Automating Milling Machines Expands List Of Machinable Projects

Find out what this manufacturer chose when they decided to automate their milling machines.

Case Study From: 1/1/1998 Modern Machine Shop

Xerox Corporation, located in Webster, New York, features frequent new market introductions and remains on the cutting edge of technology. By introducing computer numeric controls in 1986 into the company's manual machines, Xerox has not only increased productivity, but increased overall quality of machined parts.

Xerox chose the ANILAM 1100M (ANILAM, Inc., Miramar, Florida) when it decided to automate the milling machines. "We chose the ANILAM 1100M for its three dimensional capabilities. We can also download directly from our CAM system, long surfacing programs on the ANILAM control. Other CNC controls we had could not accomplish this," said Jay VanCuyck, Toolmaker at Xerox Corporation.

Ten years ago, jobs performed with the automated machines consisted primarily of mold work. Today, plastics, three dimensional molds, jigs, fixtures, prototyping of plastics, and electrodes are included in the expanding list of parts milled.

"One of the biggest advantages of using the ANILAM 1100M control is that by just turning the manual handles on the machine you "teach in" a program. Arcs, bolthole circles, and circles are a snap to complete. Because of the ANILAM control we have eliminated the need for rotary tables. The operators feel that the ANILAM control is easy to learn. It would take only a week to become proficient on the control if used every day," said Bob Manchego, Tool Engineer/Toolroom Supervisor. "Most of the operators within the plant have had little to no experience with CNC. Because of a lack of experience in programming and operating an automated machine, the conversational language of the 1100M CNC control has made it very easy for them to learn," said Mr. Manchego.

Xerox mills both one of a kind parts and parts in quantities of 50 or more. "There is a large range of quantities we mill. The ANILAM 1100M control is able to do it all. The 1100M saved us significant time in milling multiple parts and drilling bolt hole circles," said Mark Elliott, moldmaker at Xerox Corporation.

Among the most used features in the 1100M are the DNC feature, canned cycles, irregular pockets, bolthole patterns, corner rounding and the geometry calculator.

Productivity has increased significantly because of the ANILAM controls primarily in molds, jigs and fixtures.

"We use the calculators regularly. We have found figuring geometry tangency points to be easy. Because the calculators are so convenient and easy to use, they save a great amount of time. Our set up time is minimal," Mr. VanCuyck said.

"We also save time on engraving. For example, one of the requirements on our molds is that they be engraved with the recycling emblems and part material descriptions. Before the ANILAM control, we used to have to send inserts out to be engraved and then place them into the molds. The ANILAM control has given us the ability to engrave directly on the mold. Because of this, a process that used to take a minimum of four days has been reduced to a few hours," said Mr. Manchego.

Five out of the eight CNC machines in the mold department are equipped with the ANILAM CNC controls and they are the most used machines in the department. MMS

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