Forkardt invested in a Mazak Variaxis 730 to boost productivity for its workholding devices The fiveaxis VMCrsquos ability to handle larger parts and to enhance the accuracy of products will be further advantages

Larger Parts, Tighter Tolerances for Workholding Producer

Oct. 4, 2012
New machine handles reduces set-ups, improves cycle times Five-axis system with a built-in tilting rotary table 120-tool magazine

Forkardt — a manufacturer of workholding devices, including standard and application-specific chucks — has installed a Mazak Variaxis 730 vertical machining center. The Traverse City, Mich., operation produces chucks for general machining and application-specific chucks, cylinders and indexing chucks, expanding mandrels, chucks for hard part turning, collet chucks, steady rests, and grip force meters.

“With this new machine, we’ve positioned ourselves better to handle larger parts, hold tighter tolerances, and greatly improve cycle times,” Forkardt general manager Bill Sepanik said.

“We’re also able to reduce the number of set-ups due to the machine’s five axis capability, while saving time due to the ease of programming with the Variaxis.”

Mazak’s Variaxis series vertical machines are five-axis system with a built-in tilting rotary table that makes it possible to process workpieces with complex contours, and to finish parts in a single set-up.

The Mazak Variaxis 730 is a very rigid design, and its worktable is capable of tilting up to 150° in the A-axis, and rotating to 380° C-axis.  It has X-Y-Z travel of 28.7 in. X 33.4 in. X 22 in., with a spindle speed at 10,000 rpm.

Forkardt’s machine is equipped with a 120-tool magazine, effective for machining on heavy parts. It has a maximum part load of 1,100 lb as well as a Big Plus Cat 50 Spindle. The tool-holding system improves automatic tool-change repeatability and its rigidity helps to reduce chatter and eliminate axial movement at high speeds.

Forkardt said its new Mazak machine represents a significant investment and commitment to adopt the latest machining technology available.

“The new system expands our capacity to meet growing application needs,” according to Sepanik.

Forkardt manufactures workholding devices for standard and high-precision applications, and for specialized, engineered solutions. Its products are available under brand names that include N.A. Woodworth, Sheffer, Logansport, SP Cylinders, and Buck, as well as the Forkardt brand. It said its strategy is to focus on machining process efficiencies and to create “meaningful workholding solutions.”

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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