm spindle drives the machine’s 8-in. chuck, providing ample power for machining a wide variety of materials. In addition, the 12-position turret and 4,500-rpm, 7.5-hp milling spindle provide true multi-tasking capability.