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Searching 5-axis universal, looking for input!

finix

Plastic
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
Hello all, long time lurker here first time poster looking for input.

We’re a small business in Taiwan that develop/build our own products for export. Can’t say more than that. In the past all milling work was subbed out. Recently brought in a 6 pallet Mazak horizontal to bring machining in house and it’s been going great. However I now realize the 6 pallets doesn’t buy me enough unattended time in aluminum, should have picked up the 18 pallet pool.

We’re now evaluating a 5 axis machine to develop new products/components. Early on we considered a 3 year plan for something like a Mam72-35v, or Mazak I300 AWC. I’ve now pivoted away from that and don’t want to paint myself into a corner or invest heavily into something that may not suit us in the long run.

The idea is a entry/mid level universal type 5axis to prototype and develop on( have 3+2 work to feed it during the 8 hour day too.) Envelope is roughly a 500mm/20 inch diameter table with similar travels in X or Y. This will offer our capable designers freedom for mechanical design. Additionally the goal is to convert certain of our smaller cast/forged aluminum components into 5 axis 3D milling with reasonable cycle times and while keeping design aesthetics. We’re extremely low volume and high mix. We need the flexibility and reducing inventory is a priority as real estate here is at a premium.

If successful I’d like to add something like an Erowa pallet pool and tool matrix if possible. During the day manually load larger parts/prototype. During the night Erowa loads small/mid size components on pallets onto a riser. Standard automation that comes with this type of machine are around 4-7 pallets and won’t get us much unattended time in aluminum. The pyramid/ tombstone work holding to try extend this type of work flow also has costs associated with it and doesn’t feel like it’ll get me more than a few hours at best.

Budget is around $ 300k for machine itself($400k for Japanese iron as Japan’s proximity to Taiwan and favorable exchange rate puts their prices lower here.) We try to design around not having tight tolerances. However ideally I’d like a machine that can reliably hold 20 microns(1 thou),over long periods of time without having to calibrate it in everyday. Expandable options like tool matrix if available are a plus even if more expensive if installed at a later date. Machines with Available working posts with camplete is also a plus.

Additionally is it folly to attempt to design geometry that would play well with the new barrel cutters for efficient yet beautiful 3D milled parts? Ball park how much would I be looking at from a CAM package side?


Long post but Would be grateful for any willing input. Thank you.

TL;DR - looking for 5 axis universal 500mm table, budget 300-400k, processing ALU, future automation ready type machine.

I’ll comment below on the MTB’s available to us
 
Last edited:

finix

Plastic
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
Top contenders:
GF Mikron: Mill E 500U told ball park $300k
Upsides- Tool magazine can be added later. In house 3R automation for ‘seemless’ intergeation. Working camplete post.
Downsides-quote in USD, dollar going up whole yen going down

Mazak: Happy with the horizontal performance, however local apps leave alot to be desired. I’m literally asking US apps on Instagram for help. Variaxis C600 may be worth a look?

Matsuura: tried to sell me first mam72-35v in country for roughly $670k with options I selected(330 tools). MX-520 seems ideal for current direction
Ups- working camplete post. Machines designed for unmanned operation.
Downs- agent is relatively small. Never seen Erowa paired with Matsuura as they’re literally know for their integrated pallet pools. Seems silly to slap a Erowa onto a MX520.

Makino: D200z light options 250k, D300 light options $300k. DA300 seems ideal from expandable stand point, no idea about prices.
Ups-Agent is the gold standard in Taiwan for service and ability of apps. Machines are top class by all accounts.
Downs-Over budget, work envelop small for prototype work.

Others:
DMG mori: DMU 50 3rd looks about right?
Downs-many horror stories in regard to service/support.
Ups- I live above the shop and spend my whole life in the shop, seeing a spaceship everyday is worth something maybe?

Okuma: well supported as they partner with Tatung who makes their more economical machines in addition to every single rice cooker on the island.

Kitamura: the agent is small-ish never spoken to them and know little.

Haas: UMC 500? Maybe many of the kinks have been worked out?
Ups: practical machinist has made clear I can get in shape if I buy this machine. Will spend plenty of time trying to clear out chips? Also have friend with 750ss, we could miserable together?

Local Taiwanese machines: (Quaser, Litz, YCM, Wele)
Funny, I know the least about these machines as the culture here isn’t really heavy on sharing especially with companies that sub out work. Never seen one hooked up to pallet pool so have no practical info other than what the manufacturer tells me. We own a 22 year old YCM that disguises it self as a 3axis mill when in fact it’s a tank. Just runs and runs. I’ve been told they don’t build machines like that anymore and everything is about cost-down now. To me Taiwanese machines are not fancy but used to be work horses. When they loose that I’m not sure I want to pick one up. Worried about long term reliability think machine in 10 years. Also never used a local mill that had decent chip evacuation. Exchange rate also heavily favors Japanese iron right now. Could have my mind changed thou.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

empower

Titanium
Joined
Sep 8, 2018
Hello all, long time lurker here first time poster looking for input.

