Makino recently introduced a “right-sized” 5-axis horizontal machining center for complex aluminum aerospace parts. As North American aerospace manufacturing grows more complex and demanding, the new a61nx-5E offers a novel and appropriately sized design for small components that involve 3-D contours, without compromising the spindle performance or 5-axis capabilities of larger aerospace machines.

 “The a61nx-5E features the same robust design and proven reliability of our smaller nx-Series horizontal machining centers, but with the added speed and performance of our larger MAG-Series machines,” stated David Ward, Makino horizontal product line manager.

“This machine differentiates itself from other similar 5-axis horizontal platforms with an innovative pallet-change system, advanced twin-direct-drive rotary table design, and availability of a high-power 24,000-rpm spindle,” Ward continued. “The result is a highly productive, right-sized solution that can provide up to 310 cubic inches of metal removal per minute.”

The a61nx-5E provides enhanced rigidity through a three-point bed casting and tiered column structure. It has X-, Y- and Z-axis travels of 730 mm (28.7 inches), 730 mm and 680 mm (26.8 inches), respectively. Linear acceleration is 1G on the X- and Y-axes, and 0.8 in the Z-axis.

The direct-drive rotary tables on the new machine improve operators’ access to all sides of a part, especially when using shorter tools—yielding improved performance and accuracy.

A closed-loop thermal management extracts heat generated by the large direct-drive rotary table motors, ensuring system reliability and accuracy.

Also, the a61nx-5E use the same tool magazines as Makino’s nx-Series machines, with a ring-style ATC60 as standard. Optional matrix magazines with capacities of 133, 218 or 313 are available.

The a61nx-5E is supplied with a standard 14,000-rpm spindle with 240 Nm of duty-rated torque and 30 kW of duty-rated output. According to Makino, the configuration is ideal for premium job shops that need a 5-axis platform to machine a wide variety of materials. Other spindle configurations include an optional ,14,000-rpm high-torque version and a 20,000-rpm spindle for those manufacturers that need slightly more speed.

For high-performance operations handling high-volume aluminum machining, the a61nx-5E has the option for the new 24,000-rpm high-performance core-cooled spindle. This spindle provides up to 80 kW of duty-rated (60 kW continuous) output, delivering four to five times more metal removal per minute than typical high-speed spindles, the machine builder explained, and offering superior finishing feed rates. This high-speed spindle brings the aluminum roughing and finishing capabilities that are typically associated with Makino’s much larger machines into a smaller platform, enabling cycle-time reductions of 45% to 50% in complex parts (when compared to a typical 20,000-rpm high-speed spindle).

The a61nx-5E’s innovative pallet changer eliminates material-handling challenges by enabling operator-friendly part loading and unloading via a 45-degree pivot point that transfers pallets from a vertical to horizontal orientation. The loading height is an ergonomically friendly 32 inches off of the floor, improving safety at the loading station. Workpiece limitations are a generous 600 mm (23.62 inches) by 385 mm (15.15 inches), accommodating easy crane clearance through the doors. For customers wishing to add automation to their 5-axis machining, this unique pallet-change system is fully compatible with the Makino MMC-R robotic fixture plate distribution system.