Technologies Of The Year -- Mazak Integrex E1060v

The multi-tasking machine tool combines the turning capabilities of a vertical turning lathe with the milling and machining capabilities of a five-axis machining center.

Meeting the process flow goals of lean manufacturing usually stresses how production equipment is arranged. Machine tool builder Mazak Corp. emphasizes another factor -- the equipment and its multi-tasking capability. Consider how much flow could be improved if one machine could do the work of two, asks Florence, Ky.-based Brian Papke, president of the U.S. operations of Japan's Yamazaki Mazak Corp. As an example Papke cites the company's Integrex e1060V, a machine tool that combines the turning capabilities of a vertical turning lathe with the milling and machining capabilities of a five-axis machining center. The design intent is to reduce the number of machines necessary to make large complex parts to one. Papke says the biggest immediate impact of the e1060V will be on aerospace, heavy equipment, energy service industries and other sectors that manufacture large, complex parts requiring both brute force for heavy-duty machining and precise five-axis contouring and finishing. Savings in cycle time and reductions in part handling and non-value-added time are dependent on the part configuration and manufacturing systems used, adds Papke. Fewer machines mean fewer tools, operators and all the means necessary to move parts between machines. Parts themselves are inherently more accurate as one set of fixtures and one machine tool reduce errors and tolerance stackups due to multiple setups. Spindle speed is 10,000 rpm, and a 40-tool magazine is standard. Overall cycle time is reduced as a result of eliminating the nonvalue-added activities of multiple setups, locating tools and moving parts to machines. Multi-tasking machines also reduce work-in-process, the piles of parts that accumulate between operations on the factory floor, adds Papke. Because smaller lot sizes become more practical, the temptation to produce just-in-case inventory is minimized. Producing large complex parts that require turning and five-axis positioning and contouring usually means using a combination of vertical turning lathes, horizontal machining centers, vertical machining centers and in some cases radial arm drill presses, explains Papke. Setting up the part in each machine not only takes significant amounts of time, it introduces variations that must be corrected and compensated for. Controlling part manufacturing in one machine with a single set of fixtures can greatly reduce the possibility of rework and scrap while holding tighter part tolerances. Throughput increases with higher utilization of the spindles. Papke says the more complex the part the customer has to make, the more benefits accrue from using the e1060V. To accommodate the greater consolidation of productivity in each machine, Mazak includes features to assure availability. One example is the communications capability of the machine's eTower, which works with Mazak's Fusion 640 controller. Even off-site cell phone communication is possible. An interactive digital camera facilitates remote visual checks of production and maintenance status. Papke says the e1060V is another milestone toward the "super digital" all-in-one machine tool that the company expects to be building in 2019 when it celebrates its 100 year anniversary. The specs would have simultaneous five-axis control, spindle speeds of 100,000 rpm, an automatic toolchanger synchronized with spindle speed and precise positioning by laser. That machine tool would accomplish such tasks as turning, milling and grinding of inner and outside diameters, laser hardening and in-process gaging all in a single setup. With that enhanced capability, Papke predicts smaller plant floors and a new significance for the "right" operator training. Ironically, he also notes that, overall, fewer machines will be sold.

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