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AMB 2018 Metalworking is Affected by Automation and Integration

Editor: MA Alexander Stark

Mazak will be presenting a cross-section of their machine program at the AMB. Altogether, eleven machines with different technologies from all machine series will be shown live in action. Laser welding process and milling are affected by automation as well.

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Laser welding process and milling are affected by automation aswell.
Laser welding process and milling are affected by automation aswell.
(Source: Pixabay / CC0 )

A special focus will be on the innovative automation solutions that will be shown on four different machine types. A highlight is the automation of the 2-spindle turning center Multiplex W-200Y with gantry loading system. Instead of a workpiece store, a rotary indexing table is mounted, which is equipped with tool carrier plates. This rotary indexing table was designed by Mazak Engineering Germany as a workpiece storage and feeding station. It offers space for up to 200 workpieces with an average size of 60 mm on a small footprint, an increase of 144 % compared to standard buffers. This allows to extend unmanned shifts, an important aspect in times of great shortage of skilled workers. The rotary indexing table enables permanent set-up during machining and thus ensures good utilization of the highly productive multiplex machine. The good accessibility to raw and finished parts is a particular advantage of this solution. The automation with rotary indexing table is suitable for all fields of application and industries, optimally with smaller components in medium to large series.

Twin Pallet Changer as an Innovative Automation Solution

Another automation solution that Mazak will present at the AMB is a twin pallet changer to increase productivity of the HCR-5000 horizontal 5-axis machining center. Designed for high-speed machining of aluminium, the machine is equipped with a high-performance spindle achieving 30,000 rpm. Additionally, the horizontal arrangement of the spindle and the swivel rotary table are designed to ensure reliable removal of large quantities of chips, such as those produced during aluminium machining. The Mazatrol Smooth X control has been specially equipped with improved software for 5-axis machining.

Related to: Automation Assistant for Metalworking Industry

Automation with robot loading systems has proven itself for standard lathes. New in the Mazak portfolio is a TA-20 robot, which has been designed for workpiece weights of up to 20 kg compared to the TA-12 robot that handles workpieces weighing up to 12 kg. This solution is shown on a QT 250 MSY lathe. The TA 20 is an easy to program robot cell. The automation tool for the loading system is integrated as an app in Mazatrol, so that the machine and loading system are perfectly coordinated. Programming — also of the robot — is carried out via easy to understand, simple menus of the Mazak-Smooth control system, which guarantees intuitive operation and very fast set-up times. This type of automation is ideal for small to medium-sized batch sizes for companies of any size.


Robot Loading System on Vertical Machining Center

Another robot loading system will be shown on the VCN-530 Smooth G vertical machining center. According to the manufacturer, the VCN offers the highest productivity of any vertical machining centers of this size. It owes its shorter cycle times to the high, maximum feed speed of 42 m/min, good acceleration/deceleration behavior and fast tool change of 2.8 s. A Mazatrol Smooth G CNC control guarantees maximum user-friendliness. The loading robot has a standard Profibus interface and can therefore be quickly and easily docked to all machines in a production line.

Solutions for Extended Operation Periods without Supervision

The 5-axis machining centers of the Integrex and Variaxis series can be automated with systems perfectly matched to the machines, such as pallet changers and robot loading. Solutions such as Multi Pallet Pool (MPP) ensure super-fast pallet transfer and significantly extended operation without operator supervision, which makes it ideal for unmanned night shifts. The system is controlled via the Smooth CNC controller, which is equipped with Mazak's Smooth MPP software. Smooth MPP simplifies order scheduling with innovative features and enables faster analysis of production results and more efficient system utilization, the company adds. The data can also be accessed externally using PCs and smartphones.

Turning and Milling on one Machine

In addition to automation, process integration is an important topic. The "done-in-one" principle of Mazak multi-function machines combines turning and milling in one machine with the aim of completely machining workpieces in one clamping position, thus achieving cost reductions, shorter cycle times, higher accuracy and higher productivity. Mazak was one of the first suppliers worldwide to combine additive manufacturing and multi-functional technology in one machine.

In cooperation with the tool manufacturer Sandvik, Mazak is now integrating Power Skiving as a further machining process in its multifunctional machines. The application Skiving is shown on an Integrex i-500U with integrated tailstock and tool holder model SK 50 with Capto C8 tools. The machine solution is particularly suitable for the production of shaft-shaped workpieces, but also of large gears in small batch sizes, which are used, for example, in tunnel boring machines and wind turbines.

Related to: Modern Milling Technology Improves the Production of Die-Cast Parts

The sophisticated concept of the AM machines integrates the additive process of the laser welding process into a 5-axis machining center of the Integrex series. A built-in 1 kW fiber laser is used to melt the metal powder, which is then applied in layers by means of exchangeable coating heads. These heads are housed in the standard tool magazine of the machine. Switching between additive and subtractive tools is done via the intuitive Mazak Smooth-X control. This optimizes throughput times, the company claims.


The additive manufacturing process has so far been integrated in Mazak machines of the Integrex and Variaxis series. At the AMB, additive manufacturing (AM) will be shown on a Variaxis j-600/5X AM. It allows the application of various materials such as stainless steel, nickel alloys and copper. This enables a wide variety of applications, such as the complete machining of parts using both chip-removing and additive machining within the same machining process or the repair of worn or damaged parts.

The smooth integration of the different processes is made possible by the use of the latest Mazak Smooth control technology. Designed for 5-axis machining, Smooth X controls the highly efficient machining of prismatic, round or highly complex shaped workpieces as well as near-net-shape features previously created using the integrated additive process.

The vertical machining centers of the VTC series are available as VTC 800/30SR with Smooth-X control, as VTC-530 and VTC-760C each with Siemens control Sinumerik 828D sl. Mazak has already equipped a large number of machines from different series with the Sinumerik 840D sl, with the focus on those users who have oriented their production to Siemens controls. New is the VTC-530 and VTC-760 with Sinumerik 828D sl. The Sinumerik package includes the CNC control, a Mazak spindle with integrated Siemens motor and Sinumerik drives and servo motors.

IOT: Mazak machines are compatible with the MT Connect interface as an option. MT Connect is an open communication protocol for data acquisition from machine tools, peripherals, sensors, etc. Standardized data can be made available independently of manufacturers or models, so that inefficiencies and downtimes are detected at an early stage. A large variety of technical information such as spindle load, workpiece counter and axis feed speed are available for evaluation purposes. As a member of the MT Connect Technical Advisory Group, Mazak has supported MT Connect as much as possible during the development phase and has been instrumental in developing this new communication protocol.

This article was first published by MaschinenMarkt

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