New Compact CNC Multi-Spindle Lathe

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Focusing on the replacement of cam-controlled multi-spindle lathes up to 22-mm bar diameter, the new extended version Index MS16 Plus of the MultiLine series is a modular design, six-spindle CNC multi-spindle lathe. In each work spindle position, the machine can simultaneously accomplish two or more operations., dropping complete parts in very short cycles. It will be demonstrated by Index at IMTS Booth S-8136.

According to Index engineers, it is intended to replace the widely used but costly to set up fast cam-controlled multi-spindle lathes that still dominate the market when it comes to machining workpieces of simple to moderate complexity.

The Index MS16 Plus combines the speed of a cam-controlled machine with the flexibility of CNC technology, yet is extremely compact (1,300 mm width), requiring no more space than current cam-controlled multi-spindle machines. In addition, the MS16 Plus offers exceptional ease of setup and more versatile machining options compared to cam-controlled machines. To keep up with the speed and efficiency of cam-controlled multi-spindle lathes for small parts up to 22 mm diameter, the Index engineers added a number of innovations to the multitasking MS16 Plus.

Infinitely variable speed control of the work spindles

The MS16 Plus makes use of maintenance-free and powerful hollow-shaft motor technology in all work spindles and the optimum selection of cutting data via the CNC program. The six high-torque work spindles with a drive power of 8.7 kW per spindle, which are cooled on demand by the fluid-cooling system proven in the MultiLine series, run in a fluid-cooled spindle drum that is precisely locked through a three-part Hirth coupling after each indexing operation. Thermal growth of the spindle carrier is minimized and the spindle bearing temperature is kept at a low level, which benefits the service life and leads to optimum thermal stability.

The speed of each of the six spindles can be controlled separately. During machining, it is always possible to program the optimum speed, which can still be varied during cutting, for each spindle position and each cutting edge of the tool.

Speed changes and positioning of the spindles are possible even during drum indexing, thus avoiding any additional secondary processing times. Further advantages that result from this are optimum chipping, maximum surface quality, short production times per piece, and extended tool life. The MS16 Plus can therefore be used to machine even difficult-to-cut materials accurately and efficiently.

Multiple simultaneous machining with grooving or boring and cross-slide

The grooving or boring slides and cross-slides are arranged in a V-shape around each work spindle, allowing trouble-free use of several tools at the same time. The machining type is determined by the tool holder. All operations (external-external, internal-external, stationary-live, and live-live) can be freely defined in almost any spindle position.

“Valuable time can be gained by performing the internal operations while grooving the external contour of the workpiece with the cross-slide,” said an Index spokesman. “Each cross-slide can be equipped with several tools—internal and external, stationary or live—that can be engaged in succession thanks to CNC technology. This often makes it possible to reduce the number of required slides in the machine configuration or to increase the possible number of machining operations.”

“There is no more capable multitasking machine that a multi-spindle CNC.”

The total of 27 NC axes of the MS16 Plus at full expansion (five NC grooving or boring slides, five NC cross-slides, one NC cutoff and/or back-boring slide, six work spindles, one NC synchronous spindle, drum indexing) plus an additional five free NC axes of possible CNC-controlled auxiliary equipment are controlled by an Index C200-4D (based on the latest generation of the Sinumerik 840D solutionline control) featuring the new IndexOperate user interface for multi-spindle automatic lathes.

All necessary setup data are stored with the part program, which allows unbeatable fast job changes. Numerous functions such as part production time evaluation or block time measuring help achieve optimized part programs. Index offers virtual machine setup on a PC workstation also for the MS16 Plus. This reduces the setup time and avoids collision errors.

Extremely fast spindle stop and cutoff without stroke extender

For rear end machining, the MS16 Plus is equipped with a synchronous spindle driven by a hollow-shaft motor allowing speeds up to 10,000 rpm and which can move 140 mm in Z at 30 m/min. to engage several rear end machining tools on the NC cutoff slide with the X and Z axes in succession more quickly.

To achieve the shortest cycle times possible, the synchronous spindle accelerates to max. 10,000 rpm in less than 0.7 seconds thanks to its high power output of 9 kW, also allowing for an extremely fast spindle stop when ejecting the finished parts. The ejector in the synchronous spindle is actuated hydraulically. Besides a cutoff tool, the NC cutoff slide can optionally hold two stationary or two live tools and another stationary tool for rear end machining. Thanks to its increased stroke of 94 mm, the NC cutoff slide requires no stroke extender, and it can travel at a rapid traverse rate of 30 m/min.

Inherent energy efficiency optimizes energy consumption

For years, all Index machines have met the demand for reduced energy consumption. The Index MS16 Plus is no exception and requires at full expansion less than 50 kW, scoring with the following benefits: weight-optimized components for reducing energy consumption and for increasing the dynamic response; energy recovery by means of regenerative drives; energy shutdown of units that consume large amounts of energy after a user-defined time (standby mode); intelligent cooling principles, for targeted cooling of the machine, economical use of waste heat.

Visit the company's IMTS showroom for more information.

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