The business of making precision parts demands constant attention – to schedules, to standards, to systems and technologies for designing, programming, cutting, turning, and all the intermediate and supplemental steps and procedures. There is a steady flow of new technology and product releases, updates and improvements that machine operators, programmers and shop owners and managers must know about. Here’s the list that caught our eyes this week, for programming, setting up, cutting, and so on.
Get-A-Grip multi-axis workholding will not distort, deform the workpiece
AMT INNOVATIONS’ new workholding product, Get-A-Grip® has a “cutting-edge triangular dovetail” design that will not distort or deform the workpiece. The dovetail provides three, evenly spaced radial-force vectors for superior gripping. Through carefully developed triangular contact geometry, it reportedly eliminates the need for an indexing pen. The novel internal clamping geometry reduces material preparation area and can be strategically placed where the finished part may have a pocket which greatly reduces secondary operations.
Get-A-Grip “revolutionizes traditional workholding products for multi-axis CNC machining,” according to the developer. Stainless steel materials and innovative design elements bring flexibility and time-saving advantages that will result in a dramatic increase in production and profits.
Multiple product options allow users to apply this technology to palletized four-axis horizontal CNC mills with tombstones, five-axis CNC machines, as well as CMM fixtures. Machine shops without four- or five-axis capabilities will gain the many advantages for common three-axis CNC machining work or two-axis CNC turning.
The recommended maximum workpiece is 5x5x5 in. for Get-A-Grip® Size 1.000 when using a single fixture. It is possible to hold a larger workpiece when using multiple fixtures. Learn more www.amtinnovations.com
Upgrade CNC machines for high-speed high-speed micro-machining, cost effectively
BIG KAISER introduced its RBX12 Air Power Spindle, a high-speed air-driven spindle that achieves variable rotational speed of 100,000-120,000 RPM. It makes it possible for machines to be upgraded cost-effectively to perform high-speed micro-machining in a normal machining center because the tool is driven by air supplied through a stop block, or through the machine spindle. Since there is no rotation of the machining center spindle required, your expensive machine tool spindle can be used without wear.
Operating at such high speeds helps to improve machining accuracy, enhance surface finish, significantly lengthen tool life, as well as reduce wear on the cutting tool since it will be running at the speeds intended.
High-speed operation also means that processing time can be reduced. In various trials, the RBX12 was able to reduce machining time by more than 300% because of higher rotational speed.
Due to its ceramic ball bearings and ultra-precise collet system, the runout accuracy of the RBX12 enables ultra-thin wall cutting. The AA-grade Mega Micro Collet guarantees 1-micron runout at the collet nose, and the 0.004-in. collapsibility assures a near-perfect concentric clamping of a micro-tool shank.
The RBX12 also minimizes thermal displacement in the Z-axis for top precision – constant at <0.001mm, while a standard machining center spindles have up to 0.012mm. Learn more at www.us.bigkaiser.com
External LED provides visual status of pusher position, amount of bar remaining, more
The new Tracer Vs-105XL bar feeder available from CNC INDEXING & FEEDING TECHNOLOGIES is designed for heavy bars: It can handle bars up to 4-1/8 in. (105 mm) diameter, up to 72 in. long. The magazine rack has a maximum capacity of five bars.
The patented external LED light bar provides a visual status of pusher position, amount of bar remaining, notification of last bar, and flashing notification of machine or bar feeder alarms.
The operator-friendly, touch screen HMI display contains automatic system settings and a moveable hand-held remote controller for convenience during operation. The quick-change pusher is easily changed manually without any tools.
A top-cut optical sensor precisely measures each bar’s length and automatically adjusts. The standard rail retract system allows the bar feeder to move back and away from the CNC lathe at a 45° angle for convenient spindle liner changes and access to the machine’s headstock area for ease of maintenance. The Vs-105XL’s PLC control is fully functional with comprehensive data bank software and perfectly interfaces with any CNC lathe. Learn more at www.CNCIndexing.com
Upgrade Existing Equipment … no drive cards necessary
KME CNC's workholding tombstones are designed to help machine shops increase productivity by accomplishing five-axis work on their existing equipment. The five-axis wireless tombstone is designed to convert four-axis horizontal machines to five-axis operation by allowing the operator to present multiple five-axis parts to the spindle — in a single set-up. The workholding tombstone is cast in meehanite with billet aluminum covers. It connects wirelessly to the CNC controls via RF frequency.
It can be installed on existing equipment with no drive cards and/or upgrades necessary; the only thing required is a RS-232 port and available M-Code on the CNC machine. It can be programmed directly through g-code.
KME CNC noted the design has 300 ft/lbs of torque on each platter; no backlash for 10,000 hours of continuous use; and is capable of having eight total indexing platters on a single tombstone. Watch a video, or learn more at www.kmecnc.com
New sinker EDMs offer power, precision and speed for even larger workpieces
MAKINO expanded its lineup of EDNC-Series sinker electric-discharge machines (EDM) — the EDNC10, EDNC15 and EDNC20 — designed to combine power, speed, and precision in large work envelopes, and to accommodate, heavy workpieces while still producing delicate, fine features with high accuracy and exceptional surface finish.
