Metal-Spinning Machines

MJC Engineering (Huntington Beach, CA) is a custom machine tool builder that specializes in metal-spinning machines for such applications as sheet spinning, flow forming, wheel spinning and rotary forging. Recently, the company built a series of metal-spinning machines for GKN that are producing lip skins for the engine housings on Boeing 777X and 737MAX aircraft. It uses advanced CNC from Siemens and robotic handling technology, plus its proprietary servopump-controlled Green Power™ hydraulic power unit that saves up to 40% on energy.

In operation, the machine takes the overhead crane-loaded 270” diameter blank, fixes it to the tailstock of the machine and rotates it on a 150HP motor-driven spindle, then progressively applies heat via the gas torch on the robot arm. Raytek thermal imaging cameras closely monitor the heat readings over the entire surface to create multiple control cones. When inconsistencies are detected, the heat is appropriately adjusted in real time by the controllers. The heated material is then formed over the mandrel into the desired size, with out-of-round conditions ranging from 8½ to 9” typically. Siemens Simatic S7 PLC technology is included.

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Horizontal Machining Center

Mitsui Seiki's (Franklin Lakes, NJ) HPX63 II 4-axis horizontal machining center, an improved version of the company's proven HPX63 unit, features a 70-percent-faster rapid feed rate of 54 m/min that produces shorter cycle times, and a 14 percent reduction in shop floor footprint (now 5,554 mm × 3,530 mm) to maximize manufacturing facility space. Capable of machining workpieces as large as 1,050 mm × 1,050 mm (diameter x height), the HPX63 II machining center is engineered to process medium-size precision parts. Pallet size is 630 mm square and maximum table load is 1,200 kg. Positioning accuracy and repeatability are +/- 0.001 mm (one micron).

X-, Y-, and Z-axis strokes are 1,000 mm, 800 mm, and 900 mm respectively. An 18.5/15 kW (30 min./continuous) spindle utilizes ISO 7/24 50-taper tooling and provides rotation speeds from 15 rpm - 6,000 rpm as well as 600 Nm maximum torque. The B-axis rotary table offers high torque and acceleration. A 60-pocket automatic tool changer accommodates tools up to 500 mm long and 125 mm in diameter (265 mm diameter without adjacent tools), weighing up to 25 kg.

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Servo-Electric and Sheet Hydroforming Presses

Beckwood Press Company (St. Louis, MO) a manufacturer of hydraulic and servo-electric presses, automation systems, and the Triform line of specialty forming equipment, recently showcased their latest innovations in precision forming technology with two new presses.

The first machine, a 4,000 lbf (2 ton) EVOx servo-electric press, is ideal for light-duty applications requiring high precision, cleanliness, and efficiency. Featuring three modes of operation, the press can achieve positional accuracy to within +/-0.0005”. The data acquisition system records key performance metrics at a rate of 1000 samples per second.

The second machine, a Triform model 610-20-3 deep draw sheet hydroforming press, is designed for low-volume, high-mix part production. The pressurized rubber diaphragm easily forms complex net-shaped parts over a single, un-mated tool while diaphragm pressure and punch position are tightly controlled (to 1% of full scale and +/-0.002” respectively). The proprietary “In-Sight” tool easily develops the perfect recipe for any deep drawn part.

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Automation Cell

INDEX (Noblesville, IN) has announced that the iXcenter automation cell is now available with its C Series of highly productive turning centers. Docked to the machine and easily slid aside to enable unobstructed access to the work area, iXcenter supports fully automatic machine operation and flexibly manages raw material and finished parts.

iXcenter features a space-saving vertical storage system with up to 22 stacked pallets measuring 600 mm × 400 mm. Pallets are loaded with blanks at the top of the system, while pallets with finished parts can be removed at the bottom. Downstream processes such as cleaning, measuring, deburring and more can also be integrated directly into the cell. The system's 6-axis robot can handle materials and parts to a maximum weight of 6 kg.

INDEX's C Series of machines includes the C100 and C200, which respectively accommodate bar stock of 42 mm and 65 mm or 90 mm. These production turning centers feature two or three turrets to offer extremely high efficiency and complete machining of complex parts. The machines can optionally apply two Y axes to the main spindle or one Y axis on both the main and counter spindles, allowing cycle times of complex operations to be minimized.

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Microwave Rotary Joint

A dual-channel Ka-band microwave rotary joint designed by Link Microtek (Hampshire, UK) is playing a crucial role in a new stabilized antenna platform developed by Italian firm ADS International S.r.l. (Annone di Brianza LC, Italy) for high-end satcom-on-the-move (SOTM) applications. Typically mounted on vehicles for either commercial or military use, the new ADS system features a low-profile radome that houses a 4-port, wideband flat-panel waveguide-array antenna together with ancillary hardware. The dual circular polarization system operates at 19.2-21.2GHz in Rx and 29-31GHz in Tx.

Key to operation of the ADS antenna system are two Link Microtek rotary joints – one for azimuth and one for elevation – which enable RF signals to be fed from the static side of the system to its rotating side. The central transmit channel of each rotary joint is implemented in WR28 waveguide and delivers up to 50W of microwave power (CW) over the frequency range 29 to 31GHz with an insertion loss of just 0.5dB and a VSWR of 1.3:1.

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Roughness and Contour Measurement System

Mahr Inc. (Providence, RI) announced the addition of the variable-drive MarSurf VD series, which enables roughness and contour measurements to be performed on the same machine. The operator can easily and quickly change between a high-precision roughness probe system or a highly dynamic contour probe system, depending on the measuring task.

The drive units of the MarSurf VD series move the probe with positioning speeds of up to 200 mm/s, making surface measurements up to 40 times faster than predecessors. All Z-axis columns on the MarSurf VD series are fully CNC-capable with fast positioning speeds of 50 mm/s. It is available in drive unit sizes of 140 mm and an industry-first 280 mm to allow for the measurement of applications that were previously impossible.

The VD Series features a large mounting plate with 50 mm bore pattern, 60 mm Y adjustment, and Z-axis of 350 mm or 600 mm. All probe arms feature a quick-change magnetic mount to ensure the fastest changeover time, as well as extra security allowing the probe to “break away” in the event of an accidental collision.

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