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Tech Front: Floor-Type Boring Mill with Long-Reach Ram


The new FTR 3500 floor-type horizontal boring mill from MAG Americas (New York) is a midsized job-shop machine capable of a full 2-m reach inside parts with a ram-supported spindle. It’s described as well-suited for heavy-metal milling, as well as precision multiaxis contouring, boring, drilling, and tapping on large parts for the construction, oil field, and wind energy industries.

Made from ductile iron, the machine’s collinear ram, which has a 400 × 500-mm cross-section adds a 1-m W-axis reach to the spindle’s existing 1-m extension. It provides rigidity for full-power cuts by minimizing spindle extension.

The machine’s Ram Displacement Compensation system uses a hydraulically actuated tension-rod system to counteract the static loads of attachments and control-ram displacement caused by variations in ram extension and attachment weight. Like all boring mills made by MAG, the FTR 3500 includes W and Z-axis thermal compensation software to dynamically offset spindle growth.Collinear ram of the FTR 3500 horizontal boring mill adds a 1-m W-axis reach to the spindle's existing 1-m extension.

Available in column heights of 2–5 m in half-meter increments, the machine has a traveling-column design that allows virtually unlimited X-axis travel for processing large and long workpieces or multiple batch parts, and 20 m/min rapid traverse rates. Spindle power trains include two four-speed versions available with spindle diameters of 130 and 155 mm and available horsepower of 75 hp (56 kW).

Rigid box welded column construction, wide way spreads on the column and runway, and steel runway fabrication provide rigidity and durability for machining requirements, and help resist deflection and minimize vibration. Linear positioning accuracy is 0.015 mm and repeatability is 0.008 mm. Precision roller packs on X, Y, and W axes provide stability, low friction, durability, and maintainability for high-performance machining. The Y-axis has a 100-mm preloaded, antifriction ballscrew, while the Z and W axes use a 63-mm diam ballscrew. An electrically preloaded rack-and-pinion system drives the X-axis.

Front-end options include a range of indexing and rotary tables, auxiliary slides, and floor plates. An optional attachment rack enables storage and quick change of contouring heads, programmable boring bars, right-angle heads, and more to speed production. Optional cartridge-style ram allows for a fixed attachment or attachment changing operations. Ergonomic enhancements include operator platforms with X, Y, and W-travel options, and operator convenience packages that include lighting, power, air, and workbench options. Custom work-zone enclosures are also available.

For more information about MAG America, please visit: ME


Integrated All-Electric Tube Bender and Cutter

This all-electric tube bender has an integrated cutter, providing automated single-step manufacturing of volume parts such as exhausts and tubing or piping shapes. The manufacturer, Unison (Scarborough, North Yorkshire, UK), believes that this new machine is an industry first, and brings the programmability and precision advantages of all-servo control to the tubular-parts manufacturing market.

An all-electric, servomotor-controlled architecture allows programmability throughout the entire part-fabrication cycle. The positions and forces of the tube-bending dies can be accurately controlled, as can the movement profile and torque applied during the "nick-and-shear" cutting cycle.

Servomotor control also ensures that cutting positions are accurate and repeatable from batch to batch, to within ±0.004" (0.10 mm), as tubing remains under control of a high-resolution digital motion architecture throughout the operation. Combined tube bender and cutter from Unison Ltd. employs a programmable, all-electric architecture.

After a bending operation, moving the tube to the shear tool position and making the cut is said to require 12–15 sec. According to the company, this compares with perhaps 60 sec—plus the need for skilled labor—that would be required for handling, loading, set up, and cutoff when the same task is performed at a separate station.

Called the Breeze-Blade, the new machine can bend and cut tubing with OD to 3" (76 mm). It comes with a multistack (multiple on-machine tooling) facility for software-controlled changeover between parts batches, with the nick-and-shear tooling loaded into one of the tool positions.

Cutoff is performed in two steps. The bent tube shape is positioned automatically by the machine’s servomotor-driven carriage, and a circular clamp grips the tube directly adjacent to the cutting position. Next, the first tool strikes the tube to create a nick that penetrates around two-thirds of the way through the tubing wall. The shear blade then drives through the tubing, with control over aspects such as acceleration, speed, deceleration, and torque to suit the material and the tubing shape. This controlled action ensures a dimple-free cut with minimal burring. The clamp has been designed to ensure that cuts can be made close to a bend—to within approximately 2.4" (61 mm).

