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Drilling & Cutting of Calendared & Extruded Aluminum

  • Drilling & Cutting of Calendared & Extruded Aluminum
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The expanding application of extruded and calendared aluminum is an evidence of the opportunity to apply today's new advanced materials in new applications, reducing component weight while at the same improving strength. CMS provides a wide range of standard and specialized CNC machining centers which tackle the need for flexible, "just-in-time" production, machining of linear or non-linear components, incorporating automated setup, high speed performance and accuracy, along with integrated waste removal capabilities.

 

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machine

Moving
gantry CNC's

MBB - long length precision machined extrusions, such as for 50'+ truck bed side channels

MBB - long length precision machined extrusions, such as for 50'+ truck bed side channels

MBB, CMS' moving gantry CNC machining center, is perfectly adapted for precision long length aluminum extrusion machining. This MBB has been specially equipped for long length precision extrusion machining such as that needed for semi-truck beds, which provide not only structural support for the bed, but also the various necessary "chinch" points along the bed length where straps tighten down and hold the loads being transported securely, and which must also be precisely machined and chamfered so that straps aren't damaged. Long length extruded components can easily reach lengths of over 50'. As extruded components, they have some slight straightness variations from one component to another, making it absolutely necessary to know the facts about each specific component's linearity before machining so that adjustments to the machining program can be made based on the "real-world" component, with the result that slots with chamfers come out exactly as expected, without sharp edges which can damage straps.

CMS' MBB long length extrusion machining center has also been provided with CMS' special CNC controlled rail and clamping system, making it possible to not only clamp and reference from the outside of the extrusion, but also from the inside. The CNC rails and clamps are given instructions as to where to position themselves and have been provided with a double set of clamping devices on each rail so that a double set of long length extrusions can be machined at the same time, dramatically increasing productive output and efficiency. MBB's machining power is supplied by a double 5-axis independently CNC controlled PX5 working unit, capable of complex machining requirements and supplied with high power for sawing, routing, slotting, drilling and chamfering. Beneath MBB's rail and clamping system is located its power take away chip and scrap conveyor system.

Before a machining cycle begins, MBB directs a double laser system, one for each long length extrusion, to execute a rapid scan of the extrusions, Based on this information MBB's machining program is adjusted so that all required machining is based on the specific information for each part's straightness, and particularly the information required for executing perfect chamfers.

Western Extrusions is a major extruder and supplier of aluminum extrusions with high level capabilities and technology in extruding, finishing and machining capabilities. CMS is proud to be a supplier of its high technology CNC machining centers to Western Extrusions. More information on Western Extrusions and its capabilities, along with their CMS, can be found at, just click here...

Western Extrusions

MBB - for mid-length aluminum extrusions

MBB - for mid-length aluminum extrusions

This MBB has been equipped with CMS' semi-automatic rail and clamping system for processing mid-length aluminum extrusions. The rail and clamping system is provided with a readout setup scale and in addition with CMS' special LED operator assist, so that the operator sees an "orange" LED when approaching the required rail setup location, a "green" LED, at the correct location, or a "red" LED if he passes the location, while the moveable opposing pneumatic clamp on the rail is positioned to a predetermined set point. MBB's working unit is CMS' RX4, a full, freeform, 5-axis machining unit incorporation a 4-station revolver, for the fastest tool changing time possible, with one of its 4 stations provided with an ATC unit for selection of additional tools from a storage rack. The RX4 working unit freely positions a saw blade for end trimming, drill bits for drilling, or routing tools for slots, openings and holes as required. Chip and scrap waste falls down to a powered scrap take away belt located beneath the rail and clamping system. MBB is a powerful mid-range solution for every extrusion machining requirement.

MBB - aluminum extrusion, complex boat mast machining

MBB - aluminum extrusion, complex boat mast machining

This MBB has been adapted to meet the additional requirements involved with machining aluminum extruded boat masts. As in the other versions, MBB has been provided with CMS' special CNC controlled rail and clamping system, which directs each rail to its required location. In addition, the rail and clamp system completely captivates the aluminum mast with MBB's 4 sided clamping system, adjusting to the differences involved with the changing geometry along the mast length from bottom to top, growing smaller. MBB's clamping system also self-centralizes the mast so that its true central axis is taken into account and not simply referenced from the outside of the part. As machining operations take place, some work requires continuous slotting or machining movement along the mast's length. In this case, MBB directs the other rails to move out of the way and for one clamp to move continuously along the mast length while maintaining its self-centralizing control on the changing outside diameter.

