The lightweight design (typically 40% reduction) and increased stiffness due to carbon and graphite fibre in the tool, will allow a machine greater extension range, increased milling speed as well as less load on the motor. This is their largest produced to date and testing has shown that composite tools can achieve better surface quality with reduced roughness.
Furthermore, at the show will be a new prototype composite boring bar in development with Makino J. The lightweight, while stiff part can allow a deeper boring without having to upgrade the machine.
These developments have in mind the trend of automotive manufacturers moving to electric engines. Changes in machining requirements from traditional combustion engines to new electric motors could lead to some production lines becoming obsolete and require major investment to replace. However, the idea coming from many tool manufactures is to broach this issue with lightweight tools. Hence composite materials as they have significant advantages in this application, for example, to save huge costs for manufacturers.
Carbon composite parts are not normally considered for machine design, thought to be more suited to Formula 1 chassis than forming structures for machine tools. However, some of the principles are the same where there is high speed and accuracy machines.
Rory Carter, Company Director, explains:
“When we first came to EMO 10 years ago, we were met with some quizzical looks and asked why composites at a machine tool show. More recently carbon composite technology has become accepted as an important design consideration. We’re looking forward showing to those not familiar how composites can improve their machine performance.”