Because of the machine’s all-electric motion-control architecture, the large amount of space underneath the carriage axis is almost empty, providing flexibility for storing tools and ensuring everything required during setup and operation is close to hand. Unison will configure the cupboard space to suit the user’s needs, with options including purpose-shaped storage draws, and a pullout granite surface, suitable for mounting a CMM or other equipment.

The new machine is available from Horn Machine Tools, Unison’s North American partner. To contact Horn Machine Tools, Ph: 559-431-4131, e-mail:, or go to: To contact Unison, Ph: 44( 0) 1723 582868 (UK phone number), e-mail:, or go to: ME


Cameras Improve
Inspection Speed/Precision

Featuring up to four asynchronously triggered cameras that run on a single processor, the Impact M-Series embedded vision system from PPT Vision (Bloomington, MN) allows each M-Series camera to be independently optimized with the appropriate speed, resolution, and size. With high-speed camera frame rates—up to 210 frames/sec—the system provides complete images to the dual-core processor, allowing capture of fast-moving products.

Combined with smaller camera sizes—the M-100 camera’s footprint measures 29 × 29 mm—the M-Series delivers high speeds and precision in areas with limited access or environmental constraints. Fifteen camera models are available to provide the camera speed, resolution, and size appropriate for an application.

The system allows users to perform as many as four unique inspections that can be initiated independently—at different times or simultaneously—using a single-vision processor. By eliminating the need to purchase multiple systems for separate inspection/guidance programs, the system reduces setup and networking time.

To contact PPT Vision, Ph: 952-996-9500, e-mail:, or go to: ME


Grinder for Punch
and Die Maintenance


Mate Precision Tooling (Anoka, MN) now offers the ValuGrind high-precision grinder for punch and die maintenance. The grinder lets fabricators precisely regrind punches and dies to maintain optimum condition for the highest quality parts production.

Available for either thick turret or Trumpf-style tooling, the portable tabletop grinder (820 × 520 × 675 mm) comes completely fixtured. Features of the unit include an extra-large 165-mm diam diamond grinding wheel for optimal punch and die finish. This reportedly ensures superior surface flatness compared to standard 125-mm CBN and ceramic grinding wheels. To reduce excessive heat buildup that could damage the tooling, an inner wheel-cooling system places coolant directly where needed.

A 1050-W motor delivers 4050 rpm for high-speed, precise surface finish. Precise grind depth control is set in 0.02-mm increments for a precise finish to avoid overgrinding. The grinder handles all of Mate’s thick-turret tooling styles including Original, AMX, MT, MTG, MTG Long, MXC, Ultra, and all A through E station sizes. The company says it also handles competitor thick-turret tooling of equivalent size.

In addition, the grinder handles of Mate’s Size 1 and Size 2 Trumpf-style tooling products, including Next, QuickLock, Multi Tool tooling, and equivalent-size competitor Trumpf style tooling.

To contact Mate Precision Tooling, Ph: 800-541-0285 or e-mail:; for more information on the grinder, go to ME  


Research Notes

At McMaster Manufacturing Research Institute (Hamilton, ON, Canada), a project entitled Closed Loop Machining of Production Parts is aimed at enhancing part quality by closed-loop feedback of the part’s geometry within the manufacturing process. Closed-loop feedback will be employed to identify part-quality issues and intelligently adjust key process parameters to reduce errors. Main process parameters under consideration include tool geometry, machining parameters (such as feeds and speeds), and toolpath planning. During closed-loop feedback of part accuracy, SPC techniques will be used to ensure that the system responds to meaningful process trends, not to isolated incidents. The goal of this research is to develop a closed-loop approach that can be employed on a variety of processes and parts produced under a range of conditions. Variation can be caused by temperature cycles and tool wear. Closed-loop feedback will provide a way to continuously compensate for these variations without operator intervention.

For more information, go to:


This article was first published in the January 2011 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine.  Click here for PDF 

Published Date : 1/1/2011

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