EulessAero recently announced its acquisition of a state-of-the-art machine to arrive in December. The Mazak HCN-5000/50 will begin operation shortly thereafter. “Mazak has committed to this build schedule so that EulessAero can support commitments made to our customers. Installation at our facility will be complete by December 31, 2017, allowing us to begin production operations in January 2018,” said EulessAero Manufacturing Engineer Jon Polliard. Planning has already begun on job selection for the new cell.
The Mazak Corporation is approaching its fiftieth year in the United States. Established in Japan in 1919, Mazak entered the U.S. marketplace in 1968 before settling into its permanent location in Florence, Kentucky. The manufacturing campus and headquarters has grown to 800,000 square feet in the Bluegrass State, with 6 other technology centers throughout the U.S.
“Mazak gave us several opportunities to tour their Kentucky manufacturing facility to see how they use Mazak machines to produce Mazak machines. They demonstrated their technology in action in their plant every day,” said Polliard. It was this versatility and user flexibility that EulessAero found especially important when evaluating tools to meet their customers’ needs.
EulessAero provides many products for their customers in several different mediums. “We manufacture airframe, landing gear and engine parts for commercial and military aircraft,” Polliard notes. “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.” This machining cell allows manufacture of such varied materials as the following:
- Aircraft aluminum alloys (6000 or 7000 series)
- Aluminum bronze (used for bearings and bushings)
- Carbon steels – both annealed and heat treated (4000 series)
- Corrosion resistant steels (13-8, 15-5, 17-4)
- High nickel alloys (such as inconel, monel, hastelloy)
- Titanium alloys (6Al-4V, 5553).
Depending on the customers’ engineering specifications, these materials may arrive in casting, forging, bar or block form.
Most impressive is how the efficiency of the horizontal machine will benefit EulessAero’s customer base. The Mazak HCN-5000/50 eliminates many of the “cons” of the vertical machine process. For every requested job a vertical machine requires a complete and total setup. This can be an inefficient process, cutting into production time with activities like loading fixtures, tools, and material, and checking offsets and tool length before finally loading the the control program. Finally, production can begin and the program continues until the customer order is filled. Following the job, the entire setup process must then be reversed before setup for the next job can begin. The time an operator loads and unloads parts from a vertical machine is simply wasteful. EulessAero’s new cell from Mazak eliminates that idle time, providing a faster, cost-effective process.
In a horizontal machining cell, setup of fixtures, cutting tools and offsets are completed once. The operator calls up the job and that setup arrives on a pallet at the load station. In this process, another job is already running on the horizontal cell. The material for the new job is loaded and the controller is notified it is ready to run. When the present job finishes, the scheduler loads the the next job cell onto the machine. Turnaround time from running the current job to running the next job takes eight seconds. As it is running, the next setup is being loaded.
Polliard’s excitement about the potential of the new Mazak machine is evident. “(This new capability) benefits our customers by reducing costs, improving quality and improving schedule flow.” Reducing customer lead times is important, so minimization in setup times and improvements in production efficiency are invaluable. “If material is available, a hot job can be inserted into the production schedule and run on the next available machine.”
This new machine is one of the ways that EulessAero commits to provide the best quality products for its customers. “We will always have some vertical 4-axis machines to support the cells and run those parts that are better produced on those verticals.” But the future belongs to horizontal machining cells that integrate better with automation. The arrival of the Mazak HCN-5000/50 will usher in a new era at EulessAero.
Learn more at aereos.com/eulessaero.