Even if you were at the International Manufacturing Technology Show, you might have missed some of these highlights. Click through these photos to see various interesting products and other sights the editors encountered this year in Chicago.
These aluminum and steel parts were cut on an Omax waterjet. The system uses the company’s IntelliMax software and Tilt-A-Jet technology to produce zero taper and sharp corners without adversely affecting machining speeds.
The manufacturing technology is the main draw of IMTS, but the spectacle of the show makes it interesting, too. An ice sculptor labored in Sandvik Coromant’s booth, producing a new temporary sculpture each day.
MTConnect attracted considerable attention because it addresses a common concern—how to get pieces of computerized manufacturing equipment to “talk” to one another and share critical information. MTConnect is an industry-wide effort to develop open technical standards and specifications for interoperability among controls, devices and software applications using the Internet.
This three-level pallet storage unit from Toyoda is an option for shops that have limited floor space. In-line pallet racks can be located on one or both sides of its rail.
The LNS Blaze Air part unloading system offers fast part unloading from CNC lathes. The system will fit many lathe makes and models, and it is programmable in a way that allows families of parts to be serviced without operator intervention.
The Matsuura Cublex machine demonstrated by Methods Machine Tools is a five-axis machining center that is also a multitasking machine. That’s because the C axis is able to spin the part while the tool spindle locks in position, allowing the machine to perform turning. The next slide shows a sample of the kind of part that can be produced in this way.
This 120-horsepower machine from WFL was one of the largest turn/mills at IMTS. Its rigidity allows it to accurately machine heavy, unbalanced workpieces such as this example part.
This Tricept parallel kinematics machine is available from Hartwig. Its center tube provides the rigidity that is sometimes lacking in these machine platforms, allowing it to be used to cut tough materials.
Hydromat’s six-station Icon melds the company’s CNC rotary transfer philosophy with machining center principles. The machine’s rotary table transfers six 300-mm workholding pallets to the six stations. Four of these stations have 10-tool ATCs and can be fitted with both vertical and horizontal milling spindles.
Although big machines were prominent at the show, this little HMC from Sugino drew attention. The compact, 30-taper Self-Center has a 15,000-rpm spindle and is designed for milling and boring of small parts.
Chick’s CNC Vise was developed for use specifically with CNC machine tools. Its design includes elements such as a sealed, solid base; a slide-and-lock moveable jaw; a quick-change jaw system; and moveable toe clamps for vise positioning
System 3R presented its EDM electrode-changing robot at IMTS 2008. The system is capable of shuttling and storing more than 200 electrodes between any combination of machining centers and EDM units.
For high-precision cutting of small parts, NTC America’s Zµ3500 is designed to eliminate friction that can cause vibration and heat buildup. The VMC incorporates hydrostatic ways, a hybrid hydrostatic/hydrodynamic spindle and scaled linear motor drives. In fact, the only metal-to-metal contact is between the cutting tool and the workpiece.
There is always a lot to see at IMTS—sometimes just in one booth, for example. At the Creative Evolution booth, a stainless-steel part being milled on a “Faster Machining Center” FMC-850 model featured a Technomagnete SQ 406 magnetic chuck; environmentally friendly Accu-Lube dispersed by a programmable SpiderCool applicator; Tungaloy high-feed mills and balls mills from OSG Tool & Tap; and a Big Plus BBT-40 spindle with milling heads and collets from Big Kaiser.
A major cutting tool company introduced its new identity at IMTS. The Walter, Titex and Prototyp staffs and product lines have continued to become more integrated under their shared ownership—so much so, the combined organization is now united under the Walter corporate brand.
The scanning system mentioned in the previous slide was used to help program the five-axis machining of “Mr. Bones,” a remarkably intricate scale model of a human skeleton, at the Seco Tools booth. Mr. Bones was machined from a 6-inch by 12-inch billet of aluminum on an Agie Charmilles UCP 600 Vario machining center with Jabro solid carbide end mills.
If you are a late-comer to quick-change tooling, your existing machines can still benefit. Sandvik Coromant showed its Coromant Capto clamping system adapted to a variety of different manufacturers’ machines.
An ATOS III white-light scanning system from GOM GmbH (sold in the United States by Capture3D) scanned the familiar face of Einstein at the Tebis CAD/CAM booth. The system creates a highly accurate STL file that can be used in CAM to generate a CNC program without the intermediate step of creating and patching surfaces in CAD.
It’s common for some high-temperature-alloy jet engine parts to require thousands of small-diameter cooling airflow holes, each at a different angle, to be drilled in a non-contact manner. Mitsui Seiki’s VLD-300 uses high-powered lasers to drill each hole in seconds.
The Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) by the entrance to the new West Building at McCormick Place included a 787 Dreamliner interior display and exhibits of “disruptive” manufacturing technology. The AMC presented by Boeing, the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), Modern Machine Shop and IMTS.
Fryer’s affordable 5X VMC combines a three-axis machining platform with a two-axis, articulating spindle to allow five-axis machining. It’s suited for aerospace and large-part applications in which moving the workpiece is not practical. The machine features a 22,000-rpm, liquid-cooled, 20-hp spindle that accommodates HSK 63 tooling.
