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What to expect in CNC machining centers at IWF '96.

The newest in CNC machining center technology will be on display at the International Woodworking Machinery and Furniture Supply Fair in Atlanta next month.

To learn more about what IWF '96 attendees can expect to see, WOOD & WOOD PRODUCTS surveyed leading manufacturers and distributors of CNC machining centers about new developments. The participants were asked:

"What new developments in CNC machining center technology can woodworkers expect to see at IWF '96?", and

"What is the impact these developments can make on productivity?"

Most respondents provided answers that form a general consensus about CNC machining developments. Advancements in CNC machining centers, along with improvements in software and controls, are resulting in the design of integrated systems that perform multiple tasks with increasingly faster set-up and machining cycles. And the lower prices on entry-level machining centers are bringing the equipment within reach of the medium to smaller-size shop.

Also, in the ongoing technological race to build better and faster machines, several improvements and updates to existing machine features, especially in the areas of CNC software and tool changers, can be expected to be seen at IWF '96.

Dennis Murray, Vinyl Technologies Inc.: "The cost of technology is becoming lower and lower. This is specifically impacting smaller and smaller companies that can now afford more leading-edge manufacturing technology. These companies will now find themselves able to compete on a more equal basis with larger manufacturing firms. These smaller companies can now compete with higher quality, more consistency, shorter lead times and by gaining more productivity for shorter production runs."

Rick Hannigan, Holz-Her U.S. Inc.: "We will see features that were traditionally offered at the higher end being offered at the lower end, like tool changers on smaller machines. We can also expect to see software and control developments that will make the controls easier to learn, in some cases Windows-based.

"The impact of these developments will give the woodworking industry the ability to be as flexible as possible with a high degree of efficiency. As we know, the lot sizes in our industry are shrinking, even at the supposed volume end of the business, while at the lower end the small manufacturers are being asked to do more sophisticated processes at lower prices. These new developments will allow companies to respond to these challenges while at the same time having a positive impact on productivity per man hour. These new developments will also bring these advantages, that in the past were unattainable, to the smaller shop and make it more competitive."

Greg Hammersly, Weeke product manager, Stiles Machinery Inc.: "Software improvements continue to be the 'star of the show' as far as machining centers are concerned. Of course, the machines continue to be improved and enhanced, but the greatest strides are being made in the areas of software development. One of the hottest products that will be on display at IWF '96 is a workcell featuring a panel saw and machining center.

"Software developments will continue to push the industry toward more CIM (computer integrated manufacturing) technology. This enables much faster turnaround time from order entry to finished product. Ultimately, this means lower cost to the manufacturer."

Norman Kaweck, director of engineering, Biesse America: "Technological advances in equipment for the woodworking industry have generally maintained status quo levels for the past several years. Rather than focusing on specific machine features, the industry has moved toward machine customization for customers. The trend is to "fit" the machines with any specific feature a customer would need in order to perform unique operations.

"In addition, software advances are paving the road for completely automated machining centers, from conceptual drawing to final product with no inventory (JIT) and minimal material handling by people as a result. A look into a future production facility shows a customer ordering a product via computer or television; this order is downloaded to a computer on the factory floor, read by an operator and fed into all machines at the plant automatically. All orders are processed in this fashion and sent to the customer or retailer at the end of the day.

"The impact on productivity, relative to having no automation, is very significant. Three machining operations (boring, routing and grooving) can be incorporated into one machine. Also, by using the correct software, all your programming can be done in the office as you simultaneously program the machine while you are drawing the part. Certain models can be fully automated with stackers and feeders along with a bar code reader allowing the machine to be put in line without an operator."

John Harris, Standard Router Inc.: "(Woodworkers can expect to see) more higher-quality machines at reasonable prices, and the impact of these lower prices will allow CNC machinery to penetrate into smaller companies as well as being justified on more applications."

