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Fabricating and Assembly: Milling, routing technology getting faster, smarter

Issue: October 2017

Automated cutting machines can give an edge to companies looking to add some speed to their parts-finishing operations. Companies with new equipment on the market include Datron Dynamics, Proco Machinery and Suhner Manufacturing.

Datron Dynamics

With its new milling machine, Datron Dynamics pledges the intuitiveness and ease of a smartphone. According to the CNC machine maker, the Datron neo is a milling machine that doesn’t require a machinist.

The Datron neo milling machine

The neo allows users to machine precision models, prototypes and 3-D parts from plastics, composites, aluminum and other materials. It can mill workpieces up to 20 inches by 16.5 inches by 9 inches with its 40,000 revolutions per minute (RPM) spindle and 24-station automatic tool changer.

“The Datron neo’s compact design and friendly interface resemble that of a 3-D printer,” Datron VP Robert Murphy said.
In the last few months, the company has begun offering pneumatic clamping, dust-removal and vacuum-clamping systems with the machine.

To add even greater capabilities to the machine, the company now offers a retrofit kit that allows users to change easily from standard three-axis machining to four-axis.

The milling machine’s interface uses the company’s Datron next software, allowing it to operate much like a smartphone or tablet, which appeals to machining beginners, according to the company. The combination of an integrated camera, 3-D touch probe and multitouch display allows users to quickly set up workpieces using swipe gestures. An integrated camera and probe that monitor workpiece setup, as well as other features, compensate for mistakes.

“Because of this, even operator error will not result in scrap or rework,” brand manager Steve Carter said.

The machine has an ergonomic design that enables operators to load a workpiece from a position above the machining table while the height and angle of the workpiece are automatically set up at the operating terminal. The machine’s enclosure is designed to provide the operator with a clear view and easy access to the machining area. In addition, its machining area is large in relation to the unit’s small footprint — the machine fits through a standard doorway and can be easily installed within a few hours.

In addition to the neo, Datron also introduced its four-in-one end mill featuring a patented tool tip, available in 30 varieties, designed for low vibration and smooth surface finishes. The entire cutting surface and chip channel are optimized and polished for fast and efficient chip evacuation. The wiper tool tip is flat for producing excellent floor surfaces.

The patented balanced tool tip reduces vibrations to protect the spindle of a milling machine. It is used to mill plastics and various metals.

The end mill features innovative grinding technology for excellent machining results in full and partial cuts. Its new nose geometry also allows an optimal floor surface with low roughness values.

Proco Machinery

Proco Machinery, which has manufactured automatic deflashers for more than 30 years, recently introduced its two newest units, the PADM3-1S and the Pneutrim-Plus. These flash-removal systems can be used in the final manufacturing of containers with thick walls made of PC, PET and other tough resins. They are suitable for use with extrusion blow and injection blow molding systems.

An automatic deflasher system from Proco

“This technical upgrade helps our customers meet the stringent deflashing requirements of high-impact materials,” said Siva Krish, VP of sales. “This new deflashing option [has] already been used by a couple of our customers in very demanding applications.”

Both deflashers offer simple control systems with touch-screen interfaces that feature an easy-to-change timer and control settings. Operators can control the unit in either automatic or manual modes.

The guard system for each type of deflasher is designed to protect the operator while allowing him or her to have an unobstructed view of the machine’s operation. The guards are made in two sections for easy operation and maintenance — each section can be opened to provide access during setup. Safety switches disable the machine and release the compressed air when the guard is opened.

The new high-impact deflashers can be integrated with a part-take-out automation system or operate as stand-alone systems. They help decrease line speeds and improve productivity. According to Krish, the deflashers can operate at line speeds as fast as 3.5 seconds per cycle — a Proco record.

“It’s a very smooth production,” Krish said.

The Pneutrim-Plus can remove the flash on various containers with volumes of up to 10 gallons and can be configured to deflash multiple containers simultaneously, enabling companies to increase production rates, he said.

Vertical guide rods ensure accurate alignment of the punch tool during deflashing. An embedded scale provides a reference for accurate placement. The punch is driven by a 3-inch-diameter air cylinder, which can produce up to 700 pounds of force to easily remove large, difficult pieces of flash.

Suhner Manufacturing

The new BEX8 spindle

Designed to work with any CNC or PLC machine tool, the new BEX8 spindle from Suhner Manufacturing can handle any substrate, including plastics. According to the company, which makes equipment for part- and workpiece-finishing applications, it’s been built for speed and designed to maintain rigidity, precision and reliable performance at up to 25,000 revolutions per minute.  

The BEX8 is a smaller version of the popular Suhner BEX15, weighing 33 pounds, making it easy to mount directly onto robotic arms for fully automated machining operations in high-speed, high-production departments in the automotive and appliance industries, and other markets. Standard versions of the new spindle are equipped with a 75-kilowatt electric motor and a sealing air connection.  

Spindle concentricity is better than 0.01mm, according to the company.

Phillip Britt, correspondent


For more information

Datron Dynamics Inc.,
Milford, N.H., 888-262-2833, www.datron.com

Proco Machinery Inc.,
Mississauga, Ontario, 905-602-6066, www.procomachinery.com

Suhner Manufacturing Inc.,
Rome, Ga., 706-235-8046, www.suhner.com