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IMTS 2018 Metalcutting Highlights Showcase Digital Connections

Jim Lorincz
By Jim Lorincz Contributing Editor, SME Media
With its OSP-connected software system, Okuma’s Brad Klippstein, supervisor product specialist, demonstrated how Okuma machine status can be monitored anywhere in the world.

Metalcutting Exhibitors at IMTS 2018 did not disappoint, nor were they disappointed with results from the largest version of the biennial event in terms of number of exhibitors, attendees and, more important, attendee leads. If IMTS expositions of the recent past had introduced a standard for digital connection (MTConnect IMTS 2014) and piggybacked on the notion of Industry 4.0 (also known as) IIoT, IoT IMTS 2016), metalcutting exhibitors of all stripes demonstrated how software can shape their metal-removing behemoths to a new digital reality.

Data collection is only the beginning. Analysis and dissemination of that information within organizations, between suppliers and their customers is where the gold is going to be found and it’ll be found in the healthy mix of new machine technology and the means to provide connectivity on display at IMTS 2018.

Joint Technical Conference

Starrag and Haimer held a joint technical conference on Sunday before IMTS opened, a first of its kind for both companies. Dr. Christian Walti, Starrag CEO and head of regional sales detailed how innovations in software, machine technology, and workholding are combining to produce solutions for its customers in aerospace, energy, transportation and industrial markets. Introduced at EMO, Starrag’s Integrated Production System (IPS) provides a variety of HMI and quality modules for five-axis, Swiss-style and gantry style portal machining centers and mill turns. Brands including Berthiez, Dorries, Scharmann, SIP, Droop + Rein, Bumotec and Eco Speed are well known to European as well as North American manufacturers of aerospace structural components and engines, power turbines, heavy-duty vehicle engines, aerospace blades and blisks and housings.

Automation Solutions


Methods Machine Tools Inc. displayed 40 machining solutions in action at the show. In addition, several machines from new partners Niigata, Tornos, and Ocean Technologies were shown for the first time by Methods. The company also displayed ten engineered automation solutions, including a high-speed gantry-loaded multitasking turning center, a precision wire EDM cell, a deburring / finishing operation and an automatic workpiece inspection cell. All solutions were integrated with robotic handling. Methods designs and integrates all aspects of its automation solutions and demonstrated one of the largest displays of Fanuc Robots at IMTS.

CNC Machines featured at IMTS included:

  • Nakamura-Tome SC-300IIMYB High Precision Multitasking T urning Center
  • YASDA YBM 7Ti 5-Axis CNC Horizontal Jig Borer with a 2-Position Automatic Pallet Changer
  • FANUC Advanced Series D21SiB, D21MiB and D21LiB RoboDrills
  • FANUC CiB Series Wire EDMs
  • KIWA Next Generation KH-4500 KAI and Triple H40 QWC Horizontal Machining Centers
  • KIWA-Methods KMH-300A Series Horizontals

Methods Machine Tools also debuted the VisionGauge Second Generation Digital Optical Comparators. They are drop-in replacements for traditional optical comparators and work directly with CAD data and don’t require costly overlays or templates.

Applications with Unique Set of Machining Needs

The DVF 5000 compact 5-axis machining center.

Doosan Machine Tools demonstrated a product lineup, including 17 machines on display. “Every application has its own unique set of machining needs to achieve maximum efficiency and productivity,” said Jim Shiner, director of sales and marketing at Doosan Machine Tools America. “The diversity of equipment Doosan presented at IMTS 2018 shows our resolve to listen carefully and then engineer machine tools that satisfy this wide range of customer demands.”

Among the Doosan machines at the show were the following:

  • The DVF Series of compact 5-axis machining centers, designed for cutting diverse and complex shapes.
  • An 800 mm pallet horizontal machining center with a nodding A-axis spindle designed for simultaneous 5-axis machining. It is equipped with a 6,000 rpm geared head spindle to easily tackle hard metals.
  • NHP 4000 w/Linear Pallet System. This high speed horizontal machining center with 400 mm pallets is retrofitted with a linear pallet system. It minimizes setup times by having fixtures and raw materials ready to run and is designed for lights out operations.
  • NHP 6300 (with cryogenic machining by 5ME): This 630 mm horizontal machining center with a dual wound 10,000 rpm spindle features roller linear guideways for a mix of speed and rigidity. The show demo featured cryogenic machining of titanium material.
  • PUMA SMX2600ST: A multi-tasking turn-mill machine with 9 axes that outputs complex parts with one setup, it comes complete with a 12,000 rpm B-axis milling spindle and 12-station lower turret.
  • Lynx 2100LYA w/Gantry Loader: This machine maximizes spindle utilization by having a gantry loader and work stocker combined with a Lynx 2100 series turning center. The Y-axis allows off center machining.
  • The compact DNM 4000 vertical machining center was designed with lean cells in mind–applications where machines are just inches apart, but productivity and cutting performance are still essential.
  • A two-spindle vertical machining center designed for high volume production. Each spindle has its own 24-tool magazine, allowing operators to machine two parts at the same time.

