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Checker Club meeting comes to order

Nov. 1, 2004
Event proves fun and beneficial for all involved.

Event proves fun and beneficial for all involved.

Next to the latest in manufacturing technologies and equipment, AMERICAN MACHINIST'S Checker Club drew quite a bit of attention at IMTS 2004. Thousands of show attendees took part in the event that had them on a "scavenger hunt" of sorts for various custom-made checkers manufactured by Club-member companies distributing them at their booths. The hunt was not only fun but informative. In addition to a checker, participants walked away with a better understanding of innovative manufacturing solutions offered by each Club member.

After collecting a complete set of checkers, participants returned to the AMERICANMACHINIST booth where they received an official Checker Club playing board, walked through a CribMaster Accu-Port system that determined if they were eligible for a drawing, and voted on their favorite checkers. Voting categories included best design, most comprehensive explanation of manufacturing methods, most innovative concept, and more.

Of all the votes cast, the clear winner was Hydromat Inc, St. Louis, which combined bronze and stainless steel into a checker that also commemorated the company's 25th anniversary. Those polled commented on both the checker's aesthetics and its quick cycle time — the checker was made on the show floor in just 15 sec. They were also impressed by Hydromat's detailed explanation of how the checker was produced on the company's Epic R/T 32/45-16 rotary-transfer machine.

"We entered the Club to win with an attractive checker made in the fastest cycle time possible," comments Bruno Schmitter, president and CEO of Hydromat. "And of course, to show off Hydromat's capabilities and its flexible, high-speed machines. I think we accomplished that. Our machines ran at 10 3 the speed a single-spindle machine would have to complete such a part."

So if Hydromat took home the gold in every category, what companies were the silver and bronze award winners? Again, a select group of builders dominated the competition:

Most eye-catching design
Silver (Tie): Daewoo and Mazak Bronze: Makino

Best explanation of checker-manufacturing process
Silver: Mori Seiki Bronze: Mazak

All-around favorite
Silver: Mazak Bronze (Tie): Daewoo and Mori Seiki

Most worth collecting
Silver: Mazak Bronze: Daewoo

Best concept
Silver: Mori Seiki Bronze: Mazak

Best use of special materials
Silver: Daewoo Bronze (Tie): Mori Seiki, Mazak, and Okuma

Out of all Checker Club participants who collected a complete checker set, there were three winners of a special drawing. The prizes were $100 American Express gift certificates awarded to Edward Duke, manufacturing engineer at Wright Medical Technology, Mark Eddy of American Meter Co., and Joshua Johnson, senior manufacturing engineer for Paratech Inc.


Absolute cut the mold cavities for its checker on a Johnford Hi-Net SV-33 high-speed machining center, which cut cavities so precisely there was no need for benchwork.

Due to time constraints and a projected cycle time of 10 min/checker, Checker Club member Absolute Machine of Lorain, Ohio, injection molded its checkers instead of cutting off rough stock on a turning center and milling on a high-speed machining center. Since the mold had enough room, the company added another cavity for two checker versions.

The machine used to cut the cavities was a Johnford Hi-Net SV-33 high-speed machining center specifically for net shape machining of molds and dies. It cut both cavities in about 30 hr so precisely that there was no need for benchwork. A local injection-molding company shot the parts in two days.

With travels measuring 33 3 24 3 24 in. and an all-boxway construction, the SV-33 rapids at 1,181 ipm and cuts at feedrates up to 590 ipm. This demo model sitting in Absolute's showroom features a 24,000-rpm integral spindle with HSK-63A tool interface. It runs on a Fanuc 18iM-B CNC with AI Nano high-precision contour control (HPCC) working in nanometers.

Absolute programmed the cavities with Cam-Tool V-3 software from Graphic Products in Canada. And for machining around the standing letters in the mold, Absolute ran cutters as small as 0.008 in. in diameter from OSG Tap & Die held in HPI shrinkfit holders. The operation took approximately six hr.


Belmont machined the blind-hole patterns on its checkers at the show on a Maxidrill S-26cnc electricaldischargehole-drilling machine.

Checker Club member Belmont of Madison Heights, Ill., made its checker from aluminum barstock. The company first cut off and faced raw checkers on a lathe, burned the checker's design using its CDM 600 CNC sinker EDM, and added a pattern of blind-holes around checker edges with a Maxidrill S-26cnc electrical-discharge hole-drilling machine.

Belmont polished the raw checkers before loading them into a fixture for EDMing. The fixture held 12 checkers, and the machine moved from one to the other burning Belmont's 0.15-in.-deep design in each. The operation took about two min, and one electrode lasted for 12 parts before redressing.

To provide some action at its IMTS booth, Belmont machined the checkers' blind-hole patterns at the show. It used the same 12-part fixture for this operation and then displayed finished checkers on a rotating indexing table.

After collecting Belmont checkers, show attendees had a closer look at the CDM 600, which incorporates four axes of fully integrated motion with a built-in C axis and electrode changer. Its Spazio software lets operators with minimal EDM knowledge create, edit, and fine-tune programs, while Virtual Intelligent Operator monitors cutting conditions and protects against arcing and other undesirable conditions.