This MBB is also equipped with a special CMS PX5, 5-axis, working unit, which provides a total inversion of the machining head, making it possible for the PX5 working unit to machine from underneath the mast, as well as from above and the sides, and carry out machining cycles with large diameter saw blades, available from a special storage rack, as well as a number of routing and machining tools for the remainder of the work.

Scrap and chips from the machining cycle fall to the scrap take away belt located beneath the rail and clamping system.

MBB is perfectly adapted for almost any aluminum extrusion requirement.

Moving
table CNC's

FXB - Calendared aluminum extrusion

FXB - Calendared aluminum extrusion

FXB, CMS' moving table class machining center, is shown equipped for machining calendared aluminum extrusions in a double table version. Calendared aluminum extrusions have been processed through rolling and pressing operations so that they take on a non-lineal curvature. In this situation, since the geometry for the part wasn't available, CMS has provided FXB with a probing system. The initial settings for the shape are determined and memorized by FXB and then an original part is used as a template from which to obtain the required cutting path information. FXB probes the original part along what will be the cut path and memorizes the information. When the entire part has been probed, the program may be "played" back.

To set the machine up, FXB will place each clamping device in its proper memorized place and engage the vacuum which holds it to the working table. The part to be machined is then placed in the clamp and the machining cycle begins. FXB is equipped with a powerful 5-axis working unit and a selection of tools from which to choose for its work.

Nonlinear, even nonlinear parts with no part geometry, aren't a problem for FXB or CMS' special range of solutions and experience for aluminum extruded parts.

Monobloc
CNC's

Antares & ARES - more options for aluminum extrusions machining

Antares & ARES - more options for aluminum extrusions machining

CMS' range of moving bridge CNC controlled machining centers including Antares, seen on the left, and ARES, seen on the right, offer additional options for aluminum extrusion machining. Both Antares and ARES provide CMS' large 3D working envelop with full, free-form, 5-axis machining capability and heavy duty power. Each of which can be provided with CMS' gridded aluminum plate working table, with vacuum and T-slot inserts for anchoring fixtures, or with CMS' rail and clamping system for more flexibility. Antares and ARES also make it possible to carry out nonstop work cycles with their central protection barrier and integrated security door enclosures. Both Antares and ARES come with CMS' PX5 working unit, 12 kW power (16 hp), at 12,000 rpm, maximum 24,000 rpm, S1 rating, liquid cooled.

Antares is available in a basic version with: 2600 mm (102.3") X, 1500 mm (59.1") Y, and 1200 mm (47.2") Z, +/- 135° B axis and +/- 270° C axis

ARES is available in 3 basic versions with: 3600 (141.7"), 4800 (188.9"), 6000 mm (236.2") X, 1800 (70.9"), 2600 mm (102.4")Y, and 1200 mm (47.2") Z, +/- 120° B axis and +/- 270° C axis

Moving
bridge CNC's

 Poseidon & Cronus - maximum power and precision for aluminum extrusion machining

Poseidon & Cronus - maximum power and precision for aluminum extrusion machining

CMS' Poseidon and Cronus range of moving bridge CNC controlled, full, free-form, 5-axis, machining centers with very large work envelops, very heavy duty machining power, and very high accuracy, provide extended performance capabilities for extruded aluminum machining. Both Poseidon and Cronus can be equipped for mist or full flood machining methodology, even multiple working units or multiple bridges for even greater productivity and flexibility, as well as CMS' special clamping and holding systems.

