Category Archives: Machines

Supreme connectivity, laser technology and 3D metal printing: Okuma launches new generation of machine tools

Okuma presented a new line of machine tools at the 28th Japan International Machine Tool Fair (November 17- November 22, 2016). The manufacturer’s trade innovations included state-of-the-art 5-axis vertical machining centres and a new type of intelligent multitasking machine. Among the highlights was the introduction of the world’s first multitasking machines capable of milling, turning, and grinding as well as laser-hardening and 3D metal printing.

Smart factory, just-in-time-production, varying order sizes – production and machining requirements are higher than ever. To meet those demands, Okuma’s latest machine tools take multitasking machining to the next level. The new models will be available in Europe in mid-2017
Intelligent horizontal multitasking machine
To facilitate process-intensive production in a smart factory, Okuma has added the MULTUS U5000 to its line-up of multitasking machines. Designed for machining medium and large-sized components for the aerospace, energy and infrastructure industries, the MULTUS U5000 handles even difficult-to-cut materials, such as Titanium and Inconel. With the strongest turning spindle of its class, the MULTUS U5000 achieves unrivalled machining efficiency.
In an effort to allow operators to perform gear machining in-house, Okuma has made skiving and hobbing operations available on their multitasking machines with the accompanying software package enabling faster and easier programming.
With Industry 4.0 no longer a thing of the future, the MULTUS U5000 comes equipped with the latest generation of CNC control – OSP suite – as well as Okuma’s Intelligent Technology. These applications offer supreme connectivity and allow for a seamless integration of the machine tool into an “Internet of Things”-based production environment.
“Smart Machine” for 5-axis vertical machining
Designed to stand at the heart of a smart factory, Okuma’s latest 5-Axis vertical machining centre MU-S600V is able to instantly respond to changed lead-times and accommodates production formats ranging from high-mix, low volume to mass production.
The compact MU-S600V has a very small footprint with a machine-width of 1,400 mm and is able to cut workpieces of up to 600 mm in diameter. The machine’s compact dimensions and structural design allow for outstanding ease-of-use and easier crane jobs. Its robotic table enables completely unmanned, automated operations, eliminating manual handling of parts between set-ups in different machines. Production line layouts are easily adjusted in accordance with changes in production volume.
Laser technology for process-intensive machining
Designed to be the world’s first “done-on-one”-machines, the Okuma MU-6300V LASER EX and the MULTUS U3000 LASER EX are capable of milling, turning, grinding, 3D metal printing and heat treatment for a wide range of workpiece sizes and shapes. On-machine hardening provides the solution to a major bottleneck in production: Compared to hardening by conventional heat treatment, the process is quick and causes less distortion, resulting in dramatically increased throughput. The machine tools fully support agile manufacturing and process-intensive applications.
With a high-quality TRUMPF laser beam source at its core, Okuma’s LASER EX series enables stable laser processing over long runs. The machines allow for Laser Metal Deposition – LMD – for both large-capacity and high definition additive manufacturing. 0.4 to 8.5 mm laser spot diameters enable unparalleled throughput regardless of the application. 3D moulding, coating and sectional repair of heat-resistant alloys and highly rigid materials are available on the machine as well.
Okuma’s OSP control meanwhile monitors and controls the entire process, ensuring reliable and stable additive manufacturing for products on par with forged components. The machine tools therefore meet the quality requirements of even the most demanding applications and industries such as aerospace machining.
Additional Okuma models with laser applications will be available shortly.
Okuma Europe GmbH is the Germany-based sales and service affiliate of Okuma Corporation, a world leader in CNC (computer numeric control) machine tools, founded in 1898 in Nagoya, Japan. The company is the industry’s only single-source provider, with the CNC machine, drive, motors, encoders, spindle and CNC control all manufactured by Okuma. Okuma’s innovative and reliable technology, paired with comprehensive, localised service protection, allows users to run continuously with confidence – maximising profitability. Along with its industry-leading distribution network, Okuma facilitates quality, productivity and efficiency, empowering the customer and enabling competitive advantage in today’s demanding manufacturing environment.

