Five-Axis Hybrid Machine Applies Hot Wire AM Technique
Mazak Corp.’s VC-500A/5X AM HWD multitasking machine reduces lead times and part costs, increases machining accuracy and part quality, and improves productivity, according to the company.
Mazak’s VC-500A/5X AM HWD multitasking machine is said to reduce lead times and part costs, increase machining accuracy and part quality, and improve productivity. The machine incorporates hot wire laser deposition technology to combine additive processes and programmable welding automation with five-axis machining.
An arc torch melts metal wire directly onto a base material or part, even if the two materials (wire and workpiece) are dissimilar. This enables shops to generate precise sealing coatings along with near-net-shape part features or repair components such as impellers, turbine blades, and tool and die parts.
The machine’s laser cladding head has the same five-axis capability as its milling spindle, providing maneuverability. The platform suits high-volume additive manufacturing and helps to minimize equipment and material costs. The head also incorporates an automatic wire feeder system that feeds welding wire to an argon gas nozzle. The head provides a deposition rate of 3 to 4 lbs/hr and offers a 98-percent material utilization rate.
The machine has a trunnion-style rotary/tilt table to process small parts. It also features a Mazatrol SmoothX CNC and MTConnect-compliant features to ease programming and decrease cycle time.
The machine features a 12,000-rpm CAT 40 spindle facilitating the machining of all common metal materials including steel, aluminum and cast iron. Optional speeds of 15,000 and 20,000 rpm are available to address a variety of part production requirements. A 30-tool storage magazine long stretches of uninterrupted part machining.
Finally there is an alternative to ballnose endmills for finishing 3D parts. The combination of finishing tools shaped to provide more cutting surface and a CAM system with the ability to apply them on a five-axis machining center can dramatically reduce finishing cycle times while delivering better surface finishes.
A provider of machine shop training offers these questions for benchmarking metalworking knowledge.
With so many choices in five-axis machining technology, how do you know which is best for your shop? First, consider the parts. Then, look at existing processes and potential five-axis benefits.