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Metalcutting: Turning Machines


Complex parts, quality demands drive technology



Without doubt, the most significant trend driving turning technology is the need to machine more complex components. Manufacturers faced with the need to produce complex parts have several options, and not all of them are pleasant. Multiple operations on both a lathe and a mill or machining center can require too much time and too many setups. A shop that is strictly a lathe shop could be faced with the choice of subcontracting the milling work or turning down the job. A third option is use of multitasking machines (see the section "Multitasking" in this issue), which are becoming very capable but require both a significant capital investment and a learning curve on the part of shop personnel.

Without doubt, the most significant trend driving turning technology is the need to machine more complex components. Manufacturers faced with the need to produce complex parts have several options, and not all of them are pleasant. Multiple operations on both a lathe and a mill or machining center can require too much time and too many setups. A shop that is strictly a lathe shop could be faced with the choice of subcontracting the milling work or turning down the job. A third option is use of multitasking machines (see the section "Multitasking" in this issue), which are becoming very capable but require both a significant capital investment and a learning curve on the part of shop personnel.

 "The simple jobs are gone," sums up Jon Schaudies of SNK America Inc. (Elk Grove Village, IL). "Our customers now have to be able to do more complex parts and more complete machining operations per setup." The capability to drill and mill off center and/or on the side of parts is becoming more important, he adds.

According to Schaudies, quick changeover capability and more powerful CNCs are also in demand. To meet all these requirements, SNK America is offering its Prodigy GT-27 gang-tool lathe. Built in the US, the machine features a Fanuc control, a standard third indexing axis, high spindle speed, and a polymer bed that reduces vibration at high machining speeds and feeds.       

Frank Ramirez of Haas Automation Inc. (Oxnard, CA), echoes the assessment of Schaudies. "More complex part designs are driving changes in the way round parts are machined today," he says. "Parts are being designed to have many of the features of a casting--holes, ports, and others--but with the requirement of being machined from billet stock. This provides more strength while saving time and cost for the designer."

Ramirez says producing such components requires an investment in lathes with live tools, C axis, and subspindle capabilities. "This allows production of complex parts in a single setup on one machine, thus reducing part handling and the cost per part." At IMTS, Haas will show a range of machines with live tooling and subspindle capabilities, as well big-bore options, high-speed spindles, and rapid rates up to 1200 ipm (30 m/min), he says.

Driving down cost per part is also the focus at Mori Seiki (Irving, TX). The company will exhibit its new NL series of lathes that are said to provide milling capability as robust as a machining center.

The machines feature a milling motor inside the turret directly coupled to the milling tool. The patent-pending design cuts transmission losses and inherent vibration associated with use of gears and/or belts for milling capability. Mori says the direct-coupled milling motor reduces tool spindle acceleration time by 2/3 and diminishes vibration and noise by 1/2. The NL line will launch at IMTS with 30 new models.

Also beefing up the multitasking capabilities of its turning centers is Mazak Corp. (Florence, KY), which will launch its Nexus QTN-350M machine. Features include integral spindle/motor technology on the 40-hp (30-kW), 3300-rpm main spindle and a rotary tool spindle with 10-hp (7.5-kW) output and 4000-rpm maximum speed. Rotary tools and turning tools can be mounted at any position of the machine's 12-station drum turret. Other features include a fully programmable NC electric tailstock and Mazak's Tool Eye automatic tool presetting arm.

The trend toward single-setup production of more complex components is not lost on venerable lathe supplier Hardinge Inc. (Elmira, NY), which will display the Quest GT27SP gang-tool lathe with a two-axis programmable subspindle. The 6000-rpm, 3-hp (2.2-kW) subspindle allows machining of complex arcs and angles on parts up to 1" (25.4 mm) in diameter, facilitates part transfers with the main spindle, and can handle canned machining cycles. It features five back-end working stations for tools to 0.625" (16 mm).