Optimize thermal management during plastic injection with GF Machining Solutions’ AM S 290 Tooling Additive Manufacturing (AM) solution

One year ago, GF Machining Solutions signed a strategic partnership with global Additive Manufacturing (AM) leader EOS, headquartered in Krailling, Germany. The partnership demonstrates the companies’ commitment to advancing AM as a leading technology and working together to ensure its seamless integration into the conven-tional manufacturing chain.

GFMS AM S 290 Tooling2

The AM S 290 Tooling, based on the established and proven EOS technology, is a system dedicated to the mold and die industry and from now on world-wide available. A System 3R MacroMagnum chuck is fully integrated into the building system. In combination with the Reference Point Calibration software, it permits the absolute location of parts relative to the X/Y plane of the building platform, which in particular supports manufacturing of hybrid workpieces. It further integrates building platform handling with other machining processes to separate workpieces or accurately refurbish building platforms for re-use.

The integrated chuck is intended to be used in combination with standard pallets (e.g., used for hybrid parts) or building platforms equipped with a standard reference element. This signi-ficantly improves the ability for upstream and downstream integration of the AM process in the whole production process.

The hybrid mold insert is the most economical solution for parts characterized by geometrically simple and complex sections. Depending on material and size, such hybrid parts can be created by directly generating the additively manufactured part on top of the conventionally manufactured base or by separately finishing and assembling both parts.

With this system, GF Machining Solutions focuses on mold inserts with conformal cooling/ heating channels. These inserts can be used for any kind of plastic products in all segments. Thanks to AM enabled conformal cooling, customers can reduce their cycle time, increase their productivity and improve the overall quality of, for example, a critical plastic part with thin walls.

Advantages of AM are now well understood and its industrialization is a major step toward the future. GF Machining Solutions is actively collaborating with EOS to speed up development of this solution which will be a major step in fulfilling Industry 4.0 requirements.

Both in mold and die and other applications in various segments, GF Machining Solutions is at the forefront of efficiently blending traditional and new manufacturing technologies, not by optimizing parts and process flow but also by improving data flow and systems connectivity.

Affolter launches groundbreaking Worm Screw Power Skiving technology

Affolter Technologies SA, the technology and world market leader in micro gear hobbing centers for the watchmaking and micromechanical industries, launches a groundbreaking innovation: Worm Screw Power Skiving (WSPS).

AF110 plus2

“This cutting-edge technology was developed by our engineering experts in an intensive R&D process. Worm Screw Power Skiving allows us to finish a high-precision worm in only 6 seconds. If done by worm hobbing, every piece will take 25 seconds”, explains Managing Director Vincent Affolter. In other words: WSPS makes producers 4 times more efficient. Mr. Affolter: “This will increase the productivity and efficiency of manufacturers in the automotive and aircraft industries considerably.”

Big demand
Many producers in these industries need to manufacture large quantities of high-precision worms. The WSPS technology focuses on small worms with a module of 0.3 to 1.5. “Such worms are used in car seats or trunks, for instance. We see a big demand in the automotive industry, but also in other sectors”, explains Mr. Affolter.

Extremely fast process
The idea behind the new technology: Unlike in worm hobbing, where the hob turns much faster than the workpiece, the Affolter experts inverted the process. “The workpiece turns extremely fast, with 2 new spindles up to 12’000rpm, while the cutter turns much slower. Only highest quality machines like the Affolter AF100 plus and AF110 plus can reach this speed and at the same time provide the necessary stiffness”, states the Managing Director.

