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5-Axis VMC for Machining Turbine Blades

The Vertex 550-5XB vertical machining center from Mitsui Seiki USA incorporates a proven spindle configuration that is ideally suited to cut hard titanium and stainless steel grades designed for aerospace and power generation turbine blades.


Mitsui Seiki USA, Inc. (Franklin Lakes, NJ) has developed a specially-designed, 5-axis CNC vertical machining center for the production of turbine blades from forgings, castings, bar stock, or solid billets of titanium and stainless steel.

According to the company, several customers provided design criteria, including a reasonable capital cost per part, small machine footprint, the ability to rough and finish parts in competitive cycle times, and improved part accuracy and surface finish. “In other words,” says Tom Dolan, the vice president of Mitsui Seiki, “the total machining center package had to be smaller, faster, more accurate than what they had been using – all at an affordable price.”

After about 18 months in development, the new Vertex 550-5XB machine is the result. Key specifications include a footprint of approximately 65 sq ft, an X, Y, Z working envelope of 550 mm x 600 mm x 500 mm, and rapid traverse rates in all linear axes of 48 m/min. A and B axes are represented in a rotating/tilting table. A-axis tilts from +45/– 90 deg angles, and the B-axis features infinite positioning points.

The engineering of the rotary axes offers a new, non-traditional approach, which Dolan says enhances manual and automatic load/unload operations, such as the integration of a robot and cellular manufacturing capability. Further, Mitsui Seiki has incorporated its proven spindle configuration in the new Vertex 550-5XB, ideally suited to cut hard titanium and stainless steel grades. It also is directed by the latest and most advanced Fanuc control system.

Mitsui Seiki builds rigid and ultra precise metal cutting and grinding machines. The Vertex 550-5XB’s geometric accuracy is carefully monitored in the tightest temperature-controlled factory environment in the world. The machine features a cast bed which provides an ultra rigid machine structure.

A unique “box in a box” design provides superior rigidity and stiffness that typically is not available in a machine of this size. All guide way mounting surfaces are hand-scraped, achieving very high volumetric accuracies, which would be impossible to achieve on surfaces that are simply machined and/or ground. This engineering and construction concept, coupled with a newly designed machine, provides users with competitive advantages over traditional, similar purpose machines.


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