Merrill Tool amp Machine completed a 20 expansion of its workspace to install a new Mazak Versatech V140N a machine so big that delivered required 19 truckloads

Michigan Shop Adds Massive Part Capability

March 13, 2013
20,000-sq.ft. expansion High-speed, multi-face capability Machining with power, and accuracy

Recently, Merrill Tool & Machine made a significant expansion to its parts machining capabilities when it installed Mazak Versatech V-140N milling machine. The five-axis, double column unit is described as the largest machine of its kind in the United States, and true to that description it arrived at the Michigan shop on 19 semi trucks — and required a week to unload.

Merrill Tool & Machine is a 120,000-sq.ft. operating unit of the Merrill Technologies Group, in Merrill, Mich., that supplies manufacturers in defense, aviation, heavy equipment, energy, and machine tool markets.

The Group designs and produces complex fabrications, machines components, and assembles “mission-critical” aviation and defense equipment, and special-purpose manufacturing systems.

Mazak describes its V-140N as a “multiple-surface, five-axis double-column machining center,” designed for productivity at machining very large workpieces thanks to a spindle head that can shift between vertical and horizontal positions, or any angle in between.

“The machining time for cast iron and nonferrous material workpieces can be considerably reduced thanks to the fastest cutting feedrate and spindle speed in this machining center class,” the builder noted

The Versatech series machines feature 50-hp, 10,000-rpm spindles for multi-face machining. Their C-axis rotation is continuous, thus assuring full five-axis machining.

The standard control package is Mazak’s Mazatrol Matrix platform.

Super-sized precision

For Merrill Tool, the new machine means the company can offer customers precision machining on workpieces as big as tractor-trailer cabs.

Housing the new machine is the shop’s fifth expansion, covering 20,000 sq.ft., and the Versatech V-140N’s versatility contributes to Merrill Tool and Machine’s commitment to the continuous expansion of its manufacturing capabilities. Not only does it provide broader processing capability of parts, notably oversized parts, in but also onboard inspection capability with a Renishaw probing system.

The new machine’s dual pallet-changing system can be loaded with up to 60,000 pounds per pallet, which contributes to Merrill Tool & Machine’s efforts to maximize efficiency and productivity.  Multiple projects can be programmed, set-up, and machined in continuous multi-tasking operations without interrupting the machine spindle head. 

The five-axis spindle head permits machining in the B and C rotary axes machining — in 0.0001-degree increments — to ensure maximum accuracy in processing highly complex parts. 

The Versatech machine’s 50-hp integral spindle motor headstock achieves the maximum speed of 10,000 rpm, with 253.7-foot-pound maximum torque, leading to superior surface finishes on nonferrous and aluminum materials. Meanwhile, at low speeds, the powerful motor easily meets the demands of heavy-duty metal removal.

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.)