The MAG U6 bridge mill is engineered for heavyduty machining of large precision parts such as this 13000lb 16cylinder diesel engine block The machinersquos solid construction makes it well suited for heavy cuts in steel titanium Inconel or cast iron

Mammoth Machining for Diesel, Industrial Parts

Oct. 4, 2012
Five interchangeable cutting heads Two-table system for versatility, throughput All-electric design eliminates hydraulic noise, reduces maintenance

An important new product development from MAG is a 6-axis U6 bridge-type portal mill that was completed recently at the company’s manufacturing operation in Hebron, Ken. The massive machine — It weighs nearly 154 metric tons (170 tons) — will be shipped later this year.

The U6 is designed with five interchangeable cutting heads, including two custom designs that allow five-sided machining on oversized products, like diesel engine blocks or other large industrial components. Equipped to deliver up to 74.5 kW (100 hp) into the cut, the U6 can complete all six sides of a 5,900 kg (13,000 lb), 16- or 20-cylinder diesel engine block in just three set-ups, at a total time of about 30 hours. MAG’s turnkey solution includes the machine, special spindle heads, cutting tools, part programs and workholding fixture.

This specific machine has a working range of 13 X 2.6 X 1 X 1.25 meters (X-Y-W-Z), with speeds up to 20 m/min (787 ipm) and linear-axis repeatability of 0.01 mm (0.0004 in.) Combined, the W+Z axes deliver a programmable vertical range of 2.25 m (7.3 ft) for deep reach into or around parts.

The machine is configured with a two-table system to transfer workpieces in and out of the cutting zone, enabling it to cut one part, while a second is being setup or unloaded off line. This allows parts to be machined in sets of two, using the five spindle heads and a full complement of operations including milling, facing, boring, drilling, tapping and specialty serration milling. The five spindle heads are changed automatically for maximum efficiency and minimal cycle time.

“This machine is the newest and most advanced design in its class, utilizing linear way technology and all-electric drives for speed, accuracy and energy efficiency,” stated MAG executive vice president Chip Storie. “It is ‘whisper quiet,’ and proved its dynamic stiffness during sustained-power qualification tests. It will produce the customer’s parts in less time, at a lower cost, when all the high-efficiency features are applied, giving the customer a competitive advantage.”

Engineered for lean machining

The U6 universal machining center is engineered for lean manufacturing of large complex-geometry parts. Its five-axis machining and contouring capabilities minimize downtime, part reorientations and set-ups. The machine's solid construction makes it ideal for heavy cuts in large cast iron, steel, Inconel or titanium parts encountered in aerospace, off-road, energy, marine and mining equipment.

Also, the U6’s all-electric design is energy-efficient, and eliminates hydraulic noise and reduces maintenance issues, particularly compared to designs with hydrostatic guideways. Replaceable low-friction linear guideways improve axis responsiveness and help reduce energy consumption.

Available in a bridge or traveling gantry design, the U6 can be configured with a crossrail (Y-axis) up to 9 m (29.5 ft), while the adjustable W-axis (vertical crossrail movement) provides up to 5 m (16.4 ft) additional travel to complement up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft) of Z-axis range.

The maximum 7.5 m (24.6 ft) programmable vertical range of the machine (W+Z axes) gives it the capacity to machine, or maneuver over, tall or odd-shaped workpieces. The Y-axis rail can be positioned close to the part for machining with minimal Z-axis extension and maximum stiffness for tight accuracy. As options, the U6 is offered with a choice of 1 m, 1.5 m, 2 m, or 2.5 m Z-axis ram travel for best fit to processing needs.

The U6B bridge-type machine can be equipped with an optional X-axis pallet shuttle system for cellular processing with single or multiple machines. It is available with a broad range of table and pallet shuttle systems. The U6R rail-type traveling gantry design offers unlimited X-axis travel, and is expandable to fit the application.

MAG noted that the U6 can be outfitted with various high-torque or high-speed spindles, up to 74.5 kW (100 hp) and up to 24,000 rpm, choice of tapers, and vertical, horizontal or 5-axis head configurations to cover the spectrum of machining requirements. Automatic head exchanges are programmable, fully automated and accomplished in about one minute. The C-axis option is built into the Z-axis ram and is offered 360-degree continuous rotation to keep the spindle in-cut without running out of C-axis travel or waiting for unwind. Custom head configurations are available, too.

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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