Matt Venable, Koch Machinery: "At IWF '96, woodworkers can expect to see CNC machining centers that have been advanced by the addition of increased numbers of functions never previously seen on these machines. For example, you will see CNC machines that do dowel insertion in addition to the boring that you would expect them to do. Additionally, the progression of the computer control and software with integration of these into a whole plant computer system continues to be advanced.

"The impact of these developments will be greater flexibility and control over the operation of a woodworking plant."

Walt Piedrahita, sales & product manager, CNC routers, SCMI: "At IWF '96, woodworkers can expect to see a total concept of what can truly be classified as a CNC machining center with full multi-function capabilities including routing, grooving and drilling with a full-capacity, heavy-duty electro spindle, PC-based controller with full integration capabilities and a 32-bit microprocessor. The 32-bit gives much faster speeds than conventional 16-bit processors. The machining center will also include an expanded memory floppy disk drive and RS232 port for up- and down-loading full parametric and interpolation capabilities and a fixed machining surface with multi-tasking capabilities for parts fixturing.

"In today's market, where this flexibility gives you a manufacturing edge over the competition, a true CNC machining center is critical and can enable small to medium shops to compete with much bigger shops. The return on investment realized with machining centers has made them center points in many manufacturing facilities where flexibility, diversity and fast lead times are critical to the company's bottom line."

Kevin L. Conrad, woodworking sales, Tekmatex Inc.: "Woodworkers will see more advances in the flexibility of CNC machinery, such as a CNC carving machine that can perform flat cutting as well as four-axis post carving. The system also offers a unique digital programming machine which utilizes an ultra-sensitive tracer head that will produce a perfect copy of the original carving model.

"Woodworkers will be able to avoid the need for dedicated machinery for each individual process, thereby increasing production speeds and reducing "dead" time. With improved accuracy, users will have superior repeatability and consistency from lot to lot. With computer-aided design (CAD), users have also benefited from the ability to create geometric designs that were never before possible with conventional methods. Automatic tool changers are also available."

Warren Wade, Servatek Inc.: "(New technology at IWF '96 will include) automated material loading and unloading, and bar coding systems integrated; CNC control upgrades with AutoCAD compatibility; automated changing of router tools; and multiple-head machines with tool changers on each head.

"(The impact will include) elimination of time-consuming material handling by machine operator; less control of machine functions by machine operators (office control of production rates); less machine down-time in changing over cutting tools; and an increase in machine productivity while eliminating multiple part handling in the production process."

Todd A. Herzog, Accu-Router Inc.: "(Attendees can expect to see) expanded use, flexibility and speed of automatic tool changers at IWF '96 along with the latest control technology.

"The impact will translate into faster machine cycles, less machine set-up time, and this new technology will directly relate to higher productivity and quicker pay-backs."

David McFarland, Heian product manager, Stiles Machinery Inc.: "New developments include automatic tool change units; aggregate cutting tools (i.e., horizontal routing and drilling, saws, v-grooving, angle drilling); faster positioning and cutting feed rates; flexible work units (i.e., 32mm drilling, 5-axis heads); flexible fixturing systems; and bar code program setup.

"Each of these enhancements brings the end-user closer to a true "single setup" production environment."

Hans Mason, Jonsdorf product manager, Altendorf America: Using a six-station revolving turret head, an updated drilling machine is capable of line-boring, construction-hole boring, end-boring, single-hole drilling, single-pass multi-hole hardware drilling and grooving. Simple but powerful parametric programming software allows for quick and easy creation of drilling and grooving patterns for the machine. PC file storage capability offers organizational ease and virtually unlimited file storage capacity.

"The point-to-point technology and machine pricing offers the woodworking shop the opportunity to produce high-quality parts from this numerically controlled machine faster and more efficiently than with an assortment of corresponding manual machinery. Panel processing on this machine reduces possible breakage ratios (from moving the parts between manual machines), and its pair of left and right working stations inside each of the two working zones allows faster panel part lay-ups during operation of the machine. The operator moves the parts off and the blanks onto the machine while the machine is processing another panel in the other working zone. Time savings can be realized in this manner. Set-up time is also reduced dramatically."