A new player in the turning machine market is Hurco Cos. Inc. (Indianapolis). The company's Bob Albaugh believes movement to JIT and demand pull manufacturing operations places a premium on system integration and programming flexibility. "The ability to handle part data in a variety of formats, and to network both internally and within the supply chain while using a simple, easy-to-operate control, has contributed to a movement toward shop-floor programming and editing in job shops and contract manufacturers," Albaugh says. "Flexibility is key to meeting the demands for the fast turnarounds required by the global manufacturing economy."

At IMTS, Hurco will introduce the TM line of two-axis CNC slant-bed lathes. All the machine's feature the company's MAX conversational control and knowledge-based programming software. The CNC allows programming in any of 31 languages using Hurco's graphical user interface. Initial launch of the turning line will be with three models, with chuck sizes of 6, 8, and 10" (152, 203, and 254 mm). All three models can be equipped with bar feeders, parts catchers, tool presetters, tailstocks, chip conveyors, and collet chucks. Future plans call for addition of live tooling and C-axis capability.

Mill/drill capability with fast programming and setups are key technologies for contract manufacturers. For mid to high-volume production of turned parts, automation is playing a critical role, according to Laurence Pelligrini, Director of Operations, Murata Machinery (Charlotte, NC).       

"Our customers are asking for automated solutions to their production applications to drive labor cost to a minimum," he says. "Automated part handling must be flexible, robust, integrated, 'smart', and relatively simple. This includes automatic part input to the machine staging area, automated part orientation, automatic load/unload to and from the machine work-holding, automated turn-around for second operation, and an automated device to convey finished parts to the next operation."

Pelligrini says Murata's high-speed, three-axis gantry loader provides "an integrated, robust, flexible, and 'smart' automated part load/unload device." The company has an installed base of more than 5000 automated, twin-spindle machines, he adds.

Another absolute, according to Pelligrini, is part quality. "No out-of-tolerance parts can be shipped or leave our customer's dock. As part tolerances become tighter and tighter, post-process gaging becomes a requirement. On challenging tolerances, the gage measures every part as it comes off the machine, and automatically adjusts offsets when necessary." Nearly a third of machines Murata delivers now have post-process gaging systems, he says.

In Chicago, the company will feature its MW series of four, twin-spindle CNC chuckers. The machines range from the MW100GT, with a 6" (152-mm) chuck, to the MW400G, which features a 15" (380 mm) chuck.

A different spin on high-volume turning comes from Mazak, which will show its inverted vertical turning machines. The company claims a relatively small number of inverted verticals can replace numerous conventional two-axis turning centers to handle increasing part volumes. Visitors to IMTS will see a vertical cell that uses pre-engineered automation to provide automatic load/unload.

Following is a sampling of turning machines scheduled for display at IMTS.   


Product Previews


Swiss Multispindle Center

Newest addition to the MultiDeco Family, the MulitiDeco 20/8b is configured to machine parts as large as 20-mm diam. It has eight spindles and will be shown with the MSF 522/8 integrated bar feeder. The machine can be configured as a traditional eight-spindle machine or a two four-spindle (2 X 4) machine. As an eight-spindle it can produce more complex parts. In the 2 X 4 configuration, the machine can produce two relatively simple, separate parts at the same time.

Tornos USA
Ph: 203-775-4319



Twin-Spindle CNC Chuckers

The MW series of twin-spindle CNC Chuckers includes the MW100GT, which is designed to meet a minimum cycle time of 11 sec for two parts. It has a 6" (152-mm) chuck standard and can handle a maximum part size in automatic mode of 60-mm diam X 40-mm long. The manufacturer will also exhibit three other chuckers in the series, the MW120GT, the M200GSMC, and the largest model, the MW400G. The machines offer chuck sizes of 8, 12, and 15" (203, 305, and 380-mm) respectively.

