Speed, High Accuracy with Makino's New 5-Axis VMC

Nov. 24, 2010
D500s direct-drive rotary table and automation options extend capabilities for job shops
Makino’s new D500 vertical machining center a work zone measuring 500 × 450 mm, and its X-, Y-, and Z-axes provide strokes up to 550 mm, 1,000 mm, and 500 mm, respectively. The machine is capable of feedrates up to 50 m/min.

Makino has unveiled a new five-axis vertical machining center it emphasizes is designed for producing complex parts when the emphasis is on finished product quality — but process speed is an additional advantage for the D500. “This machine combines the agility of a full 5-axis machining center with the accuracy inherent in every Makino,” according to Makino product manager Tim Jones, Makino product manager. “Add Makino’s unmatched applications engineering to the mix, and this is a very powerful offering for any job shop.”

The D500 joins a range of 5-axis machining centers from Makino, including other vertical as well as horizontal designs, along with specially designed 5-axis centers developed for particular size requirements and volumes involved in machining large aerospace structural components.

The new VMC — the D500 — has a work zone measuring 500 × 450 mm, and its X-, Y-, and Z-axes provide strokes up to 550 mm, 1,000 mm, and 500 mm, respectively. The rotary table axes A and C provide rotational motion of +30 to -120 degrees on the A-axis and a full 360 degrees on the C-axis.

As for speed, Makino indicates the D500 is capable of feedrates of up to 50 m per minute.

Direct-drive rotary table — Makino uses three direct-drive motors for the D500’s C-axis rotary table and the A-axis trunnion. One direct-drive motor controls the C-axis motion. Two direct-drive motors control motion in the A-axis – one at each end of the trunnion. The dual-motor design provides greater torque and rigidity. Most important, twist and torsion in the trunnion are eliminated so the machine is able to achieve excellent dynamic accuracy.

According to the machine builder, the D500’s axis configuration is unique and provides added performance. “The length of the trunnion assembly runs parallel to the X-axis motion only, making trunnion assembly deflection-free during quick axis motion for greater accuracy than traditional five-axis configurations,” Makino details.

The machine has roller linear guides across all linear axes for extra rigidity. Its Y and Z axes are located above the work zone, and the X axis is located in the bed side of the machine. Greater accuracy is achieved with independent axes, in which movement remains uninfluenced by the characteristics of combined axes.

Engineered for accuracy — The closed-loop architecture of the D500 increases overall stiffness and rigidity of the structure, meaning that at every point at which force is likely to have an effect on the machine is near to the supporting structure. “Simply put – high stiffness, minimum over-hang design,” is the summary that Makino offers.

The D500 is provided with Makino’s Thermal Stabilizer system, which includes core-cooled ball screws and heat insulation systems, for “sustainable dynamic accuracy” in the machine shop setting. Twin internal chip conveyors evacuate chips from the work zone with efficiency, to be collected from the machine by a lift-up chip conveyor.

Operator access to the D500 the worktable is simple for machine interaction and setup purposes, and a ceiling opening also simplifies crane access to the machine.

Finally, automation upgrades to the D500 are simple because an automatic pallet changer can be added at any time. And, according to the developer a stand-alone machine can be upgraded and integrated to a full-scale pallet system, including Makino’s a51 horizontal machining centers.