Ed DeMaagd, CMS North America: "New developments in CNC machining center technology revolve around three factors: reducing cycle and set-up times, making the equipment user friendly, and safety-related advances designed to remove the operator from danger areas.

"Modular tables and vacuum supports with moveable pods on new equipment, plus laser or Renisshaw probe positioning of the workpiece all make set-up faster. Increasing feed speeds to 54mm/minute and optimizing the tool changer unit reduces or eliminates cycle time by swapping tools while work is being performed on the workpiece.

"New software releases are designed to boost operator productivity by simplifying the tasks involved with designing parts and in writing numerical control programs.

"Totally enclosing the operating portion of the machine isolates the operator from the cutting tools, dust and noise. Enclosure doors on particular models open automatically when the operation is completed. Isolating the worker from the work while machining is being performed is a key consideration during design of new CNC equipment."

John Mauro, vice president of sales, Morbidelli, Tekna: "New technology in CNC machining centers that woodworkers can expect to see at IWF '96 includes: an extra heavy-duty bridge-type machining center with 5-foot Y-axis router reach; "Americanized" CAD/CAM software with technical assistance and a CNC feed-through system which offers CNC control of 45 axes.

"The impact of this technology includes heavier routing and faster drilling; the ability to quickly upgrade software with technical assistance, and high output, quick CNC set-up for feed through."

Jack Ragan, Delmac Machinery Group: New technology that woodworkers can expect to see at IWF '96 includes Windows-based machine/programming software with bar coding, and a software package that allows for automatic CAD/CAM conversion with Windows 3.1 or '95 featuring the ability for complete part programming in a CAD environment. Complete machine control and programming software, completely Windows-based with fantastic graphics, is available in one package.

"(New machine designs) include a machine with an extended Y-axis from 43.5 inch to 51 inch (which will enable the customer to machine full 4-foot by 8-foot panels); a machine with AC drives which are brushless for low maintenance and that will provide quicker acceleration; a machine with shuttle tables (to provide for quick and easy loading/unloading), MP33 drill head (providing 33 vertical drills and eight horizontal drills), automatic tool changer and tool magazine (for tool changing while machining) and chip extraction belt to automatically remove scrap and reduce cleanup time. A new model has also been configured for machining solid surface material such as Corian that will allow for horizontal routing along with a sanding unit, pneumatic dust chute control for individual tools and extended panel support for working 12-foot lengths."

K. J. Susnjara, president, Thermwood Corp.: "(Manufacturers) will be showing automated programming methods at IWF including some totally new technology designed especially for complex curves. A new system attaches to the router head and allows the operator to move the head around using a "probe" tip to create a program path. By moving the head around a pattern using a tip with the same geometry as the cutting tool, even the most complex parts can be programmed in a couple of minutes Other systems allow computer-generated designs or scanned design sketches to be turned into machine programs in a couple of minutes. Another system allows a three-dimensional carving program to be developed from a sketch."

Cahir McCoole, vice president, Hendrick/RWH Industries Inc.: "CNC technology can be compared to the recent changes we've seen in the computer industry in just the last five years. CNC routers are manufactured more efficiently, faster and with simpler control systems. This keeps costs down and makes everything from operation to maintenance easier.

"Other benefits to CNC technology can be somewhat intangible. There is a reduction of patterns, templates and even stacks of "spoil boards" or fixtures because of today's new fixturing techniques. Tooling costs also drop substantially because of quick fixture changes and CAD/CAM software that will reduce labor. CAD/CAM software and simple programming techniques can make "nesting" parts on the CNC router table very easy and reduce scrap.

"Probably the largest benefit of CNC routers to the business owner today will be in the area of workmen's compensation. Because the CNC router is contained inside a manifold and dust skirt, the machine operator is therefore kept away from the cutting tool."