Worldwide Connection to Machines

Okuma America Corp. was cutting metal throughout the show. The Multus U5000 two saddle CNC lathe for the energy and aerospace industries equipped with a W axis and big-bore spindle was cutting a wind turbine crankshaft. The new 2SP-2500H lathe with two spindles for increased throughput of mass-produced parts was cutting a bearing race for the automotive industry. The new LU7000EX two-saddle CNC lathe for handling large parts featured a bolt-on turret and long boring bar and was cutting an oil pipe/flange for the oil and gas industry. Also making its debut, the new MU-S600V five-axis vertical machining center with the ability to connect multiple machines to achieve untended and automated production was cutting a manifold block for the auto industry. Okuma’s Smart Factory Monitor software-based system for collecting and measuring data to adjust processes for increased productivity was connected with its OSP control to monitor Okuma machines for operating status wherever they are operating in the world.

Automation, Digitalization, & Multitasking

Mazak sharpened its focus on hybrid multitasking technology with hybrid machines that combine friction stir welding and subtractive machining and hot wire additive manufacturing. The VC-500A/5X AM HWD multitasking machine incorporates new and innovative hot wire additive manufacturing technology that Mazak developed in collaboration with a leading welding company. Mazak’s digital initiatives are designed to complement developments in hybrid machining, automation and analytics for OEE performance evaluation. Highlighted in the center of Mazak’s principal booth (it had two at the expo), a digital island with different digital solutions for job shops and production shops demonstrated how the user can start at the Smooth control level and move up to MT Connect, and to its Smart Box with cybersecurity emphasis.

New 5-Axis CNC Grinder, Multi-Spindle Automatic Lathe

Schütte 325linear cylindrical grinding system.

Schütte introduced its new 325linear machine, a 5-axis CNC grinder with extended X- and Y-axis movement plus two auxiliary slides for workpiece clamping and improved grinding wheel guidance over the machining envelope. Micro tools, gun drills, hob cutters and complex geometries can be accommodated on this new machine, which operates in the range of 2500-4000 rpm, typically. The additional second auxiliary slide enables the 325linear to utilize tool guidance, part support, tailstock or workpiece pallets in operation. This new Schütte machine expands the user’s automation possibilities.

Schütte also promoted the SCX, its new multi-spindle automatic lathe. In today’s industrial production, more complex workpieces are being produced in smaller batch sizes and shorter life cycles. To remain competitive, manufacturers have to react quickly and flexibly to market requirements. Schütte’s multi-spindle automatic lathes address this need. Everything that is not directly related to the production of workpieces has been eliminated from the machining area. There are no drives, cables, slides, lubrication lines or cooling lines within the tooling area. The clean and freely accessible machining area provides the greatest possible configuration flexibility and the simplest retooling and tool retrofitting.

Eight Spindle Multi for 40-mm Bar

Index Corp. introduced its MS40-8 multiple spindle production machine to North America. The eight-spindle CNC increases capacity to machine even a greater range of parts by accommodating bar stock up to 40 mm in diameter. The machine features double synchronized spindles for backworking, allowing it to machine highly complex parts with the short cycle times. The flexibility of the machine allows for double four-spindle operation for simpler parts, ensuring manufacturers can minimize cost per piece across a broad variety of work.

For automation, Index demonstrated the new Xcenter, integrated six-axis robot cell paired with one of our Traub TNL20 sliding/fixed headstock automatic lathes. It uses stacked pallets to allow manufacturers to achieve significant periods of unattended production of finished parts, including incorporation of a secondary process, such as cleaning, measuring or deburring. Coming in 2019, iXworld, a digital portal that will consolidate, add and evolve the suite of online tools available to Index customers. According to the company, iXworld will help manufacturers minimize downtime, increase utilization and achieve reliable unattended operations. The tools included in iXworld cover a broad spectrum, including production reporting, cycle time analysis, remote monitoring and diagnostics, ordering of parts and services and more.

