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This system uses sensor technology to automatically adjust the feed rate for each tool to maintain a constant horsepower in the cut as tools wear. All this capacity, combined with a highly skilled, veteran staff, enables the shop to perform complex machining work often requiring accuracies in the low tenths for customers in the aerospace, medical, optical and photonics industries.
While carefully considering a number of Swiss-type brands and machine models, it was decided that the Tsugami TMU1, available in the United States through REM Sales (Windsor, Connecticut), offered the best mix of features for the shop’s needs. The B-axis spindle has a KM40 taper and is supported by a 60-station ATC (30 is standard for this machine). A multitasking machine enabled this small shop to bid competitively against larger operations by eliminating setups and reducing cycle times, but it first had to learn what jobs work best using turn-mill equipment.
John Schilling, president and founder of Goodson Manufacturing, peers through a stainless steel motor housing machined at his shop in Bohemia, New York. Some parts, such as this right-angle housing, had to be set up as many as six times on two different machines prior to purchasing a multitasking machine. Although multitasking machines are produced by many OEMs, the basic definition of the process describes a single machine on which milling, turning, drilling, tapping, deep-hole boring, and even hobbing can be performed, allowing a part to be manufactured from raw material such as a blank or barstock all the way to the finished product.
Goodson’s choice of the Integrex 100-IV turn-mill machine represents a fairly basic level, although he did connect automation at the beginning and end of the process. Other parts for which multitasking machines are particularly well-suited include structural aircraft components, crankshafts, cylinder heads, spiral bevel gears, pump screws, medical implants, propellers and turbine blades. First of all, he recalls tripling his workload in the 3 months following his purchase of the Integrex 100-IV since his bids came in so much lower compared to area competitors lacking multitasking capabilities.
The extra work the turn-mill combo brought in also allowed him to rethink his machine allocation, as well as what new machining processes would work for his shop. This enables less frequent setups because tooling for multiple jobs can be loaded at one time. The machining equipment there is top-notch and well-maintained, too, with features such as 0.00001-inch programmable resolution capability, glass scales, spindle chillers and high-pressure coolant systems. But what is equally impressive about Magnus is the gutsy nature by which it adopts new machining technology and equipment platforms. Of the specific machine features mentioned above, the two that are particularly valuable in this respect are the B-axis milling spindle and significant tooling capacity. The sliding-headstock is what enables the machine to effectively turn long parts with small-diameters, while the B-axis milling spindle can approach workpieces in the machine’s main or subspindle at a variety of angles. B-axis rotation possible in 0.001-degree increments enables the spindle to approach a workpiece held in the main or subspindle from a variety of angles. Will Breen, the TMU1 programmer and operator, says the added tooling capacity is important for minimizing setups, because tools for multiple jobs can be loaded at one time. Breen often identifies ways to improve part programs for repeating jobs and is becoming better at choreographing operations to run simultaneously. In order to outbid the competition, many factors must be taken into consideration, such as the cost of raw materials, equipment investment, spindle and cycle time, man hours, degree of automation, the ability to perform lights-out machining and the number of setups that will be required to make a particular part. The cycle time on an average part was also cut in half, from a total of 6 minutes on two machines to 3 minutes on one.

