With 1,450 exhibitors from 50 countries and 120,000 attendees, the century's final Int'l Machine Tool Show served as proof that the industry is stronger than it's been for two decades. The show, which ran from September 9-16 at Chicago's McCormick Place, also proved that advanced motion control technology has taken a firm grip on the industry. Five-axis systems, high-speed machinery, linear motors, and data buses headed the list of key technologies at the show. Cincinnati Milacron, for example, was one of several exhibitors that rolled out a five-axis machining center. Milacron's Lancer V5-2000, a five-axis, five-sided CNC machining center, joins the company's Magnum H5-800, another five-axis system that offers five-sided contouring capability …The high-tech motion control theme also took a unique turn at the Wisconsin Machine Tool booth, where the company introduced its R665 machining center. The system was designed and built in partnership with Bosch Automation Technology, which provided CNC controls, servo drives, motors, hydraulics, pneumatics, and technical expertise.
Getting on the bus
Data bus technology also took a significant turn as Ormec announced its new ServoWire Drive Network, which uses the open standard IEEE-1394 to create a 200-Mbps digital network for industrial servodrives…GE Fanuc introduced the Series 15i, said to be the highest performing CNC in the world. Designed for high-speed, high-precision milling applications, it accommodates up to 24 axes …Mitsubishi Electric Automation announced the availability of six CNCs with 64-bit processor architecture, designed to speed machining operations. Known as the M600 CNC family, the units can be used in applications ranging from 11 to 21 axes …Rockwell Automation showed the 9/PC, the first PC-based CNC offering open interface. The unit is SERCOS and DeviceNet compatible …Indramat showed off its ECODRIVE-03, a compact ac servo drive that integrates motion control, spindle control, amplifier, power supply, and I/O in a single, compact unit …Star Linear displayed a ball screw unit with a stationary screw and rotating nut. The inherent stiffness enables it to be operated at speeds up to 4,000 rpm, versus 2,500 rpm for conventional ball screws …Rimtec rolled out the ADS servo coupling for digital drives. Its unit eliminates resonance problems that sometimes occur during fast acceleration and deceleration associated with servo drives.
Added life, lower maintenance
THK America displayed its SSR LM Guide, which isolates bearing balls in an elastomeric cage to reduce maintenance and noise …Parker Hannifin introduced Fulflo Trubind Absorbent Cartridges that extend machine tool life in point-of-use coolant applications …Nook Industries demonstrated its Power-Trac internal return ball nuts, which offer a compact profile for linear motion in machine tools …Firestone Industrial Products showed an air-over-water table made in conjunction with Lee Engineering Co. The table is less costly than comparable hydraulic tables.
Bearing down on competition
Thomson Industries announced its Super Smart Ball BushingTM bearing line in sizes that meet all metric and inch standards. The company says the bearings have six times the travel life of conventional bearings. Small bearing sizes allow downsizing motion control equipment or increased load or life …Versatility for cost effectiveness is the key to Carboloy's new Multi-Directional Turning (MDT) tools. Different MDT toolholders combine with a single indexable carbide insert, available in several widths. Patented serrated teeth on both insert and holder pocket provide stronger insert retention. …The Heidenhain Specto ST 12 incremental length gauge's small size allows grouping several together for multipoint inspection. Measuring length is 12 mm with an accuracy of ±1 micron. The grating-on-glass-based device provides stable measurement over longer time, eliminating recalibration …Softech introduced Prospector 3.0, which permits mold and die shops to move decisions from the CAM room to the shop floor--from product design analysis to toolpath verification and optimization--speeding mold fabrication. Machinists can adapt a cutting project to real-time consideration, reducing or eliminating human error. Knowledge-based software allows digital development of moldmaking, using industry "best practices" in creating cutting paths …A unique machine-tool spindle force sensor allows OptiMil version 3.0 from OMAT Control Technologies to automatically adjust the cutting feed rate, reducing cycle times and extending tool life. …Hydromat noted the speed and flexibility of its new WindowsTM NT CNC control. Change-overs for quick-response, just-in-time short production runs, as well as high-volume machining applications, can be accommodated via fully programmable speed and feeds, quick-release collets, and presettable toolheads …Completely software-based OpenC® from MDSITM was highlighted. This single Intel processor PC package does not require any proprietary hardware for retrofitting of any CNC machine tool or integration into manufacturing execution systems …Gradient Lens Corp. showed its Hawkeye® SuperslimTM borescope. Key to the inspection tool's low cost are reduced numbers of optical elements, thanks to gradient-index (GRIN) optical materials. These bend light continuously within the entire length of material …SDRC introduced the third version of its I-DEAS Artisan Series with its new CAM component, Artisan ManufacturingTM. In addition to Manufacturing, the package includes modules for Sheet Metal, Mechanisms, and a Fastener Catalogue. …Lumonics Laserdyne® 790 BeamDirector® permits specifying fewer parts for complex assemblies. Its five axis laser beam motion, rigidity, and automatic focusing allow a part to remain stationary during processing for greater accuracy, repeatability, and reduced set-up time.