HEIDENHAIN: Rebuilding One of the Largest Machine Tools With Enhanced Qualities/Features

A Major Tool & Machine gantry mill used HEIDENHAIN absolute linear scales for its refurbishing. Initially commissioned in 1995, the SCHIESS FZG6 (DSI) mill was one of the world’s largest machine tools. With the help of machine tool suppliers and HEIDENHAIN, the rebuild was a success.

Case Study: Major Tool & Machine

Indiana-based Major Tool & Machine (MTM) faced this challenge in 2010. MTM needed to modernize its super-large gantry mill to accommodate rising market demand.

The mill turns on five axes and has a vast working area and a bed that goes down 40 feet. Over the years, it has been a dependable workhorse in manufacturing substantial components.

MTM produced hardware for the power generation, aerospace, and nuclear power markets.

The Challenge of Upgrading

However, technological developments have come a long way in the last 20 years. So, the SCHIESS machine underwent a complete retrofit in 2014.

It has all new electrical components, CNC control/drive systems, and position feedback using HEIDENHAIN linear scales.

This type of technology is not feasible just two years before the retrofit. Now, a SCHIESS (DSI) gantry mill from the 1990s is operating with modern speed and accuracy.

The Retrofitting Process

In late 2014, the retrofit began. MTM contracted experts from FIVES Cincinnati to renovate the electrical system and the CNC control and drive.

They removed the ram and installed a new one that FIVES Cincinnati designed. This included the most up-to-date developments in drive technology and an integrated C-axis and spindle motor.

They then installed five new milling adapters and heads and another for turning mode. During this process, they re-leveled the machine and realigned its geometries. This leads to installing HEIDENHAIN scales on six master axes.

The installation of HEIDENHAIN scales gave the machine access to the most up-to-date measurement feedback and machine tool alignment technology. There are 20 axes and spindles, all linked to the new control system. The entire retrofitting took two years.

The New Machine

This refurbished machine features a 6-meter-diameter rotary table. With the rest of the machine’s axes, it can achieve positioning accuracy in 10 seconds. Each of the four milling heads can produce up to 100 horsepower (75 kilowatts), and the maximum spindle speed is 2800 revolutions per minute.

Also, one can turn the table at speeds of up to 60 revolutions per minute when fitted with a turning head and CAPTO tool holders. It can support a maximum part weight of 125 metric tons.

After consulting another Indiana-based integrator company, Tech Tools Inc., MTM decided to use the brand-new HEIDENHAIN absolute linear scales. Using absolute scales improves gantry system dependability because the CNC knows the axes’ positions at startup.

Benefits From HEIDENHAIN Technology

Using HEIDENHAIN LC 201 absolute linear scales has proven to be an excellent choice. The machine has been running smoothly since October 2016. The machining axes have maintained and improved their performance, thanks to the scale’s positioning accuracy.

The absolute linear scales have saved MTM time. They can see immediately at turn-on all positions, where the axes are, and what the skew is between the two gantry sides. Today, the encoders at MTM are all HEIDENHAIN models.

Get HEIDENHAIN Products From Maintenance Diagnostic Systems

Contact Maintenance Diagnostic Systems, Inc. if your company requires a similar solution. MDS is one of the leading machine tool suppliers in the U.S.

Only hire reputable companies for CNC calibration services. Contact us today and get quality service from one of the country’s premier HEIDENHAIN distributors.