Brand-New, Custom-Built Mazak Horizontal Machining Cell Arrives in the Dallas Metro
What’s in this blog:
- The 18-month evaluation process finished, the MAZAK system will arrive in December.
- Capable of machining all types of aerospace materials, to a one micron (0.0001) accuracy
- “Accuracy and consistency will improve dramatically running our customer’s jobs on 2017 technology machines,” says manufacturing engineer Jon Polliard.
EulessAero, an industry leader in critical aircraft component manufacturing and an Aereos operating company, continues its dynamic growth. The complex is adding a brand new machining cell from Mazak before the end of the year. Aerospace customers have come to expect award-winning precision manufacturing from EulessAero technicians. This new machining cell will continue that distinction over a greater spectrum of capabilities.
“The Mazak HCN-5000/50 is a very robust machine tool capable of machining all types of aerospace materials – and our customers use most of them,” says Jon Polliard, Manufacturing Engineer, EulessAero. “Planning has already begun on job selection for the new cell. This will tell us what types of fixturing and tooling we will need to purchase to support production.”
Following installation, EulessAero will be offering these expanded production capabilities to their customers. Full production with the new machinery will start in 2018 to meet customer commitments.
Mazak is not an unfamiliar name around the EulessAero shop floor; a Mazak horizontal machining center is already in use here. Along with a Mazak 5-Axis, the present shop uses a Mazak HCN-6000 horizontal. Before the new machine tool is completed, technicians are able to transfer and proof jobs on the existing machine. Testing these jobs before the machining cell arrives allows production to begin immediately.
“This Mazak cell is being custom built to our specifications to best machine our customer’s parts,” Polliard said. The process included researching competing offerings from several builders, but Mazak’s complete offering won out. “There are many manufacturers in this arena with excellent offerings. Mazak offered EulessAero an integrated package that met all our requirements at a fair price with local support.”
The machines are two identical Mazak HCN-5000/50 horizontal machining centers. Each machine uses a 500mm pallet work surface, allowing for multiple, simultaneous jobs. They include CAT50, 10,000RPM, 30/40HP spindles with variable high pressure coolant which improves tool life and accuracy. The integrated Mazak cell system named PALLETECH stores 24 pallets at a time and includes a work load/unload station. The PALLETECH computer directs the machines and pallet pool based on scheduler software. “We have specified options to allow high speed machining, in-process inspection and the ability to run the cell in lights out configuration. We have the ability to monitor processes and make decisions based on data from the machines off line as well.”
Furthermore, the Mazak machines any number of mediums from aluminum alloys to carbon steels or corrosion resistant steels. It is also applicable for materials such as inconel, monel, hastelloy, and titanium alloys. But perhaps the most intriguing component is the integrated Renishaw probes. The probes check for tool wear, and completes in-process inspection of the manufactured part. These probes are accurate, measuring in microns, and the technology reduces rework drastically. It also audits the machine for broken or missing tools on a continuous basis. This double check saves unnecessary wear or breakage on other tools in the process.
Of greatest importance, though, is the EulessAero commitment to its customer. Once functional, the Mazak suite has the potential to reduce costs, while also improving quality and schedule flow. “Accuracy and consistency will improve dramatically running our customer’s jobs on 2017 technology machines,” Jon mentions. “Especially as compared to the vintage 2005 machine.” This machine is a welcome companion to the assemblage of others on the shop floor. EulessAero is expanding its capabilities for the several customers who have requested they take on more work. The Mazak system will ensure those requests are filled, likely for the next 20 years.
Jon Polliard passed away in the early part of 2019. His work at Aereos was very important, as was his friendship. Our tribute to Jon can be found here, and he will always be a part of EulessAero and Aereos.