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HORIZONTAL MACHINING CENTERS


This allows the machine to run untended for longer periods of time and reduces the changeover time between jobs,” said Otto. “Also, adding more tools, either up front or in the field, allows the machine to run more jobs unattended, even with multiple programs staged to run on a mix of pallets.” He went on to say, “adding an additional rotary table to an HMC provides for 4+1 programming capabilities, coupled with the benefits of cutting efficiently on a horizontal.” Harnessing technology can also allow manufacturers to


do more with less. Implementing wireless technology ac- cessories, like a KME CNC wireless tombstone with multiple indexing heads, can greatly decrease changeover time while increasing machine capability. With no wires or cables to bring into the work area, getting the tombstone—equipped with its additional axis—in and out is quick and efficient.


Hybrid Technology Leads to High MRR


Mitsui Seiki USA Inc. (Franklin Lakes, NJ) has adopted hybrid machining for its HMC platform in the form of GE’s Blue Arc electro-erosion metal removal technology. “The beauty of Blue Arc is that manufacturers will be able to realize higher met- al-removal rates compared with conventional milling of difficult- to-machine materials,” said Robb Hudson, CEO of Mitsui Seiki USA. “Machining goes back and forth between Blue Arc and conventional milling with the heavy-duty roughing being done by the Blue Arc process. The result is that there are significantly lower perishable tooling costs when machining more difficult- to-machine materials like nickel alloys, tool steels, stainless steels, titanium, and other hard metals.” Applications that could benefit from the Blue Arc hybrid technology for roughing very large workpieces include aerospace (airframes and engines), industrial gas turbines, oil and gas, and die/mold. Also, automation systems and software for HMCs have become more sophisticated. “Automation systems from Fastems and Liebherr, for example, link multiple HMCs into FMS lines so customers have maximum flexibility. They can run large families of parts, increasing spindle utilization from 80% to more than 90%,” said Hudson. “For scheduling, the larger automation companies have created their own sophisticated software. For example, a Fastems system can load weekly and monthly production across a family of parts and automatically optimize spindle utilization.” If production requirements change for a week or a month and a shop needs to accommodate a component with higher demand, the software will recalculate and maximize spindle utilization to the new production requirement.


64 AdvancedManufacturing.org | August 2017


Shops Beginning to See Impact of HMC ROI The days of contract manufacturers packing their floors with vertical machining centers because of a lower initial cost and their ready availability are coming to an end, according to Don Langley, Midwest regional manager, Doosan Machine Tools America (Pine Brook, NJ). “A lot of owners are beginning to see the value of the horizontal machining center in terms of ROI and the ability to fit into crowded floor space,” he said. Doosan recently introduced its NHP4000 and NHP5000 40-taper HMCs with 400 and 500-mm pallet configurations and targeted for high-preci- sion automotive applications with automation. “Demands from our customers, whether in medical,


aerospace, or automotive, are essentially the same. They want quicker ROI, increased production capacity, more spindle time with fourth and fifth-axis machines, and automation with pallet changers,” said Langley. Like other machine builders, Doosan sees the trend of manufacturing coming back to the US. Automation is a critical part of the process. “Horizontals today are being set up to accommodate modular linear pallet systems, matrix-style tool changers with multiple tool magazines, as well as robotic interfaces for loading and unloading machines,” said Langley. “More and more multiple HMC platforms can accommodate fourth and fifth axes on the table or in the actual head. Our goal is to meet customer needs for best performance, lowest cost of ownership, and increased reliability through the use of industry standard FANUC drives, servos, and thermal compensation.”


? DMG Mori 847-593-5400 / www.dmgmori.com


Doosan Machine Tools America 973-618-2500 / www.doosanmachinetoolsusa.com


Heller Machine Tools 248-288-5000 / www.heller-machines.us Makino Inc.


513-573-7200 / www.makino.com Mazak Corp.


859-342-1700 / www.mazakusa.com


Methods Machine Tools Inc. 978-443-5388 / www.methodsmachine.com


Mitsui Seiki (USA) Inc. 201-337-1300 / www.mitsuiseiki.com


Okuma America Corp. 704-588-7000 / www.okuma.com/americas


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