UK pioneers simultaneous horizontal multi-axis machining

Posted on 28 Sep 2017 by Jonny Williamson

A unique partnership between Cambridge Dynamics and FANUC has delivered the world’s first simultaneous horizontal multi-axis machining centre.

multi-axis machining - L to R: John Hawkins (Cambridge Dynamics), Andy Armstrong (FANUC) and Andre Becker (Cambridge Dynamics).
L to R: John Hawkins (Cambridge Dynamics), Andy Armstrong (FANUC) and Andre Becker (Cambridge Dynamics).

The new SOHMAX (Simultaneous Operation, Horizontal Multi-Axis) machine – launched at EMO 2017 – has been specifically designed for multi-axis machining operations on both ends of shafts, bars, axles and couplings.

The SOHMAX was designed in partnership with FANUC, using both FANUC CNC for its programming and a FANUC robot for loading and unloading, and has the potential to dramatically reduce set-up and cycle times.

The machine allows up to 12 machining operations to be performed on components simultaneously, from simple turning, drilling and tapping operations, through to profiling, broaching, swaging, spline shaving, pressure testing and assembly operations.

The SOHMAX has a central carousel comprising six beds which can accommodate components from 100mm to one metre in length. The carousel indexes by 60o after each movement – allowing 12 simultaneous machining operations per cycle. Each cycle time is limited only to the time of the slowest machining operation plus 0.8 seconds indexing time.

Workpieces are hydraulically clamped onto work surfaces using swing clamps or hydraulic collets, allowing rapid loading and unloading.

Cambridge Dynamics’ John Hawkins explained: “The SOHMAX has been designed to provide an innovative machining solution to increase competitiveness and profitability, by dramatically reducing machining times for shaft and bar applications.

“We worked extensively with FANUC to develop this machine and we believe that we have delivered a world first. We had an enormous amount of interest in the machine at EMO, particularly from the Chinese market.”

According to Hawkins, the SOHMAX is ideally suited to high volume parts machining, such as automotive and general industrial work, due to its ability to dramatically reduce set-up times set-up times and improve manufacturing flexibility, particularly with high mix product batches.

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