Shop Gets Aggressive with Feedrates

Shop Gets Aggressive with Feedrates

Fontal Controls cuts both soft aluminum and harder materials at higher feedrates on its Fadal VMC.

Fontal Controls, a Southern California metalcutting job shop, takes deeper cuts to rough out aluminum parts faster, and it cuts hard-steel parts – 47 Rc to 48 Rc – quicker and more efficiently since it has cranked up its machining feedrates.

For some deep profiling operations on large aerospace components, the shop now runs spindles at nearly 7,000 rpm and achieves 100-ipm feedrates.

That is almost triple the shop’s previous rate of 35 ipm at 5,500 rpm. In addition, Fontal Controls takes rough-cut passes of 1.260-in. deep with a 1-in.-diameter roughing tool, and doesn’t stall the tool.

A recently purchased MAG Fadal ( VMC 3016FX vertical machining center gives the shop its beefed up spindle speeds and aggressive feedrates, and the ability to handle hard materials.

Since adding the machine, the shop has experienced a 40 percent improvement in parts-per-hour productivity.

Part cost reduction not only comes from running at higher feedrates but also from doing so without breaking tools and by making single passes rather than multiple passes. The company also is seeing benefits from not having to change tools and from eliminating “clean-up” operations to achieve desired surface finishes. All of these capabilities rely on minimized vibration, so machine rigidity is key.

Cast-iron boxway construction provides large surface-area contact on the integral flame-hardened ways of the 3016FX to dampen vibrations during heavy cuts and to maintain rigidity. Stiffness from Steinmeyer ETA+ dual-mounted ballscrews also enhances the machine’s accuracy and predictability on circular features.

The machine features a Fadal GE Fanuc 0i-MC control and a 21-tool automatic changer that is suited to the type of work Fontal Controls does. The shop focuses on precision CNC machining and turning of components for the mold and die, machine tool and aerospace industries.

Cristian Fontal, the company’s managing partner and controller, said the rigidity of the Fadal machine is important to his shop’s part finishes. And, he said, the machine’s ballscrews are fast, and provide great accuracy.

Frontal pointed out that the machine’s ability to cut both steel and aluminum is another asset that gives his shop flexibility and contributes to cost reduction.

The 3016FX axis travels measure 30 in. by 16 in. by 20 in. for the X,Y, and Z axes. The machine is part of a family of three models.

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