Cobot Scans Visitor Heads for Busts, Coins

Hurco demonstrated automation that would typically be found in job shops with high-mix/low-volume part production using a collaborative UR robot, multi-axis serial robots and pallet systems. The automation exhibit also illustrated how a collaborative effort between Hurco and suppliers including Erowa, Universal Robots, FANUC robots, Online Resources and Industrial Controls & Automation could effectively meet the automation requirements of shops.

A real hit of the exhibit was the collaborative UR robot scanning the faces of attendees to generate a solid model to create a tool path. Then either a five-axis Hurco VMX30Ui CNC cut the head from cylindrical aluminum stock or a three-axis Hurco VM10i CNC cut the profile into a brass coin. The idea was a hit as a long line formed waiting to be scanned and memorialized with a bust or on a metal coin. Both Hurco CNC machines were connected to fully automated robot systems coordinated by a centralized job management system.

Wraps are taken off ANCA’s CPX Linear blank making machine that features LinX linear motors and pinch peel grinding.

Blank Making Machine with Linear Motors

ANCA Inc. introduced its CPX Linear blank making machine capable of achieving a surface finish better than 0.2 Ra with a run out of less than two microns. The CPX Linear features ANCA’s LinX linear motor technology for axis motion in the X, Y and V axes in conjunction with linear scales. The CPX Linear uses the pinch peel method of grinding with a grinding spindle with peak power of 43 kW. The grinding spindle for roughing uses a 250 mm diameter wheel. Finishing spindle uses a 150 mm diameter wheels with peak power of 9.7 kW. The large working envelope can handle an overall blank length of 360 mm and a maximum diameter of 25 mm when manual loading.

HQ Move to be Near Illinois Institute of Technology

During IMTS, DMG Mori USA announced that it will move its headquarters to a location near the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) to form a close partnership with the engineering school to develop engineering talent and manufacturing processes.

“Being near the local faculties and students will promote synergy effects in research and development of new technologies on the one hand, and recruiting of young talents will be easier on the other,” said James V. Nudo, president of DMG Mori USA Inc.

In addition, a large showroom will be set up at the new location. The current HQ and technical center location in Hoffman Estates will continue and a new North America Engineering and Automation Center will be established. DMG Mori continues to benefit from the digitalization from product conception, through design and engineering to production possible with its CELOS software suite. With this Integrated Digitalization, DMG Mori regards itself as “the Integrator for small and medium sizes companies.”

Seamless Factory Connectivity

WireFreeCNC unveiled a significant new product to facilitate seamless factory connectivity. The simple yet revolutionary new system is named Excellerant API and provides small to large manufacturers the ability to connect every CNC machine tool controller, no matter the brand, allowing a firm to monitor and manage each machine’s data in real time and send that data to the company’s MES and/or ERP systems.

Non-Contact Measuring Machine

There’s always a lot of new machine technology to see in a press tour of United Grinding North America Inc.’s booth. IMTS 2018 was no exception. The Walter Helicheck 3D non-contact measuring machine scans and digitizes cutting tools and production parts to create 3D models with combined transmitted light camera and laser sensors. The new next-gen Blohm Profimat X heavy-duty continuous dress creep feed grinders combines rigidity and power with fast axis speeds. The Studer S131 internal radius cylindrical grinding machine extends part-production capabilities through advanced technology, and like the Studer favorit, the new Studer favorit 1600 grinds both single-part and batch production, combining cost-effective price with high productivity. A production version of the FlexLoad automation solution was servicing a Mikrosa Kronos S 250 centerless grinding machine. The FlexLoad package uses a FANUC six-axis robot loader to group any combination of compatible grinding machines into two-machine automation cells.  United Grinding Digital Solutions provides every manufacturing organization with the data, tools and assistance to understand what happens on their factory floor, what will happen next and how to keep production optimized.

Cornelius Kiesel, Zimmermann Inc. president, displays the aluminum aerospace structures for which the FZH horizontal machining center was developed. Four FZH machines have been sold in the U.S.

New HMCs for Aerospace, Prototyping

Zimmermann Inc. is designing and developing large scale horizontal machining centers aimed at the aerospace structural parts market for machining aluminum and composites. The latest is the FZH horizontal machining center. Developed within the last two years, four of the machines have been sold in the U.S. The FZU five-axis gantry milling machine is a compact lighter-duty HMC that is designed for the prototype, model and moldmaking markets. The FZU features the new VH10 spindle head, manufactured by Zimmermann, for machining plastics, casting resins such as Ureol and aluminum with only minimal interference contours, achieving almost double the clamping force of the VH12. This is because Zimmermann fits two side cheeks instead of one onto the unit. The VH10 is therefore considerably more stable in operation. To minimize throughput times, a powerful 34 kW spindle with a maximum speed of 24,000 rpm is used in the milling head as standard.