Four separate CPUs connected on a high-speed fiberoptic network manage individual tasks such as motion control, PLC functions, spark generation, and graphical user interface. This level of control permits three-axis orbital machining in any direction and simplifies setups and fixturing.

Shops can network the Windows 2000 control and, using a built-in web camera, conduct remote machine supervision or diagnostics.


Chiron's DZ 12K W's twin spindles deliver twice the productivity, and its chain magazine accommodates as many as 48 tools in a small amount of space, allowing enough tools for complex processing and immediate access.
The FZ 08 Magnum VMC from Chiron delivers chip-to-chip times of 1.9 sec, rapid feeds up to 3,000 ipm, 2-G acceleration, and 27,000-rpm spindle speeds.

Checker Club member Chiron of Charlotte, N.C., treated IMTS attendees to special machines for high-speed manufacturing. One was the twin-spindle DZ 12K W VMC and another the FZ 08 Magnum VMC.

The DZ's twin spindles deliver twice the productivity in processing such components as steering gears and pump cases, air-conditioning compressors, electronic power steering, and more. Adding to this is a 2.4-sec chip-to-chip time (1-sec toolchanges) and tool-chain magazine with integrated changer.

The chain magazine accommodates as many as 48 tools up to 2.362 in. in diameter in a small amount of space, allowing enough tools for complex processing and immediate access. During a tool change, spindles stop as both tools are exchanged and then accelerate back to maximum rotation.

For prime-time parallel loading and off-loading, the company integrates the toolchanger with its selflearning Speed Control technology. The combination reduces zero to 180 pivoting time to 1.9 sec for minimized loss of time.

A rugged 4.5-ton mineral machine bed provides damping, rigidity, and motionless counterbalance for the machine's traverse speeds of over 3,500 ipm and up to 2-G acceleration. The dual spindles accommodate HSK-A 50 tooling, and their two primary digital drives generate 51.6 ft-lb of torque and accelerate up to 15,000 rpm.

Reportedly the fastest VMC among comparable milling centers, Chiron's FZ 08 Magnum delivers chipto-chip times of 1.9 sec, rapid feeds up to 3,000 ipm, 2-G acceleration, and 27,000-rpm spindle speeds. Its workpiece change table exchanges workpieces in 2 sec, and Speed-Control technology ensures this time is constant with loads up to 440 lb.

The machine features solid, sturdy construction, high rigidity, thermal stability, and accessibility. It includes integrated transport wheels and easily moves to other spots once it's set up. An optional swivel head adds versatility to the FZ08KS Magnum model. This swivel axis with direct measuring system and range of 20 to +115 moves from zero to 90 in 0.5 sec.

With an NC barfeeding device, the machine offers a cost-effective automation package for milling, turning, and machining of both bar ends. Sporting both barfeeding and the NC swivel head lets the machine produce milled surfaces and holes at every angular position, including outer/inner contours and tapping.

An NC linear unit extends turning capabilities. It moves in an NC turning device with a vertical turning axis, which makes it possible, reportedly for the first time, to machine the sixth side of a part in one setup.

The FZ 08K WM model features a workpiecechanging device with self-learning speed control. It swivels from zero to 180 in 2 sec. While the machine cuts a part on one table side, operators can load/unload parts on the other side without interrupting the machining operation.


A Puma 240 MS horizontal turning center with a subspindle and live tooling made easy work of Daewoo's two checker types.
Daewoo's Puma MX series are dual-spindle, multitasking, mill-turn machines for heavy and interrupted cuts, long-term accuracy, and good surface finishes.

For Checker Club member Daewoo,West Caldwell, N.J., machining its two types of checkers was an easy job as compared to the complex parts customers challenge the company with on a daily basis. The machine that made the job so easy was a Puma 240 MS horizontal turning center with a subspindle and live tooling.

Both Daewoo's round and hex-shaped checkers started as 13/4-in. round barstock. The 240 knurled the round checker O.D.s, milled in the IMTS logo, and cut off the part. It then transferred the part to the subspindle for machining the opposite face. Engraving the checkers involved a small ballnose end mill and C-axis coordinate interpolation. Cycle time for each checker was less than 4 min.

To produce the hex-shaped checkers, the round barstock fed into the 240, which milled the hex and engraved the logo. It then performed a cutoff operation and transferred the part to the subspindle sporting a hex collet for opposite-side work.

In addition to collecting checkers, visitors to Daewoo's booth at IMTS were treated to a showing of the company's Puma MX series mill-turn machines. These dual-spindle, multitasking machines were designed for heavy and interrupted cuts, long-term accuracy, and good surface finishes. The machines' 12-station turning-tool turrets are non-lifting to protect couplings from chips and other contaminants, and they index from station to station in 0.2 sec. Users can mount live or static tools at any station and orient them toward either the main spindle or subspindles.

Live tools get their power from 7.5-hp motors with maximum speeds of 4,000 rpm. Polar coordinate, helical, and cylindrical interpolations are standard. Depending on the particular Puma MX model, either a 25 or 35-hp motor powers spindles up to 5,000 or 3,500 rpm, respectively. Motors are built into machine headstock castings with armatures on spindle O.D.s. This beltless design eliminates backlash, feedback error, and vibration for low maintenance and precision finishes.