Available Equipment

Stiles Machinery Inc. offers the Heian UR-431P CNC machining center with a 98-in. by 51-in. work table. It features the Fanuc 15MB digital CNC control, fully automatic machine and spindle lubrication, RS-232 interface and four 15-hp, 30,000 rpm router spindles with integrated tool cooling system. The UR-431P also features one 10-hp high-volume vacuum pump, 100m/minute rapid speed, 40m/minute average cutting speed and a dust collection manifold.

Komo Machinery Inc. says the addition of the new 13-spindle boring block to its VR series of CNC routers is designed to give the speed and flexibility of point-to-point part processing with the high-tolerance, heavy-duty capacity of a CNC router. The 13 vertical and horizontal spindles are fixed on 32mm centers and the modular design allows each to be used independently. The compact unit, Komo says, is fully compatible with off-line programming software such as CIM-Tech's Router-CIM.

The Rover 13 is Biesse America's entry-level point-to-point machine featuring complete numeric control of the X, Y and Z axes, Star linear guides for axes movement, mushroom clamps and centralized axes lubrication. Axis speed of 60m/minute with four-side horizontal boring ensures high productivity, Biesse says.

The Onsrud Machine Corp.'s Barracuda Series II Routers have been redesigned to provide easier setups and faster production rates, and to offer the flexibility of being equipped with CNC controls from various control manufacturers, the company says. The standard configuration provides for a 32,000 character memory and 128 typical programs. Other standard features include graphic display of cutter paths, RS-232 ports and cutter diameter compensation. These machines are available in single, double or multiple head configurations.

Ritter Mfg.'s R-1800 CNC horizontal boring center is designed to fill a need for heavy-duty applications requiring horizontal boring with holes up to 3/4 in. in diameter and countersinks up to 1 1/2 in. in diameter. Interior and exterior doors, furniture component parts, cabinet face frames and window frames are a few of the applications the machine can handle.

HendrickShinx CNC routers from Hendrick/RWH Industries Inc. are available in a variety of standard and custom configurations with single and dual tables, high-volume blowers, and 12-hp and 16-hp router spindles. A wide array of custom and dedicated heads (saw heads, horizontal router, boring heads and vertical gang boring heads) are also available. The routers offer control technology with up to a nine-axis capability and are available with manual quick tool change heads or automatic tool changers.

V. Alberti machining centers, door machining centers and TF Series feedthrough machine lines are now offered by Servatek Inc. V. Alberti standard machining centers feature 18 to 27 vertical drills, tool changers with electro spindles, horizontal drilling, programmable sawing units and several other options quoted to application. The operating control system features a four-axis closed loop direct current Servo system controlled through an IBM 486 PC with keyboard and color monitor.

Standard Router Inc. offers the Model SR-443 CNC routing system that features three 5-hp spindles mounted on independent slide mechanisms allowing both multiple-parts machining and changing on a single part. The two-zone work table measures 4 ft by 4 ft and vacuum is supplied by a 5-hp high-pressure pump. All Standard Router systems feature integrated CAD/CAM software and a full one-year parts and labor warranty.

A flexible manufacturing system for stile-and-rail doors is now available through Koch Machinery & Systems. The Koch "WinDoor" machining center is designed for off-line, short-run or even one-of-a-kind production. A PC-based electronic control positions working unit(s), with three-axis control available and up to 80m/minute (3,150 ipm) top positioning speed. It can be used for boring (single-spindle, multi-spindle or individually programmable multi-spindle), glue injection, dowel driving, horizontal or vertical shaping and mortising. The machine can also be adapted to operations in manufacturing windows, cabinets and other wood products.

An Accu-Router CNC router equipped for automatic tool change will now feature a side or rear table mounted precision tool rack with chip cover. Each holder position is fully accessible by a power draw bar spindle eliminating the need to reposition the spindle dust shroud during a tool change. A rack can be built with eight to 20 linear tool holder positions depending on table length or width. The Accu-Router design now features tool holder pockets that allow for a vertical approach and release/pick-up, which facilitates faster automatic tool change.

