Five-axis machining may be challenging, but it’s not rocket science. Except when it is.
The Bloodhound is a 1,000-mile-per-hour rocket-powered car being developed to break the world land speed record, possibly this year. Though it’s named for a surface-to-air missile, the Bloodhound car will maintain missile-like speed entirely on the surface.
We’ve reported before on a leading-edge part made for this car. News of one of the latest examples of an unusual part for this car come from Delcam, whose PowerMill software and Vortex machining strategy figured into the five-axis machining of a tail-fin shear plate that will support the car’s large vertical fin at full speed.
The part shown on the screen in the previous image supports the car’s large vertical fin against the drag at full speed. Find images of the completed machined part posted here.
According to this BBC report, the aluminum plate—machined by Manufax Engineering on a Correa five-axis gantry-type—is more than 2 meters long by 400 mm wide, but only 2 mm thick in some places, and precisely curved to follow the contour of the chassis. An aluminum block weighing 750 kg was milled down to less than 9 kg to make this part.
Delcam says the combination of tooling from SGS and tool paths achieving efficient engagement through Vortex allowed the part to be machined with over 40 percent less cycle time than it would have otherwise required.
NPE2015: the International Plastics Showcase happens March 23-27, 2015, in Orlando. Be sure to check out the technical presentations sponsored by Plastics Technology at the magazine’s Knowledge Network at Booth 2602 in the West Hall.
Many of the topics are hard-core stuff for people in the plastics industry, but others appeal to the broader interest of managers in manufacturing. These include developing a skilled workforce, additive manufacturing, moldmaking and reshoring. For the complete line-up, click here.
A visit there is also an opportunity to get complementary drink tickets, a cool T-shirt and chances to win big prizes. Registering in advance is encouraged and it’s easy. Get the details here.
Vomat systems provide micro filtration to particle sizes of 3 to 5 microns.
An often overlooked variable of grinding precision tools is maintaining your grinding oils. This is important because coolants minimize friction and eliminate excessive heat at the point of contact between the wheel and the tool. During the machining process, grinding oils are contaminated by metal debris, dirt and decomposition stemming from extreme heat exposure. When coolants are not thoroughly filtered, it is necessary to change them often.
Optimally filtered coolants, however, have two main positive effects on the production of cutting tools: They improve grinding economy, and they enable tool manufacturers to produce high-quality products.
According to Steffen Strobel of Vomat, a manufacturer of fine filtration systems, the requirements for high-quality tools are constantly on the rise and, therefore, tools must be ground with much more precision. To achieve this, manufacturers are investing in modern machinery and climate-controlled production facilities. Given this kind of expenditure, there is no room for cheap compromises when it comes to coolant filtration, he says. The coolant must have a high degree of purity since coarse particles can interfere with the grinding process and prevent the manufacture of tight-tolerance tools.
To improve grinding oil maintenance, Vomat offers its FA series of fine filtration systems. The series is designed to provide full flow (non-bypass) filtration of clean oil, which is tailored to the needs of the production machines. The filter cartridges are automatically cleaned with 100 percent separation of clean and dirty oil. The filters’ capacity, combined with the on-demand backwash cycle, are designed to increase service life of the metal coolant. This not only prevents loss of tool quality, but also saves money on metal coolants, the company says. Coolants don’t have to be changed as often either.
Switzerland’s Reiden Technik is new to the U.S. market. Its five-axis machine tools are available through Cincinnati, Ohio’s Pilsen Imports, which also offers large Toshulin vertical turning machines and Colgar horizontal boring mills.
Reiden has developed an interesting concept it calls Double-Drive Technology (DDT). This features two separate spindle motors in one spindle housing to enable its RX series machines to effectively perform both roughing and finishing operations. A hydraulic circuit is used to engage the high-torque spindle motor via a bevel gear coupling while the high-speed spindle motor freewheels. When the hydraulic circuit is off, the bevel gear on the high-torque spindle motor retracts to enable the high-speed spindle to be used. Learn more.
If a robot can load and unload parts, why can’t it do the same for workholding? VersaBuilt creates robot systems in which the vise jaws that hold a given part inside the machining center also serve as the grippers enabling the robot to load and unload that part. Changing vise jaws as needed enables the robot to shift parts from operation to operation. If there are different jaws on the shelf for different part numbers, then this same jaw change can let the robot switch seamlessly from job to job.
VersaBuilt filmed this video of continuous unattended 3-op machining on a VMC using this system, with the robot switching jaws for the different operations.