Schilling says that a part that requires turning with some milling works best on a multitasking machine, but the degree of complexity dictates whether it can be produced in an unattended or lights-out manner. Turning pares down the barstock to the proper diameter before milling the irregular features called for in the plans. On the other hand, parts made of harder materials that cause increased tool wear run the risk of causing tool breakage and do not qualify for unmanned operation overnight.
This was a mix of parts for new and existing customers in differing lot quantities, and also fast prototyping of both simple and complex parts.
Once he had the Integrex in place he was able to buy the first of three horizontal machining centers with automatic pallet changers to allow for unmanned machining from Mazak. Schilling’s decision to go with this particular process and configuration is based on a number of things, one being the fact that these HMCs have a true fourth axis, which allows for several sides to be machined in one setup.
In fact, this addition at Magnus is representative of a growing trend whereby non-screw-machine-type shops are recognizing the advantages that Swiss-type lathes offer for producing long, tricky parts complete as well as more prismatic parts that require a good deal of milling and drilling operations, too. Miller, who is also the coordinator for new equipment purchases at Magnus, says the shop took on some of this work using mills to perform the requisite secondary operations.
Rather than performing a setup for each job, one setup routine can support many jobs, maximizing machine in-cut time. He says that because of the way that sliding-headstock lathes complete parts in segments, an early challenge was mapping out programming strategies for parts prior to actually creating part programs. That machine was a Mazak Matrix Nexus 510C-II four-axis vertical machining center, which he’d purchased new his first year in business. One was an early turn-mill machine that was leading-edge when it was purchased, but couldn’t compete against newer multitasking machines in terms of power and holding tight tolerances.
A part that has close tolerances of 0.0005 inch or less on several dimensions that requires machining from multiple angles is a good candidate. The first is cycle time, in that parts requiring longer periods of machining are ideal for overnight, unmanned machining. Once the bar feeder is loaded and set up, the machine can run unattended, producing finished pieces that are then gathered in the parts accumulator.
Parts that require shorter cycle times are generally run during the day, as are those causing high tool wear that may call for new inserts more frequently. Unattended operation, bolstered by faster cycle times, brought his cost per part down to a range that allowed him to win the bid, and also for the profit margins to be high enough for the job to be worthwhile.
Another involves the efficient use of manpower, since one operator can handle three machines with zero load time. That way, if a prototype project results in a production run, the shop has an effective machining process already completed, including programming, tooling and workholding. It bought the machine even though the only person on staff who had any experience with a sliding-headstock lathe was a manufacturing engineer who previously owned a shop that used similar equipment.
Magnus machines materials common to most shops as well as more exotic materials such as high-temperature alloys, titanium, stainless steel, magnesium, beryllium copper and aluminum beryllium. However, it couldn’t be competitive on other jobs because of the time-consuming multiple setups that were required.

This means an OD turning tool cuts the stock near the guide bushing (and point of support) no matter how long the workpiece. This is ideal for parts with angular features, contoured surfaces, features off the centerline and tight geometric-positioning tolerances. As the fifth of six brothers employed by the company, he worked there for 11 years before realizing he wanted to do something on his own. This allowed him to manufacture components for a specialty window company supplying the home construction market, which in turn provided the capital he needed to buy a second 510 VMC the next year.
High-volume, repetitive work involving mass material removal also makes sense in a lights-out setting. Again, the fact that minimal contact is required by this process increases quality and allows the company to bid competitively. Reduced setups on nearly every part run across the machine have also kept Goodson’s costs down.
Schilling knows that machine shops of all sizes must take advantage of any new technology or process that will give it an edge in a competitive situation. This spurred the shop to look to more appropriate equipment for machining these parts, and a Swiss-type lathe seemed ideal. The machine feeds the work out of the spindle and past the tool as it goes, and the part is essentially completed in sections. The subspindle enables back working to be performed as well, so parts can be machined complete. As revenues increased, additional workers were hired, which allowed him to spend more time reaching out to potential customers.
The reason is that, although the Integrex has a powerful milling spindle, you can only machine one piece at a time, while you can produce as many parts as can be fit on a pallet in a horizontal milling machine. Along with the reduced cycle times on parts that can be manufactured completely from a blank on the multitasking machine, he is able to bid significantly lower than competitors who have not invested in multitasking equipment, at the same time receiving a fair profit for his work.
Apart from bidding against other companies for work, he says there is always the chance that a good customer will take their work overseas, which is something that he’s dealt with on plenty of occasions. This makes the CNC Swiss-type particularly effective for long and slender turned parts that would otherwise deflect if supported by a center on a conventional lathe. Now that he’s since built up a library of proven programs that have run on the TMU1, though, he also has the option of modifying existing programs from similar jobs, essentially cutting and pasting code to generate a new program.
Its adaptive control capability automatically adjusts the feed rate for each tool to maintain a constant horsepower in the cut as the tool wears.
By adjusting for varying cutting conditions in this way, the system enables the tool to cut at its optimum power level. Breen commonly uses the system for aggressive roughing operations, and says it helps maintain process consistency by adapting to tool wear while ensuring a broken tool doesn’t lead to a crash during a subsequent operation.

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