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Indexing jumps ahead: new NC versions of automatic, multi-way indexing (AMWI) machines provide fast changeover for small batch sizes.

A third generation of automatic, multi-way indexing AMWI) machines boasting many new features has given a major advance to the technology of simultaneous machining from two or three directions in one setup. Called Series LSA and Diamat, the two companion lines of machines-available from Diedesheim Machine Tools Inc, Troy, MI-now can be ordered with NC control. This enables short changeover times, high flexibility, and convenient storage of part programs.

Essentially rotary transfer machines, AMWI units go far beyond the usual capability of rotary transfer in providing automatic, simultaneous machining from two or three directions. Most workpieces normally requiring multiple setups can be completed in one loading.

LSA machines have their indexing axis in the horizontal plane (drawings), while Diamat machines have their indexing axis in the vertical plane. Suitable for a wide variety of workpieces, both types are particularly useful for processing rough castings and forgings of various materials, including tough steels. This type of service is made possible by the machine's heavy-duty spindles.

One-time fixturing eliminates the long, tedious, multiple setups normally required for such workpieces where other types of machine tools are used. Fast change

According to Diedesheim, with NC control and proven programs, changeover of LSA and Diamat machines can be performed in about 30 min for simple changes, to a maximum of two hours for complex setups. Older AMWI machines needed much more time for changeover.

Besides NC, another feature offered on new-generation AMWI machines is servo-controlled ball screw drives for all machining units. First- and second-generation machines had all-hydraulic drives and controls.

Further, the new machines are equipped with rigid, welded bases and self-contained coolant systems. This design provides easy access for maintenance of spindle units, and requires no special foundation for installation.

Also available on the new machines are fully automated loading, clamping, and unloading of fixtured parts. These functions may be performed by pick-and-place arms, robots, rotary tables, or other devices, as required by the application. Full CNC, too

The company also announces that full CNC control will soon be available as an option on all LSA and Diamat machines. This feature expands capabilities for local programming and program storage at the machines, and for uploading and downloading programs on DNC networks. Controls based on electrical relays or solid-state PLCS, along with NC, are still available.

Standard LSA machines come with up to 10 horizontal and five radial machining units in six stations. Diamat machines can be equipped with up to 18 vertical and nine radial machining units in 10 stations. Each machine includes at least one station dedicated to loading and unloading.

The indexing mechanism moves the turret carrying workholding equipment and workpieces in a circular path to the individual workstations. At these stations, virtually any type of machining can be performed, including milling, drilling, tapping, boring, turning, facing, contour generation, and others. Indexing repeatability is .0004".

Normally, workpieces are gripped hydraulically in chucks, clamping fixtures, swivel jaws, or expanding mandrels. Workholders can be exchanged quickly.

Heavy-duty hydraulic and mechanical units come in three different sizes. Multi-spindle heads, milling heads, facing heads, and swiveling spindles are available as options, along with reciprocating slides. Machining heads are interchangeable between LSA and Diamat lines.

Among other options are sensors for detection of worn or broken tools, in-process gaging stations, automatic tool-wear compensation, tool-life monitoring, automatic tool offsetting, machine fault diagnostics, and a tool management system.

The full-CNC control system can produce linear-path, continuous path, contour generation, and thread cycles. Programs are entered in either plain text dialog or DIN code. External I/O devices can be connected.

The company points out that AMWI machines have potential applications for hundreds of different kinds of parts (drawing), in many industries. These include automotive components, fluid power, heating, plumbing, sanitary, water, electrical, and others. n
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Author:Quinlan, Joseph C.
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Apr 1, 1990
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