Mitsui Seiki USA Inc

Precision 5-Axis Machining for Turbine Blades

Aug. 15, 2012
65 sq. ft. footprint Working envelope of 550 x 600 x 500 mm (X-Y-Z) A-axis tilts from +45 to -90 degree angles; B-axis has infinite positioning points

Mitsui Seiki USA Inc. has designed a specialized 5-axis CNC vertical machining center for producing turbine blades in titanium or stainless steel, from forgings, castings, bar stock, or solid billets. According to the machine tool builder, several customers provided design criteria, including a reasonable capital cost per part, small machine footprint, the ability to rough and finish parts in competitive cycle times, and improved part accuracy and surface finish.

“In other words,” explained Mitsui Seiki vice president Tom Dolan, “the total machining center package had to be smaller, faster, more accurate than what they had been using – all at an affordable price.”

Total design and development time for the Vertex 550-5XB machine spanned 18 months, the company said.

Among the critical design details are a footprint of approximately 65 sq. ft., an X-Y-Z working envelope of 550 x 600 x 500mm, and rapid traverse rates in all linear axes of 48m/min.  A and B axes are represented in a rotating/tilting table. A-axis tilts from +45 to -90 degree angles, and the B-axis features infinite positioning points.

The engineering of the rotary axes offers a novel approach that Dolan said enhances manual and automatic load/unload operations, such as the integration of a robot and cellular manufacturing capability. Also, Mitsui Seiki incorporated its spindle configuration in the new Vertex 550-5XB, making it well suited to cut hard titanium and stainless steel grades.

The Vertex 550-5XB is driven by Fanuc controls.

Mitsui Seiki’s builds rigid metal cutting and grinding machines for precision manufacturing, and the Vertex 550-5XB’s geometric accuracy is carefully monitored in a temperature-controlled factory setting. 

The machine is built on a cast metal bed that offer excellent rigidity; a “box in a box” design provides stability and stiffness that typically is not available in a machine of this size, according to the builder.  All guide way mounting surfaces are hand-scraped, achieving very high volumetric accuracies that would be impossible to achieve on surfaces that are simply machined and /or ground.

The Vertex 550-5XB represents an engineering and construction concept that will offer users competitive advantages over the capabilities of standard machines designed for similar machining tasks.

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)

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