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CNC routers give top-notch performance.



Today's CNC routers are designed to save time, labor and expense.

Effective CNC routing is no longer restricted to long-run operations at huge corporations. As machinery manufacturers become more familiar with CNC technology and their customers' needs, they are providing a multitude of options that enhance the productivity of CNC routers in both large and small shops. In turn, the woodworking industry is finding more uses for CNC routers. According to industry experts, today's CNC routers are more productive, easier to operate and more cost-justifiable, even for smaller shops.

CNC router goal: 100% productivity

To reduce downtime, many of today's CNC machinery has been designed for quick setup and multiple operations. According to Skip McFarland, president of GPM Technologies, universal fixturing eliminates costly setup time and makes short runs profitable. In addition, two-table machines eliminate load time and keep the machine running 98 percent of the time and automatic tool changers provide more capability and faster set-up time.

Michael Hardesty, executive vice president of Thermwood added that, "In order for a machine to be setup quickly it must have a universal part holding system, large storage capacity, and be equipped with multiple heads. The large number of heads help in two areas. First, common cutters and drill sizes can be left on the machine, and secondly, the machine can perform operations normally done on other pieces of equipment eliminating their setup."

In addition to routing, operations that can be performed more efficiently on CNC machines include tenoning, square hole mortising, boring, sawing and moulding, according to Hardesty.

Other functions, such as fastener insertion heads and glue dispensing systems offer more of a true machining center and "allow for more complete part processing without handling the parts," said Sandy Brady at Powermatic.

Improved software increases CNC productivity

As CNC machinery becomes easier to operate and maintain, the number of machining hours increases. Manufacturers are designing CNC controls for the shop floor operators to assist them with the daily running of the machine. These troubleshooting functions require minimal computer training.

"Tool path graphics allow one to verify a program before running it," Brady said. "On-screen diagnostics allow a user to quickly check all machine electronics. On-screen program alarms state exactly what program error a user might have made." Also, manufacturers listed more reliable electrical components, 32-bit processors and new digital drives as other improvements.

Simplified and off-line programming also reduces downtime. Advancements in CAD (computer-aided design)/CAM (computer-aided machinery) and CIM (computer integrated machinery), such as on-screen windows that display program setup instructions, have made programming very simple. PC-driven machines offer longer programs and unlimited program storage. Background editing is another time saver. It allows one program to be loaded, unloaded or edited while another program runs on the machine.

In effect, "with all the new capabilities and features found in the latest CAD/CAM programming packages, it in now possible to create a complete CNC program in the office," said Giorgio Pizzo, sales and marketing manager of Wadkin. "Since all programs can be created off-line, the machine can be utilized for production 100 percent of the time."


Manufacturers of CNC routers have enough field experience to accurately state the economic justification of the equipment for both the small and large shops. They can identify "expected cutting tool savings, reduced finishing expenses, labor reductions and the benefits of multishift reduction," according to Brady, adding that "improved through-put, product cost identification, reduced scrap and warranty expense and the elimination of templates," are other advantages of CNC machinery.

Furthermore, Paul Haggett at Hendricksaw noted that CNC machines offer an alternative to rising labor costs, absenteeism, tardiness, and poor workmanship.

Because CNC machinery provides a high degree of accuracy and productivity without needing a large, highly skilled staff, investment in this equipment is within reach of most entry-level companies, said Don Kennard, sales manager at Cam Tech Industries. Manufacturers are also making CNC machinery more affordable to the smaller shop with lower cost models and leasing agreements. Leasing allows the payment to be budgeted, offers tax advantages and does not affect credit line or operating capital, said Kerry Barlow of Timesavers.

Other manufacturers factored in technological advancement and the ability to compete into the overall justification of CNC systems. According to McFarland, "Speed, accuracy and overall quality of parts produced on CNC machines make it almost impossible for entry-level companies to compete in any area without this equipment." D. Novinger of Onsrud Machine added that the cost justification for entry-level companies depends entirely on the business, the products and the competition. "If one waits for a purely financial justification, new technology would seldom be adopted if old technology can still make the parts."

New uses for CNC machinery

The uses of CNC routers are expanding in both the small and large woodworking shops. Barlow said he sees new applications for CNC machines on a daily basis that range from, "traditional parts such as furniture components to raised panel doors, mouldings, hardwood flooring, paint brush and hammer handles, guitar bodies, gunstocks and much more." Haggett added that other CNC applications include MDF cabinet doors that are painted or overlayed with a membrane press and stile and rail entry doors using custom shaper cutters.

Kennard said that in addition to high-volume manufacturers, CNC uses have expanded to custom woodworkers wanting to "personalize" the job, large and small cabinetmakers, solid surface fabricators and van conversion contractors.

The applications of CNC routers have expanded in other industries, too. Pizzo mentioned that the plastics and man-made composite industries are now using CNC machinery for acrylic store fixtures, plastic extrusions and various composite parts for the aerospace industry. Moreover, industry has yet to see the full extent of CNC applications.

"The uses for CNC equipment are only limited by the imagination, said McFarland, adding, "the boundaries of the design of new products are virtually eliminated."

