| 2 MINUTE READ

Fast Machine Leveling and Alignment

This product got me thinking about other routine processes and procedures that go unchallenged.

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As an editor for Modern Machine Shop, I’m exposed to plenty of nifty products. Although some catch my eye more than others, the reason isn’t always related to the product’s technological sophistication or even its impact on the machining process. I find it particularly gratifying to discover innovations aimed at challenging procedures that have become so routine as to leave manufacturers utterly blind to different, potentially better ways of doing things.

Consider the device shown below. Known Tru-Lign and available from Y3DE, this system is designed to speed the process of leveling and aligning any machine tool, whether a new installation, a migrant from another area of the facility or a temporary display model.

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The device contains a control system, valve, pumping system and custom-designed hydraulic jack cylinders. Once the machine is in final position, the internal cylinder lock rings engage, and pressure is removed from the cylinders to provide a solid mechanical joint to the floor. Users choose from three modes: float, which uses a common hydraulic pump input to “float” the machine tool on the jack cylinders; individual, which uses individual valves to raise and lower the cylinders individually or in groups; and synchronous, which enables users to experiment with positioning by raising and lowering the machine before re-engaging the locking ring without risk of losing precision. 

I’d never considered another way outside of the typical trial-and-error adjustments required with multiple, mechanically actuated jacks. Judging from the few times I’ve seen alignment and leveling happening in the field, the case is the same for at least some manufacturers and machine tool distributors. Yet, Tru-Lign reportedly offers the potential to move one, all or any combination of jacks simultaneously at the touch of a button to achieve final position within +/- 0.0005 inch quickly and easily.

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According to Y3DE representatives, the system helped Okuma get this LOC 650 turning center leveled, aligned and engaged in its first test cut for an open house event in a little over an hour.   

I came across Tru-Lign at an Okuma open house event this past December. Most of the big highlights of that event—and the focus of my subsequent coverage—involved topics like additive manufacturing and “the industrial internet of things.” Yet, for all its (well-placed) focus on the leading edge of manufacturing technology, the machine tool builder still searches for new efficiencies in processes as routine and commonplace as basic machine tool setup. That’s a lesson that’s well worth taking to heart. 

For more information about Tru-Lign, visit Y3DE's website