The Speedy 315 CNC point-to-point boring machine from Holz-Her U.S. Inc. allows for vertical and horizontal construction drilling special operation drilling (fittings, etc.) grooving and routing. The Speedy 315 allows users to process cabinet parts in a single pass with precision and minimal operator skill. The machine will eliminate material handling and storage needs between operations for a more efficient use of labor and space, Holz-Her says.

The Jonsdorf JBU 20/06 Uni-Drill point-to-point machine center from Altendorf America offers quick processing for the custom shop. The machine offers vertical and horizontal line drilling, line boring and grooving by means of a six-aggregate revolving turret-style head, making multiple-hole diameters possible without changing the drill bits. Pattern software is also included at no additional cost.

CMS North America has introduced its new entry-level machine, type Giotto, which features a tool changing unit with integrated rack, twin independent tables for perpendicular machining, patented clamping system and high speed and movement shared between axes for quick and accurate positioning. All moving parts on the Giotto are enclosed to prevent any impact with the operator and the machine features an automatic opening that allows access to the tables once machining is complete.

Tekmatex Inc. offers the Kitako HS10 CNC Carving Machine that will perform flat cutting as well as four-axis post carving. The HS10 features a unique digital programming machine, Tekmatex says, which utilizes an ultra-sensitive tracer head that will produce a perfect copy of the original carving model. The HS10 Carving Programmer allows for the creation of geometric designs not possible through conventional methods, and the machine comes standard with push-button quick-change tooling with automatic tool change available.

The Morbidelli Author 700 from Tekna Machinery, the latest addition to Morbidelli's line of CNC machining centers, features point-to-point drilling units mounted on a bridge-type router frame. The Author 700 has a 5-ft by 10-ft table and two 10-hp cast iron routers with automatic tool changer mounted to the head which allows for tool changing with no interruption in the boring cycle. The router unit is also capable of vector which permits the operator to machine with an aggregate at any angle along the X-Y plane through the CNC controller.

The servo-driven DR905 is Digital Tool's new addition to its line of full-size CNC machining centers, which Digital Tool says helps bridge the pricing gap between the company's DR904 and Meta Servo series. The DR905 combines rack-and-pinion and lead-screw technologies resulting in a more rigid and efficient mid-priced servo-driven machine. The standard model features a 5-ft by 10-ft cutting area (which can be upgraded to 5-ft by 20-ft) and positioning speeds up to 800 in./minute.

The Record 220 TVS from SCMI is a complete CNC routing and machining center that features: a router vertical spindle fitted with a 10-position automatic tool changer; a drilling unit with 10 vertical and six horizontal independent spindles; a powered horizontal unit that can be oriented for routers and tools and powered angle heads controlled by the tool changer. The system also features mobile upright and fixed table structure with mobile suction cups connected to the vacuum system without tubes throughout the TVS Tubeless Vacuum System, designed to introduce a new logic of universal use and to get away from the logic of routing and point-to-point machines.

Richard T. Byrnes Co. Inc. says the new Bacci/Byrnes five-axes CNC machining center, designed for production of chair and solid wood elements, can perform various combinations usually done by conventional machines in one single machining set-up with very high output. The MX-5 CNC has a rigid frame for optimum wood removal and is equipped with a double-twist head with high power revolver with four toolholder axes. Difficult machining types such as recess routing of both the faces of assembled chairbacks can be done because of the wide strokes of both the linear and rotation axes and the continuous control on the five axes.

The Delmac Machinery Group has built a new manufacturing facility in Greensboro, N.C., where the Busellato machines will now be assembled. Busellato has designed a Super Junior 120 configured for machining solid surface material like Corian. The Super Junior 120 features horizontal router, sanding unit, pneumatic dust chute control for individual tools and extended panel support for working 12-ft lengths.

The Rebel and Industrial router systems from Vinyl Technologies, Inc. can accept material sizes from 4-ft by 4-ft through 8-ft by 12-ft, while the company's custom Conquest series begins at 6-ft by 12-ft (the largest delivered to date, the company says, is 12-ft by 25-ft). Additional features include multiple spindle and table options and open architecture to allow a choice of engineering and design software to easily interface.

