See some of what the MMS editors saw on display at this year's big show.
What a show! With more than 100,000 visitors and 1,500 exhibitors, IMTS 2012 is being hailed as the most successful show in a decade. Even the weather was just about perfect. This is a view from the bridge between the Grand Concourse and the Lakeside Center on one of the clear, sunny days. Chicago’s spectacular skyline was a shimmering reminder that IMTS is hosted by one of the world’s greatest cities.
An addition to IMTS this year was the launch of Industrial Automation North America. This show-within-the-show expanded IMTS by bringing an even larger range of robot, control, actuation, sensing, data capture and other automation technologies to the show.
This year’s IMTS was a big show for big machines. The number of large machine tools and large workpieces was a striking feature of this year’s show.
IMTS-TV was prominent at this year’s show. This screen in the Grand Concourse between the North and South Hall shows an IMTS-TV interview with Chris Koepfer of Production Machining magazine.
Toshiba has nicknamed its BT D-2000 H its “fracking” machine. That’s because a common application of this horizontal boring mill is machining very large components for fracking (hydraulic fracturing) equipment, which require high torque and rigidity.
WFL stood this massive crankshaft on-end in its booth to offer a sense of the large-scale work that can be performed on its Millturn line of multitasking machines.
The You Ji VTL2000ATC+C ram-type VTL from Absolute Machine Tools is designed for heavy-duty, high-power cutting of medium and large parts. Meehanite cast iron frames and box ways provide the rigidity to handle heavy cuts, while a two-speed ZF gear box delivers the needed torque as well as the high speeds for fine finishing.
Omax demonstrated the ease with which its Intelli-MAX 18 software can turn a 2D CAD drawing into a 3D pattern that its six-axis waterjets can cut into tubes, pipes and other similar workpieces. The software considers thickness and diameter as it makes necessary adjustments for wrapping the image around the workpiece.
MAG’s cryogenic machining technology continues to advance. The company demonstrated it on a machine built standard with cryogenic technology, as well as on a machine shown here that had been retrofitted with this technology.
More than one company made mention of cryogenic machining. Though cutting tool maker Horn says the idea is still being tested, the company expects soon to offer a tooling system for cryogenic turning.
One of the themes of the Emerging Technology Center at this year’s show was Additive Manufacturing. The crowd seen here is gathered around a machine from ExOne that is additively producing a complex metal part.
EOS and GF AgieCharmilles demonstrated additive and subtractive processes working together, in a demo involving titanium tibial trays for knee implants. Software from Within modeled this part, giving it the elaborate surface geometry. An EOS M 280 direct metal laser sintering machine built several identical pieces in one cycle, which were separated via wire EDM on a GF AgieCharmilles CUT 20P. The company’s Mikron HPM 450U machining center completed the process by milling critical surfaces.
In addition to its usual extensive selection of inspection and measurement technology, Renishaw showed off something new this year: a line of additive manufacturing machines that employ selective laser melting technology and powder metal to build parts from the ground up. According to the company, this part’s complex internal features—difficult or impossible to produce cost-effectively by conventional means—make it ideally suited for this technology.
Haas Automation launched a 5-axis universal machining center, the UMC-750. Five-axis machining on a Haas has typically involved the addition of a trunnion table, but this dedicated 5-axis machine provides more Z-axis travel. A low starting price also offers shops an easy entry into five-axis.
Hyundai WIA’s LV1400 ram-type vertical turning center has a 40-inch chuck (50-inch optional) and a 50-hp spindle motor for producing large wind and nuclear energy parts. Roller bearings on the main spindle add rigidity. The company is emphasizing that its range of products includes small, affordable models to big-ticket, hi-tech machines and serves many industries from automotive to aerospace.
The Tripod 700S Powerflex from Icon Technologies, a division of Hydromat, is a modular, six-axis parallel kinematics machine (PKM). PKM technology means that the motions in X, Y and Z are performed by three parallel axes to provide stiffness and accuracy while offering machining flexibility. It combines the versatility and machining envelope of a robot with the accuracy and stiffness of traditional machine tools—a capability that earlier versions of so-called Hexapods or Stewart platforms lacked.
