Manufacturing’s thirst for increased production of higher precision parts will never be completely quenched, but multi-tasking machines – those that perform different metalworking operations to process a part of raw material into a desired final shape and size without manual intervention – take a large step closer to that ideal. The capability of completely processing a part in a single setup improves part quality and accelerates manufacturing throughput to such a degree that it directly impacts shop capacity, floor space, personnel and profitability. When one machine can produce quantities of higher quality parts than were previously made using two or three different machines, a noticeable reduction in idle time, work-in-process and material handling is realized. Less floor space and fewer employees are required in a streamlining of production that can translate dramatically lower operating expenses into improved profit margins – an absolute necessity for shops that must react quicker and more flexibly to market demands for increasingly complex parts in smaller batch sizes.
Multi-Tasking Changes Everything
Shops are meeting the rising demand for high-mix/low-volume strategies by using innovative multi-tasking machines to fully optimize processes that encompass everything from the moment raw material enters into a shop up to the date the final part gets shipped.
As multi-tasking technology changes the way parts are manufactured, a variety of machine configurations are available that offer a wide and diverse selection of capabilities for addressing different part geometries with varying degrees of complexity. Here are some of them:
Hybrid Multi-Tasking Expands the Part Processing Envelope
By combining a high-speed additive system and programmable welding automation with full 5-axis machining capabilities, the VC-500A/5X AM HWD multi-tasking machine from Mazak generates exceptionally precise sealing coatings, near-net shape part features, and can repair costly complex impellers, turbine blades, and tool and die parts.
High Precision Multi-Tasking Takes a Turn
To machine difficult, high-hardness materials with extremely high accuracy, the rugged Nakamura-Tome SC-300IIMYB multi-tasking turning center from Methods Machine Tools uses an extremely rigid turret for powerful cuts and fast machining that increases capacity.
Multiple Machining Processes Complete Complex Parts in One Operation
The MS40-8 multi-spindle automatic lathe from INDEX performs off-center drilling, thread cutting, inclined drilling, cross drilling, contour milling, hobbing, bevel gear cutting, multi-edge turning and more to completely process even very complex automotive, fastener, connector and aerospace parts in one setup.
Multi-Tasking on Hold: Clamp Two Parts with One Vice
For more efficient clamping that generates a measurable increase in productivity on 3-axis and 5-axis machines, a new center jaw for the GARANT Xpent 5-axis vice from Hoffmann can be fit to the base rail to clamp two workpieces with only one vice and process them in a single operation.
Lights-Out Multi-Tasking with 5-Axis Hybrid Machining/Grinding
Vertex Hybrid G 5-axis vertical machining/grinding centers from Mitsui Seiki provide CMM-level precision in critical high speed milling and grinding applications for lights-out machining of die and mold, optical and tooling components.
Large Format Multi-Tasking: 3D Metal Printing with Hybrid Machining
The LENS Controlled Atmosphere Hybrid System from Optomec supports building, repairing, coating and finishing of metal parts up to 860 mm in size with 5-axis strategies that combine additive and subtractive operations in a single tool path.
Multi-Tasking Machining of Complex Geometries in Hard Solid Materials
For small batch size production of automotive parts, fittings, pneumatics, hydraulics and other precision parts, PC multi-spindle automatics from Schütte deliver turning, tapping, mill cutting, polygon cutting, eccentric drilling and rear-side machining operations in one setup.
Multi-Tasking Machining Reduces Lot Sizes of Complex Part Production
For six-sided complete machining of complex parts in volumes from one to 100,000, highly flexible Stama MT 733 series vertical spindle mill-turn centers from Chiron achieve process stability that can further reduce lot sizes through certainty the first part produced is usable.
Complex Micro-Manufacturing with Multi-Tasking Machining
To cost-effectively meet the increasing demand for complex micro-size parts made of hard materials, the Bumotec s191FTLR 7-axis turn-mill from Starrag combines grinding, milling, turning, drilling and polishing processes without interruption.
Multi-Tasking with a Low Cost of Entry
Fabricators can easily switch from strictly 2D laser cutting to punch-laser processing with the economical, compact and automation-friendly TruMatic 1000 fiber combination punch-laser machine from TRUMPF.
GWS Tool Group Announces Acquisition of STF Precision (STF)
The acquisition of STF Precision enhances the GWS product portfolio and capabilities in the area of PCD and CBN solutions and further expands the GWS manufacturing presence into the Carolinas.
Amid Challenges, Majority of Metalformers Predict Little Change in Economic Activity
U.S and Canadian incoming orders expected to remain steady, according to the latest barometer reading from the Precision Metalforming Association.