HS10/HS20 laser encoders from Renishaw (Hoffman Estates, IL) allow Flow International Corporation’s Composite Machining Center (CMC) to machine 40-meter-long composite parts. With the precision of a laser interferometer, the encoder and its RCU10 real-time compensation unit deliver part-per-million positioning accuracy on the CMC’s X-axis.

Flow’s CMC can be configured as a midrail gantry or dual travelling column machine. The gantry design carries two rams on a single gantry, with a 5-axis wrist on each ram — one for ultra-high-pressure water jet cutting and one for conventional high-speed routing. The modular CMC is available in standard X-axis lengths of 6 to 50 m, as well as custom sizes.

With a rack and pinion drive on each side of its gantry, the CMC uses split X-axis feedback with a laser on each side, working as a master and slave for positioning. The CMC also uses a Renishaw RMP60 touch probe for locating the part during setup and confirming finished dimensions after machining.

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Aerospace & Defense Technology Magazine

This article first appeared in the June, 2014 issue of Aerospace & Defense Technology Magazine.

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