Tokyo’s Big Sight, home to JIMTOF, is truly an eyeful, with the dramatic architecture of its Conference Tower dominating the exhibit hall entrance area. Some stats: 690 exhibitors, 82,660 square meters of exhibit space, nearly 119,000 visitors.
Mazak introduced an entirely new booth, with a look that evokes the futuristic adventures of intergalactic space travel à la Star Trek. "Making Tomorrow with Mazak" is the theme. Of course, advanced down-to-earth manufacturing concepts were the focus of the technology displays.
This user application highlighted the flexibility of Mazak’s Integrex multitasking machines. In this case, a Japanese aerospace firm is using a wire EDM device that can be loaded in the spindle via the ATC. The wire EDM process is used to cut the fir-tree-shaped slots for attaching jet engine turbine blades to the large ring. The machine is an Integrex e-670H II model.
Mazak Optonics’ Fabri Gear 222 MKII does 3D laser processing of structural shapes such as square tubing and pipes.
Taking your whole family to the machine tool show on a Saturday morning would not be considered a popular option in the States, but it is quite common in Japan. Spouses and children can learn firsthand about the wonders of modern manufacturing processes.
One of the largest displays at JIMTOF, the DMG/Mori Seiki booth featured a number of machines not shown elsewhere before, including the NLX 1500 Y shown here. This machine represents the six-inch chuck version of this series. The NLX series of CNC lathes are distinguished by BMT (built-in motor turret) technology to power live tools at speeds as high as 10,000 rpm.
This is a closer view of an NLX 2000 lathe showing the chuck and the tool turret with BMT technology. The current state of BMT technology is said to reduce vibration by a third and heat generation by 90 percent compared to turrets with gear-driven tools.
The DMG/Mori Seiki NTX 2000 mill turn center attracted especially dense crowds. Two technologies were particularly intriguing. One was InvoMilling for machining complex gears or similar part features. The second was S Quad (Smart Scan Sensing System, an in-machining measuring system that uses a laser to detect dimensional discrepancies in a machined workpiece.
InvoMilling enables the NTX2000 mill turn center to machine gears with its multi-axis capability. Although the cutting tool is especially designed for gear cutting, it is not dedicated to one gear shape, as a gear hobber is.
Sponsored by Mori Seiki Co., Ltd., the Cutting Dream Contest attracts entries from companies, schools and R&D centers. They are invited to submit examples of daringly innovative or extreme applications of machining technology to win honorary prizes. This entry, a bowling-ball sized globe, demonstrates five-axis machining.
Innovative robotic applications are frequently offered as attention-getting displays at JIMTOF. This step-climbing robot from JTEKT is an example.
Kawasaki Robotics put its robotic milling system on display. The point was to show off the ability to convert a milling program into robotic movements automatically.
This piano-playing robotic system at the Hiwin booth demonstrated the company’s expertise in automation and motion control.
Here’s a vertical thread grinder from Mitsui Seiki, which the company believes is the first of its kind in the world. All of the axes are CNC, so the machine can do thread grinding as well as simple cylindrical grinding, gear grinding and custom contour grinding. The machine uses a grinding wheel that is smaller than the usual size found on a conventional, horizontal thread grinder. This makes it more agile and energy efficient.
Simple, symmetrical and serene, Mount Fuji looks down on the harbor in Tokyo Bay. This is a view from the man-made island in the middle of the bay where the Big Sight Expo Center is located. Like IMTS in September, JIMTOF was blessed by unusually clear and sunny weather for most of its run.
Makino’s a51nx horizontal high-production milling machine keeps the cost of special tombstone fixturing down by using a robot with a vision system. The robot end effector has its own light source for the vision system to position a part at a highly precise, highly repeatable clamping location without customized fixturing.
Affordable automation was also seen elsewhere in the Makino booth, reflecting this builder’s focus on the current needs of machining companies in Japan. This Hirata robot, mounted on an N2 horizontal milling machine, provides low-cost load/unload capability without taking up floor space. Many Japanese manufactures are not spending or hiring right now, but they are looking at ways to invest wisely when business picks up. The kind of automation shown here is what Makino expects them to spring for first.
Okuma’s Multus B550 horizontal multitasking lathe is the smaller brother of the Multus 750 shown at IMTS. This builder chose to take its larger machines to Chicago and smaller versions to JIMTOF because the two markets have different needs and interests. The United States has robust oilfield and aerospace industries, whereas Japan is doing well in automotive and machinery production.
Jam-packed with tools is the impression given by Okuma’s LT-3000LX CNC lathe. The version of this machine at JIMTOF has three turrets, with 16 stations each, to serve twin opposed spindles. Okuma’s Thermal-Friendly Concept, designed to enable high accuracy machining when ambient temperature isn’t well controlled, is a standard feature on this machine. The Collision Avoidance System is optional, as is the Machining Navi system, which automatically “navigates” harmonic signals emitted by the machine to find the most productive parameters that do not create chatter.
Yasda is probably best known for high-precision CNC machining centers and jig borers. The centerpiece of the company’s display, however, was the largest of its five-axis machines. The YPM10T-100TT model was shown with a trunnion for a 1-meter pallet that can handle parts weighing as much as 2 tons. The trunnion is supported and motorized on both ends and is accurate to ±2 arc seconds. The demo workpiece is a large bevel gear.
Toshiba double-column machining center
The concept behind Toshiba’s MPS-2650 double-column type machining center is to be the most compact, most rigid, most accurate machine capable of handling large automotive dies or oversized oilfield workpieces. The design strategy used to achieve this goal was extensive use of structural dynamics analysis to reduce the mass and weight of main machine components. Twin ballscrews on the vertical, Z-axis also contribute to optimal stiffness.
Tokyo is bidding for selection as host of the 2020 Summer Olympics, so Olympics-themed displays dressed up several of the main corridors between the exhibit halls. Although not part of a summer sport, this bobsled called attention to the value of high-tech manufacturing in athletic competition. The body of the bobsled is made entirely of carbon fiber-reinforced composites, a material that is exceptionally strong and lightweight, yet shapeable into a sleek, aerodynamic design.