Machining: Tools for the Trade

Article From: 9/1/2005 Automotive Design & Production, , Editor-in-Chief from Gardner Business Media, Inc.

What's It Called?

What's It Called? The ANS-3100P from FUJI Machine America (Vernon Hills, IL;

What Is It? A hard turning lathe.

Configuration? It's a modular machine that features one spindle, one turret, and a four-axis swing arm robot for part handling.

Key Specs? The spindle has a 20-hp motor. The turret has eight positions. A Fanuc control is deployed.

Considerations? Hard turning can work as an alternative to grinding. The machine is built as a module, so the potential for lines to be created out of several is there (especially given the deployment of robotic automation).



What's It Called? The EWB-AL aluminum tooling system from BIG Kaiser Precision Tooling (Elk Grove Village, IL;

What Is It? Ultra lightweight automatically balanced precision boring heads for diameters ranging from 3.937 to 8.000 in.)

Key Specs? The tooling system uses two different heads to cover the entire diameter range. It is designed for cutting speeds up to 6,600 sfpm. There's micrometric adjustment via dials that are graduated in 0.0005-in. increments as well as a Vernier scale that permits setting to 0.0001-in./diameter.

Considerations? Several. Because these heads are made of a hard-coated high-tensile aluminum, their weight is one-third that of steel, then when you add other tooling elements (e.g., extenders) that are also aluminum, the total tooling weight can be half of that of ordinary tools, which is an aid during automatic toolchange procedures. (The hard coating, incidentally, helps extend tool life.) The balance that is provided by the adjustment is particularly important for boring at high speeds with polycrystalline diamond (PCD) or cubic boron nitride (CBN) tools, especially as this facilitates improved surface finish.

What's It Called? The Variaxis 730 5X five-axis vertical machining center from Mazak Corp. (Florence, KY;



What Is It? A machine with a 150º tilting table that allows simultaneous five-axis machining without the need for re-fixturings or additional machines.

Key Specs? There is a 50-taper spindle. Maximum spindle power is 40 hp and 387 ft-lb of maximum torque. The top speed: 10,000 rpm. The table on the standard single-pallet machine measures 24.8 x 19.7 in. The rapid traverse rate in the X, Y, and Z axes is 1,575 ipm. The standard tool magazine holds 30 tools. The control is via the conversationally programmed Mazatrol Fusion 640M CNC.

Considerations? Mazak brought out its first generation Variaxis machine in 1999, and has been pursuing continuous improvement since that's so far culminated in this machine. Because it has a 50-taper spindle, it can better perform heavy-duty roughing ops on castings and forgings. Compared with the 40-taper version of the machine, cycle time reductions of 24% on duplicate parts have been realized. Another improvement area is environmental: the amount of air consumed during machining is reduced 50%, a grease lube system reduces waste oil by 57%, and coolant life is boosted by 50% because there are no tramp oils from the linear guide lube system.



What's It Called? Servo and Spindle High-Response Vector Software Version 4.(HRV4) from GE Fanuc Automation Americas (Charlottesville, VA;

What Is It? HRV4 is as its name implies servo and spindle software that takes advantage of the abilities of the mechanisms they control such that high-speed and high-precision machining can be preformed. In this case, they're talking about the nanometer level of interpolation.

Key Specs? The DSPs used today allow blazingly fast servo feedback data, so the Servo HRV4 closes the current loop in 31.25 µs, the velocity loop at 62.5 µs, and the position loop at 250 µs. The Spindle HRV4 uses a dedicated spindle process to achieve a 12 kHz PWM frequency.

Considerations? Why not make the most of your GE Fanuc servos' and spindles' abilities with the latest software from GE Fanuc?



What's It Called? The VF-6SS vertical machining center from Hass Automation (Oxnard, CA;

What Is It? A vertical designed for high-volume operations (or when exceedingly low cycle times are required: the “SS” in the designation stands for “Super Speed”).

Key Specs? It has a standard 30-hp 12,000-rpm inline direct-drive 40-taper spindle. The machine travels are 64 x 32 x 30 in. High-pitch ballscrews and high-torque servos combine for rapids of 1,200 ipm Y and Z and 900 ipm X. There is a 24-pocket side-mount automatic toolchanger that makes changes in 1.6 seconds. Other features are an automatic chip auger and a programmable coolant nozzle.

Considerations? Speed is good, but at the end of the day (or machining operation to be more specific), quality matters. This is one reason why the direct-drive spindle setup is important. That is the system is designed to minimize vibration and heat, both of which can have negative effects on surface conditions. In addition, noise is reduced, which certainly improves the conditions for the machine operators.



What's It Called? The FH-SX horizontal machining center from Toyoda Machinery USA (Arlington Heights, IL;

What Is It? A machine that's designed—specifically via the design of the column—to provide the sort of rigidity required to cut steel and other ferrous materials like a boxway-style machine yet provide the kind of speeds more characteristic of a high-speed machine—i.e., 20% faster than a boxway machine.

Key Specs? Features a 50-taper, 40-hp, 6,000-rpm spindle that's flanked by a ballscrew and motor on each side so as to double the driving force on the Y axis. TheFH550 SX version has a work area that's 29.53 in. X, 31.5 in. Y and 33.46 in. Z. The rapid traverse rate in all three axes is 2,362 ipm, and the acceleration is 0.7 g. The pallet size is 21.65 x 21.65 in. The machine offers a linear positioning accuracy of ±0.00012 in. and a linear repeatability of ±0.00008 in.

Considerations? When don't you need a combination of speed and accuracy in machining?



What's It Called? The NVG 1500 DCG vertical machining center from Mori Seiki (Irving, TX;

What Is It? A compact machining center that is designed to be able to achieve high-speed, high-precision machining operations.

Key Specs? The machine is just 33.5-in. wide and has an overall footprint of just 17.2-ft2. Designed for small-part production, including such things as electrodes, it has a maximum spindle speed of 24,000 rpm. The travels are 150, 150, 200 X, Y, Z, respectively, and the rapid traverse is 15,000 mm/min. It handles HSK E32 tools. Tool change chip-to-chip is 3.5 seconds. The cutting speed is 15,000 mm/min. The machine is capable of providing a roundness of 0.8 µm, which is ordinarily achieved with the assistance of a lathe, not only a machining center.

Considerations? The machine uses the “Driven at the Center of Gravity” approach that Mori Seiki has pioneered, which essentially means that the company deploys two parallel ballscrews along the spindle axis so that vibrations are minimized. This leads to high precision. In the case of this machine, the precision is further assured through the use of minimizing thermal displacement by passing coolant through the motor bracket.