Production Machining

MAY 2018

Production Machining - Your access to the precision machining industrial buyer.

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shops to set thrust levels according to workpiece material and shape to eliminate the risk of part damage while simul- taneously providing safe and secure holding and support. Or, shops can adjust thrust settings on the fly while tailstocks are engaged, allowing for drilling, boring and honing opera- tions that would otherwise involve tools in the machine's tool turret. So, tailstocks with such operational capability, in turn, open up positions in machine tool turrets. As an increasing number of shops face longer, larger and more complex shaft-type workpieces, multitasking machines can offer extended bed lengths teamed up with innovations such as long drill/tool stockers. ese machines significantly boost processing speed and efficiency for those challenging parts. For deep-hole operations, long-tool stockers allow machines to handle and store multiple tools—typically as many as three, with each about 40 inches in length. Stockers are located above the machine's second spindle or, depending on machine version, its tailstock to keep tools well out of the way, yet quickly and easily accessible. Applied in Medical Applications One shop is taking advantage of the benefits of multitasking machining—eliminating manual operations and increasing overall throughput—in the production of its most challenging parts. Lowell Inc. is a medical contract manufacturer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, specializing in implantable devices such as orthopedic implants for the spinal, trauma and extremity markets and cardiovascular parts for mechanical circulatory support and valve repair. ese typically very complex multi-component assemblies, such as pedicle screws, cervical plates, cross connectors and left ventricular assist devices (LVAD), are almost all multiple-piece systems in which individual components must function properly when combined with each other. Designs vary from customer to customer, so basically every job at Lowell is a custom one. e demand for customization and adjustability, along with smaller devices for minimally invasive surgery, presents notable machining challenges. Once the shop figures out how to hold these small parts, it must then machine tiny, intricate, highly complex features into them, regularly using cutting tools smaller than 1 mm in diameter. To handle these challenging parts, Lowell installed three Mazak Integrex i-150 multitasking machines, grouped in a cell configuration. e machines provide complete part processing capability in a single setup to eliminate manual operations and increase overall throughput. ey simplify workholding to only collets and chucks; easily handle parts that vary from one customer to the next; and, in many instances, reduce part machining cycle times. Each Integrex i-150 features a C-axis CNC-controlled turning spindle, vertical B-axis milling spindle and backworking vice/part support center for turning, multi-face, multi-angle and full five-axis contouring. Lowell opted for the high-speed, 20,000-rpm milling spindles and 72-tool-capacity front-loading magazines for its machines as well. Milling spindles tilt from -10 degrees to +190 degrees, and C-axis chucks feature ample through-holes that accom- modate barstock diameters as large as 2.56 inches. For off-centerline operations, the machines deliver Y-axis ranges of ±3.94 inches. Axis travels of 14.57 inches in X, 17.13 inches in Z and 15.75-inch diameter maximum swing allow the machines to process a range of part sizes and shapes, all within a 91.3-inch by 99.6-inch footprint. With the three machines configured identically and arranged near one another, machinists can easily move from machine to machine without having to learn a completely different machine or programming language. On the Mazaks, Lowell generates practically all parts from barstock 0.375 inch to 1.250 inches in diameter. LNS Quick Load Servo 65 bar feeders automatically feed 40-inch-long bars into the machines. e shop chose several machine options that further enhance machine performance. ese include coolant chillers, scales on all axes and advanced CNC control features for high-speed machining. e machines have helped to streamline the entire part machining process, including programming and setup. e part processing versatility and improved throughput allow the shop to continue expanding into new applications. Defense Takes a Turn, Too Another shop, LCP Machine Inc. of Bunnell, Florida, is a Tier II and III supplier in aerospace and defense as well as Tier I in oil and gas. It currently processes more than 200 different individual jobs per month, with quantities that range from one to 10,000 pieces. Some jobs repeat, but mostly they are unique. e company has 14 Mazak machines, the most recent ones being a Quick Turn Nexus (QTN) 350-II MSY multi- tasking machine and some Vertical Center Universal (VCU) 400 5X and 300 5X full five-axis vertical machining centers. e multitasking machine features milling and Y-axis capabilities as well as a second turning spindle to process each of LCP's parts in a single setup. Other machines on the floor include multitasking QTNs with milling capabilities, three-axis Vertical Center Nexus (VCN)vertical machining centers and a VCN Compact vertical machining center. LCP makes most of its parts from aluminum, stainless and nickel alloys, along with brass, copper and several common types of plastics. Parts measure anywhere from 0.030 inch to 18 MULTITASKING 38 PRODUCTION MACHINING :: MAY 2018

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