The end of summer is traditionally a busy time for machining equipment suppliers, as they prepare for fall trade shows, in-plant technical conferences, and the fourth-quarter sales push.
One supplier that put its time to use during this period is Makino, of Mason, Ohio. The company showed a new horizontal machining center (HMC), the a81nx, at last month’s EMO metalworking expo in Hannover, Germany, and added a general-purpose wire EDM, the U6, as a companion to the U3, which it introduced last year, as reported here on IMT Machining Journal.
Makino claims improvements in automation, accuracy, rigidity, cycle time, and energy consumption with the a81nx, which is an upgrade of the a81 HMC. The machining center is engineered for operations ranging from rough cuts to finishing. Applications cover the spectrum, from components for automotive and commercial vehicles, to hydraulic parts, industrial gearboxes, and aerospace components.
The five-axis HMC is engineered for relatively large parts and tools. The pallet size is 630 by 630 mm. Depending on the carrier, the a81nx can operate tools 690 mm long, 356 mm in diameter, and 77 lb.
Features that contribute to performance include a level of rigidity reportedly twice that of the a81 due to modifications in the table, bed, and overall structure. The machining center has a material removal rate of 61 cu-in/min.
The unit achieves high-precision bore-index-bore cutting as a result of its structural rigidity. It also offers minimal B-axis spindle/table run-out and a thermally symmetrical design to maximize heat removal. Faster machining and non-cutting movements are achieved via high spindle acceleration and deceleration rates, fast spindle-response times, and optimized through-spindle coolant flow.
Wire EDM Machine Eyes Bigger Parts
While the U6 EDM shares features with the U3, its primary benefit is larger part fabrication. Both have similar X-, Y-, and Z-axis travel — 270 by 220 by 650 mm, respectively— but the U6 handles workpieces up to 1,000 by 800 by 400 mm and 3,307 lb. The U3, in comparison, accommodates workpieces up to 770 by 590 by 220 mm and 1,322 lb.
The two EDMs feature reduced wire consumption, have two wire-guide configurations (conventional round or Makino’s Split V wire guide), and twin digitally controlled flush pumps.
The U6 uses the same Makino next-generation control as the U3, the Hyper-i. The control features a user-friendly interface similar to those on tablets and smartphones, through a 24-in HD touch-screen. The control interface can be customized for individuals or shifts, and can be equipped with an optional dual display for use with onboard CAD/CAM.
Another advance on the machine is Makino’s HyperCut technology, which achieves a finish as fine as 3 microns Rz on standard tool steel. HyperCut also reduces cycle time up to 20 percent and wire consumption by 14 percent.
Makino’s ProTech circuit, meanwhile, provides galvanic protection to workpieces, which minimizes or prevents rusting and oxidation.