Heidenhain’s TT460 (left) and TS460 (right) touch probes, designed for workpiece and tool measurements, respectively, feature hybrid technology that enables both radio and infrared signal transmission. The user can select either mode: radio for extended range and large amounts of data or infrared for high accuracy and fast signal transmission.
Command Tooling Systems offers U.S.-built live tools for Swiss-type lathes. According to the company, the large diameter of the hex nut visible at the bottom of the assembly shown here eliminates the risk of pinching the wrench during tightening, a common problem with other designs. Other features include labyrinth seals, high-strength alloy steel shafts, and runout better than 2.5 microns.
The ID of this hydraulic cylinder was finished in a single pass on one of Unisig’s new S-series skiving and roller-burnishing machines. According to the company, the resulting surface finish of 0.05-Nm Ra turned out to be too smooth for the customer’s requirements, so the process had to be dialed back.
This saw from Robbjack corporation incorporates chamfers on every other tooth to improve chip evacuation. Unlike fully straight-toothed models, the alternating chamfers provide space for coolant to enter the slot and for the chips to escape, the company says. Additionally, the ground, flat hub visible in the inner portion of the saw ensures the arbor makes full contact with the tool to keep it stable.
Through-hole tapping applications can’t benefit from through-tool coolant capability if the fluid exits through an opening on the tip of the cutter. Tools with side-mounted exit holes can solve this problem, but Emuge says it offers a more cost-effective option: swapping the holder’s seal disk with a flush disk like the one visible on this tapping assembly. The flush disk provides slight clearance around the tool’s diameter to direct through-spindle coolant along the sides of the shank.
Among the latest vertical pick-up turning machines from EMAG is the VL 2 P. While a workpiece is machined in one spindle, the other picks up a raw part for machining immediately after, thereby reducing idle time for loading and unloading, the company says. Other benefits are said to include short chip-to-chip time, small footprint and reduced setups, among others.
Darex’s XPS-16 drill sharpener features CNC control. According to the company, this enables users who sharpen large quantities of carbide drills to recreate advanced point geometries quickly and cost-effectively without repeated alignment and manual cranking.
1077 - Datron Dynamics’ C5 milling machine offers simultaneous five-axis machining of materials ranging from nonferrous metals to titanium and steel—all within a 1-square-meter footprint and an enclosure small enough to fit through a 36” doorway. Designed for medical components, micro molds and other parts ranging to 100 mm in diameter, it is equipped with a 48,000-rpm spindle, precision ballscrews, Heidenhain linear scales and integrated tool-length measurement, among other features.
One innovative way to cut complex curves at steep tapers on a wire electrical discharge machine (EDM) is with a Hirschmann A/B axis table fully integrated into the new FANUC 31iWb control on a FANUC Alpha C600iA RoboCut from Methods Machine Tools. The wire electrode remains in a vertical orientation while the workpiece is maneuvered in five axes simultaneously. The CNC is capable of controlling as many as 31 axes at one time. Programming of the A/B table and wire EDM was accomplished using an off-line CAM programming system from Camtec.
Using inserts that provide 16 numbered cutting edges minimizes the cost per edge and per part. That’s the idea behind SECO’s Double Octomill -05 milling, which brings the product family’s cost and performance benefits to smaller machines. The insert pockets feature an 8-degree negative angle to allow the use of double sided inserts, while the inserts themselves use a positive rake angle to minimize power consumption.
Glancing inside the Index MS16C six-spindle CNC automatic production lathe might be a bit intimidating. In fact, with its form tool slides as well as full CNC tool slides plus backworking spindle, the machine is designed to simplify production of high-precision parts usually made on cam-driven multispindles. This compact machine is built on the company’s modular system. Dropping a finished part every three seconds is what this machine can do.
