Tornos Gurutzpe S.A. is a Spanish manufacturer of large-capacity CNC lathes, having delivered more than 5,000 machines during its 52 years in business, to machining customers in the U.S., Europe, India, and elsewhere. About 30 of these large-scale machines are shipped each year, and Gurutzpe also produces turbine components for power plants, drill pipes for oil production, and laminated and hydraulic cylinders. "Even decades-old machines made by us are still operated by our customers,” according to sales manager Oscar Anitua.
The company’s latest CNC turning horizontal machine, the A-2000 4G CNC, is designed for reliability, resiliency, and efficiency, which required a cable-carrying system that could withstand long, unsupported travels and hot metal chips.
The selected design is the igus® Guidelok horizontal guiding system, which stops metal chips from causing abrasion and wear in long-travel cable carrier arrangements. Guidelok holds a cable carrier’s upper and lower runs apart over long distances, rather than allowing one to glide on top of the others, as would be a normal arrangement. This means metal debris cannot settle between the two runs and cause abrasion.
Igus develops cable carriers, continuous-flex cables, plastic plain bearings, spherical bearings, and linear bearings and guide systems. The Guidelok system is designed to be modular — the side troughs are optional - and is currently available from igus North America with a four-to-six week leadtime.
A prototype of Gurutzpe’s new A-2000 4G CNC was delivered to a customer that manufactures large component parts for wind turbines. The machine is equipped with two horizontal Guidelok systems running side-by-side over a distance of 44 feet. This system replaces a heavy steel chain to avert potential damage from large metal chips. Guidelok also was a less expensive option than steel chains or other long-travel systems available.
"The cable carriers are rugged, rigid and reliable," according to Joaqun Orbegozo, head of electrical engineering at Gurutzpe, which he emphasizes to his machine customers. "Sometimes one may say, I would have liked this or that machine, but with a metal cable carrier,” he reported. In that case, Orbegozo will explain the benefits of lighter, robust plastic cable carriers, and demonstrate that they can easily tolerate the weight of a grown man.
Other customers may be concerned that hot metal chips might eat through the plastic during the machining process, so Orbegozo takes a soldering iron and presses it onto the cable carrier in a few different places. "When customers see that this cannot damage the cable carrier, they are convinced,” he said
"Plastic cable carriers have many advantages compared to metal versions,” according to Joe Ciringione, sales manager for Energy Chain Systems at igus North America, confirms, “Steel is more expensive, much heavier, and less resistant to corrosion. Plastic energy chains also are quicker and easier to mount, which saves customers time and money.”
Gurutzpe specializes in special turning machine installations for customers with specific requirements. Currently, only two manufacturers in the world are operating prismatic-turning machines, for example. Gurutzpe also makes guide machines equipped with fixed or hydraulic steady rests and offering a great degree of flexibility. And, it has seen market demand increase when it comes to very large, long travel CNC-turning machines. "Gurutzpe has already built turning machines 66 feet long," said Anitua.
Safe cable guidance shouldn’t be an issue for these applications, because igus’ Guidelok cable carrier systems can operate effectively over distances up to 164 feet.