Green, the symbol of concern for environmental responsibility, colored many exhibits at the show. For instance, Kitamura focused on how its gear-driven spindles are more energy efficient than direct-drive or integral spindles because gear-driven systems use smaller electrical motors to generate the same cutting capacity as comparable alternative systems.
The Schütte SCX machine represents a new generation of CNC multi-spindle automatics. The company calls this a “multi-single-spindle” machine because it combines the versatile machining capabilities of a multi-spindle with the simple setup and operation of a single-spindle.
Big machines were a major part of IMTS. This SNK bridge-type machine offers X-, Y- and Z-axis travels of 246, 145.6 and 23.6 inches, respectively, and has a table load capacity of 132,000 pounds.
For the right applications, four-spindle CNC chuckers like this Kitako version offer practically zero delay for part loading. That’s because two spindles can be loaded while the other two are making chips.
Fortune International has taken a different approach to automation with the VTPlus-15 lathe, which is available with a gantry robot instead of a tailstock. With three servomotors, the robot is said to transfer workpieces from the feeder to the chuck faster than an external gantry system.
Performing wire EDM operations with the workpiece fully submerged ensures effective flushing because sufficient dielectric is present at the point of erosion. This Sodik wire machine can accommodate parts as tall as 24 inches fully submerged.
MAG Industrial had the largest booth at IMTS. This five-axis machine is the largest model in MAG Cincinnati’s gantry-style U5 line. It offers 1.5 meters of Z-axis travel to accommodate tall parts.
This high-density workholding solution from Hardinge allows as many as four parts to run simultaneously for increased spindle use. Each subspindle is fully programmable, adding multi-axis capability to almost any machine.
The D500 five-axis machining center in the Makino cell (see previous slide) uses high-torque, direct-drive motors to achieve the rotary-axis motion. A part on a tombstone fixture from an HMC can undergo efficient five-axis milling on this machine.
The machining needs of the emerging wind power industry were part of the theme of various exhibitors’ booths. United Precision Services showed this wind turbine casing, probably the largest machined workpiece at the show.
This Grob GC350 five-axis machining center’s design allows good access to parts on the pallet from more positions. Its high-horsepower, integral spindle is supported in a rigid frame and is available in many toolholder styles.
Mazak demonstrated multitasking on a small scale with its compact Integrex i-150. Shops can perform turning as well as multi-angle machining and full-five-axis contouring using this machine that occupies just 58 square feet of floor space.
What would a machining center look like if it was designed only for tiny parts and only for tools no bigger than 1/8 inch in diameter? Microlution demonstrated this example, which includes a quick-release coupling for workholding, a miniature 36-position toolchanger and a camera (see it looking through the window), just to let the operator visualize the part.
A novel feature of the Haas Automation booth was a display of two VF-1 machining centers, one produced in 1988 and one produced in 2008, with a comparison of the features and capabilities of the two machines. The company summarized the difference by concluding that the newer model is “10 times the machine tool of its 1988 namesake,” for about one-forth the cost in inflation-adjusted dollars.
Pallet cells don’t have to marry similar machines together. The cell in Makino’s booth allowed the same parts and pallets able to be transferred to both its HMC and five-axis VMC.
The Index A100 single-spindle automatic lathe has as many as four tool carriers that move in the X and Z axes. The compact machine has a bar capacity of 42 mm and is available with an optional backworking spindle.
This workpiece was machined from solid in one setup by Methods Machine Tools using the Matsuura Cublex machine shown in the previous slide. The part required both turning and five-axis milling.
Automation continued to be an important theme at IMTS, but this year some of the focus was on simpler, lower-maintenance automation. This loader for a cylindrical grinding machine from United Grinding uses only mechanical linkages, with no cabling or hydraulics.
Heidenhain showed a machine tool probe that never needs batteries because it’s powered by a turbine. Four seconds of shop air give the probe 2 minutes of power—plus the discharge air clears chips away from the part surface before the probe makes contact.
There is a risk of fire whenever oil-based coolants are used. Upon sensing flames, the red Firetrace Detection Tubing shown on this machine quickly bursts, automatically activating the flow of fire suppressant into the machining zone.
With resolution of 1 nanometer, Mahr Federal’s MarSurf WS1 provides precise, non-contact measurement of surface texture via an optical sensor that operates on the basis of white-light interferometry. The device is said to be useful both in the lab and on the shop floor for rapid recording of surface topography on a wide range of materials.
The “engine manufacturing plant” found in Okuma’s booth demonstrated the type of order-to-invoice processes made possible with the addition of SAP to the Partners in Thinc. The machining cell performed all steps needed to create a model engine’s eight components, and it automatically assembled and packaged engines via robot.
This cell in MC Machinery’s booth combines waterjet and ram EDM operations to produce medical biopsy jaws. Although the waterjet’s large bed is not needed for this particular small component, it does offer job shops the flexibility to run bigger jobs.
Fir tree forms in turbine blisks are usually produced through broaching, but do they have to be machined this way? Seco showed milling tools able to produce a fir tree form through a series of rough, semi-finish and finish-milling operations.