AF110 plus: convincing results
Over the course of the recent months, the Affolter engineers redesigned the well-established Gear Line model AF110 to optimize the WSPS process. The result is the brand new Gear Hobbing Machine AF110 plus. The workpiece spindles were successfully remodeled to reach the high speeds needed. The Affolter Marketing and R&D team also focused on completely redesigning the machine. “We integrated a cutting fluid filtration system and a chip disposal solution. This allows us to cope with all the requirements imposed by the workpiece up to module 1.5 and the production of large volumes of chips”, says Mr. Affolter. Additionally, the Affolter engineers and the marketing team improved the ergonomics through a redefinition of the machine base and surrounding as well as the human-machine interface. The very flexible AF110 plus also convinces with a function that allows to operate at reduced speeds with the hood open (Full Safety setup machine mode). Extensive test runs proved very successful, as Vincent Affolter recounts: “We achieved outstanding results processing both steel and brass. The new AF110 plus and the WSPS technology will open completely new opportunities for our customers.”

In the spotlight
A prototype of the AF110 plus will be showcased at the trade shows AMB in Stuttgart from 13-17 September and Micronora in Besançon/France from 27-30 September. Furthermore, Affolter will present the WSPS technology at IMTS in Chicago from 12-17 September and 
JIMTOF in Tokyo from 17-22 November.

AMB 2016: The machine tool goes digital. Expert interview with Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Brecher / Machine of the future the key topic at AMB in Stuttgart

Machine tools are becoming increasingly more precise, quicker and better. This will also be demonstrated during the forthcoming AMB, International Exhibition for Metal Working in Stuttgart from 13 to 17 September 2016, which is expected to attract 90,000 visitors. However, the basic principle of the metal cutting machine is changing very little. Several rotatory and linear axes are combined differently in a closed housing. The control units are also not readily accessible. In times of “Industry 4.0”, actually only another term for “networking”, the machine tool must be opened up. What will it look like in future?


Answers to this question are provided by Professor Dr.-Ing. Christian Brecher, one of the Heads of the renowned Machine Tool Laboratory at RWTH Aachen University and holder of the Chair for Machine Tools.

Professor Brecher, how must the machine tool of the future change for Industry 4.0?
In our opinion, two aspects are crucial: digitalisation or virtualisation of machine tools and their networking. In the first case engineering will be substantially optimised both through meaningful models of mechanical – i.e. static, dynamic and thermal behaviour – and control technology behaviour (e.g. the drive train or control models). The objective here is to simulate the subsequent machine as far as the process and detect challenges at an early stage. Networking will have more of an effect on the following operating phase. Future machine tools must contain semantic interfaces in order to provide, for example, process data in high resolution for more in-depth analyses, if possible in real time, or be functionally integrated in networked systems.

What effect will increasing automation of processes, especially through robots, have on the design of a machine tool?
Automated production cells already exist in tool construction and mouldmaking for example. However, we have identified major challenges relating to cost-effective operation of these cells (robots, machine tools, bearings) in multi-variant small series – i.e. the typical product range of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMUs). Processes often cannot come on stream in parallel with production time, or the expertise required in this case is not available. To date, there have only been a few approaches to define a functionally extensive interface between a machine tool and a robot that can be integrated into the CAD/CAM-NC chain or the RC chain. This becomes very exciting when we consider flexible automation, e.g. by means of collaborative robotics. We also see great potential here for SMUs and small series.
We are currently establishing a working party which will examine this question both on the research side and during direct industrial cooperation.

What has actually become of the concept of hexapods, i.e. a completely new design of machine tools, for which a great future was once predicted?
Due to various reasons, the concept of parallel kinematics or hybrid solutions could only be successfully established in a few areas. In addition to the area of handling and installation, there are also machine tools in which the advantages, e.g. the high feasible dynamics of special concepts, are used very successfully. One example is the highly dynamic Ecospeed machine from Dörries Scharmann for highly productive aluminium machining in the aerospace industry. In future, there will certainly also be special concepts for specific applications in the machine tool industry.

Machines are becoming increasingly more complex, young people are thinking in apps – how will machines be operated in future?
The development of new, innovative man-machine concepts has a long history in the Machine Tool Laboratory at RWTH Aachen University. For example, the approach of an action-based operating concept – motivated by modern smartphones – has been successfully validated with multi-modal interfaces, thereby significantly reducing the complexity of current human-machine interfaces. Celos from DMG Mori is pursuing an entirely similar approach in this respect. In the MaxiMMI Project, whose participants include leading machine tool manufacturers and suppliers, we are also currently observing the integration of new operating devices such as smart watches, tablets or multimedia glasses in the machine tool environment. Although these approaches offer great potential, they should not be pursued just for their own sake, but should always create a realistic practical application.

