SMM Innovation Forum Manufacturing

Intelligent Productivity in Tool and Mold Making

| Editor: Alexander Stark

Rapid market developments and innovations challenge the adaptability of tool and mold making. With its new Mikron Mill P U series of five-axis simultaneous milling machines, GF Machining Solutions provides these manufacturers with future-proof flexibility.

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This headlamp application for vehicles shows how the Mikron Mill P 500 U and Mikron Mill P 800 U from GF Machining Solutions have been optimized for intelligent productivity. Tool and mold makers can now rely on the high process reliability of trochoidal milling and use new tools such as circular segment cutters that achieve to 30 times faster 3D finishing.
( Source: GF Machining Solutions )

The Mikron Mill P 500 U and the Mikron Mill P 800 U are designed for intelligent productivity: new tools such as circular segment cutters are used to finish 3D surfaces up to 30 times faster or trochoidal cutters ensure roughing with increased process reliability. With the Mikron Mill P U series, manufacturers can turn today's challenges into tomorrow's applications. These high-performance machines are designed to deliver the accuracy that is essential in tool and mold making for industries such as car making and household appliances. The Mikron Mill P 500 U/800 U not only achieves an accuracy of ±2 μm in the X/Y plane, but also delivers high process stability for companies looking for flexible productivity.

Modern mold making is under constant pressure to become even more efficient. On the one hand, manufacturers are being urged to achieve higher productivity. On the other hand, they have to increase the productivity achieved with the mold through higher numbers of cavities and shorter cycle times. These requirements must be met by modern milling machines in terms of speed, stability, dynamics and production reliability as well as with the required constant accuracy.

30 Times Faster

One solution to meet these requirements is to increase production speed by means of new milling strategies realized with new tool designs. One way to increase flexibility is to perform roughing during unmanned shifts. In addition, process reliability can be increased by using highly dynamic cutting tools. The most time-consuming task in mold making, however, is usually finishing with spherical milling cutters in the cavity. This process is significantly shorter when circular segment milling cutters are used. Thanks to line jumps that are up to 30 times greater (i.e. the distance from one milling path to the next), the Mikron Mill P U series can deliver 30 times faster finishing times with circular segment milling cutters compared to conventional spherical milling cutters. The resulting surface quality is further improved by the large radius of curvature of the outer surface.

In order to fully benefit from the surface quality and speed of circular segment milling cutters, the milling machine must be both dynamic and stable and ensure smooth operation in five-axis applications. Due to their thermal and wear characteristics, gear-driven rotary swivel tables are not the optimal solution for the required continuous, five-axis, and simultaneous movements. The Mikron Mill P U series, however, offers directly driven swivel and rotary axes as well as high dynamics and overall stability to meet precisely these requirements.

±2 μm in the X/Y Plane

Temperature fluctuations can have a negative impact on the accuracy of simultaneous machining — another challenge successfully mastered by the Mikron Mill P U series from GF Machining Solutions. Equipped with water-cooled direct drives in the rotary and swivel axes and a thermosymmetrical design, these machines ensure continuous precision. For example, 20 parts with 50 mm sphere diameter were milled over eight hours in various angles of the table. The result: a profile deviation of less than ±2 μm.

Production 24/7

In addition, the unique automation integration of this series from the rear of the machine portal ensures simple integration and fast processes in conjunction with a modern parts or pallet handling system. This concept offers optimum operator ergonomics and the best possible production conditions 24/7. A reduction in machining time from ten hours to two and a half hours for the same cavity provides additional milling machine capacity. This capacity can be fully utilized in an automated night operation.

The unique Machine and Spindle Protection (MSP) of the Mikron Mill P 500 U/800 U provides further advantages for tool and die makers. It offers active protection against collisions in all directions to reduce machine downtime. In the event of a collision, the user can resume production after approximately ten minutes.

Customer Services: rConnect

The rConnect technology from GF Machining Solutions Customer Services brings intelligent manufacturing to tool and mold making workshops. Innovative apps ensure permanent availability of machine intelligence. This enables customers' workshops to exploit their full potential at all times. With rConnect's Live Remote Assistance (LRA) module, users can rely on GF Machining Solutions' experts to respond quickly to their service requests. LRA connects users with remote assistance experts in real time.

This article was first published by Schweizer MaschinenMarkt

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