NCMT to unveil Makino machining centres and EDMs at MACH

4 min read

MACH 2020 (Birmingham NEC, 20-24 April) will mark the UK launch of the D200Z 5-axis vertical-spindle machining centre from Japanese machine tool builder, Makino, which is represented exclusively in the UK by NCMT. On stand 130 in Hall 19, the machine will be demonstrated cycling through a ball-bar test to show the high degree of volumetric accuracy achievable.

From roughing to the high-speed finishing of multi-faceted and 3D contoured geometries, the D200Z boosts the productivity of complex dies and moulds found typically in the automotive, injection moulding, packaging, medical and optics markets. The machine's speed and precision provide a solid foundation for responsive, high-speed metal cutting, and for the generation of surface finishes that reduce or eliminate hand polishing.

The 30,000 rpm spindle and integral, direct-drive table provide quick, precise, full 5-axis machining. This capability combines with high-speed SGI.5 motion control software in the Makino Professional 6 CNC to maintain tight tolerances and quality requirements, and ensure the accurate blending of 3D surfaces, even during simultaneous 5-axis motion.

Designed to maximise working volume and load capacity, the compact D200Z accommodates workpiece sizes up to 300 mm in diameter, 210 mm tall and weighing up to 75 kg. The X, Y, Z-axis travels of 350, 300 and 250 mm, respectively, feature rapid traverse and cutting feed rates of 60 m/min. Additionally, the machine utilises a lightweight B-axis structure with 0 to +180° of tilt at 100 rpm. Both the B axis and the 150 rpm, 360° C-axis table feature direct-drive motors.

Wide base castings and core-cooled ball-screws serve as a platform for enhancing overall process stability. The HSK-E50 spindle is designed with a core and jacket cooling system to control thermal growth, deflection and vibration during high-speed machining operations.

Offering flexible tool capacities and automation capabilities, such as the 100-tool capacity magazine with automatic tool changer and multi-pallet system, the D200Z can achieve utilisation rates of more than 80% for high levels of throughput and fast return on investment.

Two other Makino vertical machining centres will feature on the NCMT stand: the 3-axis F5, again intended for mould and die work; and the 5-axis DA300, which will be demonstrated producing an impeller.

Also in evidence will be the manufacturer's Industry 4.0 package of software tools, MPmax, for real-time process monitoring and data management. With the ability to connect a multiple-machine network to a centralised computer, MPmax allows manufacturers to retrieve, store and analyse high volumes of data in real time, enabling detection of, and reaction to, bottlenecks on the fly, whether it relates to underperformance or process errors.

New also from Makino will be a wire-cut EDM, the U6 HEAT Extreme, which uses the largest diameter wire - 0.4 mm - of any machine on the market, says the company. The wire is coated and distinct from the 0.25 mm uncoated brass wire that is commonly used in industry. This extra wire thickness, together with the use of a second booster generator in the machine, allows two-to-three times higher feed rates and heavier duty machining, coupled with a slower un-spool speed, so there is no increase in wire consumption rate. The demonstration on NCMT’s stand will highlight the roughing of a turbine blade’s fir-tree root form, assisted by dual pumps delivering high flushing pressure and volume.

Part of Makino’s U-series wire EDM machine platform, the U6 HEAT Extreme uses a newly developed Bedra copper core wire with a double layer coating featuring controlled zinc donation. The wire has been optimised for use with Makino's generator and is exclusive to the machine. Areas of application include aerospace and medical component machining, separating additively manufactured parts, machining tall moulds and dies, and tackling tough nickel alloys.

The U6 HEAT Extreme also features Makino’s HyperDrive Extreme wire control, which employs servomotor tensioning to facilitate both jet and jet-less automatic threading modes, and expands the range and stability of wire tension to overcome the difficult job of reliably threading high tensile and stiff 16-micron wire.

The machine has a cutting conditions library developed to provide an optimum combination of speed, accuracy, surface finish and wire consumption for both sealed and poor flush applications. Settings for two-pass machining have been developed to provide optimal productivity.

Additionally, to reduce maintenance costs, the machine features long-life energisers that extend the service life of this consumable. To improve ease-of-use and productivity, the U6 HEAT Extreme has the intuitive Hyper-i twin-screen control that includes functions to support the needs of operators at all skill levels.

The machine is delivered as standard with HyperConnect Industry 4.0 network connectivity for remote machine monitoring and interlinking of all manufacturing information. A further feature is Athena voice control, allowing hands-free operation and simplifying training for novice operators.

Two further Makino EDM machines will be on show. A second wire-cut machine, the U3i with fourth axis will be demonstrated producing a medical part. This machine features jet-less threading and the aforementioned HyperDrive Extreme wire drive system. Diverse automation options are available, including a collaborative robot (cobot) for loading and unloading.

There will also be an EDAF3 die-sink EDM equipped with an Erowa Compact 80 magazine for storing and automatically loading and unloading electrodes and components. The machine will be shown machining root form pockets and the seal slot on a turbine blade.

Completing the exhibits on the stand will be a photo-activated adhesive system from Blue Photon, for which NCMT is sole European agent. This work-holding method is ideal for securing awkwardly shaped parts to allow maximum access to tools for tight-tolerance machining or inspection.

The process involves applying an adhesive that is cured by ultraviolet light via an LED spot curing system. After machining is complete, the adhesive contact points can be sheared to free the workpiece by rotating the gripper pins in the fixture plate with a spanner. The residual adhesive can subsequently be removed by the application of hot water.

Use of the technique is predicted to grow due to its ability to hold components securely with a shear resistance of up to 200 kg per gripper point, while giving cutters all-round access for machining on five sides. Unlike magnetic clamping alternatives, the system can be used to secure non-ferrous metallic parts such as ceramics and composites.

To provide an application example, Blue Photon is suitable for clamping a turbine blade to enable the fir-tree and wedge face on the root, as well as the shroud end features, to be machined in one hit without tolerance build-up. Traditionally, due to clamp interference, multiple operations are required. A novel turbine-blade fixture incorporating four gripper inserts has been designed by NCMT that, once adhesive has been applied and cured, holds a blade securely by one side of the aerofoil.

Tests have shown that the clamping force produced by the fixture can easily withstand the requirements of machining. Material removal rate actually exceeded that achieved when the blade was clamped mechanically, as here the pressure had to be limited to avoid component distortion and marking. Other advantages of Blue Photon clamping include good damping properties to suppress chatter, reduced cost of fixtures for holding complex parts and the elimination of locating lugs on castings.