Poseidon can be configured for:

Strokes:

  • From X axis 2.5 m to 41.0 m (8.2' to 134.5')
  • From Y axis 2.6 m to 8.5 m (8.5' to 27.9')
  • From Z axis 1.3 m to 4.0 m (4.3' to 13.1'), non-telescopic version standard and telescopic versions available where reduced height limitations exist Working units:
  • From PX5 working unit with 12 kW power (16.1 hp) at 12,000 rpm, maximum 24,000, liquid cooled, S1 rating, A axis +/- 120°, B axis +/- 270°
  • To KX5 working unit with 15 kW power (20.1 hp) at 12,000 rpm, maximum 24,000, liquid cooled, S1 rating, A axis +/- 110°, B axis +/- 300°
  • To KX5 working unit with 28 kW power (37.5 hp) at 4,300 rpm, maximum 24,000, liquid cooled, S1 rating, A axis +/- 110°, B axis +/- 300°
  • 16 place tool changing magazine standard, with additional expansion possible
  • Optional linear and rotary scales available for increased accuracy

Cronus can be configured for:

Strokes:

  • From X axis 2.5 m to 20.5 m (8.2' to 67.3')
  • From Y axis 2.6 m to 5.0 m (8.5' to 16.4')
  • From Z axis 1.3 m to 2.0 m (4.3' to 6.6')
  • A axis +/- 110°
  • C axis +/- 300° Working units:
  • CMS' Torque5 working unit with either 15 kW (20.1 hp) power at 12,000 rpm, or 28 kW (37.5 hp) power at 4,300 rpm, maximum 24,000 rpm, liquid cooled, S1 rating, with optional cutting fluid capability through the cutting tool as well as around the cutting tool incorporating rotary scales for high precision accuracy, high rotational speed, high rigidity, and with high torque capability
  • 16 place tool changing magazine standard, with additional expansion possible Structure:
  • Guide-way axes double opposing servomotors for elimination of backlash
  • Enhanced structural stiffness required for Cronus' ultra-precision characteristics
  • Design elements for elimination of thermic structural growth Included linear and rotary scales for high precision

Images

 Train car exterior structural panels - complex aluminum extrusions

Train car exterior structural panels - complex aluminum extrusions

Fabricated aluminum extrusions are used in train car exterior structural panels. CMS machining center technology provides for all the milling and machining processes required in these large structures with openings for windows and doors, as well as a multitude of fastening holes, along with the specific technology required for finding the fabrication weld lines and then milling away the excess in order to obtain the necessary high quality aesthetic look and finish.

For additional information see the section on Industries Served without Sector: "Transportation: Railway - Trains, Trams, Tube".

 Semi truck bed frame rails - long heavy aluminum extrusion machining

Semi truck bed frame rails - long heavy aluminum extrusion machining

CMS machining center technology has solutions for processing long length aluminum extrusions such as those used for the frame rails on semi-truck beds. These rails are heavy, long, and reach over 50'+ in length, while at the same time having straightness variations along their length, which makes it important to carry out a high speed scanning operation and adjust the machining program data for critical operations such as the chamfers for belt cinch openings, and in addition to complete each rail's required processing operations for sawing, milling, and drilling.

Boat masts - long length conical aluminum extrusions

Boat masts - long length conical aluminum extrusions

Aluminum boat masts require a range of machining operations around their circumference and length, a circumference which grows smaller along its length from bottom to top. CMS innovative CNC technology provides its unique self-centering, CNC controlled, rail and clamping technology, which makes it possible to perfectly hold the mast, knowing where the mast's true central axis is all the time, a necessity for correctly placing the required machining processes where they belong. CMS' advanced technology also provides its unique 5-axis working head making it possible to orient and carry out required machining from beneath the mast, as well as from its top and sides.

 Calendared parts - Extruded aluminum

Calendared parts - Extruded aluminum

Extruded aluminum is also calendared in some applications, during which, by a rolling pressure, its linear characteristics are adjusted to a predetermined curvature, suitable for the particular design application required. CMS provides unique clamping fixture solutions for holding and sequentially releasing and re-clamping each holding fixture in turn during the machining cycle to permit unhindered total machining path completion, without the need of subsequent re-fixturing. CMS also provides automated setup for these special fixtures in their nonlinear placement, along with "teach-in" technology, even if only an original part is available, without a CAD model.

Structural panels - Extruded Aluminum

Structural panels - Extruded Aluminum

As seen in this photo, aluminum extrusions are also designed to serve in heavy structural panel applications, providing solid heavy support, while at the same time avoiding the heavy weight traditionally accompanying such panel structures in ferrous materials. CMS provides high speed, flexible, powerful CNC machining solutions for the wide range of extruded aluminum applications, even as illustrated in this photo with a powerful, double, 5-axis machining head configuration for a heavy aluminum extruded structural panel.

