MAG advances machining

  • 11-Aug-2008 10:31 EDT
Fadal 6535.jpg

As shown by the artwork on its skin, the Fadal 6535 vertical machining center is used to make parts for the Boeing 787.

MAG had no shortage of new or updated products to display at the Westec show in Los Angeles, including the Freedom NC200 Infimatic control.

"MAG has gotten into the control business again through attrition, through a lot of the companies that we’ve acquired," said Gerald Turner, one of the company’s sales managers manning MAG’s Westec booth. "We’ve got a completely fresh new platform for CNC control. It’s very easy to maintain, with a lot of very simple componentry. We’ve eliminated in the control a lot of the moving parts like hard drives and fans, trying to make it as solid-state as possible so it is more durable in the work environment."

The Freedom NC200 is being launched on the company’s Fadal FX line of machining centers first and then to other brands. Westec was the first show at which Infimatic was available, with shipments of machines equipped with the system to have begun in June, according to Turner. At Westec, MAG displayed an Infimatic-equipped Fadal 4020 FX that was to be beta-tested by a local customer.

Designed specifically for metal-cutting machine tool applications, the Infimatic Freedom NC200 is a digital control with three highly intuitive navigation choices. The control is compatible with standard G Codes as well as part programs that have been created for Fadal CNC controls.

Infimatic’s Freedom NC Portal is an interface for seamless integration of software from GibbsCAM, NextEngine, Renishaw, or other sources whose technologies complement the core functionality of the CNC. Complete with advanced 3-D graphics, the NC200 comes with integrated GibbsSFP, the control-resident version of GibbsCAM that includes time-saving drilling, contouring, and pocketing routines. Engineered for maximum reliability in a contract-shop or production-floor environment, the Freedom NC200 features fanless cooling, diskless data storage, advanced protection circuitry, all surface-mount circuit board construction, a water-resistant panel, and a distributed architecture platform that enables electrical cabinet optimization.

On the hardware side, a MAG product brand new to the show this year, and one that is being rolled out, is the Fadal CF Vertical MC, which is a rugged, heavy-duty, 50-taper line of machining centers. A standard Fadal machining center, explained Turner, is a three-axis machine with x and y movement on a saddle, along with a vertical z axis. "With this machine, we have [something like] a boring mill concept on the y axis where the table moves in y axes into the spindle, and then the vertical spindle [acts as] a traveling column where you have x and z in the column and y on the table that moves inward toward the part." The advantage of that configuration is having bigger, heavier parts on the table. "You get more flexibility because you’re not trying to carry the whole weight of the part around with you," said Turner.

The Fadal CF Vertical MC is being beta-tested and will be out later this year, Turner said. "We use linear rails with a cast frame, so we have a lot of damping. A lot of strong, heavy cuts can be done with this machine tool. It’s very robust."

The company offers a complete line of solutions geared specifically for the aerospace industry, including cutting tools. It has been working with Boeing Phantom Works and other parties on titanium cutting, according to Turner. One cutter, a brazed carbide flute used by Magellan Aerospace, has reduced by about 40% the cycle time on a titanium linkage for the A380 landing gear, Turner said. MAG has exclusive rights on cutting tools from a Birmingham, England, company (he would not reveal its name) with which it has been working to develop new solutions.

"Every tool is special based on the process that’s required for the machining of it," Turner explained. "So it’s not just the tool; it’s the entire process. MAG Maintenance Technologies has been getting more involved in this area of total productivity solutions provider for our customers. How can we help you take your existing equipment and get more throughput off that machine tool. And tooling is one way."

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Boeing and Airbus forecast a worldwide demand for up to 40,000 new aircraft over the next two decades. With a 10-year production backlog and new aircrafts increasingly counting on lightweight composites, manufacturing companies are developing advanced sandwich-structure composite solutions to fill the production gap.

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