New Designs Integrate 5-Axis and Ultrasonic Machining

Dec. 29, 2011
DMG machines respond to demand for complex processing on hard-to-machine materials
The DMU Ultrasonic 65 MonoBlock (shown here) and Lasertec 65 Shape are designed with a small footprint but a large opening for oversize workpieces, and work table that tilts in two directions.

DMG Mori Seiki USA is taking orders for two new machine systems that address manufacturers’ rising demand for five-axis machining capability on difficult-to-cut materials, without compromising on fine-machining capability or environmental standards.

The Ultrasonic 65 MonoBlock machine offers ultrasonic machining functions, and the Lasertec 65 Shape provides with laser machining capability. Both designs are based on Gildemeister AG’s DMU 65 MonoBlock® 5-axis control machining center. That machine is part of the new DMU MonoBlock series, which is built on a 2-axis trunnion table, with rotational and support axes on both sides so the table tilts “like a cradle,” according to the builder.

The DMU MonoBlock series machines will handle workpieces that weigh up to 2,200 lbs. It’s a compact design (24.6-sq.ft. footprint) with a wide door opening — 56 in. wide — that provides a wide work area and better access to the machine for loading and unloading large workpieces by crane.

As for the two new machines, the larger workspace and wider access also respond to a growing demand for five-axis machining on increasingly complex workpieces in difficult materials, like ceramics and super-hard metals. Each of the new releases will improve shops’ productivity and cost performance by performing multiple processes that usually require special machines, according to DMG Mori Seiki.

The Ultrasonic 65 MonoBlock is designed with the Ultrasonic actuator system on the spindle, a patented Gildemeister technology that allows a 5-axis machine to perform ultrasonic machining through HSK interface. Ultrasonic machining reduces cutting forces by applying longitudinal ultrasonic vibration to rotational movement of a tool during grinding. As such, the builder noted, “ultrasonic machining can significantly improve machining quality with regard to surface finishes of less than Ra 0.2 µm, as well as reduction of micro-cracking of extremely hard, but brittle material including glass, ceramic and super hard metal.”

Noting the range of applications for ultrasonic machining, DMG Mori Seki pointed out that the Ultrasonic 65 MonoBlock is equally capable of machining dental prostheses (artificial teeth, implants) as the much larger workpieces, like grinding glass ceramic lenses for satellites, parts for semiconductors, and aircraft engine parts in carbon silicon or nitric silicon (i.e., materials that are hard but brittle, with a high resistance to heat and abrasion. By integrating five-axis machining and ultrasonic machining, the Ultrasonic 65 MonoBlock achieves high-efficiency processing of large diameter workpiece, the developer stated.

The Ultrasonic 65 MonoBlock combines five-axis machining with ultrasonic and laser technologies for high-efficiency processing of critical components of any dimension, including glass ceramic lenses for satellites.

The Lasertec 65 Shape machine has a fiber-laser scanning head mounted on its spindle through the HSK interface, so laser surface-texturing can be performed on a five-axis machine. Surface texturing is a method that produces various detailed patterns on workpiece surfaces, like wood grain or leather grain, and the Lasertec 65 Shape makes possible many more complex, geometrically defined 3D-structures in free-forms.

DMG Mori Seki explained that laser surface texturing allows a user to create a “nearly unlimited” variety of patterns (including customized 3D-textures) with greater accuracy than conventional etching, and with shorter machining times. Also, it can recreate the same pattern with reliability.

The machine builder also noted that laser surface texturing is an environmentally friendly machining method compared to etching, because it uses no chemicals.

Because the Lasertec 65 Shape offers cutting and lasering on a single machine, it makes it possible for operators to handle an entire machining process from roughing to laser surface finishing, and is particularly advantageous for die and mold making, e.g., injection molds and automotive components.

With the developer’s Lasersoft-3D-Texture software, Lasertec 65 Shape programmers are able to expand the surface-texturing design possibilities. Monochrome images in bitmap format or individual 3D patterns can be converted into laser machining programs, DMG More Seiki indicated. The machine has 3D collision checking and automatic programming functions as standard features, so five-axis laser machining is simplified and efficient.

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