Dual-Spindle Technology Highlighted at Absolute Open House
The flexibility of two, independent spindles opens the door for machining facilities to do a variety of production work.
Last week at the Absolute Machine Tools open house in Mason, Ohio, I got a chance to see seven-axis cobots for entry-level collaborative automation, production turning solutions and a variety of other CNC machines designed to increase productivity. I also spent some time learning about the new Meteor TS-630V machining center from PCI, one of the machine tool builders that Absolute represents. What makes this machine interesting is that it has twin spindles. But more than that, these spindles can move independently from each other.
“There are other twin spindle horizontals out there,” says Steve Ortner, president of Absolute Machine Tools. “But basically, there is a fixed distance between the spindles, and they have to make the same part.” That’s one of the main reasons why many shops avoid twin-spindle machining centers: Setup of the two parts is very challenging because it has to be extremely accurate.
The Meteor TS-630V machining center from PCI features twin, independent spindles for more machining flexibility in a single structure.
But this twin-spindle machine is easier to set up and operate, he says. The spindles can be manipulated separately without entirely reprogramming the machine. Also, the distance between the spindles is adjustable. Unlike traditional twin-spindle machining centers, machinists don’t have to locate the work and the tools precisely relative to one another. In fact, it’s possible to mill two different parts. For example, a part could be milled in a vertical orientation on the first spindle, and on the second spindle, a completely different part could be milled at an angle. A robot or overhead gantry could transfer the part from one spindle to the other, allowing machine shops do to do op. 10 and then op. 20, to produce a complete part in one cycle.
The Meteor TS-630V offers two 630-mm pallets. According to Mr. Ortner, this twin-spindle machine is better in many cases than two separate 630-mm pallet horizontal machining centers because you get the equivalent of two, independent machining centers with about a 30% cost savings. This comes from a shared control and machine structure. Also, the machine has a much smaller footprint than two machines.
It’s not just for automotive work, where traditional twin-spindle machining centers get used. This flexible twin-spindle machine opens the door for machining facilities doing a variety of production work, including at lower volumes.
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