It’s not all about the inserts, as important as they are. Cutting tool manufacturers are focusing on the features of the cutter body as well. One example is the Blaxx line of tangential milling systems from Walter. These systems start with tool bodies having increased mass for robustness and a special surface treatment to resist corrosion and wear from chip flow. This body style is combined with Tiger•tec Silver indexable inserts that provide four spiral, positive cutting edges per insert and a precise 90-degree orientation to the workpiece.
Running both a machine tool and a robot from the single control panel was the point of this demo of a KUKA robot in the Siemens booth. Key to this development is the machine builder’s ability to integrate mxAutomation from KUKA directly through the Siemens Sinumerik CNC platform.
Alberti, represented by Koma Precision, introduced a 60,000-rpm electric spindle compact enough to be stored in a machining center’s tool magazine and loaded via the toolchanger. This loading automatically closes the contact that powers the spindle. With this spindle, existing machining centers can be given high-speed capability that can be loaded and unloaded as needed as part of the programmed cycle, without any need for operator involvement.
Delcam, which has grown through acquisition in recent years, launched a booth design this year emphasizing the Delcam name as a unified brand. The blue globe was a noticeable feature of the Controls & CAD/CAM Pavilion. Delcam’s CAM products include PowerMill, PartMaker and FeatureCAM.
DMG/Mori Seiki marked its second IMTS since these two leading machine tool names combined. The company’s exhibit included more than 40 machine tools, including the NHX4000 horizontal machining center, which was built at the new Mori Seiki Manufacturing U.S. factory in Davis, California.
First-time exhibitor Dozuki exhibited a web-based document creation and management system. One application that is highly relevant to IMTS attendees is creation and organization of setup instruction documents for the shop floor.
Heimatec’s quick-change tooling system features a polygon-shaped drive connection that ensures rigidity and concentricity. The lobes of the polygon shape are visible in the toolholder with its cone upright near the center of this photo.
Kennametal says modular drill designs represent the most dynamic areas of cutting tool technology. The company’s KSEM Plus line is a modular drilling system that uses indexable inserts. This system is particularly effective in challenging holemaking operations for large wind and energy parts.
Lyndex Nikken says right angle heads and other live tool accessories are in high demand in energy-related applications, because of the value of keeping a large workpiece in the machine to perform as much machining as possible in one setup. The company offers live tool accessories for various major machine tool brands.
Cryogenic machining was a major point of emphasis for MAG’s booth overall.
How valuable can engineering services be to the performance and cost-effectiveness of the machining process? This setup in Makino’s booth suggests the answer. The workpiece shown here is technically too big for the envelope of the machine. In practice, though, the part can be made to fit—so long as the setup design draws on knowledge of the interference points of the machine. A solution such as this saves cost by eliminating the need for a larger machine. One of Makino’s major themes this year was saving cost by working with the company’s own engineering talent.
A demo in Mazak’s booth consisting of turning center and barfeed illustrated the company’s strides in leveraging MTConnect. The popup box on this screen shows the barfeed data now visible to the Mazatrol control thanks to MTConnect. Sharing data between machine tool and barfeed enables the combined system to make automatic decisions about which parts to run based on the barstock length remaining. Mazak says further development of MTConnect’s potential will allow CNCs to coordinate with one another to automate decisions that currently require shop management software.
Renishaw demonstrated an automated cell in which machined parts are inspected on the company’s versatile Equator system for shopfloor gaging.
How do you save money on centers? Royal Products determined which few center designs meet the vast majority of turning needs. Manufacturing these center models in volume enables the company to offer them economically.
Form tools are not a new idea, but in the age of CNC, this option is often overlooked. Schwanog offers form tools specifically for CNC applications. The gold-colored insert in the middle right of this display performs a function comparable to that of a step drill.
Separate brands frequently shared booth space this year, in displays aimed at suggesting products’ synergy. SolidCAM did not exhibit near other software companies, but instead had this spot in Hurco’s booth.
