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Heller to Launch Machining Centre and Training Machine in the UK
Heller to Launch Machining Centre and Training Machine in the UK
Heller to Launch Machining Centre and Training Machine in the UK

Heller to Launch Machining Centre and Training Machine in the UK

Added to MTDCNC by Heller Machine Tools Ltd on 18 March 2016

Debut of latest, high power spindle

A twin pallet change, horizontal spindle, 5-axis mill-turn centre will make its first appearance in the UK on the Heller stand at MACH 2016. Designated CP 4000, the 800 x 800 x 1,045 mm capacity machine will be equipped with a new, highly rigid PCU (power cutting universal) HSK 63 spindle.

New also will be an advanced training centre, called CNC Profitrainer, which is fitted with a full version of the Siemens 840D sl control. The simulator is designed to raise the skill level of operators away from the shop floor and is platform-independent, so can provide training for any make of machining centre. It will be of interest to OEMs and subcontractors as well as industrial training establishments, colleges and schools.

Matthias Meyer, Managing Director of Heller’s UK subsidiary in Redditch, commented, ‘The theme of our stand this year will be a twin pillar approach to maximising productivity.

‘If a machine is inherently only 50 per cent efficient compared to others on the market, even if it is operated by a highly skilled person it will only produce half the number of components.

‘Similarly, it is no good if a highly capable machine is being operated by a person that is only 50 per cent efficient, as the output will be only half what it should be.

‘Our message at the show is that Heller has machine tools at the pinnacle of productivity potential and a new, high-end training station that can elevate operators to a really high level of proficiency.

‘In this way, a manufacturer can put in place both essential pillars to create a manufacturing environment where production output is close to 100 per cent, even when tackling different materials from cast iron and steel to titanium and nickel alloys.’

Universal spindle

The PCU 63 power cutting universal spindle, rated at up to 44 kW / 244 Nm (40% DC), has an HSK-63 tool interface and is designed for high-performance cutting at speeds up to 10,000 rpm. It joins two other spindles, the universal SCU 63 and the tilting, fork head spindle SCT 63, both of which can reach 16,000 rpm, 40 kW of power and 80 Nm of torque.

The SCT 63 is an A-axis head which is especially suited to efficient machining of contoured surfaces. The others are C-axis swivel heads, which provide a fifth axis for machining in the horizontal or vertical plane, or at any angle in between. Their forte is complete machining of prismatic parts in a single setup.

The PCU 63 has a particularly impressive continuous duty rating, with the maximum 32 kW available between 1,750 and 6,000 rpm. Up to 1,750 rpm, a maximum continuous torque of 172 Nm is delivered, falling away slowly so that half the torque is available at double the speed.

A feature of all Heller spindles including the latest model is the speed and ease with which they may be removed, repaired and replaced due to the separation of mechanics and electrics. Mean time to repair is less than two hours. Moreover, each spindle is set to its zero dimension at the factory, so no corrections are required in the Z-axis after spindle exchange. The results are minimum downtime and low cost of ownership.

At MACH, the PCU 63 spindle head will be fitted to a CP 4000 mill-turn centre and demonstrated under power producing a test piece using cutters in Haimer shrink-fit toolholders.

CP 4000 five-axis mill-turn centre

The CP 4000 full 5-axis machining centre with its universal C-axis spindle head can machine components at any angle between + 15 and -195 degrees. Designed for a wide range of applications, the nominally horizontal-spindle machining centre features precise control over speed and acceleration and an ability for the machining parameters to be adjusted to achieve workpiece-specific precision and surface finish.

The B-axis rotary table also provides the machine’s Z-axis motion, leading to high precision and fast movements in all linear axes, which accelerate at 6 m/s2 to a rapid traverse of 65 m/min. Linear scales are fitted to ensure high accuracy positional feedback to the Siemens Sinumerik 840D sl control. An alternative control system offered is the Fanuc 31iB.

Common to all Heller machine tools, the CP 4000 enables productive metal removal using economically efficient cutting parameters. High performance is achieved due to the stiff swivelling head geometry, torsional stiffness of the machine and rigid spindle locking.

The mill-turn build concept is designed around executing horizontal, vertical and tilted turning operations using the 1,000 rpm B-axis table with direct torque drive and a fifth CNC axis provided by positioning the C-axis swivelling spindle head.

To identify even the slightest imbalances on the workpiece or rotary table during turning, Heller has developed a machine function that feeds back internal drive signals to enable precise centric clamping. For turning tools, Heller additionally offers a standard tool measurement system using tactile sensors.

Pallet size is 500 mm x 630 mm, although workpieces up to 900 mm in diameter or up to 1,020 mm wide can be accommodated in the working area, maximum load being 1.4 tonnes. Provision of cutters in the optional magazines is generous, with up to 240 positions in a chain magazine or 409 in a rack-type magazine.

Mr Meyer added, ‘Using a B-axis table in combination with a universal or tilting head allows greater table loads, larger working envelopes and greater accessibility than 5-axis machines that have two axes of motion under the workpiece, such a rotary tilting table.

‘Our customers are in a multiplicity of industries and have wide and varying applications, so Heller offers a consultative service to users.

‘We work with existing users and prospective customers to ensure we optimally configure our machines based on the type of work to be done, the production requirements, the materials to be machined and the type of CAD/CAM system used by the customer.’

New training system for 4- and 5-axis machining centres

Heller is a machine tool company renowned for its commitment to education. At any one time, 10 per cent of its global workforce are apprentices, a figure mirrored at the UK factory in Redditch. The company is keen to transfer this ethos to the outside world and ensure that its customers’ employees are also trained to a high standard.

To further this aim and to help close the skills gap, Heller has introduced what it believes to be the most advanced and realistic CNC machining centre training station currently available. Called Profitrainer, it is to be demonstrated for the first time in the UK at MACH 2016.

The fully configured, functional unit is a faithful replica of a 4/5-axis horizontal-spindle machine tool. Even machine functions that cannot be performed, such as operation of the tool magazine, are simulated using control runtimes. The facility provides realistic skills training without tying up a machine on the shop floor, which would result in lost production. Furthermore, the risk of a crash occurring on a real machine is eliminated, avoiding potential repair costs.

Other benefits of the training unit are that its small size is less intimidating for trainees and the mobile equipment may be moved anywhere within a customer’s premises, allowing flexibility of use. Versatility is helped further by being able to power the unit from a normal single-phase or a three-phase electrical supply.

A full version of the Siemens 840D sl control is fitted, so once an apprentice has undergone the training programme, he or she becomes a fully-fledged machinist able to operate any prismatic machining equipment of any make, regardless of which CNC system is used. However, skill level will be highest when operating a Heller horizontal machining centre controlled by a Siemens 840D sl.

Profitrainer is equally useful for mechanical and electrical maintenance courses, as the use of original components supports realistic handling of fault situations. Feedback from more than 6,000 students who have used previous iterations of this unit for personal qualification over the past decade confirms the success of the concept.

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