Available CNC routers

The following is a roundup of available CNC routers/machining centers. For more information circle the corresponding number on the Reader's Service Card. Another valuable source of equipment, manufacturers and distributors is WOOD & WOOD PRODUCTS 1991 Red Book Buyer's Specification Guide.

Tekmatex offers the Kitako V-1224-W two table CNC machining center. This machine features: Fanuc 15ma controls, seven programmable axes, articulating router with 10 tool ATC, vertical router with 10 tool ATC, and two 48-in.-by-96-in. tables. All linear axes are driven by AC servos via ball screws. 264

Thermwood Corp. offers a panel processing machine that performs multiple high speed machining operations on furniture end panels and products requiring sizing, drilling, routing and mortising operations. The machine offers a multitude of tools for complete machining operations such as a square hole mortise, a 7 1/2-hp two position saw, a square corner router for cutting inside square corners, two 32mm 9-drill banks, horizontal drills, and up to two 7- to 15-hp routers. It can be programmed off-line with up to two CAD/CAM or on-line at the machine. 265

The Timesavers Series 400, available in a wide range of sizes features Fanuc controls and drive systems, two 15-hp automatic tool changing spindle motors, automatic lubrication and steel construction. Timesavers Router Div. manufactures a complete line of CNC routers to meet most production environments, the company says. 266

Cam Tech Industries has added an "Analysis" function to its computer-controlled router. This function calculates the amount of time that the machine will take to complete the job and also will advise if there are any design errors that will affect the quality of the job. The tables can be operated with most CAD design packages such as Auto CAD, Auto Sketch, Design CAD, Generic CAD, Intergraph Micro Station and Corel Draw. 267

CMS North America Inc. offers the Model PF3 2R5 machining center. It is equipped with two five-spindle turrets giving a total of 10 10-hp motors and has two large work tables which can be used separately or as one combined work area. Multiple machining operations can be performed vertically on both turrets simultaneously. Many options are available. 268

The SB432T dual table CNC router from MotionMaster offers independent travel of each of the 4-ft-by-12-ft tables. Both tables can be operated simultaneously in tandem for large paneling machining. Features include: 12-hp variable speed Perske router spindles with electronic spindle brakes, 32mm 7-spindle gang drilling clusters, DeSoutter pneumatic drills and an Allen-Bradley 8400MP controller. 269

The new intermediate size Accu-Router Series III-M from Powermatic features a 3-ft-by-5-ft table, rugged stationary bridge THK precision vee-ways on all axes, one to four vertical 15-hp spindles with lateral adjustment and a bundled General Numeric/ Fanuc OMA control. A variety of configurations is available so that the Series III-M can be built to meet specific customer requirements. 270

GPM Technologies Ltd. offers the Shoda NCW516HP 16-hp six-spindle CNC router. The pallet changer features two moving tables. The machine comes standard with a Fanuc 15ma controller and Shoda's dust collection system. 271

The Wadkin USA UX/CNC router numerically-controlled routing machine can be supplied with an automatic tool changer, making it a machining center. This tool changer is comprised of a vertically mounted tool holding magazine with a capacity of 10 tools as standard. While the machine is in cycle it is possible to program the number of the next tool that is required. 272

European Woodworking Machinery Co. says the Nottmeyer Hawk V CNC point-to-point work center features advanced engineering. Its micro-processor controlled cluster can be equipped with a customized multi-spindle boring block and up to four additional auxiliary devices such as end boring block, router, groover and mortiser in any direction. The standard data storage system with back-up floppy disk can contain thousands of boring plans depending upon the level of complexity, thus eliminating changeover setup time. Additional memory can be added in 256K byte increments. 273

The Komo Machine VR 805HP machining center offers versatile four and five axes machining of large or identical multiple parts. The bridge-type machining center utilizes two standard vertically-mounted machining heads and two vertically-mounted, fully-programmable rotary axes. The rotary axes accommodate a wide selection of different head configurations such as electric planer heads, gang drills and saws. Programmable rotation of the heads may be made up to 300[degrees] in both direction from the HOME position for a total of 600[degrees]. 274

Stiles Machinery offers the Heian NC432P machining center. This four-spindle, three-axis, two-table machine offers CNC flexibility and quick changeover for production situations from short runs to one-of-a-kind custom work to consistent high production. The machine features: cast-iron bridge and table base; precision-ground ballscrew; adjustable spindles; and an inverter system that helps extend spindle life. 275

"VacuBord" is a new especially-engineered grade of end-grain balsa developed by Baltek Corp. initially for use as a fixture board with Heian CNC routers. The fixture board serves as a buffer between the router table surface and the material being worked and both are held firmly in place by a high-pressure vacuum from beneath. The computer-controlled router bit makes its assigned cuts in the material, penetrating 2mm or 3mm into the fixture board rather than making damaging contact with the table surface. VacuBord comes in 48-in.-by-24-in. sheets that are 2-in. thick. When the VacuBord surface becomes badly scarred from contact with the bit, several millimeters can be shaved off to present a new surface. 276

