Originally Published MPMN
Twin ATC System Simplifies Machining
Nakamura-Tome’s Super NTMX B-axis system has two ATC magazines, one on the right and one on the left.
It used to be that standard multitasking turning and milling systems consisted of a magazine in the back that traveled with the axis spindle as it moved from left to right. The machines picked a tool from a random selection that could then be used on the left or right side, depending on the complexity of the part being manufactured. In complex tooling programs, that configuration made it difficult for operators to know whether their tool offset was on the left or the right. But Nakamura-Tome has set out to remedy that problem, creating a machine with dual 24-tool automatic tool changer magazines that the company says simplifies complex multitasking machining.
Imported exclusively by Methods Machine Tools Inc., the Super NTMX twin-ATC B-axis system features two segregated sides, with 24 tools capable of working on the left spindle and 24 separate tools working on the right. “What’s unique about this system is the way it is broken down to be independent on the left and the right and also independent on the lower part from the turning component,” explains Richard Parenteau, director of application development at Methods Machine Tools. “Other machines out there can do all the same things, but they do it in one head.”
The machine includes two ATC magazines, offering a maximum capacity of 48 tools. Its left and right spindles achieve speeds up to 5000 rpm at 15/10 hp and feature a 6-in. chuck and 2-in. bar capacity. A tool spindle achieves speeds up to 12,000 rpm at 10/5 hp. “The medical application, we feel, is very strong because of the system’s ability to drill, turn, thread, bore, or groove complex parts, with true five-axis control being achieved via a Fanuc 31iA5 processor,” Parenteau says. “In the medical field, whether you’re looking at prototyping or complex parts being manufactured, you’ve got full capability with the machine’s B axis on top to do any contoured shape you want.”
Nakamura pioneered the two-change approach, marketing a true opposing twin-spindle machine in 1986, according to Parenteau. “Although that system’s left-hand and right-hand turret and spindle could not travel from either side, its simple approach was a stepping stone for customers to get into multitasking. “It was like two independent single-spindle machines in one platform.”
The breakthrough represented by the machining center is not so much in the design itself but in its simplicity, Parenteau concludes. “We wanted to enable people that lack familiarity with complex multitasking technology to do what they can do, learn what they can learn, become more comfortable with the machine, and still have the capability to go to the extreme levels, if that’s what they want to do.Methods Machine Tools Inc.
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