The resurgence of automotive manufacturing was visible at the show, with automotive workpieces figuring into various demos and displays. This self-contained wheel chuck from Toolmex automatically clamps on the part’s rim, not on its OD or ID.
Some names that might be lesser-known in manufacturing in general are becoming well known in certain active sectors. Weiler makes long, precise flatbed lathes equipped with conversational control. The company is having success in North America in the oil industry.
Zeiss’s Vast XTR CMM head is able to articulate in 15-degree increments without loss of precision. The exposed view of this head in the foreground shows the 24 evenly spaced locking elements that make this possible.
ABB’s simulated production cell consisting of four of different sizes, reaches and payloads highlights the accurate coordination of complex motion patterns that the MultiMove function of the company’s IRC5 controller enables. Using a single controller, the MultiMove standard programming instructions move the robots in fully coordinated motion to collaboratively work on the same part or within the same manufacturing process. The robots can also move independently of each other or in subgroups any combination.
Grinding operations on Agathon’s Dom Semi four-axis grinding machine for indexable inserts takes place in a separate enclosure. This prevents coolant mist from contaminating the handling components or the completed inserts. Plus, workpiece pallets can be removed from the handling area and replaced with new ones without interrupting the grinding process.
The SumpDoc from Eriez is a portable, inline fluid reclamation unit that provides complete coolant restoration and treatment of the fluids in a machine tool’s sump with minimal operator interface. The portable SumpDoc can be wheeled next to a machine tool (or parts washer or rinse tank) for fluid reclamation without requiring the machine to be shut down.
Femco introduced the HL-35DMSY CNC lathe with the company’s patented 23-station Durga turret. The new machine also features two spindles (each offering Y-Axis movement) and 11 live tool stations. The 23-station turret reduces production time because it provides enough live tools to complete complex parts without changing tools. Plus, the dual spindle enables users to machine the inside and outside of a part, producing the part complete.
The wheelhead on this Kel-Varia universal ID/OD cylindrical grinder from Hardinge has a fast 1-second index time thanks to a hydrostatic B-axis design. It can perform a range of operations and has a 660-pound chucking capacity.
The Mycenter HX400G HMC uses a linear scale feedback system and fine-pitch, high-resolution ballscrews to deliver positioning accuracy of ±0.000078 inch/full stroke and repeatability of ±0.000039 inch. It features an expandable, two-station rotating pallet system and full fourth-axis rotary table with Meehanite cast iron construction and solid boxways. Plus, its carbon-fiber reinforced plastic doors offer the strength of steel at a fraction of the weight.
Midaco now offers an automatic pallet changer system for five-axis VMCs and HMCs to enable long stretches of unattended machining of complex parts.
Optical comparator technology has advanced over the years. The Certified Comparator Products division of Quality Vision International offers the automated CC-V video contour projector that features LED lighting (which is more effective than halogen lamps) and electronic CAD overlay and chart screen projection software.
This compact robotic demo from Schunk demonstrates how the company’s range of gripper, quick-change workholding and related solutions can enable leading manufacturers to experience long stretches of unattended operation.
Trumpf’s TruMark Station 5000 laser marker features a Cognex vision system that helps position parts so that all marking is in the correct location. This eliminates the improper marking due to operator error during part positioning in the machine.
You can generally tell the brand of a robot by its color. Denmark’s Universal Robots, new to the U.S. market, is adding a couple new colors to the mix: silver and blue. The company’s UR5 and UR10 robotic arms are aimed at companies that believed robots were too expensive, cumbersome, and hard to program and integrate in existing production. The lightweight, flexible UR5 and UR10 can work alongside personnel and generally require no safety shielding. The robotic arms are easily moved around the production area and present a plug-and-play solution; a simple user interface lets employees with no previous programming experience quickly set up and operate them.
Verisurf has developed a smaller, more affordable version of its 3DGage that’s geared toward training programs. This enables technical educators to expand their 3D design and manufacturing curriculum to include model-based inspection and reverse-engineering concepts using portable measuring machines.