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Makino Milling Machine Co. Ltd: 5-axis Machining Center T2


The Machining Center T2 is a versatile machine capable of milling, drilling, boring and tapping, all in a single piece of machinery, as required by the item being manufactured.

Machining Centers were invented in the USA in 1965, and have been widely used in metal processing industries ever since, including the manufacture of semiconductors, automobiles and aircrafts. Production of machining centers outnumbers that of any other machine tool in the world today.

Makino Milling Machine Co., Ltd. is the leading manufacturer in the machine tools industry in Japan, boasting the most advanced technology. At the end of 2010, Makino Milling Machine launched a new Machining Center able to cut titanium, known as one of the hardest-to-cut materials in existence.

Titanium is extremely strong, yet light, and it is also highly resistant to corrosion and heat; it is one of the most important of all rare metals for the aerospace industry. These properties, however, also make it extremely difficult to process. Its strength makes it very difficult to cut. Its heat conductivity is very low, half of that of stainless steel, which means that when it is cut, the heat that is generated does not diverge, remaining instead in the tip of the cutting tool. For these reasons, tools used to cut titanium and titanium alloys often show a decline in performance over a short period of time, significantly shortening tool lifespan.

In response to this, Makino Milling Machine Co., Ltd. has developed a system which automatically slows down the traverse speed whenever the displacement sensor, fitted on the edge of the main spindle, records any large burden being placed on the machine as it measures the cutting force acting on the blade edge. Moreover, by attaching a 200 L/min (7 MPa) coolant system close to the blade edge, it is now possible to rapidly cool the high levels of heat retained in the machine. In addition, Makino engineers have succeeded in increasing the speed at which the high temperature titanium alloy dust is removed from the machine. These new functionalities mean that the tool lifespan for the Machining Center T2 is now four times longer than conventional models.

One of the most persistent of all problems relating to metal processing is the issue of oscillation during processing and how to mitigate it. The T2 attempts to solve the problem by installing an Active Dampening System, which counters oscillation, in each linear-motion and rotary axis using a servo system to generate an antiphase force in response to the processing force of the machine.

The Machining Center T2 does more than just overcome the various problems that have plagued titanium alloy processing such as tool lifespan and oscillation. It also features an enhanced maximum main spindle torque of max. 1,500 Nm/min. 1,000 Nm, which in turn allows enhanced cutting performance – the most important function of any Machining Center – at four times better than conventional machines.

This product is not just a better performer, however. It also features improvements designed to make it easier to use. The entire system is encased in a thermostatic chamber with a splash guard, cutting it off from outside air, and with a machine temperature controller, maintaining the whole system contained within the chamber at a fixed temperature. The development of a chamber to keep the machine unit at a constant temperature means that there is no longer a need to install equipment required to maintain the temperature of the entire factory, which means that the energy previously required to power such equipment can also be saved.

Makino Milling Machine Co., Ltd., developers of the 5-axis Machining Center T2, also manufactures a range of other machinery, with a particular specialization in metal molds. The company’s two core products are machining centers capable of high precision processing and electrical discharge machining. Of these, the company is an industry-wide pioneer in the field of 5-axis machining center technology.

Ever since it was established in 1937, throughout its acquisition of US manufacturers, and still today, as it expanding its overseas presence, Makino Milling Machine Co., Ltd. has not simply followed a program of uniform expansion, but rather has developed its business under a policy of steadily refining and improving its core technologies. It has not expanded into the field of general-purpose machinery, instead concentrating solely on high precision processing machinery.

This dedication to its field of specialization extends to the systems used within its machinery. The CAD/CAM systems used in all Makino Milling Machine machinery, including the 5-axis Machining Center T2, are almost entirely in-house originals. The MAKINO CAD/CAM System, used in cutting and electrical discharge processing, is also available to purchase separately.

No industry is more concerned with safety than the aerospace industry. The outstanding technology and specialization shown by Makino Milling Machine Co., Ltd. is therefore crucial to the aerospace industries. It is expected that the aerospace industry will develop significantly in the near future. It is therefore likely that the role of Makino Milling Machine Co., Ltd. in providing that industry with pioneering technology will become increasingly vital.

Mar 23, 2011

About the author
Eriko Kinashi is a reporter for Japanest NIPPON
(Makino Milling Machine Co. Ltd)
Displacement (X × Y × Z) 2,000 × 2,000 × 1,800 mm
Displacement A-axis ±110°, B-axis Continuous Revolution (360°)
Pallet working area 1,000 × 1,250 mm
Main spindle revolution speed 20–4,000 min-1
Main spindle torque 1,500/1,000 Nm (25%ED (S6 2 min)/continuous)
Rapid traverse rate 20,000 mm/min (X, Y, Z) 3,600 deg/min (A) 2,160 deg/min (B)
Cutting feedrate 1–16,000 mm/min (X, Y, Z) 1–3,600 deg/min (A) 1–2,160 deg/min (B)
Domestic price 176 million YEN