St. Paul, MN (June 4, 2019) -The story for any subcontract business is evolve or dissolve. For GPR, its progression from 3 to 5-axis machine tools initially evolved with a bolt-on fourth axis for its machines and now a full simultaneous high-end 5-axis machining center from Matsuura.

The investment in a full 5-axis machine was instigated by the Camberley company winning a two-year contract to manufacture aluminum housings for electronic assemblies. Long term tooling supplier Industrial Tooling Corporation (ITC) was on hand to support the subcontractor in providing a complete solution for the project.

Like any subcontractor with enhanced capabilities and additional capacity, GPR was on the lookout for more challenging work once the Matsuura MX-520 5-Axis Vertical Machining Center arrived in May along with Edgecam CAM software from Vero. The new work arrived in the guise of a “Hookes Joint Flange,” a critical component in an assembly for earthquake simulation and measuring equipment used in China.

With high-precision, performance, speed, accuracy and reliability, the MX-520 provides a simple, effortless and cost-effective transition for 3-Axis users making the transition to full 5-Axis operation. Matsuura’s MX-520 5-Axis Vertical Machining Center provides a simple, effortless and cost-effective transition for Three-Axis users making the transition to full Five-Axis operation.

The Matsuura MX-520 is designed with a RAM type structure, which offers a compact and highly-rigid machining platform. The machine guarantees high rigidity, as well as, a generous machining envelope with excellent operability. The MX-520 also offers an assortment of configurations, which are ideal for all applications, all industries and all materials.

The headstock and trunnion on the MX-520 have been configured to minimize collision while maximizing tool access and reach. The MX-520 is offered with two table sizes: 11.81 in. and 19.68 in. (option).  Loading capacity is 440 lb.

The EN24T alloy steel flange joint is manufactured in a range of variants that demand numerous machining strategies and tooling set-ups. Supplying GPR for over a decade, ITC had engineer Dave Cleeve on hand along with Neil Franklin from Widia. Commenting on the machining strategy for the flange, GPR’s machine shop programmer, Stuart Reynell said that “The key objective was to ensure that we could attack all faces of the job with adequate clearance, tool rigidity and machining tool performance.”

The flange starts life as a 300 mm diameter by 225 mm deep 125 kg billet and the finished item weighs in at just 28 kg. For heavy duty rough machining of the flange, ITC recommended the Widia M200 52 mm diameter shell mill that ran at a 1.5 mm depth of cut with a 35 mm radial cutting width. For this process, ITC applied the BIG KAISER BBT40 toolholder with a face mill adaptor for maximum rigidity. With a spindle speed of 920 rpm and a cutting speed of 150 m/min, the M200 with 5 indexable button inserts removed the majority of material at a rate of 84.34 cm3/min. With 12 indexes per insert, the M200 optimized material removal rates and performance while reducing tooling costs for the subcontractor.

Following the 52 mm Widia shell mill, a 16 mm diameter Widia 5777 Series solid carbide end mill was then introduced to machine the faces beyond the reach of the shell mill. This tool was followed by the long series AlTiN coated Widia Vari-Mill 2 with the Widia HPV shrink-fit toolholder. The longer-reach Vari-Mill 2 and the extended shrink-fit toolholder finished the base of the flange with incredible rigidity, stability and performance.

For finishing the internal flanks and radii, ITC introduced the 8 mm diameter ball-nose 47N0 Series, with an 8 mm BT40 shrink-toolholder. Once the difficult-to-access faces were complete, ITC applied the new Widia 20 mm diameter 7-flute Vari-Mill 3, 772E Series and the BT40 Hydroforce hydraulic chuck for machining the deep internal faces of the flange.

“We’ve been a longstanding customer of ITC due to the exceptional product quality, performance and service. We are confident that whatever the job, the ITC engineer can provide the most productive and cost-effective solution for our business,” said Mr Reynell.

Article reprint from ETMM: editors: Rhys Williams & Barbara Schulz.

Matsuura Machinery USA, Inc., located in St. Paul, MN is the U.S. subsidiary of Matsuura Machinery Corporation in Japan. Since 1935, Matsuura has been the forerunner in designing innovative technology and manufacturing solutions to a variety of industries around the globe. Matsuura Machinery USA, Inc. delivers unmatched excellence in 5-axis, vertical, horizontal, linear motor, multi-tasking CNC machine tools and machines with a powder bed metal AM platform with machining capability. Matsuura Machinery USA, Inc. provides the service, applications and technical field support that have always been the Matsuura standard for business.

For more information about Matsuura, please contact: [email protected] or visit: