The FZG five-axis portal milling machine for large and long components.

Future-Oriented, Large-Scale Milling

June 20, 2024
To process large and long components for aerospace, energy, and transportation sectors, the future-oriented developers relied on the thermo-symmetrical portal concept to design stable systems that maintain high-precision operation.

ZIMMERMAN INC. will be demonstrating a new portal milling machine at IMTS 2024, at booth 339336. With the new FZG machine line, Zimmermann has added a five-axis operation with a low rail gantry, well-suited for processing particularly long components. Accessible from the side, the FZG allows easier loading and unloading processes. The developers relied on the proven thermo-symmetrical portal concept and modified its basic design, resulting in a distinct benefit – a stable system that provides high precision, even when processing large and long components.

“Especially in future-oriented industries, such as the aerospace, energy, or rail sectors, producers must be able to efficiently process large and, above all, particularly long components. We have recently received many more requests with these exact requirements,” reported Daniel Demlang, technical leader at Zimmermann.

For the new FZG machine series Zimmerman engineers relied on the innovative thermo-symmetrical design, which had already proven its worth with the Zimmermann FZP and FZU machine lines.

However, for the FZG series the engineers redesigned the machine base structure. “We lowered the machine onto ground level, enabling the portal to be moved horizontally in almost any desired length,” Demlang explained. Zimmerman will adjust this design for any custom application, so the line is suitable for processing complete components, such as wing structures for the aviation industry, entire railway wagon side sections, tanks in the energy sector, exterior components for the aerospace industry, as well as components for the defense industry.

Zimmerman’s modular system acts as the base structure of the new FZG line. It offers many different length and height variants as well as extensive equipment options, such as process cooling with minimum quantity, lubrication or an onboard movable vacuum dust extraction system for abrasive materials and plastics. An onboard movable tool changer is standard. The energy supply and covers are recessed into the floor. 

“The thermo-symmetrical design makes the machine less vulnerable in adverse environmental conditions,” according to Cornelius Kiesel, president of Zimmermann in America. The idea behind this is that incurring thermal influences can be substantially absorbed by the machine structure itself.

“To achieve this, we appropriately designed and intelligently arranged all structural and drive unit components, guides and other components responsible for accuracy, for all the machines in our extended portfolio. This way, the structure can expand in non-critical directions,” Kiesel said. The centrally guided Z-slide of the portal in double-bridge construction makes the machine particularly stable. By using this design, Zimmermann achieves very high rigidity. Since there isn’t any possibility of one-sided temperature rise, accuracy is greatly increased, thus making the machine line suitable for very high-precision applications.

“For us, this combination of thermo-symmetrical machine design and the modified base structure was a logical next step,” Demlang said. Because the core machine relies on proven technology, this development was possible in a relatively short timeframe. Additionally, the synergetic benefits of the FZG, due to the existing portfolio, also have a positive impact on the profitability of the machine.

Learn more at www.zimmermann-inc.com

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