Murata Machinery USA Inc.
Ph: 704-394-8331 ext. 229



Twin-Spindle Lathe

Model 2SP-10HG miniTwin from Okuma &Howa is a twin-spindle lathe that offers four-axis simultaneous or individual production of rotational parts to 100-mm diam by 100-mm long. The 50 - 5000-rpm spindle (60 - 6000-rpm optional) features a stepless speed range shift, and is powered by a 7.5-kW motor. Each spindle is serviced by an eight-tool magazine, and the machine can be equipped with a gantry loader for automated operations. When used in a manual mode, it's equipped with pedal-operated chuck loading.

KGK International
Ph: 847-465-0160



Vertical Chucker

A pick-and-place vertical chucker with built-in automation, the VturniV200 employs inverted vertical chuck clamping to reduce the likelihood of chip scratching on part surfaces. A pick-and-place spindle by the traveling headstock couples turning and part-loading by one machine. A servodriven turret with hydraulic clamping shortens tool changeover time and ensures cutting rigidity. Three work-feeding packages--A, B, and C--make possible the creation of a flexible turning cell.

Fortune International Corp.
Ph: 732-214-0700



Facing, Centering, Chamfering Machine

Double-end part-machining system can face, center, chamfer, and turn both ends of bar stock or tubing. Material previously cut to length by any method can be loaded into the machine magazine for transfer through the system and finish machining of both ends of the part. Displayed machine has a capacity of 1 - 4" (25 - 102-mm) OD and part lengths of 6 - 60" (152 - 1520 mm). Tooling is quick-change mounted on a taper holder. Operations such as part gaging can be added to the base unit.

Bardons & Oliver
Ph: 440-498-5800



Swiss-Style Turning

Maier CNC Swiss turning centers are available in five different series with configurations ranging from four axes and 11 tools to 11 axes with up to 30 tools. Able to handle bar stock to 32 mm diam, the machines feature 6000 or 8000-rpm, 5-hp (3.8-kW) main spindles; 6000 or 8000-rpm, 3.5-hp (2.6-kW) subspindles; and 1260-ipm (32 m/min) rapid traverses. Several models offer simultaneous processing with two or three tools, and are capable of secondary milling and drilling using a 2-hp (1.5-kW) front drilling spindle. A Fanuc control is standard. Also shown will be the Nakamura-Tome Super NTJ turning center, which uses a B axis to allow complete multi-face angular machining and contour milling in a single setup.

Methods Machine Tools Inc.
Ph: 978-443-5388



Self-Loading NC Lathe

A 6" (152-mm) chuck machine with an A2-5 nose, the HS-01 machine uses a fixed turret and a traveling spindle. Parts load directly to the spindle, reducing loading time and boosting overall productivity. The machine features a 10-hp (7.5-kW) spindle with a maximum speed of 6000 rpm. A 12-station, servo turret has an index time of 0.5 sec to the opposite tool. Control is via a Fanuc 0iTB CNC, and rapid traverse rates in X and Z are 1200 ipm (30.5 m/min). Also shown will be vertical turning lathes, as well as cost-effective lathe packages that include a CNC turning center, short-bar feeder, parts catchers, chip conveyors, and other accessories.

Tong Tai Seiki USA Inc.
Ph: 845-267-5500



Robust Milling Capability

New NL series lathes feature a direct-coupled milling motor that eliminates bevel gears, belts, and pulleys to cut associated transmission losses and vibration. The result is more power delivered directly to the tool, reduced vibration, increased tool life, and better accuracy. The machines also offer a rigid toolholder said to give the lathes milling capability that rivals that of 40-taper machining centers. For example, the machines can use 80-mm diameter face mills and perform rigid tapping at 3600 rpm. Encompassing a total of 30 variations on the basic NL design, the machines feature either 10 or 12-station turrets and digital tailstock driven by a servomotor and ballscrew. Models include 6, 8, 10, and 12" (155, 205, 255, and 305-mm) chuck versions with turning lengths to 49.6" (1260 mm) and ability to handle bars to 3.54" (90 mm) diam.