Combined B-axis (tilting) and Y-axis milling spindles maximize the number of workpieces that can be machined without using custom rotary toolholders. The machines cut, drill, and tap above or below centerline and mill flats and keyways. They do angular features and provide a solid platform for heavy-duty machining.

Rigid three-piece curvic couplings lock at 15 increments, while hydraulic brake systems provide rigidity in 0.001 increments. Powered by 20-hp motors, milling spindles run at speeds up to 10,000 rpm.

Standard on Puma MXs are 24-pot fixed-station ATCs, with 40 and 80 stations optional. Tool-to-tool changes happen in 1.5 sec.


Darex's V390 sharpener incorporates the same technology found in the company's moreadvanced systems, but with simplified operation.

The XT-3000 sharpener from Darex lets shops sharpen drills without having to depend on a tool and cutter-grinding expert.

While designing and manufacturing its checker, Checker Club member Darex of Ashland, Oreg., realized the importance of high-quality drilling. So to enlighten booth visitors, the company offered five tips on drilling to go along with the checkers.

The first tip is to sharpen drills in-house, which gives shops control over drill-point quality and lets them quickly sharpen drills and get back to work. Keeping sharpening in-house also offers the option of tailoring point geometries to specific applications, which leads to the second tip on drilling — match point geometry to the job. Different jobs call for different point styles, and Darex's fully adjustable sharpening machines create a range of point angles and relief styles to change existing geometries on drills.

Use split-point drill bits is the third tip. These drills self-center, improve hole-drilling tolerances, and reduce cycle times by eliminating center drilling. Darex sharpeners split drill points in seconds.

Lower heat and reduce chatter are the fourth and fifth drilling tips. As heat from drill friction rises, hole quality diminishes. Sharp drills run cool because they make less contact with work surfaces.

According to Darex, chatter is one of the worst enemies of drilling. The smallest amount of chatter causes drills to chip or break. Sharp drills chatter less.

Darex's booth featured several machines for keeping drills sharp and enhancing holedrilling quality. The XT-3000 sharpener, for instance, lets medium to large shops sharpen drills without having a tool-and-cutter-grinding expert on hand, while the XT-300 resharpens a variety of point styles as well as other metalcutting tools. For small to medium shops, Darex's V390 incorporates the same technology found in the company's more-advanced systems, but with simplified operation. This sharpener is wellsuited for intermittent use.


Fortune cut its checkers to size on a Vturn II-26YBCV turning center.

A Vcenter-500HS HMC finish cuts Fortune's checkers.

Checker Club member Fortune of Somerset, N.J., not only showcased the Vturn II-26YBCV turning center and Vcenter-500HS HMC at IMTS, it used the machines to manufacture its checker. The company cut checkers to size on the turning center and then finished them with the HMC.

The Vturn II delivers rapid feeds of 20/24 m/min for X and Y axes riding on box slideways for high rigidity.

A DDS built-in spindle with dual winding motor (like a gearbox) generates high torque and precision surface finishes because there is no vibration transmission. A B-axis subspindle, also DDS, synchronously collects workpieces from the machine's main spindle to ensure collinear accuracy, and chips expel from either the right-hand side or at the rear of the machine.

The Vcenter-500HS delivers high performance and high speed with a DDS spindle and BT-40 tooling, while its counterpart, the Vcenter-500, tackles heavy cutting with BT-50 tooling. Both machines feature highefficiency rotary-style APCs and oversized linear guideways.

To accommodate BT-50 tooling run at low spindle speeds, an integral spindle construction (motor-spindle) with dual-winding technology puts out 48.5 kg-m of torque. For BT-40 or HSKA63 tooling, the company offers high-speed spindle options of 12,000 and 20,000 rpm.

Other options include a CNC table for 0.001 continuous indexing and through-the-spindle coolant that delivers 70 bar of highpressure flow.


Focusing on the latest technologies and services to improve overall equipment effectiveness, GE Fanuc's IMTS booth was geared to help Checker Club collectors and other show participants jump ahead in machine availability, performance, and output quality.

In addition to collecting checkers, show attendees sought out the IMTS Emerging Technology Center sponsored by Checker Club member GE Fanuc Automation,Charlottesville,Va . Focusing on the latest technologies and services to improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), GE Fanuc's booth was geared to help Checker Club collectors and other IMTS participants jump ahead in machine availability, performance, and output quality.

Via product demonstrations and actual application examples, GE Fanuc highlighted three key contributors to OEE — availability, performance, and quality — and how they combine in a best-in-class plant to achieve operational excellence. In addition, the company showcased Proficy machine tool efficiency software, which provides drill-down intelligence at the machine line or cell level and a key measuring tool for plant operations. This software offers connectivity to equipment and delivers detailed reporting on OEE to improve asset use through an understanding of shop-floor dynamics.

To improve OEE, GE Fanuc offered this basic game plan. For increasing availability, shops should consider integrated probing solutions, GE Fanuc's Manual Guide i shop-floor programming tools, Simulator PC software, and Series 30i CNCs to reduce setup time and decrease downtime resulting from equipment breakdowns.

To turbo charge existing shop-floor machine performance, GE Fanuc featured five-axis and high-speed machining, retrofit solutions for existing machines, cycle time reduction up to 40% with its i Adapt adaptive-control software, and additional demos on machine optimization.

