Hybrid Additive-Subtractive Machine Attracts Crowds
By Sarah A. Webster
Editor in Chief
Hundreds of manufacturing professionals poured into the headquarters of DMG MORI USA in Hoffman Estates, IL, for the company’s annual Innovation Days event, held May 6-9. But while the machine builder launched a significant new touchpad-style control panel and several new machines, it was a prototype hybrid machine that attracted crowds and stole the show: a Lasertec 4300 3D, which will formally debut at IMTS 2014.
The hybrid additive-subtractive machine is the second in the past year from DMG MORI, showing the fruitful result of the 2009 partnership between Mori Seiki of Japan and DMG of Germany.
DMG MORI’s Lasertec 65, which debuted in late 2013 and begins shipping later this year, was the first machine that integrates additive manufacturing, or 3D printing techniques, into a five-axis milling machine. It is based on a DMU 65 monoBLOCK machine.
The Lasertec 4300 3D, meanwhile, is based on the turn-mill center NT4300SZ from Iga, Japan and is equipped with powerful diode lasers for the deposition of metal. Production of the Lasertec 4300 3D begins later this year, with shipping expected in 2015.
Rather than use a powder bed, as many additive manufacturing machines do, both of DMG MORI’s hybrid machines use a metal deposition process in which a powder nozzle sprays metallic powder into the laser beam, melting the powder in layers into the base material. DMG MORI said the process is up to 20 times faster than laser sintering in a powder bed. Most common metal powders can be processed, including steel, nickel and cobalt alloys, and brass.
The laser systems were developed by DMG MORI in conjunction with Sauer GmbH (Pfronten, Germany), and Siemens (Munich, Germany) is providing critical software support in this emerging hybrid manufacturing field, which presents operators with many new manufacturing strategies, decisions and challenges—in addition to the benefits of being able to add and subtract metal in one machine.
One strength of this process is the option to successively build up layers of different materials. Wall thicknesses of 0.5 to 5 mm (0.02 to 0.2") are possible depending on the laser and the nozzle geometry. Complex 3D contours can also be generated in layers without supports. The individual layers can then be accurately machined before the areas become inaccessible to a cutter or other tools due to interference with subsequently deposited component geometry.
Gregory Hyatt, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for DMG MORI USA, said the hybrid machines open up the possibility of “a completely new business model” for manufacturers and told Manufacturing Engineering that demand is already outstripping supply for the models.
“The rules are changing,” Hyatt said.
Hyatt stressed that there are many new challenges that early adopters will have to work through in using the machine. For example, he noted, “Now, we have to make decisions about the sequence in which we build.”
Still, shop operators attending the show were excitedly talking about how the machine could be used to save their customers millions of dollars on damaged parts that are normally scrapped, in addition to other possible benefits, such as mixing alloys on the same part or building a part out of dissimilar metals.
While the hybrid machine is an obvious choice for repair work and the production of mold tools, it offers many interesting options for lightweight components, prototypes or small batch production. For integral parts which are traditionally milled with a material waste rate of 95% and more, significant cost savings can be achieved and the rate of waste can be reduced to about 5%.
During one of the presentations at the event, Rod Jones, a senior advisor at DMG MORI USA, spoke about “Future Trends and Technologies” and said a new era of advanced manufacturing is upon us and that shops must adopt to the new trends or risk being left behind. “We tend to think in terms of discrete machines … that’s all up for grabs now,” he said. “The sky is the limit.”
Touchpad Control Launch
DMG MORI’s Chicago Innovation Days 2014 also served as the North American launch for DMG MORI’s new CELOS, an intuitive touchpad-based machine control system, which was previously unveiled at EMO Hannover 2013. CELOS stands for “Control Efficiency Lean Operating System.”
The new approach was inspired by modern tablets and smart phones and aims to simplify and accelerate the process of bringing an idea to production.
The control panel uses an App-style control approach. The system uses embedded Windows 7. Apps are color-coded based on function, such as green for production Apps and yellow for support Apps.
But the system is not all about window dressing. The comprehensive machine control also aims to assist in efficient manufacturing management, with documentation and visualization tools, data collection and organization, as well as system integration. CELOS was also designed with modern advanced manufacturing integration in mind, so it’s compatible with ERP and other systems and it can be networked with CAD/CAM programs.
CELOS can be installed on all new machine models from both Mori Seiki and DMG, and CELOS-equipped models are now being shipped.
While CELOS was a major thrust of the event, DMG MORI did also premier several new machines in the US. Among them: two new and improved universal turning machines, the NLX 3000Y/1250 and NLX 4000BY/1500; the 4th Generation 5-axis machining center DMU 80 P duoBLOCK; as well as compact CTX 450 ecoline, an entry-level turning machine.
In concert with the Innovation Days event, Big Kaiser Precision Tooling Inc., which is located next door, also held Breakfast & Learn events to showcase its latest technologies for tool presetting, deep hole boring and tapping, among other processes. ME
Published Date : 5/8/2014