New Okuma Hybrid Brings New Possibilities in Additive, Five-Axis and New Materials
The machine stands as an example of process automation within a booth showing other automation examples such as adjacent machine tools performing trunnion-to-trunnion handoff.
Important themes for Okuma this year include additive manufacturing, automation and five-axis machining, says company product specialist Brad Klippstein. The company’s MU-8000V Laser EX multitasking machine—making its U.S. debut at IMTS—arguably combines all three.
The five-axis machining center employs laser metal deposition in order to automate the combination of additive manufacturing and metal cutting by enabling both to be performed in a single machining cycle. Metal can be added to the workpiece for applications including blisk manufacturing and mold repair, with the new feature and the underlying part then machined to tolerance as one in a subsequent step.
Klippstein notes the machine is particularly powerful for creating parts out of combinations of materials. With additive, a metal different from the base workpiece can be added to the part, meaning a harder alloy might be used only where it is most needed. Separate powder reservoirs mean multiple metals can also be applied together in the same additive build.
All this presents manufacturers with new possibilities, he says. “The applications we see range from sectional repair of difficult-to-cut materials to multi-layering techniques. We’ve integrated metalworking processes to exceed the boundaries of conventional cutting,” he says.
Other systems in Okuma’s booth demonstrating other intriguing examples of machining automation include a robotic integration example featuring a plug-and-play robot easily redeployable machine to machine; two side-by-side machines performing trunnion-to-trunnion handoff for full six-sided machining; and a new design for a horizontal machining center providing for an automated pallet system within a compact footprint.