We’re a small business in Taiwan that develop/build our own products for export. Can’t say more than that. In the past all milling work was subbed out. Recently brought in a 6 pallet Mazak horizontal to bring machining in house and it’s been going great. However I now realize the 6 pallets doesn’t buy me enough unattended time in aluminum, should have picked up the 18 pallet pool.

We’re now evaluating a 5 axis machine to develop new products/components. Early on we considered a 3 year plan for something like a Mam72-35v, or Mazak I300 AWC. I’ve now pivoted away from that and don’t want to paint myself into a corner or invest heavily into something that may not suit us in the long run.

The idea is a entry/mid level universal type 5axis to prototype and develop on( have 3+2 work to feed it during the 8 hour day too.) Envelope is roughly a 500mm/20 inch diameter table with similar travels in X or Y. This will offer our capable designers freedom for mechanical design. Additionally the goal is to convert certain of our smaller cast/forged aluminum components into 5 axis 3D milling with reasonable cycle times and while keeping design aesthetics. We’re extremely low volume and high mix. We need the flexibility and reducing inventory is a priority as real estate here is at a premium.

If successful I’d like to add something like an Erowa pallet pool and tool matrix if possible. During the day manually load larger parts/prototype. During the night Erowa loads small/mid size components on pallets onto a riser. Standard automation that comes with this type of machine are around 4-7 pallets and won’t get us much unattended time in aluminum. The pyramid/ tombstone work holding to try extend this type of work flow also has costs associated with it and doesn’t feel like it’ll get me more than a few hours at best.

Budget is around $ 300k for machine itself($400k for Japanese iron as Japan’s proximity to Taiwan and favorable exchange rate puts their prices lower here.) We try to design around not having tight tolerances. However ideally I’d like a machine that can reliably hold 2 microns(1 thou),over long periods of time without having to calibrate it in everyday. Expandable options like tool matrix if available are a plus even if more expensive if installed at a later date. Machines with Available working posts with camplete is also a plus.

Additionally is it folly to attempt to design geometry that would play well with the new barrel cutters for efficient yet beautiful 3D milled parts? Ball park how much would I be looking at from a CAM package side?


Long post but Would be grateful for any willing input. Thank you.

TL;DR - looking for 5 axis universal 500mm table, budget 300-400k, processing ALU, future automation ready type machine.

I’ll comment below on the MTB’s available to us

1-2 micron accuracy at sub $400k range is gonna be nigh impossible in that envelope size. you'd be looking at something like MIkron Mill P500, Hermle C32/42, Grob G350 etc. out of those 3, the grob is the least 'accurate' one, they claim 3-6 micron tolerances. the mikron or hermle can easily hold 1-2 given the right conditions, but they're 500k+ especially with automation.
you'll either need to relax your tolerances or increase the budget. Barrel tools are incredible, if you're able to design for them, its a no-brainer IMO.
for CAM that can best utilize barrel tools i'd recommend either NX or Hypermill. mastercam can do it as well, just not as good IMO.
 

empower

Titanium
Joined
Sep 8, 2018
Top contenders:
GF Mikron: Mill E 500U told ball park $300k
Upsides- Tool magazine can be added later. In house 3R automation for ‘seemless’ intergeation. Working camplete post.
Downsides-quote in USD, dollar going up whole yen going down

Mazak: Happy with the horizontal performance, however local apps leave alot to be desired. I’m literally asking US apps on Instagram for help. Variaxis C600 may be worth a look?

Matsuura: tried to sell me first mam72-35v in country for roughly $670k with options I selected(330 tools). MX-520 seems ideal for current direction
Ups- working camplete post. Machines designed for unmanned operation.
Downs- agent is relatively small. Never seen Erowa paired with Matsuura as they’re literally know for their integrated pallet pools. Seems silly to slap a Erowa onto a MX520.

Makino: D200z light options 250k, D300 light options $300k. DA300 seems ideal from expandable stand point, no idea about prices.
Ups-Agent is the gold standard in Taiwan for service and ability of apps. Machines are top class by all accounts.
Downs-Over budget, work envelop small for prototype work.

Others:
DMG mori: DMU 50 3rd looks about right?
Downs-many horror stories in regard to service/support.
Ups- I live above the shop and spend my whole life in the shop, seeing a spaceship everyday is worth something maybe?

Okuma: well supported as they partner with Tatung who makes their more economical machines in addition to every single rice cooker on the island.

Kitamura: the agent is small-ish never spoken to them and know little.

Haas: UMC 500? Maybe many of the kinks have been worked out?
Ups: practical machinist has made clear I can get in shape if I buy this machine. Will spend plenty of time trying to clear out chips? Also have friend with 750ss, we could miserable together?

