Major Tool's U5 XL 2500 will be equipped with a 2.5-m (8.2 ft) Z-axis ram and multiple automatically changed cutting heads for five-sided and complex-geometry machining of large, tall parts.

Expanding, Retrofitting, … Big Time

May 29, 2013
New MAG VTC 2500, U5 XL 2500 universal portal mill New MAG U6 cross saddle and ram, Cutting heads, Siemens 840D sl CNC

In Indianapolis, Major Tool & Machine is living up to its name with a multi-million-dollar order for new machining equipment and technology, aiming to increase its capabilities to machine large-dimension parts. The 500,000-sq-ft operations counts nuclear, aerospace, energy and general industrial markets among its customers.

Several orders for new equipment went to MAG IAS, which is on track now to deliver a new VTC 2500, a new U5 XL 2500 universal portal mill with turning capabilities, as well as to execute a rebuilding and retrofitting of a DSI mill/turn gantry machine.  

In addition to milling, the U5 mill will process large-scale parts with an integrated, 4-meter (13 ft) rotary table.

Major Tool's DSI machine will be updated with a new cross saddle and ram from MAG’s U6 line, with five interchangeable cutting heads, and a Siemens 840D sl CNC. The new machines and the redesign work are scheduled to be in place and operating by 2015.

Major Tool & Machine is one of North America's largest contract manufacturers of massive fabrications and machined parts, and supplies high-end buyers with products and services that meet the highest industrial quality requirements. Its certifications include AS9100 and ISO 9001, as well as multiple stamps for production and inspection of pressure vessels, boilers, and nuclear equipment.

"Our niche is very large parts made of exotic materials, such as Inconel®, Waspalloy®, Hastelloy®, and similar metals," said Steve Weyreter, chairman and CEO of Major Tool. "We are one of the few North American shops that can turn parts as large as 43 feet in diameter, and we combine this with certified capabilities for welding and fabrication with exotic materials."

Initially, Weyreter said, the new U5 machine will replace production capacity during the rebuild of Major Tool's massive DSI gantry mill/turn machine. "This is an extremely complex project that involves much more than simply adding machine tools, because it is critical that we maintain our large-part mill/turn capacity when the DSI machine goes offline," he said.

"Part of our reputation is based on the depth of our capacity, so coordination and timing are vital when we take a critical machine offline,” he continued. “For a complex project requiring this level of management, engineering and technical resources, we preferred to work with a domestic source, and we have a long, successful history with MAG. This will also be a joint project to a great extent where our own staff will be heavily involved in the work."

Newest, and Largest, U5 Portal Mill

The rail-mounted U5 XL 2500 will introduce the newest and largest model of the U5 portal mill series. It’s a continuation of the Cincinnati U5 line launched more than a decade ago. Major Tool's U5 XL 2500 will be equipped with a 2.5-m (8.2 ft) Z-axis ram and multiple, automatically changed cutting heads for five-axis and complex-geometry machining of large, tall parts.

Initially configured with 22 m (72 ft) of X-axis rail, the machine's X range can be lengthened in 3.6 m (12 ft) increments. Y-axis range is 5,000 mm (196.85 inches). MAG will configure the machine for integration of a 4-m (13 ft) rotary table to be purchased by Major Tool, and then install the table and drive.

Configured with 22 m (72 ft) of X-axis rail, the machine's X range can be lengthened in 3.6 m (12 ft) increments. Y-axis range is 5,000 mm (196.85 inches).

Machining heads selected by Major Tool include a turning head with Sandvik Coromant® Capto C8 tool interface, and 5-axis gimbal, vertical, and horizontal heads with CAT 50 Big Plus tool interface. Dual-range 52-kW (70 hp) spindles will make it possible to conduct aggressive cutting tasks in difficult materials.

MAG will configure the new machine for an integrated a 4-m (13 ft) rotary table that Major Tool will select, and then install the table and drive. Upon acceptance of the U5 machine, MAG technicians will begin rebuilding the DSI gantry machine that’s already in place.

As part of the rebuild/retrofit of the DSI (Dörries Scharmann) mill/turn machine, MAG will adapt a new cross saddle – including a U6 2.5-meter ram with integrated C axis – to the machine's existing cross rail.

The saddle and ram modules will be unit-assembled at MAG's plant in Hebron, Ky., complete with utilities, plumbing and wiring, and the shipped and installed. The ram has a cross section of 697 x 769 mm (27.4 x 30.3 in.) to withstand high cutting forces during heavy metal removal.

"These new modules need to interface precisely with the existing way/bearing systems and drives on the DSI machine, so it's a significant engineering and installation challenge," according to MAG’s Randal Von Moll, director of Technical Sales. Five interchangeable U6 cutting heads for the machine include vertical milling (97 kW/130 hp), vertical offset (37 kW/50 hp), right-angle milling (97 kW/130 hp), 5-axis gimbal (52 kW/70 hp) and turning.

The retrofit will include a five-position head-changing stand, new distance-coded X-Y-W scales, a new 60-pocket tool changer, and Renishaw spindle probe and laser toolsetter. Distance-coded scales minimize the axis travel (and time) needed to re-home, aiding in shortened cycle times, Von Moll explained. The machine's 6-m (19.7 ft) rotary table will be equipped with a new electric motor/drive as part of the Siemens CNC retrofit, then tuned to make it position more quickly and accurately.

As a final step, MAG service engineers will check and correct the machine's geometric alignments, calibrate the axes, and conduct circle/diamond/square and horsepower test cuts. "The updated machine modules, new CNC, servomotors and drives will result in machine performance that will exceed what this machine could do when it was new," Von Moll said.

The MAG (Giddings & Lewis) VTC 2500 is engineered to speed up large-part turning for a variety of industries, offering multiprocessing machining capabilities with high-end specifications like ±1,560 mm (61 in) of full X-axis travel left/right of center, 2,755 mm (108.5 in) rail height, 2,700 mm swing and 84-kW (112.6 hp) table drive.

The VTC 2500 accepts modular Capto C8 tooling. Major Tool will add versatility with a 90-degree live spindle and an angular indexing head, both housed in the tool magazine for automatic changing into the new MAG SL 250 adaptor.

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