Flexibility for Transmission Manufacture

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While we don’t know the name of the North American OEM that recently placed an order of MC20 horizontal machining centers from Heller Machine Tools (heller-us.com) for the production of transmission cases, converter housings and valve bodies, what we do know is that the order is for 65 of the machines, which certainly indicates that this OEM is serious about flexible production.

Here’s some of what we also know: the machine—available both in 4- and 5-axis configurations—has an X-stroke of 800 mm, a Z-stroke of 800 mm (plus a 200-mm loading stroke), and a Y-stroke of 750 mm. (The workpiece moves in Z; the tool is moved in Y and X through a vertical Y-slide and an X-traversing column.)

Depending on the size of the machine, the main, direct, liquid-cooled spindle drives (there are four options to choose from) are equipped to handle either HSK-A63 or HSK-A100 tools.

The machine is said to be able to perform metalcutting ranging from milling to boring. It can operate with plenty of coolant or MQL. (To facilitate MQL machining, it has a temperature compensation program that measures part temperature while in the work area; spindle offsets are automatically adjusted during the machining cycle as required.) It can machine materials from aluminum to alloy steels.

The linear axes are driven by digital synchronized AC motors. There are absolute measuring scales on the linear axes to provide high degrees of machining accuracy.

Another thing we don’t know: the MC20 can be operated as a stand-alone machine or setup in cells or even in line for series or parallel production, but as for what the powertrain setup will be . . .