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machine recommendation big VTL with milling

ondori

Aluminum
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
We're getting into machining large forgings.

Right now we have several manual and CNC VTLs, and then we transfer parts to our big VMCs for the milling.

Brand new CNC VTL with milling is >$500k. As usual I'll check the used listings first.

There's many flavors of VTLs with milling, I'm not sure which direction to go:
  • Traditional single column VTLs with what seems to be a add on spindle on the ram and of course the table is the C axis.
    • The ones I've seen have a low HP spindle and its bevel gear driven.
  • Single column VTL with a turret and live tooling, similar to a slant bed lathe.
    • These live tools are usually weak though.
    • Doosan & Hwacheon have these type.
  • Single column VTL with the milling head similar to a c-frame VMC. These have an ATC, so that you can run lathe tools rigid mounted on the ram (as opposed how a millturn runs the lathe tools right in the spindle).
    • These are usually most expensive and have a large footprint. not to mention expensive tooling
  • Multiaxis vertical millturn. These do milling with XYZ. various combination of frame/rail types.
    • expensive and I have no experience with these. I am concerned with rigidity. We turn heavy ss/duplex/inconel forgings.
Would appreciate some guidance.
Would also appreciate if anyone knows of any listings, i've checked the usual suspects machinio, machinetools.

specs;
swing min 40", max ~72"
max height, >24"
no other preferences

as for brands I've found these companies:

Doosan, has made various VTL/m over the years. we have three V550s, no milling though.
Hwacheon, has a few VTL/m options. prob expensive
Momentum, they seem like a dedicated VTL manufacturer?
Olympia, same as momentum?
O-M, Japanese, prob expensive.
G&L, the ones with milling seem to be really big, over 2m table.
HNK, cant find much info
Hankook, lots of VTL options
Toshiba, lots of options
You Ji, I noticed several used ones across USA. they seem to be popular.
Knuth, only one model?
Kent, surprisingly has several models. never heard of this brand
SMART, i remember they used to be samsung machine, i think they are korean?
Okuma, has one VTL, but too small
 
You Ji, I noticed several used ones across USA. they seem to be popular.
Only because they are cheap junk. We did some looking for a company a few years ago, all the taiwan stuff was crap (you ji, gag), most of the china stuff mediocre at best, korea just so-so, toshiba was pretty nice and g&l kicks ass. But we did see these that physically don't look bad, some sort of joint venture with schiess

sortaschiess.jpg

(2m would only be a tiny bit over your requested top end of 72" ... there's that place in the midwest - daniluk ? - that rebuilds big stuff to order, that might be worth a call as well)
 
Okuma has the VTM 1200YB and VTM 2000YB, the smaller of which is right in your size range. (They’re 1.2m and 2m nominal swings) Price will be way over $500k though.


I’ve seen the 1200yb up close and it’s not a heavy roughing machine, but the milling spindle is very capable.
 
Out of your list of builders I'd rank O-M first and Toshiba second. There are quite a few names stuck on machines from a couple different Taiwanese builders. Shop not far from me has one called Chevalier. POS.
 
I suspect Chevalier and Kent are both import "brand" relabels of machines made by whichever manufacturer the importer hooks up with, just as they are in the surface grinder market.
 
I've never seen a single-column VTL before. Every one I've worked with has been double-column. Not saying they don't exist, just that I've seen lots of double-columns.

Do you need serious milling capability, or just live tooling to put in bolt-holes and the like? Do you need radial live tools? B-axis? or just axial live tools?

Other brands:
Unisign - probably $$$
Mazak - a shop near me has an A16 Megaturn with live tooling and likes it.
 
I suspect Chevalier and Kent are both import "brand" relabels of machines made by whichever manufacturer the importer hooks up with, just as they are in the surface grinder market.
That is exactly the case. They might specify some sheetmetal differences as well as color to make it look different from the exact same machine with another label.
 
Only because they are cheap junk. We did some looking for a company a few years ago, all the taiwan stuff was crap (you ji, gag), most of the china stuff mediocre at best, korea just so-so, toshiba was pretty nice and g&l kicks ass. But we did see these that physically don't look bad, some sort of joint venture with schiess
(2m would only be a tiny bit over your requested top end of 72" ... there's that place in the midwest - daniluk ? - that rebuilds big stuff to order, that might be worth a call as well)

I know Youji wont be G&L level, but they do seem to have lots of VTL offerings. Almost like they specialize in them. I'm thinking if I find a good condition unit, it would be a safe bed.

Okuma has the VTM 1200YB and VTM 2000YB, the smaller of which is right in your size range. (They’re 1.2m and 2m nominal swings) Price will be way over $500k though.
I’ve seen the 1200yb up close and it’s not a heavy roughing machine, but the milling spindle is very capable.

That was my concern with these VMC style VTLs. There simply isn't enough rigidity to hog stainless like you would in a real VTL.

Out of your list of builders I'd rank O-M first and Toshiba second. There are quite a few names stuck on machines from a couple different Taiwanese builders. Shop not far from me has one called Chevalier. POS.
shame about the Chevalier. Their supposed to be the better of the Chinese builders.

I suspect Chevalier and Kent are both import "brand" relabels of machines made by whichever manufacturer the importer hooks up with, just as they are in the surface grinder market.

I'm always weary of north American brands that somehow pop out of nowhere and have a full product line of machines. Chevalier is the house brand of Falcon Machine Tools China.
Not sure where Kent gets their machines, but it's probably Buffalo Machinery (same as Modern Machine, Microcut, and possibly Takumi). I think Methods Machine gets them from Pinnacle Taiwan.

it's been a while since I was in that part of the industry.. I'm comfortable with a Taiwanese VTL. I just won't pay for someone to slap on a new logo and not offer me any service. If I end up ordering new, I'll go direct.

I've never seen a single-column VTL before. Every one I've worked with has been double-column. Not saying they don't exist, just that I've seen lots of double-columns.

Do you need serious milling capability, or just live tooling to put in bolt-holes and the like? Do you need radial live tools? B-axis? or just axial live tools?

Other brands:
Unisign - probably $$$
Mazak - a shop near me has an A16 Megaturn with live tooling and likes it.

my mistake, I don't know why I used to term single column. I mean a traditional XZ rail VTL. Think of a WW2 era VTL/VBM, add servos and you've got a modern VTL. I'd like to stick to that type because I know they have the rigidity to heavy cutting, no matter who made it. Other VTLs that have XYZ on the tool/ and stationary table, or table moves on Y. I dont trust these. They trade rigidity for more versatility. Usually suited for complex parts, prob aluminum or casts. Not forged stainless.

For milling I'd be ok with a entry level 3-axis VMC capability, i,e. Haas TM2 level milling is ok.
My concern with some VTLs that have an add-on spindle which goes thru a bevel gear is that it will have low duty cycle and will overheat. Similar to small y-axis slant bed lathes. those 4-5kW driven tools can hardly run for 15mins.

I only plan to mill on vertically, no need for B axis. Just XZ + C (table) interpolation.
 








 
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