Balestrini's Spider CNC machining center for chair and table components from Solid Wood Systems Inc. features three-axis movement with two separate tables that can tilt up to 45 degrees in either direction. Each table has pneumatic pressure groups to lock the workpiece, and dead time is eliminated because machining can proceed on one table while work is set up on the other.

The series III CNC router from Techno Isel is designed for wood and plastic routing, drilling and carving. Nine table sizes are offered, ranging from 8 in. by 8 in. to 96 in. by 48 in. The Z-axis height options are 7 in., 11 in. and 20 in. The new series features cast aluminum gantry support brackets, built-in way covers and the availability of optional machine enclosures.

The Reichenbacher RANC-MC machining center features a rack-and-pinion system that allows X-axis travel speeds up to 60m/minute. Two internal vacuum divisions are provided for supply (suction of vertical clamping). The standard table size is 3,470mm x 2,320mm which can be extended along the X-axis by 1,320mm for greater versatility.

The double-head, three-axis PA 1000 programmable router from Precision Automation features a 5-ft by 10-ft cutting area for routing, milling and boring. The PA 1000 includes a complete turnkey system including vacuum hold-down, dust collector, installation and training. Precision Automation says the machine is designed for reo liability and ease-of-use by cabinetmakers.

Northwood Industrial Machinery offers CNC routers that feature German linear motion units, Baldor servo motors and Allen-Bradley controls mounted in air-conditioned cabinets. Router heads are U.S.-made 15-hp Continentals that feature air-oil mist lubricated bearings for long life.

Computer Router Services says the Shoda CNC router operates in the pallet-change mode or, by combining tables, can achieve one very large worksurface. The machine offers a wide variety of specialized heads including automatic tool changers, shapers, routers, gang drills. saws, horizontal boring and piggy back routers and drills.

The new version of the Routermaster II from CAM Tach Industries features 6 in. of gantry clearance with 5 1/2 in. of Z-axis movement. The machine is capable of having multiple router heads and two drilling heads, and also offers 3-D capability, Available in two sizes, 52 in. by 102 in. and 72 in. by 102 in., CAM Tech says the machine is "open architecture" and may be driven by any design software capable of exporting a DXF or HPGL format such as AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT, Design CAD, Corel Draw, etc.

Anderson America Corp. offers a wide range of CNC machining centers with automatic tooling systems for routing, boring, sawing and profiling on the same machine. The routers feature comprehensive control software systems for more efficient production.

The Nottmeyer SP/N-1 and SP/N-2 CNC drilling machines from IMA-European Woodworking Machinery feature high-precision clamping devices and stopping mechanisms. The SP/N is reported to be able to handle virtually any workpiece from less than 1/2 in. to over 1 1/2 in. thickness with length of up to 120 in. and width over 39 in. Throughfeed speed can go as high as 250 fpm.

The Model SB-840 Panel Processor CNC router from Motionmaster Inc. features an 8-ft by 4-ft work table with 12-hp automatic tool change spindle, nine-position 32mm drill bank, rotating saw and optional horizontal boring head. The six-position travelling tool carousel offers fast tool changes, Motionmaster says. The versatile hold-down system includes pop-up locator pins and a universal vacuum system. The router is controlled by an Allen Bradley 9/260 controller.

The MC610 Plus Multicam router from Machine Automation Technologies addresses the needs of production panel processors, featuring a 74-in. by 122-in. worksurface, 4-hp Perske KRS spindle, speed control on the fly, DNC networking ability and proximity restart. Vacuum hold-down is also available as an option.
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Title Annotation:computer numerical controls; International Woodworking Machinery and Furniture Supply Fair '96
Author:Rezabek, Jay
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Jul 1, 1996
Previous Article:New developments in automated finish sanding.
Next Article:Dimension Association changes name to reflect growth of components industry.

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