Machine tool developers (among others) have been promising “solutions” to their customers for a long time now, and there is a sense from IMTS 2016 that customers are turning the idea around on them — demanding better application of design principles to save production time, energy, system flexibility, reliability, and more.
For example, Makino displayed its a40 horizontal machining center, which it emphasized is the first system purpose-built for machining aluminum and nonferrous diecastings. Previous machine tools have been “over-designed” for diecasting producers, who need to maintain high-throughput of near-net-shape parts, with the right parameters for power, energy consumption, and cycle times that will address their productivity and "per-piece costs." The a40 HMC is a solution to over-designed systems.
“Diecast manufacturers are under intense pricing pressure with mandatory cost reductions from OEMs and increasing global competition. The keys to overcoming these challenges lie in the reduction of machining cycle time and elimination of unplanned down time,” explained Makino’s horizontal product line manager David Ward. “To address the cycle time issue, Makino has re-evaluated each of the major castings using an Intelligent 'Reduction of Inertia' (ROI) design philosophy. The new design provides superior linear and radial agility and acceleration.”
The a40 is a customized solution for the diecasting sector, providing those manufacturers with productivity improvements as well as savings in capital investment, labor, floor space, utility consumption, and tooling. It’s an example of manufacturing technology buzzword being realized and demonstrated at IMTS 2016.