“Many large-commodity sinker EDMs will see a significant performance drop-off in accuracy, surface finish and machine speed when compared to standard-size sinker EDM machines. The Makino EDNC-Series machines overcome these challenges with key technologies that achieve small-sinker EDM performance on a large-platform machine,” according to Brian Pfluger, Makino’s EDM product line manager.
The new machine includes Makino’s
The design of the large EDNC machines also features: HyperCut technology, a new generator function that increases power levels without requiring additional reduction on the electrode; the Hyper-i control system, which streamline and simplify the machine interface so that operators of all skill levels can achieve the most efficient results; SuperSpark IV, an advanced adaptive control technology that optimizes the machining discharge power and electrode jump motions during roughing and finishing; optional Makino proprietary High-Quality Surface Finish™ (HQSF) technology; and the HS-Rib Z-Axis configuration that reduces rough machining speeds of small electrodes, such as plastic injection tooling ribs or pin gate details, and provides enhanced jump speeds of up to 20m/min that can reduce machining times by up to 60 percent. Learn more at www.makino.com
Expanded machining flexibility; increased emphasis on speed and automation
MASTERCAM X9 Mill offers expanded machining flexibility and an increased emphasis on speed and automation. 2D High Speed Toolpaths, 3D enhancements, and Multiaxis features combine with dozens of additional new enhancements in a package intended to improve shop floor productivity. Some of the most significant highlights and new functionality are:
2D High Speed Toolpaths — Mastercam X9 supports generic Radial Chip Thinning in a number of applicable Mill and Mill 3D toolpaths, making it easier to program efficient feeds and speeds while maintaining targeted chip thickness.
3D Enhancements — Surface High Speed Hybrid now supports dedicated flat processing, making Hybrid even more intelligent and efficient. Mastercam X9 introduces new containment boundary options for better control over your tool tip and actual tool contact point. Surface High Speed Finishing toolpaths now support two ways to treat your containment boundaries for more control over your motion. Also, the efficiency of the 3D HST Rest Roughing Linking has been improved.
Multiaxis Improvements — The new Multiaxis Link operation ensures reposition moves between 2- through 5-axis operations are safe and collision-free. Mastercam X9 introduces improved processing logic for advanced multiaxis toolpaths. Select multiaxis toolpaths now process in the Multi-Threading Manager, streamlining your 2- through 5-axis workflow experience. Learn more at www.mastercam.com
Better ‘associativity’ for more efficient set-up, selection, program storage
SmartCAMcnc released of SmartCAM® v2016 — the latest version of its CAM platform for software toolpath modeling and CNC programming (milling, turning, fabrication and wire EDM), for prismatic production work through to complex molds, dies, and prototypes. SmartCAM v2016 delivers a “substantially updated Knowledge-Base Machining (KBM) Library,” as well as improvements to the user interface and to the core milling functionality.
The improved KBM library supports storing and re-use of tooling and operation settings, increasing the efficiency with which new programs can be created using proven and repeatable processes. This ensures consistent and accurate CNC methodologies are used throughout the manufacturing facility.
The associativity feature of the KBM Library allows jobs that use library definitions to be quickly updated to the most current definitions.
Several improvements to the SmartCAM v2016 user interface have been included to make it easier and more intuitive to learn and use. The SmartCAM List View, a key component of the interface, now displays model data in a "tree structure" that is expandable and collapsible. CAD and CAM model elements can now be shown using this hierarchical list, which is convenient for viewing as much or as little detail of the model as needed.
A number of improvements have been made to the SmartCAM mill roughing processes. The Group Pocket process now supports separate pocket and island groups, including support for multi-level nested pockets and islands. Also added to Group Pocket, the Part Offset and Morph-path type options can be used to produce smoothed, continuous-tangent toolpaths that are suitable for high speed milling (HSM) techniques. Learn more at www.SmartCAMcnc.com
An ideal balance of hardness and toughness, plus tool life increases of up to 50%
WALTER introduced its Prototyp Advance line of solid carbide milling tools for universal application, consisting of six cutter types and 250 line items, each providing an ideal balance of hardness and toughness for the widest possible application, plus long tool life (increases of up to 50%) thanks to the Advance line’s new high-performance WJ30TF grade and Walter’s own TiAIN coating.
Walter’s Advance line tools are well suited to machining a wide array of materials (ISO material groups P, M, K and S) and can help reduce inventory costs as well.
The cost-effective Advance line features standard geometries of 30° and 45° helix angles and comes in two main tool configurations, the shoulder mill and the shoulder/slot mill. The universal shoulder mill category consists of the MC111 milling cutter with a 30° helix angle and four cutting edges; the MC112 30° with four cutting edges; and the MC122 45°with four to eight cutting edges.
The Advance shoulder/slot mill category consists of the MC213 30° with two to four cutting edges; the MC216 30° with two or three cutting edges; and the MC322 45° with four cutting edges. Learn more at www.walter-tools.com/us
This week's most eye-catching new products and technologies for machine shops and manufacturers.
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