Five-Axis Aerospace VMC

Mitsui Seiki’s new Vertex 100 five-axis vertical machining center is a compact, high-speed machine capable of high-precision milling of larger parts such as blisks for aircraft engines. The Vertex 100 can machine workpieces 1,250 mm in diameter and 850 mm tall while occupying only 3 m x 4.2 m of shop floor space. X-Y-Z axis strokes are 1,000 mm, 900 mm, and 750 mm respectively. Maximum swing diameter is 1,480 mm. From CAT 40 to HSK-A100 taper sizes, the Vertex 100 is supplied with multiple spindle options (15,000 rpm, 25,000 rpm and 30,000 rpm). It’s easy to envision the machine being used to finish mill parts that have been roughed with Blue Arc technology, which Mitsui Seiki has been pursuing with GE.

Also shown was the Vertex Hybrid G vertical machining/grinding center, which provides CMM-level precision in critical high-speed milling and grinding applications such as lights-out machining of die and mold, optical and tooling components. The machines are capable of 0.0003” (7.5 micron) or better precision in 3+2 or fully simultaneous five-axis machining, carrying out high speed milling and grinding via a 25,000 rpm main spindle and ATC changeable air-spindles of 40,000 to 90,000 rpm capacity.

For multifunctional workpiece handling, Liebherr exhibited is new LRC 20 robot cell which provides compact, flexible automation for loading an individual machine as well as several interlinked machines.

Small Footprint Gear Shaper up to 400 mm diameter

Liebherr introduced its LS 400 E gear shaping machine with electronic shaping head which has been designed for machining and manually loading workpieces with larger diameter of up to 400 mm. The electronic cutter provides considerable flexibility, so that multiple gearings with different helix angles can be machined with a single clamping fixture. Eliminated are complicated procurement procedures and time-consuming changeovers of the mechanical helical guides. The LS 400 EM is suitable for the production of prototypes as well as small to medium serial productions. Other users might be job shops or manufacturers of spare parts. At IMTS, a robot system was shown for users who can use both manual and automated operation for minimally staffed shifts.

IoT Solutions for Smart Factories

JTEKT Toyoda Americas Corp. (Arlington Heights, IL) combined lean thinking with cutting edge solutions and emphasis on smart manufacturing. Toyoda takes the fundamental approach of IoT (Internet of Things), combined with their rich automotive production history to encompass what they call, IoE (Internet of Everything). IoE encompasses connectivity, data transmission and analytics of both people and machine—all fundamentals of Toyoda’s “Andon” system.

Featured machines included a five-axis VMC for titanium machining, universal grinding machines with adjustable wheelhead, a multipurpose turning center with twin turret and twin spindle, and a production type machine for gear manufacturing. Toyoda’s smart manufacturing product initiatives include the Toyopuc Plus and Nano PLC connectivity solutions; machine metrics, Toyopuc Touch HMI, and Signal Hop visualization solutions; and Toyopuc Touch AAA value solutions.

Smartest Machines in the World

It is increasingly a digital world we live in and Mitsubishi Electric Automation’s company theme for this year’s IMTS was simply “Running the Smartest Machines in the World.” Through integrated products, including MES Interface, SCADA, MTConnect-compliant products, digitalization and on-board product analytics, Mitsubishi Electric Automation provided the access needed for manufacturers and end users to leverage real-time production information to make smart business decisions.

“For OEMs and dealers, having a single-source provider makes it easier for them to design their machines and provide after-market support,” said Justin Kueker, business development manager.

New multi-spindle, five-axis machine tools from SW North America feature integrated robotic loading and unloading, plus vertical pallet storage for workpiece blanks and finished parts.

Multi-Spindle Machine Tools Integrate Robot, Storage Pallet for Cellular Production

From SW North America, new multi-spindle, five-axis machine tools feature integrated robotic loading and unloading, along with vertical pallet storage for workpiece blanks and finished parts. In addition to high-speed, high-precision machining, these plug-and-play manufacturing cells feature drastically decreased commissioning time, so customers can realize productivity benefits and profitability much more quickly.

