Regarding Hurco Europe’s prismatic machining equipment at MACH 2024, the accent was on 5-axis machining as well as automation of both 3-axis and 5-axis vertical machining centres (VMCs). There was a Hurco ProCobot Profeeder assisting the production of parts on a VM20i 3-axis VMC and an Erowa Robot Compact 80 feeding a trunnion-type 5-axis model, the VMX30Ui.

The ProCobot picks and places components and removes them after machining, with the app running directly in the Max 5 control and visible on the screen. Minimal information needs to be entered to set a job, so changeover time can be as rapid as 30 minutes, making plug-and-play, small-batch automation a reality. The Erowa cell, on the other hand, transfers the workholding as well as the part on a pallet. The choice of system depends on the application. Both solutions lend themselves well to Hurco’s typical customers, which tend to undertake small to medium batch runs.

Hurco SRTi 5-axis VMCs are popular because they have a swivelling spindle head and flush rotary table, a configuration that can be used as a 5-axis production centre or a 3-axis machine that exploits the full working volume. A VMX42SRTi with 1,067 x 610 x 610 mm travels represented this range at the show. It has directly-encoded torque motors driving both the B-axis spindle and C-axis table. Linear scales and 20-bar coolant through the spindle are standard features.

Another Hurco 5-axis machining centre at the exhibition was the cantilever-type VC500i. Ergonomically designed for easy operator access, it has a 520 x 450 x 400 mm working volume and a ± 100-degree swivelling trunnion carrying a rotary table, ideal for machining five faces of a component in a single set-up. As with any 5-axis centre, it drastically reduces the number of separate operations needed to completely machine a part compared with using a 3-axis machine.

A VMX60Ti 3-axis VMC equipped with a rotary-tilt table demonstrated the versatility of this alternative 5-axis machining arrangement, particularly for prismatic machining of shaft-type components. Capital cost can be saved, as a smaller capacity machine can often be selected compared with if a dedicated 5-axis machining centre were to be used.

In addition to the popular 3-axis VM10i, which combines a small footprint with the capacity (660 x 406 x 508 mm) and performance (11 kW / 12,000 rpm) of a big 3-axis machining centre, there was a VM ONE 3-axis VMC with a smaller Z-axis travel of 356 mm. It addresses a need, especially among subcontractors, for an entry-level machine that is super-compact, yet still capable of producing prismatic parts weighing up to 1,500 kg.

Powered by proprietary WinMax software, the Max5 control includes a solid model import option that allows 3+2 routines to be programmed on the shop floor from an IGES CAD model imported as a .STP file. It is fast, uncomplicated and takes the load off manufacturer’s CAM stations.

The CNC system supports both conversational programming via a colour LCD touch-screen and/or input of NC code generated off-line, with merging of the two sets of data achieved via an NC Merge function.

For more information, please contact TH Machine Tools – Tel: 012 259 1375.

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