For continuous quality improvement, GE Fanuc pinpointed data collection and analysis by demonstrating connectivity to several machines in other IMTS booths and showcasing data collection, analysis, and display capabilities.

In its special automotive area, GE Fanuc combined several OEE-enhancing solutions for plant applications. These combinations included a simulated dial-index control system with a Series 30i CNC with 32 motors and eight spindles; an assembly application suite based on Proficy machine edition software and a PACStyems RX3i programmable automation controller (PAC) with a new motioncontrol module; an autobody-shop application featuring Proficy software with ethernet I/O connections and a PACSystems RX7i; and Proficy change-management software providing backup and restore to CNCs and PLCs.


The Elite II-8/51 model from Hardinge has a 2-in. capacity, 20C collet-ready spindle, while its counterpart, the all-new Elite II-6/42, has a 15/8-in. 16C collet-ready spindle

For its 15/8-in.-diameter 303SE stainless steel checker, Checker Club member Hardinge of Elmira, N.Y., machined on a Quest 8/51 multitasking lathe sporting live tooling, C axis on its main and subspindle, and parts catcher. Kennametal supplied the tooling, and Ugine Stainless and Alloy provided the raw material.

At the start of the checker-making process, the machine pulled the barstock to length, roughed the face, and turned the O.D. A 1-in. end mill roughed out material for the raised Hardinge logo, and a

1/16-in. one finish cut the logo outline. To engrave the company name, Hardinge used a 1/16-in. ballnose end mill.

The machine then finish faced and turned that part side, cut it off, and transferred it to the subspindle. The subspindle also finish faced the part surface and engraved the checker's opposite-side slogan along with decorative spirals.

After collecting checkers, show attendees checked out the several upgrades to Hardinge's Elite 8/51, some of which included a new optional subspindle, X-axis linear glass scales, an increased machine base weight, a new door design, improved operator panel, and a more robust tailstock.

Re-introduced as the Elite II-8/51 model, it has a 2-in. capacity 20C collet-ready spindle, while its counterpart, the all-new Elite II-6/42, has a 15/8-in. 16C collet-ready spindle.

The 16C A2-5 subspindle option features a 5-hp/3.7-kW drive system with speeds up to 6,000 rpm. C-axis threading and rigid tapping are included, while a part sensor is available. Added Harcrete polymer composite in strategically located cavities increases the machine's base weight by more than 1,000 lb.


Kool Grind from Harig maintains cool workpiece temperatures during dry grinding by incorporating either a plate or chuck paired with a selfcontained chiller.

For its EDM indexers, Harig teams its Grind-All No.1 head with System 3R's chucks for two models of dedicated electrode makers.

Harig uses special fineblanking presses and custom tooling to generate parts that are too complex to make accurately by conventional stamping. It also used the process to make its checker.

Fineblanking is Checker Club member Harig's specialty, which is why the process was used to produce the Niles, Ill., company's checker. Special fineblanking presses and custom tooling generate parts that are too complex to make accurately by conventional stamping. These presses — the same that made checkers — also create parts with straight edges showing little or no diebreak, small holes relative to material thickness, thin web sections, and precise flatness.

Harig's fineblanking eliminates costly secondary operations and incorporates coining, semipiercing, drawing, crimping, countersinking, welding projections, extrusion, and bending while using the strength of rolled stock steel, aluminum, copper, brass, bronze, and other alloys. The company offers both fineblanking and stamping services for short and long-run jobs to customers in industries such as automotive, appliance, power tools, hand tools, medical, and more.

In addition to its manufacturing services, Harig produces a line of machine tool accessories. Included are indexing fixtures, 5C-collet fixtures, wheel dressers, grinding between centers, electrode makers, EDM tooling, and other accessories. At IMTS, the company showcased two new items, its Kool Grind system and EDM indexers.

Kool Grind maintains cool workpiece temperatures for dry grinding by incorporating either a plate or chuck paired with a self-contained chiller. Plates and chucks instantly absorb generated heat from workpieces, minus messy external coolant or mist systems.

The system prevents part warping and eliminates downtime from having to wait for parts to cool. Eliminating part warping means shops can leave less grind stock to reduce grindingwheel breakdowns.

System components include a 4 3 4-in. fine-pole plate No. 44 or a 6 3 12-in. electromagnetic fine-pole chuck No.612 paired with the chiller.

For its EDM indexers, Harig teams its Grind-All No.1 head with System 3R's chucks for two models of dedicated electrode makers. The 20MM EDM indexer incorporates System 3R's mini chuck and accepts 20-mm tooling, while the MC EDM indexer has System 3R's MacroCombi chuck.

The marriage of System 3R chucks and Harig grinding fixtures lets shops accurately produce electrodes and easily transfer them between machines. Indexers feature 24 division indexing to ±10 sec and adjustable stops for setting accurate angles between index locations. Units are square and parallel to 0.0001 in. and permit working in tenths. An extended base delivers balance and minimal deflection, and the 20MM has Harig's gear-rack for


Hydromat produced its two-part checkers on an Epic R/T 32/45-16 rotarytransfer machine at a cycle time of 15 sec/checker.

