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MACH 2018 - Mecof and Blue Photon - Hall 19 - Stand 640




NCMT, sole sales and service agent in the UK for the Italian-built Mecof range of travelling-column, horizontal-spindle milling machines and gantry-type, vertical-spindle machining centres, will launch on stand H19-640 at MACH 2018 the UMILL 1500. The portal, 5-axis vertical machining centre has mill-turn and high-speed options and joins the larger UMILL 1800 introduced to the UK at the end of 2016.
The versatile machine has a 1,500 mm x 1,500 mm x 1,100 mm working envelope and does not require special foundations. It is suitable for 5-axis and 5-sided metalcutting applications in industries as diverse as aerospace, oil and gas, power generation and automotive.
There is a choice of spindles, either an HSK 100-A/T, 58 kW, 12,000 rpm version delivering up to 372 Nm of torque, an HSK 63-A, 63 kW, 20,000 rpm, 125 Nm alternative, or an ISO 50, 48 kW, 6,000 rpm, 750 Nm mechanical spindle. A-axis head positioning is in a plane at an angle to the table, allowing deployment of the spindle from horizontal to vertical as well as undercutting at up to 15 degrees.
There is a choice of two torque motor-driven rotary tables. The 1,400 mm x 1,200 mm milling table has a 20 rpm drive, a maximum torque of 3,000 Nm and accepts workpieces weighing up to 4.5 tonnes, while a 1,400 mm diameter mill-turn table offers 260 rpm, the same torque and supports 3.5 tonnes.
Despite its large size the machine is highly productive, with up to 60 m/min feed rate in the linear axes. The tool magazine can have 80, 120 or 200 pockets. Control is by either the Heidenhain 640HSCI or Siemens 840D sl.
UMILL machines mark a departure for Mecof, whose previous entry point was machines with four metres in X, rising to 20 metres. The show will provide an opportunity for NCMT to highlight the many production possibilities across a wide spectrum of applications in aerospace, automotive, rail, mould making, prototyping, power generation and machine building.

Adhesive workholding to be demonstrated
NCMT will demonstrate on Okuma and Makino machines the advantages of a photo-activated adhesive system from the US, Blue Photon, for which it is sole European agent. The method is ideal for securing awkwardly shaped parts for tight-tolerance machining and inspection.
The process involves applying an adhesive that is cured by ultraviolet light via an LED spot curing system. The adhesive contact points can be sheared to free the workpiece by rotating the gripper pins in the fixture plate with a spanner. The residual adhesive can subsequently be removed by the application of hot water or steam.
Use of the technique is predicted to grow rapidly due to its ability to hold components securely with a shear resistance of up to 200 kg per gripper point, yet allow cutters excellent all-round access for machining on five sides. Unlike magnetic clamping systems, it can be used to secure not only ferrous metals but also non-ferrous metallic parts as well as ceramics and composites, including delicate materials.
Blue Photon is ideal, for example, for clamping a turbine blade to enable the fir-tree and wedge face on the root as well as the shroud end features at the tip to be machined in one hit. Traditionally, due to clamp interference, multiple operations are required. The novel turbine blade fixture incorporates four gripper inserts that, once adhesive has been applied and cured, hold the blade securely by one side of the aerofoil.
Tests have shown that the clamping force produced by the fixture can easily withstand the requirements of machining. Material removal rate actually exceeded that achieved when the blade was mechanically clamped, as the pressure had to be limited to avoid component distortion and marking.
Other advantages of Blue Photon clamping are an absence of workpiece distortion, good damping properties to suppress chatter, reduced cost of fixtures for holding complex parts and elimination of locating lugs on castings. A recent innovation is the introduction of smaller diameter grippers for smaller workpieces and lighter duty machining applications. More information can be found at:

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