Mori Seiki USA Inc.
Ph: 972-929-8321



Gang Tool Subspindle

A new two-axis programmable subspindle on the Quest GT27SP Super-Precision gang tool CNC lathe allows machining of complex arcs and angles on parts up to 1" (25 mm) diam. The 6000-rpm, 3-hp (2.2-kW) subspindle facilitates exacting part transfer with the main spindle, is canned cycle capable, and features a complete Fanuc motor, drive and I/O system. It includes five back-end working tool stations for tools up to 0.625" (16-mm) diam. Finished parts are spring ejected into the machine's parts chute, with cut-off provided by an air-over-oil actuated vertical cut-off slide. The machine itself has either a 5C or 16C collet and interchangeable tool top plates that reduce setup time. The patented main spindle is said to maintain 0.000015" (0.4-µm) part roundness at high feeds and speeds.

Hardinge Inc.
Ph: 859-342-1700



CNC Turning Centers

New TM series single-spindle, slant-bed turning centers are aimed at machining of small to medium lot sizes. The company's user-friendly control allows quick setup and programming on the shop floor using knowledge-based software, direct conversion of CAD drawings into programs, and downloading of CAM-generated programs. The TM6, TM8, and TM10 turning centers (with 6, 8, and 10" [152, 204, and 254-mm] chucks, respectively) have spindle speeds up to 6000 rpm and up to 12-station turrets. Users can select a variety of options for the compact machines, including tailstocks, chip conveyors, tool probes, parts catchers, and bar feeders.

Hurco Cos. Inc.
Ph: 317-298-2622



Automated Turning

The model ANW-3000 is a high-efficiency, twin-spindle lathe equipped with a new robot controller for producing high-volume precision parts with speed and accuracy. The Max SP1 robot controller is independent of the machine CNC, and its programming capabilities are said to reduce robot cycle times significantly. The controller drives a built-in, four-axis rack-and-pinion swing arm robot with traverse speeds of 3937 ipm (100 m/min). Standard equipment on the machine includes twin eight-station turrets, 15-hp (11.2-kW) continuous spindle motor, 8" (204-mm) chuck, auxiliary loader, 12-pallet work stocker, hinge-type chip-conveyor, and Fanuc 180i-TB CNC.

Fuji Machine America
Ph: 847-821-2445



Portable Turning

The OL-1 Office Lathe is a compact machine small enough to fit through a standard 36" doorway and easily moveable from one location to another. Designed for medical, dental, and research facilities; schools and training facilities; or even hobby shops and jewelry manufacturers, the machine runs on single-phase power. It features a 5-hp (3.8-kW) peak spindle that spins to 6000 rpm, and a 5C threaded spindle nose that accepts a number of optional chucks. A high-speed cross slide features travels of 8" (204 mm) in X and Z and accepts a variety of gang-style tools. Users can also select a setup for use of air-driven live tools, including M-code activated air-supply, all associated plumbing, and toolholders that accept standard pneumatic tools.

Haas Automation
Ph: 805-278-1800



Turning + Milling

The Nexus QTN-350M features integral spindle/motor technology on the main turning spindle that is said to allow heavy-duty metal removal and high-speed cutting of aluminum and other nonferrous materials. The 40-hp (30-kW), 3300-rpm main spindle features a 12" (305-mm) chuck; the machine also has a rotary tool spindle with 10-hp (7.5-kW) output and 4000-rpm maximum speed. A 12-station drum turret can handle rotary or stationary tools at any position, and quick-change toolholders can be loaded or unloaded with a single turn of a wrench. The machine uses the Mazatrol Fusion 640T Nexus control, and features a programmable NC electric tailstock, and "Tool Eye" automatic tool presetting arm.

Mazak Corp.
Ph: 859-342-1700


This article was first published in the August 2004 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine.

Published Date : 8/1/2004

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