With orders and shipments increasing, Murata Machinery USA invited customers to a technology showcase Sept. 21 at its headquarters in Charlotte, NC, to demonstrate its newest customizable Muratec turning machines.
The showcase, “the first of this size and scale” for the company according to General Manager Jeff Kalmbach, unveiled higher performance specifications on eight new Muratec offerings. Notably, several of these machines now feature once-optional performance improvements as standard equipment.
Larger automotive transmission parts and an increase in the use of fasteners on airliners are among the industry drivers behind these improvements. Of course, the never-ending desire to increase automation, reduce cycle times and machine footprints and improve chip management also fuel Murata’s advances.
In terms of the latter goal, “some of the heavier cutting operations we see, especially in the … Gulf Coast area with the oil and gas industry (employ) a lot of materials that are very stringy from a chip standpoint, which is killer from an automation standpoint,” Kalmbach explained in an interview at the event. “Learning how to handle and process those chips is extremely important.”
Highlights of improvements recently made on Muratec machines, primarily to meet the increasing demands for robustness from US manufacturers, include:
- MW 200G: Modified gantry with 100-mm Y axis shift and 100-mm Y axis extension for parts longer than 8″ (203.2 mm).
- MW 200GS with D290 spec: Ability to handle two 12 kg parts vs. two 8 kg parts, and ability to handle parts up to 290 mm in diameter. An optional version can handle a single 26 kg part.
- MT 200: Spindle diameter increased to 80 mm —a little over 3″ (76.2 mm) —vs. the previous 2.58″.
- MW80GT: Pinion gear cell engineered to produce small transmission gears.
- MW120GEX: High-speed, high-accuracy machine for hard turning with changed location of Z-axis ball screw; higher degree of bearing accuracy; turret has longer box ways for X axis; new, more rigid turret design that increases tool life up to 1.5 times in comparison to a standard machine; new gantry loader reduces load/unload time by about 25%.
- ML400G: Longer 570 mm bed for larger parts.
- MT100: Twin-spindle, twin 15-station turrets, 6000 RPM for complex parts around 100 mm with option for bar loader, servo unloader or gantry robot system for unloading; option for bar feed and gantry load system with rear-exit chip conveyor to create “mini job shop in a box.”
Notably, real-world applications and requests from Murata customers prompted necessary changes in its product lines.
For example, when a customer in California went to Murata, “we sold them this machine for producing two parts in 7.6 seconds,” explained Charlie Cutting, regional sales manager for the Southwest and Mexico. After a complete change in management, the customer sought even faster throughput. Murata responded by designing the all-electric MW 35, with a swing loader, X1 and X2 axes, no overhead loader and no hydraulics; users are able to perform machining with two tools at a time in a unit that is 48″ (1.22 m) wide and 130″ (3.3. m) deep.
In another instance, one of Murata’s largest Canadian customers requested more detail regarding the cost of ownership of Muratec machines—specifically in terms of machine uptime and what it costs to get them running if they go down.
Obliging, Murata audited the parts and service required to maintain the numerous machines it had sold the customer and calculated that it cost $540 a year to use the machines.
One factor vital to allowing Murata to drill down to that level of detail is its 140,000-sq.-ft. (13,006 sq.-m) facility, which houses an array of mechanical, electrical and applications engineers, as well as a spare parts warehouse. The plant can also accommodate up to 80 powered machines while they are prepared for customers, as well as roughly 90 completed machines. The facility typically ships 16 to 20 machines a month. While the base machines are provided by Murata Japan, “all the turnkey and (customized) engineering content is handled through this facility,” Kalmbach said.
To help customer understand how to get the most out of their Muratec machines, the company offers its Murata University training. “We can give you customized training with basically a naked gantry (and) as much extra, customized gantry programming as you want to learn, outside of some of the standards that come with the machine,” said Steve Landrum, North American sales manager. Learn more about the program and register, visit www.automatedturning.com/training.php .