Hydromat of St. Louis didn't take the Checker Club lightly, which is evident in its checker's complexity and 15-sec cycle time. The twopart piece consists of a stainless steel body with a bronze plug in its center, a special knurl pattern, and extensive letter engraving.

The company machined its checkers at the show on a 16-station EPIC R/T 32/45-16 rotary-transfer machine. In the first station, a carbide-tipped saw blade cut off in-feeding barstock. Using such a blade reduced the operation's cycle time from 30 to about 91/2 sec.

Equipped with a special drill sporting an insert for drilling and another for profile boring, station two completed the center holes for the pressed-fit bronze plugs. Hydromat technicians engineered a toolholder that fit the station's two-axis profiling head for this special drill, which eliminated having to use another machine station for boring. The machine also measured finished holes when bronze plugs were inserted, and if the fit wasn't right, it offset the two-axis head to correct the problem.

Bronze plugs, manufactured prior to the show, were pressed in on-the-fly at station three. A cylinder pushed in the plugs and sent signals to the machine's monitoring equipment so Hydromat could adjust the second station's boring bar.

At station four, the 32/45-16 face cut the checker's first side, which included a 30 undercut angle. The company used an extended-stroke recessing head that adapted to the station's two-axis unit and provided sufficient stroke to reach across the checker.

Station five machined a groove and chamfer on the checker's O.D. and face cut its outer edge for the special knurl pattern. Stations six, seven, and eight then engraved the checker. To do this within a reasonable cycle time, Hydromat programmed the machine's six engraving units to skip around following an optimized cutting path.

Station nine cut the checker's knurl pattern, which had to be burr-free with no sharp edges. And when checkers are stacked, these knurl patterns interlock with each other.

To prepare for machining the checker's second side, station 10 removed, inverted, and replaced the checker in the station's collet — locating off its first machined face. Station 11 then cut O.D. grooves and faced for the knurl, and station 12 machined the second side's face. Stations 13, 14, and 15 did engraving, and 16 cut the last knurl.

Hydromat produced about 6,000 checkers, and the longest operation out of the 16 stations, plus table-index time, equaled 15 sec.


Three of the seven new machines Kia showcased at IMTS are the SKT250MS turning center, the VX650 VMC, and the HX630 HMC.

Kia of East Rutherford, N.J., viewed membership in the Checker Club as a special program to not only draw attendees to its booth, but to also promote the company and its products, especially the seven new ones it displayed. These included a tapping center, CNC turning center, multitasking machine, two VMCs, and two HMCs.

The VX380T tapping center rapids at 2,205 ipm and sports a 12,000-rpm spindle with a ramp-up time of 0.6 sec at 1-G acceleration. Its special spindle motor provides rigid tapping.

With a 10-in. main spindle, the SKT250MS turning center features full C axis and live-tooling capabilities. Its 8-in. subspindle handles bars up to 2.55 in. with full C axis. The machine includes the company's heavyduty and high-accuracy BMT65 live-tooling system.

On Kia's multitasking machine, the main spindle measures 10 in. with full C axis, which adds to the X, Y, Z, and B (0.001) axes for five-axis machining. A 43-tool ATC magazine supplies the machine's 8,000-rpm, 25-hp milling spindle with tools. Included is the KM63/C6 two-face-contact tooling system.

The VX650 and Hi-V50D are Kia's latest VMCs. In addition to X, Y travels of 55 3 26 in., the VX650 incorporates high-technology linear-motion guideways that require no lubrication. Its 10,000-rpm spindle features a cooling unit. Dual tables highlight the Hi-V50D, which also features a 10,000 rpm spindle with cooling unit and 30-tool ATC.

In the HMC arena, Kia spotlights the HX400 and HX630. Equipped with boxways, the 400 rapids at 1,575 ipm and boasts a two-step geared-head 12,000-rpm two-face-contact Big Plus spindle. The machine excels in heavy-duty cutting at low rpm with 258 ft-lb of torque.

Rapid traverse speed on the 630 is 1,969 ipm, and machine axes ride on roller guideways. A 2.6-sec toolchange time quickly gets tools to the machine's two-step geared-head two-face-contact Big Plus 8,000-rpm spindle.


For its checker, Makino produced a single-cavity steel mold using an Edge3S sinker EDM.

For its checker, Club member Makino, Mason, Ohio, took a die/mold route to highlight its capabilities for speed and surface finish. The company produced a single-cavity steel mold using an Edge3S sinker EDM. Its checker design choice was the company logo with the Makino name and web address on it.

The Edge3S is well-suited for both entry-level shops as well as high-end ones looking to automate. Its mechanical and servo design provides cycle time jump rates of 393 ipm, and the company's Intelligent Expert System and MGH CNC power supply includes SuperSpark technology. This makes for fast overall machining rates with surface finishes to 2 µin.

X, Y, and Z axes measure 18 3 12 3 12.8 in. with a Z-axis jump speed of 400 ipm. Machine rapid rates are 400 ipm, and its worktable accommodates large parts weighing up to 1,760 lb under a table-top height of 35.6 in. This room allows for electrodes measuring 2 3 5 in. and weighing up to 110 lb.

