New concept of multi-task milling machine
Mekatech, located in Lakunberri (Spain), is a global leader in the machining of large parts with critical precision requirements for the wind power sector. Apart from supplying the national market, its products are exported to numerous countries including Germany, Denmark, the USA and Brazil. The Mekatech customer portfolio includes the leading OEMs of the wind sector.
Mekatech develops its own tools and mooring systems, prepares its machining processes and conducts the NDT inspections and compete measurement of finished parts using laser metrology.
The wind power sector is permanently evolving. The sector’s technological development is currently aimed at increasing the power generated. The main generator manufacturers are currently working on developing models able to meet the expansion of off-shore wind power, to continue developing greater yields. This evolution has led to new components that require different machining processes to be combined for their manufacturing.
Mindful of this trend, Mekatech decided to work with Soraluce and develop a new concept of multi-task milling machine, capable of turning and milling-boring operations in a single machine, and which allows the machining of the new components being added to its product portfolio, such as the offshore wind generator rotor housings.
The machine developed is a Soraluce FXR 16000 Multitask milling centre. It has a vertical traverse of 6500 mm and a cross-traverse of 1900 mm, with a milling power of 70 kW and two work areas. In the first area, the machine has a rotary-travelling table of 3000 x 2500 mm V: 2500 mm with a load capacity of 60 Tn. The second table has a multitask table of ø3500 mm, 2500 mm linear movement and 50 Tn load capacity, capable of supplying 106kW power to perform the turning operations required, and which reaches speeds of 120 Rpm. Workpieces over ø7000 mm can be rolled over in this second work area.
It is a state-of-the-art machine that represents a new category within the travelling column milling segment. The possibility of combining milling and turning operations in a single machine provides a flexibility that was non-existent in this type of milling machines. Structural parts such as hubs and frames can therefore be machined, along with completing the machining of large revolving components by combining turning and milling operations in a single machine.
There is a high degree of customisation, not only due to the fact of incorporating the turning function into a machine of these characteristics, but also to the equipment required in a machine of this type, such as the turning headings, tailor-designed for the new target workpieces.
In this regard, the approach is unique and can only be supplied by a very small number of manufacturers with sufficient proven experience in the designing and manufacturing of milling and boring machines and lathes. Soraluce is among this small group of machine-tool manufacturers.
The solution was built on the SORALUCE FXR milling platform, which is a state-of-the-art machine and the winner of the Red Dot prize for its innovative design. It incorporates a new design concept where the needs of the operator are an essential aspect, providing a greater level of ergonomics and safety, which is an essential requirement for the success of advanced manufacturing. This approach also allows the high-technology potential of the machines to be optimised to provide a solution aimed at ensuring the maximum possible level of productivity.
The machine also incorporates the latest Soraluce technologies with innovative functions, including:
- The innovative DAS System, a device that can actively increase the rigidity of the machine resulting in up to 300% higher cutting performance. The system has a dampening effect that reduces the risk of chatter. It is a unique technology on the market and can only be found in Soraluce machines (European Patent EP 3017911). This innovative system was named the European Quality Innovation of the Year 2019 and won Best of Industry award 2015.
The system’s functions have been evolved and expanded to the DAS+ system, which incorporates a series of sensors that control the chatter in real time, and which allows the machining process to be monitored. The process control algorithms automatically optimise the cutting conditions, using the acquired signals, and modify the work parameters of the tool to improve stability and maximise productivity.
- Ram Balance, ram drop dynamic compensation system, patented worldwide by Soraluce (WO 2010/072856) which guarantees the geometrical accuracy in the whole of the ram’s work field.
This system allows the position to be improved by reducing the geometrical error generated by the ram drop. That drop is affected by the weight of the heads and is particularly useful when, as in this case, the head is fitted with different heads. This system is therefore essential.
- Adaptive control, which monitors the power consumed during the process to automatically adjust the forward speed, thus improving the efficiency of the process, and reducing the machining time. The system does not require a learning process, which facilitates its use and increases it applicability to the machining of unit pieces.
- DHC, a self-calibration system that increases the positioning accuracy of the tool when using orientable heads, which compensates the errors inherent to the head.
- It is an eco-efficient machine and has exclusive features, such as the sleep-mode system, which allows energy to be saved thanks to the peripherals disconnecting during waiting time, for example when loading-unloading the workpiece or during maintenance. It is a feature that can be set by the user and can therefore be adapted to the working method of each customer.
The SORALUCE FXR-16000 multitask milling centre is also a 4.0 machine with a comprehensive monitoring package based on cloud computing and which allows Mekatech to control the machine and process status from any location. This feature allows the status of machine indicators, such as the programme underway, tools in use, speed of axes and heads, etc. to be controlled in real time.
The FXR series multitask milling centres are an advanced technology machine that provides exceptional versatility, high performances and high levels of production. The machine has been configured to achieve greatest flexibility in the process, a rigid architecture, along with great accuracy in the machining of large components, which enables easy and quick adaptation to different machining operations and types of workpieces.
Mekatech selected Soraluce due to the reliability offered by its machines, power range, rigidity, flexibility and experience in the wind power sector. The wide range of Soraluce milling-boring heads offers a customised solution for each operation-application and automatic change of heads and tools, thus minimising downtime to change head/tool.