Energy efficiency has also been a recurring topic in the machine tool industry for some years. What is the situation at present?
The topic area of energy efficiency is still the subject of current research funding tenders. Whereas we were initially able to design the main units, e.g. spindles, more efficiently after taking account of physical models, more emphasis is now placed on auxiliary units and intelligent thermal management as a whole. Current activities in the Machine Tool Laboratory involve reducing non-productive warm-up times in order to also switch off machines quickly in a flexible way during short breaks in production. From an overall viewpoint, the topic of energy efficiency must be broadly considered in the context of productivity in order to reduce the amount of energy consumption per component.

CECIMO forecasts growth to continue in 2015

CECIMO, the European Association of the Machine Tool Industries presents the state of the European machine tool industry at EMO Milano 2015:

• The European machine tool production will grow to 23.6 billion euros in 2015;
• Machine tool sales in Europe will reach 14.2 billion euro in 2015 thanks to the improving business confidence.


Together with the European economy, the European machine tool (MT) production also intensified in 2014: it grew by1.3% to reach 23.0 billion euro. Since the European MT industry exports worldwide, it is affected by two opposing trends. First, a slowdown in emerging markets makes these reduce their investment in industrial machinery. Secondly, growth is relatively stable in developed markets like Europe and North America, which implies more investment in industrial machinery. Both trends considered, the European machine tool production is estimated to increase to 23.6 billion euro in 2015 (+3%).
Despite the slowdown of global economic growth, the European MTs’ exports still perform well. Machine tools with a total value of 18.2 billion euro were shipped abroad in 2014. CECIMO expects the exports to grow by 3% to 18.7 billion euro in 2015, which would be the second best result of all times. “Rising wages in the emerging economies put pressure on production costs. The European machine tool industry focuses on productivity and high efficiency that gives us our competitive edge. Our highly innovative, state-of-the-art machines are in demand all over the world because they offer intelligent and cost efficient manufacturing solutions. These are promoted on a large scale during EMO Milano 2015,” explained Dr Frank Brinken, the Chairman of CECIMO Economic Committee and a member of the Board of Directors of several machine tool companies.

CECIMO imports rose to 8.8 billion euro in 2014. The weak euro will slow imports’ growth down but we estimate that the European industry’s needs will push the MT imports to 9.2 billion euro this year (+3%). After two years of stagnation, the European businesses’ investments picked up in 2014. The European MT consumption expanded by 10% in 2014 to 13.7 billion euro. The consumption is expected to go on increasing and record 14.2 billion euro in 2015. The improving demand in European markets is confirmed by the strong order intake. In the second quarter of 2015, the CECIMO domestic orders’ index increased by 6% and 14% in comparison with the previous quarter and the same quarter last year respectively. We expect the European MT consumption to grow for the next four years.

The industry in need for political action at EU level
Europe generates 39% of the global machine tool output and European exports (including intra-EU trade) account for 50% of the world machine tool exports. As much as 50% of all patents filed globally for machine tool technologies are European. Europe’s strength lies, in fact, specifically in its capacity to supply advanced machine tool technologies.
The European MT sector goes towards the adoption of disruptive manufacturing technologies like intelligent production and additive manufacturing. It wants to participate in public-private partnerships and focuses on cross-disciplinary cooperation. The sector is accelerating the integration of new technologies like big data and industrial internet into its equipment and services, laying the foundations of the future’s intelligent and connected factories. They are also heavily involved in helping our manufacturing workforce to adapt to new technologies and the new business environment.
It is clear that innovation is and will be the motor of growth for the MT industry, and the lack of investment in manufacturing is its most important obstacle. Filip Geerts, director-general of CECIMO says: “The EU decision makers must use the European Fund for Strategic Investments to finance support programmes helping to accelerate “technology transfer” whilst tackling the underinvestment problem.”

