Turning Center With Ample Tool Positions

This multi-axis machine extends beyond the capabilities of a turning center, offering the tooling capacity similar to that of a machining center. As a result, it enables efficient machining of complex-shaped workpieces in large quantities.

Article From: 8/1/2007 Modern Machine Shop, ,

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The trifecta of turrets

The trifecta of turrets enable the machine to take heavy cuts at high speeds even when dealing with complex workpieces.

Cutting with three tools simultaneously often requires three different machines. Mori Seiki’s NZ 2000 T3Y3, a turning center with three turrets capable of working in unison, can accomplish this same feat within less floor space. However, the company notes that the more striking aspect of the machine—to many users, at least—may be the number of tools available. All three of the turrets are capable of milling as well as turning, and each turret has 16 tool positions. The resulting total of 48 tools is comparable to the tool capacity of many machining centers—but with a faster chip-to-chip time than what a machining center can achieve.

Each turret has Y-axis functionality, allowing the turrets to move in three axes instead of two. The turret trio therefore can be beneficial to shops running complex parts. Also, the freedom to dedicate tool positions by leaving an assigned tool in place at each of the positions can be liberating to shops that are working from a fixed catalog of part numbers. These manufacturers often resort to attachments to increase the number of tool positions available on their live-tool lathes. Or, they may be forced to swap tools in and out repeatedly for different parts. If they can overcome this problem, then the three turrets save on setup time.

These same shops can save on cycle time, too. According to the company’s estimate, the three turrets let manufacturers complete an entire machining sequence for a given complex workpiece—from the raw material to the finished part—about 30 percent faster than a multi-axis machine with one or two turrets performing the same job.

The turrets’ built-in motors allow the machine to take relatively heavy cuts at high speeds. Each motor is placed inside its respective turret, a configuration that is said to counteract vibration and heat generation while at high speeds.

The machine’s Mapps III operating system monitors the complex movements of the three turrets in real-time to avoid collisions. It provides a 3D simulation for all spindles, workpieces, soft jaws, toolholders and turrets while machining takes place.

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