The benefits of independent cellular manufacturing include high-level availability and easily scaled capacity, all while increasing production efficiencies and lowering costs. These new cells consist of dual-spindle SW BA 222 or BA WO2-22 machining centers together with integrated 6-axis robot for loading and unloading and vertical pallet storage unit for blanks and finished parts. Many conventional automation solutions consist of two-part systems requiring a good deal of time to commission and integrate into production. The SW cells by comparison are a crane-hook system for straightforward installation and setup. The robot is mounted overhead for increased freedom of motion and the pallet storage unit is set off to the side, allowing manual loading and unloading if needed while occupying a compact footprint.

remote360 provides complete visibility into machining processes. Owners and operators receive real-time data to increase productivity, improve efficiency and reduce downtime on remote360 enabled machines.

Complete Visibility into Machining Processes

MC Machinery Systems, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp., developed remote360 to provide complete visibility into machining processes. This web-based machine monitoring application gives owners and operators real-time data to increase productivity, improve efficiency and reduce downtime on remote360 enabled machines. Current machines supporting remote360 are the laser NX Series, RX Series, eX Series, XL Series, SR Series, TM Series and the LVP Series (with Windows XP). On the EDM side, the MV Advance and FA Advance wire EDMs and EAV Advance, EAS Advance and EAPS Advance sinker EDMs are supported. The machine monitoring solution allows operators to monitor remote360 enabled machines from a PC, smartphone or tablet. Various aspects of the machine, such as run, stop and idle time, are tracked and analyzed to provide insight on potential process improvements.

Chiron’s DZ16W with twin 12000-rpm, HSK63A spindles.

A New Machining Center Concept

Chiron unveiled the DZ16W, with twin 12000-rpm, HSK63A spindles. It will be machining scroll compressor bodies—a true demonstration of the precision, axis control, and metalcutting capacity of this new machine breed. The DZ develops 200 nm of spindle torque and features a high Kv rating (a measure of the stiffness and accuracy of the drive) of 4-4-6 in the X, Y, and Z axes. The strong machine can easily drive drills to 60 mm diameter and has a milling capability of up to 900 cu cm, thanks to heavy depth of cut. Rapid traverse is 600, 600, 1000 m/sec, X, Y, Z, acceleration is 12, 12, and 14 m/s2 in X, Y, and Z axes, adding speed to the power of the new machine.

Workpieces are mounted in two two-position fixtures, each mounted on trunnions on opposite sides of a rotary work changer, providing the fourth axis. As one pair of workpieces are being machined, the other pair can be loaded manually or with automation from the easy-access front of the machine, losing no production time. The work-changing speed of the machines and Chiron’s well-known fast tool change, just over 2 seconds, plus 2×80 tool changer capacity mean the machines can efficiently handle low lot sizes—a plus for future production planning in many industries.

A key development for this series of Chiron machines, providing greater stability for the heavier cuts and the rapid axis positioning is the gantry-style construction rather than a C-frame. This construction will be seen in future Chiron Group machines. The base is a vibration-dampening, highly stable concrete material that is less sensitive to heat than cast iron or steel weldments. Even during heavy cuts, the machine runs nearly without vibration or noise.

Line of Turning Machines

Both the MW120 & MD120 were showcased in the turning center “Cell” configuration, in which a common integrated raw-parts feeder system, transfer/turn-around unit, and Post Process Gauge (PPG) services two turning machines in a single linear layout. Provides space savings due to single automation components servicing multiple machines.

Murata Machinery USA showcased its line of Muratec turning machines. The showcase included the following Muratec turning machines along with live cutting demonstrations:

MW35: An all-electric, compact turning center with a servo super-high-speed loader, that can produce small parts in as little as three seconds. This machine has two spindles and is capable of simultaneous multi-tool cutting.

MW40: Designed for minimal thermal displacement during precise machining operations of smaller parts. Dual spindle design allows for flexible part processing. Available with live tooling and Y-axis milling capability. Also available with single or twin gantry loaders.

MT100: With a built-in Y axis, this opposed spindle machine allows for greater precision on complex parts and is designed so that each turret can serve either of the twin spindles. Upper and lower turret configuration allows the flexibility to manage two tools in a single cut while reducing cycle time. Available with a variety of automation options, including an optional third turret and a 3-axis gantry robot.

MT200: Similar to the MT100, this opposed spindle type machine can accommodate larger parts with a maximum turn diameter of 8.3” and an 8” chuck.

MW120: A twin spindle CNC turning center that optimizes production time. High-speed gantry loader and turret axes help to reduce cycle time drastically. Capable of production times as low as 16 seconds per part.

MD120: An automated CNC turning center with live-tooling capabilities, including drilling and milling in every turret position. The integrated 3-axis gantry robot loader offers versatile automation possibilities with increased productivity and process flexibility.

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