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Canadians head to Germany for new machining innovations

A visit to DMG’s Pfronten, Germany, facility makes it clear that the resurgence in manufacturing is not just wishful thinking but a reality.

More than 5000 manufacturers from Canada, the US and Europe attended the annual week-long event at the Pfronten manufacturing facility, one of five German manufacturing plants that DMG operates in that country. Several manufacturers Shop Metalworking Technology spoke with, including a representative from Magna in Canada and others from European countries, had already purchased or were in the midst of purchasing new machines tools, noting that the machines were necessary so they could meet growing orders.

Among the 12 Canadian companies represented at the event was Redrox Industrial Inc. based in Mississauga, ON. Owner Dusan Micic started the company five years ago as a custom machine shop specializing in five axis milling for the aerospace, medical and optical industries. The company operates two simultaneous five axis DMG machines and is considering a third some time in the future to accommodate its growing business.

“I have a good relationship with the people at DMG. When I needed help with the machines they have been there with service. So when I began to look for my second five axis machine it was an easy decision to go with another DMG machine. I like the DMG machines because I can achieve very high tolerances and I have never had an issue with quality and in my business tighter tolerances and quality are very important.”

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Dusan Micic, Redrox Industrial, standing in front of the DMG machine he purchased.

While there were many machines to suit the needs of varied manufacturing operations - from low volume/high mix custom shops to high production operations - the over-arching theme was improving productivity and flexible automation. This was especially the case with the “world premieres” which included 17 new machines from DMG and 6 new machines from Mori Seiki.  The companies joined forces in 2010 and operate as DMG/Mori Seiki in most of the world, although in Canada the companies continue to function as separate entities.

Indeed, Eike Huebner, director for DMG Americas, cites several examples of new machines that made their debut at the event that combine multiple machining functions in one machine for faster, more efficient machining.

“The DMC 65 monoBlock with pallet changer is a full five axis trunnion style milling machine with turning capabilities and some smaller shops are now looking at these types of machines because while one part is being machined, the operator can set up the other parts on a pallet and this improves productivity for shops; this seems to be a growing trend - installing machines that offer shops the option to improve productivity.”

Machine tool outlook

Neither DMG or Mori Seiki are expecting significant growth for 2012, nonetheless, Dr. Ruediger Kapitza, chairman of the board for Gildemeister AG and Dr. Masahiko Mori, president of Mori Seiki Co. Ltd., do predict some growth for both companies.

While the two companies continue to operate as separate entities in Canada, in most parts of the world they have integrated the businesses and operate as DMG/Mori Seiki.

“DMG is a very strong manufacturer in European countries and we are strong in Japan,” noted Mori during a press conference. “We are in the process of completing a new factory in Davis, CA, and will start production at the end of July this year. Our target is to make 80 machines a month and will start with the production of HMCs designed by Mori Seiki and next year we will produce the DMU machines for the American market.”

Mori also noted that the joint venture company is working well and has seen “very good results. Mori Seiki is selling close to 600 machines a year from DMG and DMG is selling a similar number of our products and I’m quite confident we can double joint sales.”

 

Flexible machining: milling, drilling and tapping

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MillTap 700

Several machines had their “world premieres” at the event, including the new MillTap 700, a high speed vertical milling and drill tap centre machine designed for small to medium sized component machining. The machine is the first new development from DMG/Mori Seiki (the two companies joined forces in 2010 to create the new company) that combines technologies from both machine tool builders.

The compact machine - the width is 30 per cent smaller than the same types of machines from other manufacturers - features long travels of 700 mm x 420 mm x 380 mm ( in. x in. x in. ), a 25 kW spindle motor and 10,000 rpm rotational speed (optional 24,000 rpm). A high speed tool changer with a 1.1 second exchange time and chip-to-chip time of less than 1.5 seconds means more efficient tooling flow. The fast machine has 15 optional 25 magazine pockets and rapid traverse speeds of 60 m/min in all axes, reducing idle times while improving production efficiency.

During a press conference at the DMG Pfronten event, Dr. Masahiko Mori, president of Mori Seiki Co. Ltd., referred to the new DMG/Mori Seiki machine as “our baby.”

Designed for automotive and electronic production environments, Mori says the company is “quite confident this machine will become popular.” Indeed, the company has already sold some of the machines, which will be produced in Germany and in one of Mori Seiki’s Japanese plants and shipped out to different parts of the world.

 

Going linear: 25% productivity improvement

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DMC 60 H linear

A technology that caught the attention of many visitors was linear technology featured on the new generation DMC 60 H linear and the DMU 80 eVo. Part of the appeal of the technology is the precision and speed it offers in the machining process.

On the DMC 60 H linear, the linear drives allow for acceleration of 1 g and speeds of up to 100 m/min (328 ft/min). One of the highlights of this machine is the 2.2 sec chip-to-chip time with the tool magazine and the ability to perform five axis machining with a swivel rotary table. One of the common themes with many of the machines is flexibility. For instance, on the DMC 60 H linear, a travelling column enables traverse paths of 630 mm, 800 mm and 850 mm (24 in., 31 in. and 33 in.) in the X, Y and Z axis directions.

 

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DMU 60 eVo linear.

The DMU 60 eVo linear has ball screws with 50 m/min (146 ft/min) rapid traverse and is also available as a dynamic version with linear drives in X and Y axis with a rapid traverse of 80 m/min (262 ft/min). The spindle speeds range from 14,000 to 24,000 rpm. Various expansion stages like a pallet changer or tool magazine with up to 120 pockets expand the scope of application.

20% increase in feedrates on 4 axis HMC

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NHX5500/NHX6300

The NHX5500 and NHX6300 are the newest members of Mori Seiki's NHX series of four axis HMCs. Both models are equipped with an SK50 spindle and improvements in the design have resulted in increased feed rates of up to 60 m/min, a 20 per cent increase compared to previous models. Both also feature a fast pallet indexing time (90 degree) of 1.49 seconds and positioning accuracy in the micron range because of the torque drive in the B axis. The machines features linear slideways in the X and Z axes and Mori Seiki's DCG III technology--a symmetrical arrangement of the drives as close as possible to the centre of gravity of the moving parts. Spindle stability is achieved with the use of 1 120 mm inner bearing diameter, which increases spindle rigidity by 15 per cent.

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