Turning heads in Germany
- April 17, 2019
Index Traub 2019 Open House showcases the latest in turning technologies
CNC turning machine manufacturer Index Traub held its 2019 Open House March 26-29. The event has been steadily building momentum, and this year it drew some 2500 attendees from customers (existing and prospective), suppliers, business and technology partners and the trade press, including Shop Metalworking Technology Magazine – several hundred more than were expected.
The agenda featured guided tours of the company’s facilities in and around Esslingen, Germany, near Stuttgart. Attendees got an up-close look at how Index Traub’s machine tools are built, following the process from raw metal blocks to the final touches on completed machines. The company took attendees on guided tours of its plants in Esslingen and nearby Reichenbach and Deizisau. In addition to the plant tours, a large live exhibition area featured more than 20 different Index Traub systems in action, including multi-spindle automatic lathes, bush-type mills for precision machining, and the new generation of G series turn mill centres. Some exhibits featured systems fitted with supporting technologies from partners such as Renishaw and Fanuc, while almost 30 other partners were present with their own booths.
One of the highlights was the 23 ton, 15 m2 (161 sq. ft.) footprint G420 turn-mill centre, first introduced last fall. The G420 is designed for the complete machining of large workpieces, which is especially important in industries such as aerospace, automotive and machinery engineering, where component reliability is critical.
The company’s popular C200 automatic production lathe has received a major redesign. It and the C100 have been paired with the Index Traub iXcenter robotic cell, which features a vertical pallet storage system and supports fully automated operation. Customers can now specify a range of custom features and systems when ordering one of these machines, such as the specific measuring system they want fitted.
The new Index B400 universal lathe was on display with its modular design and new counter spindle, along with the new generation Traub TNA400 CNC universal turning machine, now available with counter spindle. The B400 and TNA400 are virtually identical systems, the only difference being that the B400 houses a Siemens CNC control while the TNA400 has the Mitsubishi based TX8i-s. Index Traub says the 500 series of both models will be coming in time for this year’s EMO exhibition in Hannover in September.
Index Traub unveiled new features in its cloud-based iXworld Industry 4.0 platform, which offers customer support across the entire process chain, from pre-purchase information gathering to the gathering and cloud-based analysis of condition and operating data, to parts and service ordering. Now, Index Traub says, raw materials can be ordered through the iXshop portal, in addition to all products required to run Index and Traub machines. And for the first time, complementary items can also be ordered. The first two partners to offer complementary items are Hainbuch (clamping technology) and Balluff (industrial sensors). Index Traub says more will soon be added.
Tony Seccombe, president of Toronto based machine tool distributor Mitcham Machine Tools, was on hand along with regional sales manager Kevin Seccombe. One of Mitcham’s customers – Patrick Gaudette, president of Accuratech Machining Inc. of Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec – also came to Esslingen to get a better look at what Index Traub is all about.
Accuratech is a 14-employee shop specializing in the turning and milling of multi-purpose series parts for industrial and commercial customers. The company has 16 CNC turning machines, many of them from Okuma. Gaudette says that last year he decided to take a look at German machines, ultimately leading to the purchase of a twin spindle C200.
“For a small shop like us it was a really big investment,” Gaudette says. “There’s good support from the Quebec and federal governments to help small businesses make these kinds of investments, and everything came together for us at the right time.”
A year later, Gaudette says the purchase was an excellent choice. “The accuracy, the speed, the variety of jobs it can do – I’m really happy with the machine. I’d say we can go 20-30 per cent faster. And on some jobs we can leave it running overnight, for 12 to 13 hours, even though we don’t have an overnight shift. But the main factor for us is the design of the bed. It’s vertical, so the chips fall right down onto the chip conveyor.”
Before coming to Germany, Gaudette lifted the C200’s cover to see what needed to be cleaned out, and he says it was still as clean as new. “Yes, the machine is more expensive, but in the long term it’s going to stay like that, like new after 10, 12, 14 years.”
Gaudette knows Index Traub’s machines well enough that he didn’t really need to come to Esslingen to find out anything more. But he did want to get a look at how the machines are built. And he says he’s so pleased with his first Index Traub machine that he might even become a repeat customer, “maybe in a year or two.”