Westec 2002 scores...even with Jay Leno. (Presstime Notes).
A number of new machines were introduced at Westec, a good run-up to IMTS 2002. The strong regional identity of Westec with the aerospace, high-tech racing and the electronics industries is an inviting opportunity to introduce technology specifically aimed at it.
Here are a few of the highlights from Westec 2002.
Racing car enthusiasts were in for a special treat at the Fadal Machining Center booth, where two prominent race car drivers were autographing pictures--and a couple of machines that were sold at the show. Gary Densham signed a big Fadal 50-taper VMC 6535 that was going to B&B Machine in Muscatine, IA. And funny car champion John Force signed a Fadal EMC VMC that was being delivered to Stevens Precision in Newbury, CA.
Hitachi Seiki demonstrated how wireless communication could provide real-time monitoring of machines located 1,000 feet away on the show floor. Heart of the Hitachi Seiki's PC FlexLink communications capability is the Yaskawa Siemens 840D CNC control. The company also introduced several machines, including its new VSC50 a multi-tasking vertical machining center and grinding center designed for hard-cutting materials such as ceramics, carbide alloys and hardened steels.
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Chevalier Machinery introduced two new machines: the FSG-818S combination slicing and grinding machine for machining hard and brittle materials like quartz, ceramics, glass, silicon, graphite and tungsten carbide and the compact 1418VMC Mini Mill that features a 11.4 lip spindle motor that runs at 8,000 rpm, 1,217 ipm rapids, rigid tapping, and 12-station carousel-type ATC.
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Marubeni Citizen-Cincom introduced the Cincom R04 Type VI CNC turning center for machining tiny parts. Main spindle speed is up to 20,000 rpm for machining parts with maximum diameter of 5/32 that are 2" long. The new slide is driven by a linear motor without any deflection and backlash from power transmission. The lathe is equipped with two independently driven gang tool posts that can accommodate a maximum of 13 tools.
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Charmilles Technologies introduced its twin wire EDM machine with automatic wire changer. The Robofil 2030SI-TW EDM allows rapid changeover between the large diameter re that can be used for pocketing in the rough cut and the small wire that is applied for small-radius finishing.
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Haas Automation continues to expand the scope of its product offerings. Among new machines shown were several prototypes including the Z-2 laser designed for etching, engraving and cutting small parts, the GR-510 Gantry Router designed for machining aluminum and other metals, wood, plastics, fiberboard, acrylics and other materials and the Mill Drill Center. Other machines like the TL-25 CNC lathe added a sub-spindle to a proven design (the SL-30 CNC lathe) and a second pallet changer and 40-tool side mounted ATC to create a Mini FMS.
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Mori Seiki introduced its NV5000 vertical machining center that features 100 percent digital design and permanently lubricated and sealed bearings. XYZ travels are 31.5x20.1x20.l and rapid rates are 1,645 ipm. ATC exchanges tools with the 30-tool magazine in just 1.0 seconds. The direct drive spindle achieves full power at all speeds and provides acceleration to full speed in 0.97 seconds.
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DMG America introduced its DMS 35/50 ultrasonic machines for machining advanced materials such as ceramics, glass and stellite. Milling, boring or grinding tool, studded with industrial diamonds, is pounded into a workpiece at a frequency of 20 kHz, or 20,000 times per second. The hardest materials can be machined with low contact forces but with high-feed power.
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Star Cutter introduced its 5-axis ETG tool grinder. The entry-level machine is competitively priced and features 3D simulation on the machine and NUM control for grinding form tool step drill, end mills and the like. The ETG Plus will follow with a robot on board.
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Not all that was new came wrapped in sheet metal, columns, beds and spindles. Surfware Inc. unveiled its Step Reduction Milling (SRM) patent-pending technology for SURFCAM 2002 that represents a breakthrough in rough milling of complex multiple surfaces. SRM automatically synchronizes the depths-of-cut for each of the tools used in the process so that each tool is running at its optimum material removal parameters. All material is removed with the largest possible tool and no tool is over-taxed.
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CGTech demonstrated Vericut version 5.2 with NC verification/optimization software that enables users to eliminate the process of manually proving out NC programs, reducing scrap loss and rework. The program also optimizes NC programs to produce the most efficient tool paths possible.
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DP Technology exhibits ESPRIT 2002 with full support of STEP-NC standard and push button transfer of SolidWorks part models into the ESPRIT CAM system. The add-in is available free of charge to any SolidWorks users from the ESPRIT Add-In store at
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CNC Software Inc. shows its Mastercam version 9.0 with advanced productivity for milling, turning, wire EDM and routing capability. Mastercam Direct CAD add-ins allow users to open a model in Mastercam while in an Inventor, Solid Edge or SolidWorks session and update tool paths to reflect changes to that model.
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Gibbs and Associates demonstrated its Multi-Task Machining (MTM) module that meets the programming needs of the new breed of popular CNC multitasking machine tools that employ multiple tool groups/turrets and multiple spindles. The trick is to synchronize multiple moving elements of the multitasking machine and transfer work-in-process pieces, which is a straight-forward operation with MTM's Sync Manager.
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Delta Tau introduced the Turbo UMAC (Universal Motion and Automation Controller), a 3U format machine control system with Ethernet, USB, MACRO and many other types of field bus connectivity, as well as digital and analog interfaces for use in CNC machine tools.
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Optodyne demonstrated how the machine tool, properly calibrated volumetrically, can become its own certified measuring tool, especially for 4th and 5th axis machining. The system combines linear laser positioning, volumetric diagonal laser calibration and a ballbar probe and software to create virtual tool tip measurement anywhere in the work envelope.
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