Multitasking machines = increased efficiency, better quality

Building parts faster is the mantra of manufacturers and workshops around the world. And the IMTS exhibitors at the Metal Removal pavilion are more than knowledgeable about the directive.

Okuma’s Laser X 800V machine combines five-axis subtractive capabilities with laser metal deposition technology.

Chicago’s massive McCormick Place is home to some 200 metal processing equipment suppliers, specializing in everything from additive measurements to Zoller measurement units. Demonstrations throughout the pavilion will focus on one-and-done setups using machines with myriad capabilities.

Reducing setups means doing more with each setup, and that’s precisely where multitasking machines fit in. These versatile units combine cutting with turning, milling, drilling, tapping, deep boring, hobbing, beveling, broaching, grinding and surface preparation. Meanwhile, so-called hybrid multitasking machines can add laser welding, friction stir welding, additive and hot wire welding capabilities. No time is wasted moving parts between workstations, freeing up operators to perform other tasks.

“IMTS 2022 embodies the concept of multitasking, as there is no better way to learn about several new technologies than a visit to McCormick Place,” said Peter Eelman, Director of Experience, IMTS. Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), which manages IMTS.

LoadMatePlus machine maintenance robot cell and Mitsui Seiki KT420L milling/drilling/tapping center automation cell.

The future of multitasking

Adoption of hybrid systems will accelerate as large manufacturers design parts that require internal structures, predicted Jim Kosmala, vice president of engineering and technology, Okuma America Corp., Charlotte, NC. This will inevitably happen because mechanical engineers understand the strength, weight, and performance advantages of additive designs.

Okuma’s offerings include the MU-8000V Laser Ex super multitasking CNC machine that combines five-axis subtractive capabilities with laser metal deposition technology for AM, hardening and coating of part blanks, many of which are multitasking.

It’s not just the big companies. Small stores can also benefit from the integrated subtractive and additive technology, said Greg Papke, vice president of sales and marketing for Mazak North America’s Advantec Division, Florence, Ky. “Small stores are gravitating towards their first robots and CNC multitasking to increase productivity, reduce setups, reduce programming time and eliminate redundant operations.”

Mazak is showcasing its new Syncrex Swiss-Style machine at booth 338300 in the Metal Removal pavilion. Syncrex machines, available in four-bar capacities ranging from 20mm to 38mm, are available in seven-, eight-, and nine-axis configurations. A nine-axis model with full B-axis contouring is also available. The machines are equipped with Mazak’s Mazatrol Smooth CNC control, which allows for quick and easy job setups, according to Mazak Corp. President Dan Janka. The company’s Swiss Set-up Assist and Dynamic Chip Control features also help reduce setup times and parts production.

make profit

One of the prerequisites for efficiency is that the machines actually work – and that’s the only way companies can make money. “Manufacturers need to keep production going and spindles running regardless of business challenges,” said Gunther Schnitzer, president of Hermle USA Inc. of Franklin, Wis. The company’s IMTS demonstrations at booth 339119 will focus on CNC systems with built-in or automation-ready automation. machines that allow fewer people to produce more parts. That includes combo systems that can handle fixtures as well as raw materials, Schnitzer said.

Hermle will be showcasing CNC machining centers including the C 250 which offers five-axis production, as well as a wide part swivel range, full travel range exploitation and the large collision circle between the table sections. The C 250 has the largest working surface around the installation area and is designed for daily use.

Hermle will show a C 250 equipped with the new TNC7 control from Heidenhain Corp, based in Schaumburg, Illinois. The unit is described as intuitive, task-oriented and customizable. It supports users from initial design to final machining, from one-off jobs to mass production, and from simple grooving to complex contours. The control platform allows machine manufacturers to adapt the user interface to their machines.

Okuma’s open-architecture OSP CNC control provides comprehensive, centralized data in an easy-to-use interface.

Precision takes flight

Meeting a product launch date is essential for any project. But when you work with NASA, the launches are even more critical and literal.

Just ask Mitsui Seiki USA Inc., Franklin Lakes, NJ, who helped manufacture critical components on the James Webb Space Telescope. “Our machines cut the beryllium mirror segments for the JWST,” noted COO Bill Malanche. Mitsui’s booth (338700) will highlight the company’s contribution to the mission.