Extruded aluminum - structural, functional and aesthetic elements

Extruded aluminum - structural, functional and aesthetic elements

Extruded aluminum's application range has steadily grown and its usefulness, as well as its design aesthetic, taken on a preference among designers and engineers. As seen in this photo the range of heavy structural designs is matched by specific aesthetic and functional uses for which CMS has an equally wide range of technology and solutions to complete the required application with the machining processes each requires.

Videos

Long Length Extruded Aluminum machining - Semi Truck Bed frame

Long length extruded aluminum processing for semi-truck beds, 50'+ in length, is shown in this video. CMS' MBB is equipped with a heavy duty, double 5-axis, working unit capable of producing two component parts at the same time, as well as CMS' CNC controlled rail and clamping system for automated setup and part referencing. CMS' special CNC controlled rail system is also provided with clamp referencing from within or without the extrusion, as need may require. The video presents the CNC controlled processes of the rail setting followed by a CNC controlled scanning process to analyze each rail's straightness and to provide compensation information to the CNC program accordingly, making it possible for each required machining process to be located precisely where required, even if from component to component straightness may vary somewhat, still critical placement accuracy is assured. The processing includes trimming and notching operations with a large saw blade, as well as high speed milling and routing operations.

CMS expresses it thanks for presentation of this process to its customer Western Extrusions, a respected manufacturer of a wide range of extruded aluminum products, as well as their finishing processes along with component fabrication to specific customer end machining requirements. More information can be found about Western Extrusions at its website:

This video presents Western Extrusions, well respected manufacturer of a wide range of aluminum extrusions, with broad resources and competencies, to which they add finishing and fabrication services for their customers. Western Extrusions' addition of CMS' CNC machining center technology, which provides unique added benefits for its customers, is featured by them in this their company and capabilities overview.

CMS expresses it thanks for use of this presentation to Western Extrusions. For more information on Western Extrusions visit their website:

Mid-length aluminum extrusion machining

CMS' MBB is shown machining mid-length heavy aluminum extrusions. The overview includes a look at CMS' part holding system with operator assisted semi-automatic setup of the rail and clamping system, in which the operator receives information via the rail LED system as he moves the rail along the scale readout. An orange LED indicates that the desired position is approaching, a green LED indicates arrival at the position, while a red LED indicates that the position was passed. Once the preparation for machining has been easily and quickly finished, the cycle proceeds with the use of CMS' RX4, 5-axis working unit with 4 position revolver, of which one position has an ATC capability for selection of additional cutting tools. The RX4 combination achieves the fastest possible tool changing time, since the time for tool changing is from one revolver position to the next. RX4 is shown trimming and sawing with a large saw blade as well as milling, routing and drilling the various features required in the extruded aluminum component. Scrap and chips fall to the powered scrap take away belt beneath the rail and clamping system.

Aluminum Boat mast - long length, oddly shaped, extrusions

MBB is shown processing a tall conically shaped aluminum boat mast. The process begins with machine setup, showing the positioning of its CNC controlled rail and clamping system, which is designed to captivate it from all 4 sides. The special system sets the true central axis of the part, ensuring that all machining operations will end up with the required features in the correct location. MBB's special rail and clamping system is also used to assist in machining long length operations, which require the other rails to move out of the way and for one rail to run just ahead of the working unit.

MBB is shown with its special "offset" PX5 working unit, which is capable, not only of machining in a full 5-axis manner from above and both sides, but of complete inversion working from beneath the mast to carry these required machining operations as well. The processing included use of several large diameter saw blades for trimming and notching as well as machining for slots, holes and openings.

A difficult job made easy with MBB's technological adaptation, flexibility and power.
 

Machining calendared extruded aluminum

CMS' FXB is shown machining calendared extruded aluminum. The work is based on the use of an original part, for which there is no available CAD program. The nonlinear part is placed in CMS' special clamping vices and memorized as to location. Following which, CMS uses a probing routine to "memorize" the path information required for the various machining operations. Once this work is finished, FXB sets each special CNC controlled vice in place automatically. The operator places the part in the vices and the machining cycle begins. As the cycle progresses with the edge trimming and hole drilling, it's necessary for each clamping vice, in turn, to open and move out of the way of the working head as it progresses along the machining path and then to return and re-clamp the part. A process which allows for a continuous firm hold on the part while it's being cut, while at the same time eliminating the need for subsequent re-fixturing and reference verification.

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