The new MasterCam 3-D Version 3.0 is a PC-based CAM package offered by Techno for use with its CAD/CAM Wood Routers. The package simplifies the process of creating 3-D models and prototypes on wood, plastic or solid surfacing materials. With the 3-D switch on, X, Y and Z coordinates can be entered. Construction planes can be defined anywhere in space, from any view, by selecting either two lines, an arc or a view. All geometry including points, lines, arcs and splines are inherently three dimensional. This 3-D software can also do simple two-dimensional applications, although a separate dedicated 2-D package is also available. 277

Hendricksaw says every router in the HendrickShinx line offers: simplified computer programming, THK linear bearing ways that provide 90% less friction, and smoother edge finish with vibration-free motion. 278

Available from E & R Supply, Cam Tech's Router Master II controls a 5.5-hp Perske router. It has a heavy-duty gantry with a 5-in. throat clearance and 3-in. Z-axis movement. The standard processing surface is 52-in. by 102-in. It comes with a start controller and may be driven by AutoCAD, AutoSketch, Design Cad, Generic Dad, Integraph Micro Desk or most CAD design packages. 279

Biesse America has added an automatic tool changer to its Rover 342 machining center. The changer can choose from up to 15 different tools. An average change is 7 minutes. The tools are stored in a hive located on the frame of the machine, lessening the machine's weight. 280

Reichenbacher CNC router centers available from Duespohl USA Inc. feature: robotic heads, automatic tool changer, multihead layout, feed-through table and bar code integration. 281

The Byrnes/Scheer BFC 1000 computerized boring and routing center from Richard T. Byrnes permits hole boring, groove cutting and surface routing without changing tools or repositioning the workpiece. Its CNC multi-processor control allows programming during operation. Each of the BFC 1000's eight support groups has three built-in grips and may be swiveled 30[degrees] to the left or right. 282

Stefani Group's new machining center, the Busellato SuperJunior, combines fast, flexible drilling heavy-duty router capacity. The machine is offered with two different head configurations, 19-27 independent vertical and horizontal spindles, and can be equipped with up to four 9.5-hp routers. The machine also features THK guides for heavy-duty routing, an inverter and IBM MS-DOS PC programming. 283

The 333 CNC Gantry Router and Production Center from Ekstrom, Carlson & Co. has a fixed 64-in.-by-144-in. worksurface to access all sides. Reportedly, the full 64-in.-by-154-in. spindle travel gives maximum tool coverage for efficient machining. Spindle arrangements include routing, shaping and drilling heads. 284

The IMA Rotomat top router type H 2000 is available from Roger Stiles & Assoc. Inc. for milling, drilling and sanding solid wood, chipboard, MDF or plastic. Options include fourth and fifth axes, vacuum units and Siemens CNC track control. 285

The WFH-1/4 from Wesflex America GFM features four independently controlled spindles and a two-zone, 51-in.-by-100-in. worksurface. Spindle options come with up to 15 hp and 16 spindles, and table sizes up to 10-ft-by-10-ft in single and double versions are available. Other features include: simultaneous head operation, multiple head coverage of the entire table and Fanuc CNC controls. 286

The Routron CNC router from SCMI Corp. is available with 2 1/2-or 3-axis control. Features include: 12-hp spindle motor, 0 to 590 ipm feed rates and 984 ipm rapid traverse. An advanced Programming System is optional. 287

Onsrud Machine Corp.'s Model 2436-10 CNC router incorporates a 2-axis CNC table, 24-in.-by-36-in., plus a third axis vertical spindle with 3 1/2-in. travel under servo power. The base table is of precision ground aluminum construction with precision linear motion ways. The X axis has a 25-in. travel. Power is provided by permanent magnetic DC servo motors. 288

PHOTO : Komo Machine's VP 805HP machining center has two vertically-mounted machining heads and two vertically-mounted rotary axes.

PHOTO : The Timesavers Series 400 features Fanuc controls and drive systems, automatic lubrication and steel construction.

PHOTO : The Cam Tech Router Master II has a heavy-duty gantry with a 5-inch clearance and 3-inch Z-axis movement.

PHOTO : The Accu-Router Series III-M from Powermatic features a rugged stationary bridge, THK precision vee-ways on all axes and a bundled General Numeric/Fanuc OMA control.

PHOTO : The Heian NC432P from Stiles Machinery features: cast-iron bridge and table base, precision-ground ballscrew and adjustable spindles.

PHOTO : The Routron CNC router from SCMI Corp. features a 36-inch by 48-inch or a 36-inch by 84-inch table with built-in double vacuum circuit and a BOSCH CC 100 control with RS232 communications port.

PHOTO : The Shoda NCW516HP from GPM Technologies Ltd. is a 16-hp, six-spindle CNC router.

PHOTO : The Kitako V-1224-W CNC machining center from Tekmatex features Fanuc 15ma controls and an automatic tool changer.

PHOTO : CMS North America's Model PF3 2R5 machining center has two large work tables.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Vance Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:woodworking machineries; computer numberical control
Author:Dunne, Beverly
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Article Type:Directory
Date:Oct 1, 1991
Previous Article:Frisco Manufacturing keeps VOCs down in Dixie.
Next Article:Packaging goes green.

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