With the required standard 60-amp power supply and sludge separator, the Edge3S is High-Quality Surface Finish (HQSF) capable. HQSF is Makino's additive-based technology that reportedly improves surface finishes 40% to 50% over conventional sinker EDMs.

Automatic toolchanging on the machine is said to be twice as fast as other small sinker EDMs. The ATC unit stores eight electrodes, and there is an option for 16. In addition, a droptank design with zero fill time and dielectric chiller further enhances how quickly the machine gets back into the cut.

The tank's size is 32 3 22 3 14 in. with a maximum fluid capacity of 106 gallon and maximum fluid height of 11.81 in. Retractable tank walls provide wide access for safe, simple slide-on loading and fast accurate setups. Adjustable tank depth lets users match dielectric fluid level to workpiece size for overall dielectric savings. Other features include an automatic fire extinguisher that protects operators, workpieces, and the machine. A fixed table eliminates dielectric weight shift during machining and improves servo reaction speed and precision. Positioning and repeatability accuracy is ±0.000039 in.


Mazak manufactured its checker using seven different tools, 13 different operations, and a single setup on an Integrex 200-IIISY multitasking machine.

Manufactured using seven different tools, 13 different operations, and a single setup on one machine, the checker from Checker Club member Mazak, Florence, Ky., reflected a message evident throughout the company's IMTS booth: Enhance productivity with multitasking, while providing advanced precision machining.

The aluminum checker, engraved with another predominant theme from the Mazak booth 30 years of American manufacturing was run on an Integrex 200-IIISY. An automatic barfeeder fed stock for the machine's unattended operation. The first two processes featured rough turning on the face and O.D. with an 80 uncoated carbide insert, followed by finish turning on the first side with a 60 diamond-tip threading tool. A knurling tool generated a border on the convex face and around the O.D.

Then, according to Mazak, the most intriguing aspect of the checker's production was engraving "Mazak 30 1974-2004" on the concave side using a 1/16-in. diamond-coated ball end mill. The process involved both the Integrex's advanced turret design and its X, Z, B, and C-axis capabilities for maintaining accurate and consistent depth of cut on a curved surface.

After cutoff and part transfer, the same operations were repeated on the other face, with Mazak's "Done in One" logo engraved on the checker's reverse side. Design, programming, setup, and process prove-out were accomplished at Mazak's Florence, Ky., plant. Complete cycle time was five min and two sec. Overall, the checker's design appears simple, but its production gave the Integrex's advanced-production and control technologies a real workout. The only non-Integrex function was anodizing the checkers for a bright finish.

The Integrex 200IIISY's main turning spindle outputs 30 hp and 5,000 rpm, its second spindle 25 hp with 5,000 rpm, and the upper-turret milling spindle 12,000 rpm. The machine rapids at 1,496 ipm in X, 1,023 ipm in Y, and 1,496 ipm in Z.

All machine spindles have chiller units, all axes use linear guides, and B-axis positioning is accurate to 0.0001 increments, as is C-axis rotary positioning with full clampbrake capability.

Shops can turn shafts on the machine with its NC steadyrest, second spindle, or lower turret for simultaneous turning with the upper turret to reduce throughput time.


Mighty showcased a new Awea line of high-performance bridge and gantry machining centers at IMTS.

In addition to its Viper machining and turning centers, Checker Club member Mighty of Torrance, Calif., showcased a new Awea line of highperformance bridge and gantry machining centers, which further expands the company's offerings.

One of the machines in the line, the LG 3025, is a fast, precise, floorspace-saving 5-axis gantry machining center. It delivers feedrates up to 590 ipm. The machine is especially suited for work in automotive die-forming plants and is certified by Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Ford, and Mitsubishi.

Mighty also offered its five-axis bridge-type single and twin-spindle models. Both VMC-5AB single or twin spindle machines have axis travels measuring 120/160/2003 90.5 3 30.7 in., and its A and B axes move ±115. Its spindle is 60 hp with 8,000/10,000 rpm and a #50 taper. The company's bridge VMC-5BC offers travels of 121/160/ 200 3 102.4 3 39.4 in., 75-hp spindle with #50 taper, and arm-style ATC. Its B-axis rotation is ±115, while the C axis is ±200.


To machine the mold inserts for its checker, Mori Seiki used an NVD4000 DCG equipped with cutters as small as 0.016 in. in diameter.

According to Checker Club member Mori Seiki of Irving, Tex., making its checker centered around the company's Driven at the Center of Gravity (DCG) technology. Rather than cutting a metal checker, the company machined a mold on the NVD4000 DCG VMC, which sports the new technology and represents Mori Seiki's re-entrance into the die/ mold machining market. The result was a finished checker mold that required less than one hr of benchwork.

In machines with DCG, net driving forces act through the center of each axis. This setup significantly reduces vibration without sacrificing speed for accuracy. The NVD4000 DCG, for instance, incorporates twin ballscrews only where they provide benefit, as opposed to using them in all three axes which can reduce the machine's overall dynamic response.

Mori Seiki's Texas office developed the initial checker concept and then sent it to the company's Machine Design Group at the Digital Technologies Laboratory (DTL). Using digital design and information technologies, the group further refined the checker for produceability. It then generated a digital solid model of it.