Mitsui Seiki will also showcase its vertical machining centers, including the PJ812 for machining medical, optical, electric vehicle, critical and aerospace molds and dies. For smaller parts, the company will introduce the PJ 303X, which is a five-axis machining center capable of processing 20 kg parts measuring up to 230 mm in height and 280 mm in diameter. The IMTS model will be equipped with a Renishaw spindle probe and a Dynavision vision system.

The Flexible Pallet Tower automates the pallet change process. It has a configurable height storage from 2 to 4 levels for up to 24 pallets, also allowing two loading heights in one system.

Practical experience

Nathan Turner, president of Fastems LLC in West Chester, Ohio, is eagerly awaiting the return of an in-person event where visitors can ask questions, touch machinery and even build a room. “People can see the benefits of automation and learn more about how it can help them optimize their manufacturing operations.”

Visitors can find Fastems at booth 339186, where the company will be showcasing the FPT flexible pallet tower. The machine is described as a compact automation solution for automatic pallet changers and five-axis machining centers with pallets from 300 to 630 mm. A library of machine interfaces allows plug-and-play installation for over 90 brands of machine tools. The FPT is controlled by Fastems manufacturing management software version 8 which provides a single view user interface with drag and drop production order for FIFO and order based production planning mode with integration Optional ERP.


Absolute Machine Tools Inc., Lorain, Ohio, and Productive Robotics are showcasing a line of collaborative robots at Absolute’s booth (338519). To allow attendees to better understand how easy it is to use and integrate these robots into manufacturing processes, a space will be designated for visitors to learn about collaborative robots.

“Productive robotics systems, such as the OB7 line of cobots, support Absolute Machine Tools’ commitment to providing affordable, easy-to-use automation solutions to all sizes of manufacturers and enable workforce development. work they currently employ,” said Courtney Ortner, director of marketing for Absolute Machine Tools.

Absolute Machine will also be partnering with Mitsubishi Electric Automation (MEA), Vernon Hills, Illinois, to introduce the LoadMate Plus robotic machine maintenance cell. Co-designed and built by the partners to bridge the gap between collaborative robots and industrial robot automation cells, the LoadMate Plus cell can handle payloads of 20 kg with reach lengths of up to 1388 mm. The machine maintenance robot cell will be demonstrated with the Absolute Machine Tools Seiki KT-420L CNC milling/drilling/tapping center.


GF Machining Solutions LLC, Lincolnshire, Illinois, will be showcasing its EDM technology at booth 338329. Products on display include the CUT X 500, which offers step accuracy as low as 1.0 µm, and CUT P wire EDM machines. 350 Pro for generation precision parts.

Rounding out GF Machining’s range of live demonstrations, an automated cell includes its high-speed 400 U mill and the Form P 350, a die-sinking EDM unit. Each can include a Fanuc robot. The machines feature the company’s Uniqua human-machine interface, which has more than 600 pre-programmed cutting processes. The stand will also showcase System 3R’s modular WorkPartner 1+ pallet connected to a LASER P 400 U laser texturing machine from GF Machining.

GED with AI

Using artificial intelligence (AI) adaptive control technology, the new SV12P and SG12 die sinking EDMs from Mitsubishi EDM/MC Machinery, Elgin, Ill., reduce power consumption and eliminate guesswork when estimating the machining time. Proprietary AI technology uses condition monitoring data logically. For example, these new machines can diagnose problems in real time within the engraving and directly modify specific parameters for stable and precise output.

Because the technology analyzes current sensor data to determine optimal conditions, it reduces overall electrode wear and costs. By monitoring these parameters, the machine operates more efficiently and can more accurately predict machining times, according to Mitsubishi EDM/MC. At IMTS, the SV12P will be equipped with the Erowa Robot Compact 80 milling and sinking automation. Spectators can visit the company at stand 338129.

Drilling Medical Devices

According to Unisig GmbH, Menomonee Falls, Wis., gun drilling can make “impossible holes possible” for complex medical devices. The Unisig UNE6-2i, which includes two independent high-speed spindles and integrated automation available on board, is proof of this. The machine’s high precision allows it to drill hole diameters from 0.03 to 0.25″ (0.8 to 6 mm) and depth to diameter ratios from 20:1 to over 100:1 in workpieces up to 11 lb (5 kg).With a total drill speed of 28,000 rpm and a flow-based cooling system of 3,000 psi (207 bar), the UNE6-2i combines process control outstanding with an intuitive smart control interface, the company said. Visitors can find the company at booth 339159.

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