The N2 platform machines have a 26sqft footprint but the fouraxis N2 left has a 400mm high 400mmdiameter cylindrical work envelope while the N25XA right holds 300mm cylindrical workpieces up to 270mm high

New HMCs for High-Productivity Medical Parts Production

March 6, 2013
Four-, five-axis options Sizable work zone Simple, efficient chip/coolant evacuation

Small, high-precision products are the focus of a new series of horizontal CNC machines that Makino lately introduced. The N2 and N2-5XA are recommended for medical parts and small aluminum parts manufacturing. The machine builder called its new N2 platform is “a high-productivity solution contained in a small package”: installed in a plant or shop, the machines will occupy less than 26 square feet of floor space, including the coolant tank and standard chip management device.

As for performance, Makino said the new series of machines’ 5-axis N2-5XA configuration promotes productivity thanks to five-sided part accessibility and the options it offers for consolidating production work.

“Floor space is often at a premium in medical manufacturing facilities,” explained Makino’s horizontal product manager David Ward. “A traditional 400-mm horizontal machining center can require upwards of 125 square feet of floor space, which is a lot to dedicate to the production of parts that can fit in the palm of your hand.

“The N2 platform delivers a ‘right-sized’ machining solution,” he continued, “built for speed, providing a high-speed spindle, rapid positioning and quick acceleration and deceleration. With the N2-5XA, machine shops and manufacturers can eliminate set-ups and achieve finer surface qualities, making it an ideal solution for many serving the medical market.”

The N2 platform provides a sizable work zone for its compact design. The overall footprint is 45.3 inches wide by 83.7 inches long by 84.6 inches high (1,150 x 2,125 x 2,150 mm.) Despite the weight reduction resulting from this design, these machines maintain a highly rigid structure for enhanced accuracy and reliability.

The four-axis N2 offers a 400-mm high, 400-mm-diameter cylindrical work envelope with X-, Y- and Z-axis travels of 300 x 300 x 230 mm, and a 300-mm diameter direct-drive rotary table.

The five-axis N2-5XA shares the same linear axes and includes twin, trunnion-style direct-drive A and B rotary axes for producing complex, contoured parts. The N2-5XA can hold 300-mm cylindrical workpieces that are up to 270-mm high (ᴓ11.8 x 10.6 inches), with a maximum payload of 66 lbs (30 kg).

Rapid production capabilities

The N2 and N2-5XA are equipped with a 20,000-rpm HSK-40 spindle that accelerates to full rpm in 0.8 seconds. Four spindle nozzles deliver coolant directly to the cutting zone, making cooling efficient and supporting better quality part production.

Both machines have a simple and efficient design for evacuating chips and coolant from the work zone. The standard coolant tank with chip pan provides effective chip removal for near net shape machining. A rear lift up chip conveyor with filtration is an available option for higher chip volume applications.

Direct-drive rotary axes of the N2 and N2-5XA achieve peak B-axis speed of 150 rpm and a 90-degree rotation time of 0.65 seconds. These systems work with a 1.4G Z-axis to reduce common drill and tap operations by as much as 40% compared to traditional 400-mm horizontal machining centers.

Both machines have a stacked axis design, placing all linear motion on the spindle side of the machine and limiting workpiece movement to rotary table motion. This configuration is conducive to automated machining, with options for auto-loading doors, robot interface, Erowa chuck interface, and tool monitoring options for unattended operation.

The N2 platform is powered by Makino’s Professional-F control running on a Fanuc platform. Among the critical control features on the 5-axis N2-5XA are a tilted work plane and AI Contour Control (AICC): AICC reduces cycle times in complex 3-D program, and delivers the high accuracy and surface finish requirements that prevail in the medical and surgical parts sector.

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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