From DTL, the solid model traveled to molddesign expert and long-time Mori Seiki customer Vector Tool and Engineering in Grandview, Mo. That company's model-design department completed the mold design and transmitted insert models to one of Mori Seiki's die/mold specialists Stefan Slotwinski in Chicago. Vector continued its part of the project by acquiring the mold base and preparing it for the necessary inserts.

Using CAD/CAM software from CamTool in London, Ont., Slotwinski programmed the mold cavity and then selected tooling and toolpaths. After which, he machined the cavity on the NVD4000 DCG equipped with cutters as small as 0.016 in. in diameter. "For such fine details, most shops would have used EDM," says Slotwinski. "But the NVD4000 DCG easily handled it."

Once core and cavity inserts were machined, Mori Seiki shipped them to Vector, which completed the mold assembly and sent it to Mission Plastics, also in Grandview, Mo. Mission, an injection-molding house and good customer of Vector's, produced the actual checker.

Dan O'Connor, Mori Seiki training manager, oversaw the checker project, coordinating communication between all the involved parties. According to the company, the project mirrors how industry works as a collaborative effort to stay competitive. Shops need good partners because no one company is an expert in every aspect of manufacturing.


In addition to checkers, Okuma made checker boards for some special customers at IMTS.

Checker Club member Okuma of Charlotte machined 8,500 checkers for IMTS because it made both round and hexshaped styles. It did so using an LU-300 lathe and an MB-46VA machining center.

Raw barstock fed out to a stop location on the LU-330's turret. The machine cut five checkers before feeding in more material. With the first tool, the lathe cut face surfaces, steps in the faces, and the O.D.s. Second tools chamfered and cut parts to length. Combined turning operations took 35 sec/checker.

With four checkers fixtured, the MB-46VA milled faces and counterbored 1/16-in. steps in a 15-sec cycle time. After these operations, round checkers were red anodized and hexes blue anodized.

For the finishing touches, Okuma again used the MB-46VA. On one checker side, tool No. 1 milled the company's logo and name, and tool No. 2 spot-drilled 18 locations around part edges.

On opposite checker sides, the first tool milled "The American Machinist Checker Club," the second tool again spot-drilled 18 locations. Combined finishing operations took 82 sec.

In addition to the checkers, Okuma machined 25 special checker boards from aluminum. These were handed out to customers placing multiple orders for machines during IMTS, and one was given to AMERICAN MACHINIST.

Okuma also showcased several equally impressive products at IMTS. These included the PM-600, which was machining cylinder heads for race cars; the Mac-Turn-250/550 multiaxis, multifunction turning/machining center; ADMAC, a total programming package for high-tech applications; and Thinc, an intelligent numerical control.

Thinc lets shops exercise greater power over production processes, adapt machines to evolving technologies without control upgrades, and gain more productivity, creativity, and profitability without adding costly resources. Powered by an offtheshelf Intel Pentium M 1.6-GHz industrial-PC motherboard, Thinc's fluid design allows it to grow to meet future needs. The control's real-time operating system manages all control activities and seamlessly integrates with the Windows environment for merging PC applications with machining bringing the power of business computing to the factory floor. In addition, ethernet, Device Net, and USB ports provide integration of peripheral equipment such as robots, barfeeders, tool setters, measurement devices, cameras, and data-acquisition systems.

True networking enables remote access to machining programs and fast issue resolution. Thinc is currently on select machine models, and Okuma will have it on its entire machine tool line by 2005.


Romi's E Series turning centers turn, bore, mill, and tap in one setup.

Checker Club member Romi of Erlanger, Ky., experienced a slight problem getting its checkers to IMTS. Apparently, the shipped checkers were delayed at customs and missed the show's opening day. However, they did finally arrive early the second day.

While its checkers may not have made it on time, the company's E Series turning centers did. These systems, for turning, boring, milling, and tapping all in one setup, offer one or two spindles, C axes, live tools, and Y axes. They accommodate both mid and highvolume production, and the company's E 320, in particular, combines high-performance turning with a large machining capacity.

Its swing measures 27.55 in., maximum cutting length 23.62 in., cutting diameter 12.6 in., and distance between spindle faces 41.26 in. Both the machine's left and right spindles feature high-torque, 25-hp or 35-hp, AC GE Fanuc motors with variablespeed drives up to 4,500 rpm.

Axis travels run 23.82 in. in Z, 8.66 in. in X, 3.94 in. in Y (+2.36 in., 1.57 in.), 31.1 in. in the Baxis right spindle, and in minimal increments of 0.001 in. in C. Rapid traverse rates for Z, X, Y, and B are 1,181, 945, 708, and 1,181 ipm, respectively. The C-axis rapids up to 720 ipm with an A2 6-in. spindle nose and to 480 ipm with an A2 8-in. spindle nose. Two left spindle options let users match speed and size to production needs. The A2 6-in. spindle sports a 2.87-in. through hole, 2.6-in. bar capacity, and 4 to 4,500-rpm speed range, while the A2 8-in. spindle provides a 3.34-in. through hole, 3.1-in. bar capacity, and 3-to-3,000 rpm.


For flexibility, CoroCut XS inserts work in the same toolholder for all operations.

CoroTurn RC Twin tools feature two tip-seats in one holder for changing operations with a single tool.