New design for even more functions

Tornos EvoDeco machines continue to meet the needs of the most demanding bar-turners with ease! Already recognised as highly advanced, this platform is undergoing constant improvement

EvoDECO_10_front copie

During the Journées Horlogères open days (March 3 to 6, 2015), Tornos will unveil a complete overhaul of these iconic machines. We met with Massimo Tidei, project manager, and Philippe Charles, product manager, both of whom work for Tornos.

The fastest machines on the market
“EvoDeco machines are equipped with the best kinematics on the market: no other current solution is able to offer the same level of performance and sophistication as an EvoDeco. It was of crucial importance that we kept ahead of the market in this way, as it is vital to Tornos and to our customers, who need to be the best in their field! The performance of our machines is mirrored by the success to our customers”, notes Philippe Charles.

Fundamental improvements
“In fact, since the trend is towards a reduction in the size of production runs, it is increasingly important that the first parts are perfect. The machine’s thermal system must therefore comprise the shortest possible loops to reduce the warm-up time as much as possible”, Massimo Tidei explains. The machine has also been redesigned in terms of rigidity to ensure it offers improved machining performance. The two new EvoDeco machines are also equipped with cyclical lubrication.

Two machines, 4 versions
Available in versions with 10 or 8 linear axes, EvoDeco 10 and EvoDeco 16 machines take two C axes as standard. The two turning machines are equipped with synchronous motor powered spindles. This technology, unique on this type of machine, means that the machine’s productivity can be increased significantly when machining parts which require frequent spindle stops. The cycle time is reduced by more than 30%!

Many possibilities
In addition to its highly comprehensive equipment, the EvoDeco 16 machine can, for example, be equipped with a B axis for positioning in back operation, which is particularly useful for creating angled implants for the dental industry. The EvoDeco 10 machine, however, can receive up to 3 hobbing devices, one of which can be used in back operation, making it without doubt the fastest hobbing machine on the market!

Tornos SA
Industrielle 111
2740 Moutier
Tel. 141 32 494 44 44
Fax: +41 32 494 49 07
[email protected]


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LSR processing at Medtec Europe 2015

Arburg will present an application for processing liquid silicone (LSR) on exhibition stand no. 5B04 in Hall 5 at the Medtec Europe to be held in Stuttgart from 21 to 23 April 2015.

The electric Allrounder 470 A presented at the Medtec Europe 2015 is specially equipped for processing LSR and use in the medical technology sector.
The electric Allrounder 470 A presented at the Medtec Europe 2015 is specially equipped for processing LSR and use in the medical technology sector.

An electric Allrounder will produce bellows used as a valve in medical test devices. This application is designed to showcase Arburg’s expertise and demonstrate the potential of the LSR material in medical technology, as well as to demonstrate that the clean room connection to the machine via an encapsulated conveyor belt is a cost-effective production solution.

Liquid silicone
“The Medtec Europe is an important meeting point for all the leading companies in the industry. The focus will be on the manufacture of medical technology products. It is the perfect platform for presenting our range of products and services and expertise, as well as maintaining contacts,” says Sven Kitzlinger, who is responsible for application technology consulting in the medical technology sector at Arburg. “We have extensive specialist know-how in the processing of liquid silicone (LSR): Arburg has been developing special injection moulding solutions for processing this liquid material for more than 35 years. The properties of this material make it perfect for medical technology”, explains the expert.

Electric Allrounder for LSR processing
Arburg will present an electric Allrounder 470 A with a clamping force of 1,000 kN and a size 170 injection unit specially equipped for processing LSR. The Allrounder is specially equipped for production in a clean environment and features a laminar-flow box, a stainless steel sorter unit and an extended machine conveyor belt with tunnel housing for docking to the clean room. In addition, the light grey colour and raised machine feet ensure easy cleaning.

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72286 Lossburg, Germany



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