The Nanoform X ldquoultra precisionrdquo machining system has a fully opening upper enclosure that gives the operator access to the inner surfaces of the machine The sloped sides on the upper enclosure and the stainless steel tray over the machinersquos granite base improve swarf containment and reduce cleanup time

‘Next Generation’ Multi-Axis Precision Machining

May 29, 2013
Machining for optical lenses, mold inserts, mirrors, and precision components Surface grinding up to 440 mm diameter Advanced vibration isolation

Precitech, which manufactures “ultra precision” machining systems, introduced a multi-axis system it reported would increase productivity for diamond turning, million, and grinding of optical lenses, mold inserts, mirrors, and precision mechanical components. The Nanoform® X multi-axis ultra precision machining system can be configured for two to four axes, to produce spherical, aspherical, and free-form surfaces up to 440 mm in diameter.

“We listened to our customers and added a number of features that improve productivity and ease of use. The design challenge was to ensure that these new features would not impact the core accuracy of the machine,” explained Jeff Roblee, v.p. - Technology.

Precitech manufacture “ultra precision” machines for turning, milling, and grinding. These systems produce rotationally symmetric, asymmetric, freeform and sculpted geometries, and achieve form tolerances in the sub-micron range and nanometer surface finish when equipped with diamond tooling.

 “With the Nanoform X, we were able to improve machine performance, particularly its vibration and temperature sensitivity,” Roblee continued.

He noted that Precitech engineers had design assistance from an affiliate company, TMC, for the new machine’s vibration-isolation system. TMC develops vibration control systems. Both companies are business units of Ametek Ultra Precision Technologies, a manufacturer of electronic instruments and electromechanical devices.

The Nanoform X also reduces machine downtime by minimizing the time required to perform machine and tool set-up, maintenance, and clean-up — “non-value-added activities,” according to the developers. The most significant of these design changes were put in place to reduce clean-up time and contain swarf.

One of the most notable design improvements is a fully opening upper enclosure. It gives the operator exceptional access to the inner surfaces of the machine. Also, the sloped sides on the upper enclosure and the stainless steel tray over the machine’s granite base help to improve swarf containment and reduce clean-up time.

The Nanoform X also helps to reduce machine and tool set-up times thanks to Precitech’s new productivity tools and the high-speed, HS-150 workholding spindle, both standard features on the X.

Precitech lowered the work envelope by 11 cm (4 in.) and further improved operator ease of use by enhancing the Nanoform X’s control console.

The ergonomic control console offers user-friendly features like a jog wheel and standard directional control of the axes, programmable soft keys, and convenient shelving for storing many of the tools required for ultra precision machining.

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.)