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a40: Purpose-Built for Nonferrous Die-Cast Parts Machining

Die-cast parts production by default equates to high-volume parts production. With volume requirements ranging from 200,000 pieces to well into the millions of pieces per year, die-cast shop owners face unique and specific manufacturing challenges. This is a highly competitive market, where per-piece production costs frequently determine the shops likely to win or lose program opportunities.

The traditional die-cast part machining solutions of 400mm horizontal machining centers (HMCs), vertical machining centers (VMCs) and drill/tap centers were not providing the necessary productivity to succeed in an increasingly demanding marketplace. A new and innovative approach was needed.

Makino listened and developed the a40, a purpose-built 400mm horizontal machining center specifically designed to address the challenges of nonferrous die-cast machining.

Using general-purpose HMCs or VMCs has been the traditional approach for machining die-cast parts. These machines are designed to address a wide variety of materials: aluminum, steel, iron and occasionally even hard metals. Challenging materials require powerful spindles. While a 40-hp, 220 ft-lb spindle is ideal for steel and iron applications, these same characteristics are actually a detriment to machining die-cast parts. When machining near net-shape die-cast parts, the spindle power of traditional machines produces sluggish performance and unnecessary investment costs. The a40 gives die-cast shop owners a better option.

Reduce Cycle Times Intelligently

Cycle time drives per-piece costs in the machining of die-cast parts. Its cycle time that determines the number of machines required and has far-reaching cost implications affecting labor, floor space, utilities and durable tooling. The a40 features Makino’s intelligent Reduction of Inertia (R.O.I.) design and innovative technologies that slash unproductive time. Included in this collection:

  • Responsive #40 spindle acceleration reduces common tapping operations by 0.5 second per hole.
  • R.O.I. casting designs minimize feature-to-feature positioning times. The linear axis reaches full rapid traverse rates 14 to 20 percent faster than typical competitors.
  • Direct drive (DD) B-axis rotates 90 degrees in 0.93 second to quickly present new part surfaces to the spindle for machining.
  • Inertia active control (IAC) evaluates fixture and tool weights to optimize acceleration performance of multiple machine systems.
  • Advanced motion control streamlines mill path cutting and drill positioning motions.

Spindle RPM12,000
Rapid Traverse2,362 in/min)
Cutting Feedrate2,362 in/min)
Maximum Workpieceø24.8" x 35.4"
Maximum Payload880 pounds
ATC Capacity40

Count on the a40 When You Need It

Unplanned downtime is another cost that can devastate high-volume die-cast parts machining. Thus, machine reliability is paramount.

To achieve higher reliability, the new a40 incorporates robust, proven systems from Makino’s 1-Series horizontal machining centers, including single-piece X- and Z-axis covers, center trough chip/coolant management and dual-supported ATC mechanisms.

The a40 advances Makino’s industry-leading reliability with new systems targeting typical system failures in die-cast operations:

  • Standard vision-type broken-tool detection supports unattended operation by quickly validating the condition of the cutting tools after each tool change.
  • Dedicated cleaning nozzles wash the tool taper with 20μm filtered coolant with each tool change, ensuring contamination-free tool clamping.
  • Three-stage coolant filtration with 20μm hydro-cyclone extracts coolant tank sludge common with nonferrous part machining, extending time between coolant system preventive maintenance or cleaning.

Engineering Services Expand Productive Benefits

For many die-cast part manufacturing facilities, machining is a secondary capability that demands specialized labor skill sets and expertise. Machine shops seeking to maximize the productive benefits of the a40 can turn to Makino for engineering support that maximizes the productive capabilities of their machine investment.

Makino Engineering Services have an unmatched history of creating robust production-ready processes—including machinery, fixtures, tools, programs and documentation—for parts with complex geometries, demanding deadlines, challenging budget constraints and Six Sigma standards. While many North American manufacturers face difficulty finding skilled labor, Makino Engineering Services have experienced engineers and project managers that can manage every step of a project with single-point contact, project engineering, on-site supervision and post-installation training and support. Hundreds of manufacturers in need of integrated flexible manufacturing solutions have taken advantage of these services, each benefiting from guaranteed cycle times, process capability index (Cpk) and cost per part that meet or exceed their production goals.

With Makino automation integration services, manufacturers are able to combat fierce pricing pressures from low-labor-cost countries by providing complete automated cells and systems. Whether demands call for simple machine tending or complex high-volume robotic cells, Makino’s automation integration services offer the equipment, skills and manpower necessary to reduce labor costs, increase throughput, ensure and enhance part quality, all while retaining the flexibility to adapt quickly to changing volumes or new parts.

To learn more about the a40 horizontal machining center, watch the webinar, “A New Solution for Nonferrous Die-Cast Parts”.