Five axis portal milling machine

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Zimmermann has introduced the FZU/FZP42 machine line for heavy machining.

The new line offers users efficient 5-axis portal milling machines for heavy workpiece machining. These improved machines feature a thermo-symmetrical design, incorporating a centrally-guided Z-slide. This construction, as well as the guide layout, increases machine stability, while also saving weight – resulting in a more dynamic, productive and energy-efficient machine, Zimmermann says.

“We have developed suitable machine designs for light processing, such as composite materials or aluminum used in aerospace, as well as for highly dynamic heavy machining,” says Cornelius Kiesel, president at Zimmermann Inc. in Detroit, the U.S. operation of F. Zimmermann in Germany.

While further developing its machine portfolio in the last several months, heavy machining for automotive, other transportation and off-highway are gaining an even higher priority in the company’s market targets. At the same time, Zimmermann is on the cutting-edge in its traditional segments, says Frieder Gaenzle, CEO of F. Zimmermann.  “We are focusing less on classic heavy machining, using large tools and high material removal rates per cut. Instead, the FZU/FZP42 model range provides tool and mold makers with a 5-axis system for highly complex components, which enables more dynamic milling of free-form surfaces.”

Dynamic heavy machining is precisely the challenge in this new market segment. Because the more difficult it is to process the materials, the higher the requirements for rigidity in the machine, Kiesel further notes. Weighting in at several tons on average, the machines are quite massive. How can this massive design deliver great dynamics, so that users can work even more productively?

“Our machines mill out contours with a maximum speed of 60 m/min and may accelerate with 3 m/s2, if needed. “This resembles a motorcyclist, accelerating in a curve to run it more dynamically,” says Kiesel. Despite the acceleration, the machines must be able achieve very high accuracy as well as high-quality surfaces. “This connection of dynamics and heavy machining may be compared to a truck, loaded with stones, performing in a Formula 1 race,” Kiesel muses. 

In order to achieve this result, Zimmermann is setting up its complete machine portfolio thermo(load)-symmetrically. This occurs because changing ambient temperatures, as well as processing temperatures, inevitably influence machine geometry featuring a portal design. The idea behind a thermo-symmetrical design is based on the ability to substantially absorb incurring thermal influences, achieved by the design of the machine structure itself. Considering this factor, Zimmermann engineering has designed and arranged the machine structure and drive unit components and guides, as well as other components responsible for accuracy, for all machines in this newly developed portfolio.  In this way, the machine structure may expand in directions that are non-critical.

The centrally guided Z-slide of the portal in double-bridge construction has a large cross-section which makes it especially stable. Using this design, Zimmermann achieves a very high degree of rigidity. Since there is no possible one-sided temperature rise, accuracy is greatly increased, as well. With this structural design, the machine manufacturer constructively reduces the effects of error-inducing variables to a minimum. Due to the fact that less leverage forces apply in comparison to a serial design with a classic guide layout, Zimmermann has increased rigidity of the FZU/FZP, without having to increase the cross- sections of the components. Because less mass needs to be moved, the machine works faster and more dynamically. “Moving less mass also requires less energy.  This results in clear cost benefits”, states Kiesel. Additionally, the thermo-symmetrical design makes it possible to omit complex cooling circuits, which also has a positive impact on cost reduction.

By offering the new FZU/FZP42 machine lines, Zimmermann seeks to gain a better foothold in heavy machining. For a long time, the machine manufacturer only occasionally sold systems in this market segment. This has changed following these new developments.  “We are already seeing the first successes in the market, says Kiesel. “We were able to sell three ‘heavy’ machines in the first quarter alone.” The company’s customers are equally convinced about the technical data and the price-performance ratio. “A particular customer only wanted to purchase one of our machines for post-processing, since they were already using a heavy machining system provided by a competitor. During the discussions, they then spontaneously decided on a second machine from Zimmermann,” notes Kiesel.

More information here.

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