Climbing the Levels of Multi-Tasking Machining
The “done-in-one” concept is easier than ever to accomplish with turning and machining centers that can finish complicated parts in a single setup. Mazak helps explain which level of Multi-Tasking is right for your parts.
Ever since the creation of the first all-metal lathe in 1751, manufacturers have depended on highly flexible and precise “mother machines,” the metalcutting equipment used to produce all other factory equipment. More than 200 years later, the introduction of Multi-Tasking gave manufacturers the ability to mill and turn on a single machine platform. And today, machine tools feature state-of-the-art technology to give manufacturers the ability to perform complete part-processing operations in single setups, which has transformed the entire industry.
But how much Multi-Tasking does one shop need? What level is right for your part-production requirements? Naturally, shops want access to the most advanced technology available, but as machine tools grow more and more complex, factors like operator skill level become important considerations. The solution is to tailor your technology to your production needs, but as shop owners know, finding the right combination of machine specs, on-board digital solutions and Multi-Tasking capabilities can be a challenge.
Y-axis capability enables milling of off-center features, as shown on this aerospace pipe joint component. An opposed second spindle allows efficient second side operations to process the part completely in a single setup.
Machine tool series like Mazak’s Kentucky-built QUICK TURN Series span multiple levels of Multi-Tasking to address this very issue. As a result, while a shop that simply needs highly productive turning can use the base QUICK TURN model, additional “M” (milling), “S” (second spindle) and “Y” (Y axis) packages may be added to reach as high as the second level of Multi-Tasking.
For Level 1, QUICK TURN Series machines with the “M” package feature a rotary milling spindle. With a single turning spindle with programmable tailstock and a drum-style rotary-tool turret, shops are able to perform many more operations in a single setup, including turning, milling with C axis, drilling and tapping operations. As the remaining levels of Multi-Tasking depend on the presence of this turret, all machines other than the base QUICK TURN models include this “M” package.
While milling sometimes gets all the glory, productive Multi-Tasking machines must turn and mill efficiently. Both are demonstrated on this QUICK TURN 350MY machine.
At Level 2, the “Y” package introduces Y-axis functionality to the QUICK TURN’s drum turret. Not only does this increase the range of possible part geometries, but it adds off-centerline machining capabilities to the mix — a feature further improved by the special high-gain servo-control turret/feed-axis motion equipped on QUICK TURN MY and MSY models, which allows for rigid and precise positioning along with smooth and quick axis acceleration/deceleration. And for the complete Level 2 experience — and to enable true single-setup, DONE IN ONE® machining — manufacturers use the “S” package, which adds a second turning spindle to the machine to automatically pass parts from one spindle to the other to work on both sides of a part. For both the main and second spindles, Mazak provides a rotary C axis with 360,000-degree positioning or full C-axis contouring capabilities.
The Mazak HQR 250MSY demonstrates a higher level of Multi-Tasking. In this case, the twin-spindle, dual-turret machine completes two components from a single bar, with simultaneous operations being performed on both spindles.
With the complete MSY package, manufacturers have the ability to realize many of the benefits of Multi-Tasking, but further levels are available for those who need even more advanced functions. Level 3 introduces the manufacturing capabilities necessary for 4-axis simultaneous machining and 5-axis tool tip positioning, while Level 4 offers full, simultaneous 5-axis machining. And for the utmost in part-processing flexibility, manufacturers can opt for a HYBRID Multi-Tasking machine, which brings operations like additive manufacturing, hobbing, power skiving, grinding or friction stir welding into traditional subtractive metalcutting machines.
As shops of all sizes and in every industry increasingly move away from high-volume production to high-mix/low-volume manufacturing strategies, it has become more important than ever to emphasize Multi-Tasking. Single-setup machining saves time, reduces risk and improves part quality — and as more processes get introduced, Multi-Tasking will get pushed to even higher levels.