Lamb Technicon Machining Systems Div., Unova Inc.Warren, Mich.BOA Line-Boring Machine

In machine tools the R&D struggle is to advance productivity, accuracy, and flexibility with technology. That's the way Lamb approached the design of new equipment for the consecutive machining of bores of the same diameter (such as crankshaft bores). The functional goal was to be able to machine distinct parts with varying bore sizes and bore locations without the need for changeover or retooling, says Philip Szuba, manager of research and new-product development. The BOA is the result -- a more flexible, cost-effective successor to conventional dedicated designs. It makes possible the small-batch processing of multiple parts that would otherwise be produced on separate, individual machines. Szuba says the design is capable of producing bores where the length is up to 30 times the diameter of the bore being machined. Users will not only save time and money, but also gain precision and accuracy as a result of a computer-controlled Smart Tool System. Its laser tracking and navigation system can change the cutting insert location 1,000 times per second -- approximately 30 times per revolution. The machine also has an advanced droop-compensation feature that minimizes the deflection of the tool caused by long overhang. Another departure from conventional practice is the inverted spindle and feed axis. That allows the tool changer to be mounted directly below the spindle, eliminating the need for a complicated rotary design. The machine is capable of changing the bore size (25 mm to 75 mm) as well as location within a 250-mm-by-250-mm work zone via CNC programming. The spindle speed and bore depth also are programmable. Szuba says initial applications for BOA will be in the automotive-powertrain market, but opportunities also exist wherever precision-bored and aligned holes are required. John Teresko, John Sheridan, Tim Stevens, Doug Bartholomew, Patricia Panchak, Tonya Vinas, Samuel Greengard, Kristin Ohlson, and Barbara Schmitz contributed to this article.

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