Machining Manufacturers Focusing on Mold/Die

   Walking the IMTS show floor today I noticed some leading machining equipment manufacturers have focused on showing features like advanced CNC controls and higher spindle feeds.


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Walking the IMTS show floor I noticed some leading machining equipment manufacturers have focused on showing features like advanced CNC controls and higher spindle feeds. For moldmakers, that means a better quality surface finish and reduced cycle times.
Hyundai WIA America’s i-CUT 320M made its North American debut at IMTS. According to Marketing Manager David Barber, more and more moldmakers are investing in equipment engineered specifically for the machining of molds. “While in the past a basic vertical machining center might have been purchased to machine molds, today that’s simply not practical,” he notes. “To remain competitive in the global marketplace, moldmakers must invest in technology better suited for moldmaking. That includes moving away from typical C-frame vertical machining centers shifting toward bridge-type VMCs, with spindle speeds above 35,000 RPMs and thru spindle coolant—often with five-axis capability.”
Over at Hwacheon Machinery America I saw its new SIRIUS UM small- to medium-size machine, which acting President Klaus Ludwig notes in a “logical” a logical new development rounding out the company’s high-end line for mold and die. “For more complex molds, our medium-size machine, the M2-5AX, has been specifically designed for mold and die components and complex shapes,” Ludwig comments. “On the larger size scale, the five-axis version SIRIUS 2500-5AX provides the best solution whenever difficult 3D contours need to be machined on large molds.”
Hurco also had a line of equipment targeted to the mold and die industry. According to Media Relations Manager Maggie Smith, the company’s new VMXHSi line of high-speed mills with an integral spindle design and higher spindle speeds address finishing operations for mold and die shops. “Additionally, our patented UltiMotionTM control feature offers superb surface finish quality while significantly reducing cycle time by as much as 30 to 40 percent,” she emphasizes. “Our regular VMX line of three-axis mills—which has a generous Y-axis—has been the most popular among our existing mold and die customers who consider it the workhorse of the industry.”
Smith adds the requirements of mold and die shops are very much in line with Hurco’s core competencies. “We deliver rigid iron to promote accuracy and precision that mold and die shops require; and flexible controls made for high mix/small batch manufacturing that are capable of handling large files without the need to drip feed,” she notes.
Hyundai WIA’s Barber notes that North American moldmakers are competing in a global marketplace, so any advantage that can be gained through machine tool technology is significant—especially with reshoring gaining in popularity.