Sandvik Coromant of Fair Lawn, N.J., was not only the first cutting tool company to establish a satellite-booth presence in the machining center pavilion at this year's IMTS, it was also the only cutting tool manufacturer in the Checker Club. While most companies in the Club were machine tool builders, Sandvik Coromant welcomed the opportunity to participate as a cutting tool provider.

The company considered the primary message behind its participation during the checker's design, and that message appeared on the face of the checker "Get the Right Tools, Right from the Start." The Checker Club brought a large number of visitors to Sandvik Coromant's satellite booth, where specialists explained the slogan and the company's Original Tooling Services (OTS). Through this program, Sandvik Coromant works with customers and machine tool companies to ensure that new machines maximize productivity from the start of production.

Additionally, visitors to Sandvik Coromant's main booth took in a variety of innovative new products. One of which was the CoroCut XS line for precision-turned components with diameters as small as 0.039 in. XS Inserts are precision ground with extremely sharp edges for holding tight tolerances in external-machining operations such as grooving, threading, parting, and turning. The tooling has a grooving width of just 0.019 in. and a parting width of only 0.027 in.

For flexibility, CoroCut XS inserts are compatible with the same toolholder for all operations. The design also lets users easily access the insert screw from either side of the holder when indexing inserts.

Sandvik also featured CoroTurn RC and RC Twin tools for multitasking machines. The tools maximize accessibility and stability during turning operations.

CoroTurn RC Twin tools meet demands put on cutting tools resulting from the large spindle noses in multitasking machines. They also feature two tip-seats in one holder for changing operations with a single tool. Rigid insert clamping ensures stability and prevents insert movement. Two versions of the tooling are available, one for running with B axes locked at 45 and another for 90.

While IMTS always proves an excellent opportunity for informing visitors of new products and overall strategies for increasing productivity, AMERICAN MACHINIST'S Checker Club provided Sandvik Coromant another tool to educate attendees about the best way to maximize operations.


Schütte's A 36 PC CNC 8-spindle flexible production machine reduces cycle times for backworking operations using twin pick-off spindles.

After collecting their checkers at Checker Club member Schütte's booth, IMTS attendees viewed the Jackson, Mich., company's A 36 PC CNC 8-spindle flexible production machine. It cuts bar material up to 1.42 in. in diameter and reduces cycle times for backworking operations using twin pick-off spindles.

With eight programmable end-working and cross-slide axes, the machine accepts 30 controlled slide axes. These axes also interlink employing 15 CNC compound slides (eight CNC compound slides on the end-working slides and seven CNC compound slides on the cross slides).

In addition, equipping turrets on 3-4 and 7-8 spindle positions lets shops run up to three stationary or live tools on each of the turrets to machine the rear section of a workpiece. When used as a double fourspindle system, the machine offers up to 14 controllable auxiliary axes.

Special electronic connections to each spindle replace hard connections so they complete variable revolutions uninterrupted. The connections eliminate the downtime associated with running in reverse to unwind cables.

The machine's central shaft drives work spindles via the AC main-drive motor. An optional auxiliary motor with rotary encoders signals actual workspindle positions to the control system to drive them individually. This facilitates independent spindle speeds, constant cutting speeds, spindle stops, angular positioning, and C-axis applications.

Users control 12 rotary-drive options through AC servomotors or toothed belts off the central shaft. All tool and independent spindle drives provide full electronic interconnection also in the form of electronic axes. In doing so, all tool and spindle drives function as true C axes in conjunction with the linear axes.

Electrical and hydraulic drives are digitally controlled, and a new hydraulic module with Profibus controls the hydraulic axes. This separates the target-default values in the IPC from the individual feedrate controls.


Surfware designed its checker using SurfCAM CAD/CAM software for PCs.

Surfware of Westlake Village, Calif., was a proud Checker Club participant. Darrin Bryant, lead applications engineer at Surfware, designed the company's checker using SurfCAM CAD/CAM software for PCs. Afterwards, Cornerstone Molds & Machining Inc., Santa Paula, Calif., programmed the design and machined the checkers on a Haas VF-4 VMC. Surfware then anodized the checkers in its trademark-green color.

After the checker distribution, crowds gathered at the Surfware booth for demonstrations of Step Reduction Milling (SRM) for mold machining. It automates rough-machining processes to reduce NC programming time by up to 90% and roughing time by 50%. SRM eliminates rest roughing and facilitates automatic corner picking without manually creating boundaries.

Besides SRM, Surfware displayed two competition motorcycles from Ward Performance of Zimmerman, Minn. The shop is reportedly the premier cylinder-head machinist in the motorcycle industry. Both custom drag bikes on exhibit sported Ward Vortex Racing cylinder heads designed in SurfCAM.

In addition to SRM, SurfCAM employs MachineWorks toolpath verification and machine tool simulation, which provides shops a complete set of tools to proof toolpath motion. It ensures that part programs accurately and efficiently cut parts as designed.

For the Microsoft Windows operating system environment, SurfCAM handles CNC programming of two, three, four, and five-axis mills, lathes, wire EDMs, lasers, and plasma and waterjet machines. It lets users do 2D and 3D mechanical design, surface modeling, reverse engineering, prototyping, moldmaking, pattern making, and production machining.

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