Builders face constant pressure to deliver equipment that can reduce machining times and labor costs. Customers look to these builders to find ways to increase productivity so they can successfully compete in the global economy. An approach to help reduce cycle times is one-pass machining, which eliminates the time and expense of refixturing parts for secondary processing and eliminates inaccuracies that can occur when parts are refixtured.
Maier Swiss-style CNC turning centers, available from Methods Machine Tools Inc. (Sudbury, Massachusetts), are designed for one-hit machining of complex small and medium-sized precision parts, complete in a single setup. With 6,000- or 8,000-rpm, 5- and 7.5-hp main spindles and 3.5-hp subspindles, the Maier ML ProLine machines offer simultaneous turning with two or three tools and are capable of secondary machining (milling, drilling and angle drilling) using a 2-hp front spindle. Three independent carriages provide automatic placement and facilitate complex machining combinations. Available in five configurations ranging from four axes with up to 11 tools to 12 axes with up to 36 tools, the CNC Swiss machines can accommodate barstock up to 32 mm in diameter.
The design philosophy for the ML series is based on technology of scale—it was designed with a focus on the most important features and the most common machining requirements. This design is reflected in the competitive pricing as well, as many extras are eliminated, providing a machine with price and performance in good balance. The practical design with modular construction allows for a tailor-made machine configuration to suit the production requirements and the capability to upgrade as the need arises.
The continuous development of the machines in the ML range has brought a number of machining features for high-precision parts. Six variations of machines are available. Series A and B, designed for relatively simple components, feature four or five axes and up to 14 tool positions. The C and C2 Series universal machines are designed for parts of higher complexity and faster cycle times. These machines feature seven axes and up to 19 tool positions (eight live tool positions). The D Series brings nine axes and up to 18 tool positions (12 live tool positions). The E Series offers 12 axes and up to 36 tool positions (26 live tool positions).
The ProLine machines are available with a range of toolholder accessories for a variety of machining tasks, including operations such as polygonal turning and external and internal thread whirling. The eight-station turret with Y and B axes allows for three-dimensional milling. Three independent toolpath systems allow for complex machining combinations and complete machining, while three tools work simultaneously to reduce the cycle time.
The stiffness of the machine helps to provide high dimensional accuracy. The machine base is made of polymeric concrete for precision, high surface finish and reduction of day-to-day machine operation costs. Low vibration results in high dimensional accuracy, and minimal thermal expansion with high dampening characteristics add to the machine’s production quality. The design of the machine with a range of movable parts helps to ensure that the machine can cope with the high demands of hard, tough materials. The rugged slides, guideways, ballscrews and tension-free Mechanite casting have a positive effect on precision and tool life.
Advanced tooling technology is employed to integrate the modular design of the machines and the machining of new materials. A quick-change tooling system designed for front and backworking attachments accommodates thread whirling, polygon turning and forming, 90-degree live tool heads, angular adjustable drilling/milling units, customer-specific tooling systems such as WTO or NM micro tooling and parts separation and support for long parts.
Dynamic servodrives with low mass drag factor are used to help achieve the shortest cycle times possible, even on complex parts. Idle times are reduced to a minimum because of rapid movements up to 32 m/min within 5-mm stroke. Coordination of the Fanuc CNC and the Maier machine software provide productivity compatible with cam-operated automatics.
Maier software combines with the Fanuc control for efficient operation and reduced production time and costs. The control software is designed to ease programming and setup with features such as customer-specific macros, no-wait synchronization, Windows interface for various applications, direct Ethernet connection and integration to remove diagnostic and remote servicing. Tool breakage control is available for all axes.
The ML ProLine machines are available with a high pressure coolant system up to 2,030 psi. An attachment is available for part separation of long parts. The chip conveyor can be designed to the customer’s requirements. Maier works with leading manufacturers of automatic bar loading equipment to provide quality equipment to fit the customer’s needs. The company also offers turnkey solutions, including handling systems for single-part loading and unloading.
For reduced machining times and higher productivity, the ML ProLine series offers the one-pass modular machining concept. The modular system allows adaptations of the machining process for the customer’s specific parts spectrum as well as special requirements. Project teams are also available to assist customers in technical solutions for special requirements.