Local Taiwanese machines: (Quaser, Litz, YCM, Wele)
Funny, I know the least about these machines as the culture here isn’t really heavy on sharing especially with companies that sub out work. Never seen one hooked up to pallet pool so have no practical info other than what the manufacturer tells me. We own a 22 year old YCM that disguises it self as a 3axis mill when in fact it’s a tank. Just runs and runs. I’ve been told they don’t build machines like that anymore and everything is about cost-down now. To me Taiwanese machines are not fancy but used to be work horses. When they loose that I’m not sure I want to pick one up. Worried about long term reliability think machine in 10 years. Also never used a local mill that had decent chip evacuation. Exchange rate also heavily favors Japanese iron right now. Could have my mind changed thou.


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you're going to be miserable with a UMC500, i've worked on 2 of them, absolute TRASH.
worked with a mill E 500 as well. can reliably hold ~10 microns, great bang for the buck IMO.
 

MaxPrairie

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jul 9, 2015
You want to hold 1 thou tolerance with a 3-400k budget all in with automation?

Okay, Haas UMC 500 is out due to tolerance needs.
Makino, George Fish, Hermle, DMG, Okuma, Matsuura all out due to budget.

Probably looking at Doosan or maybeee Mazak.

Someone posted a machine manufacturer that makes a machine just like the Doosan DVF series with different colored sheet metal. I cannot remember the name however. Grey and red I believe...
 

mhajicek

Titanium
Joined
May 11, 2017
Location
Minneapolis, MN, USA
I think you have a unit conversion error. 2 microns is about .00008", not .0008". So you're asking to hold less than a tenth on a five axis, which is a tough ask. Did you mean 20 microns?
 

finix

Plastic
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
I think you have a unit conversion error. 2 microns is about .00008", not .0008". So you're asking to hold less than a tenth on a five axis, which is a tough ask. Did you mean 20 microns?

Bang on!
Sorry for the terrible mix up.
Our base unit for machining in Chinese here is 1/100th of a millimeter and for some reason I keep calling it 1 micron.
20 microns it is!


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finix

Plastic
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
You want to hold 1 thou tolerance with a 3-400k budget all in with automation?

Okay, Haas UMC 500 is out due to tolerance needs.
Makino, George Fish, Hermle, DMG, Okuma, Matsuura all out due to budget.

Probably looking at Doosan or maybeee Mazak.

Someone posted a machine manufacturer that makes a machine just like the Doosan DVF series with different colored sheet metal. I cannot remember the name however. Grey and red I believe...

3-400k is not including automation. Budget for machine itself, without peripherals. Idea is to add automation like Erowa at a later date.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

bryan_machine

Diamond
Joined
Jun 16, 2006
Location
Near Seattle
I recently looked at a Taiwanese machine, sold in the US as "Axile" - which at least seemed to be a credible machine (HH controller, scales, etc.) You might check that out (likely a different name in Taiwan though...)
 

MaxPrairie

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jul 9, 2015
3-400k is not including automation. Budget for machine itself, without peripherals. Idea is to add automation like Erowa at a later date.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I believe I optioned out a UMC 500 and it was around 250-260. The DVF 5000 is around 300. DMG I believe is closer to 500. I would think GF and Makino would be right there as well. Plan on spending another 20-30 in tooling I would say. PM me if you get a quote and I am wrong. Curious what a DMG or Makino go for new exactly.
 

mhajicek

Titanium
Joined
May 11, 2017
Location
Minneapolis, MN, USA
There are some here who've had tolerance issues with the Haas UMC line, including the Z moving multiple thousandths (IIRC I've heard up to .008"!!) with thermal growth. A Haas service tech I talked to said it was a software error in the thermal comp routine, and it's been fixed, but I'd wait a couple years to see how that dust settles before considering buying one.
 

pato

Plastic
Joined
May 22, 2021
Location
Colorado
3-400k is not including automation. Budget for machine itself, without peripherals. Idea is to add automation like Erowa at a later date.


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The Mill E 500/700 U that was already on your radar seems like it would work perfect with the 20 micron tolerance. You could just about get one on the upper end of your budget with a 7 pallet system included and upgrade it to a 3r linear system at a later date.
 

empower

Titanium
Joined
Sep 8, 2018
Bang on!
Sorry for the terrible mix up.
Our base unit for machining in Chinese here is 1/100th of a millimeter and for some reason I keep calling it 1 micron.
20 microns it is!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

in that case go with the Mikron Mill E 500.
 

Billy_C

Aluminum
Joined
Feb 18, 2022
Our UMC500 isn't bad... other than the
-crap chip management
-constant rotary encoder issues
-undersized contactors
-low rigidity

Having realistic expectations is important. It's a pretty cheap machine. We did some heat treated stainless parts with sub .001 tolerances on it about a month ago. Qty 10 or something like it. It was a battle but we got through the job and made it work. It would have been better to run on a better machine but our 5 axis capacity is always pinched with higher qty part runs usually ending up on the Matsuuras. The Haas UMCs have their place as a very low volume quick and dirty solution for 5 axis prototyping. We are slowly transitioning away from the Haas UMCs to bigger better things because we start to run into a situation where we have all higher volume jobs and end up having to put them on the UMCs. F that.

I do agree with some of the others in that your budget doesn't leave you a ton to work with on the new market. I think most of the entry level machines, Haas, Doosan, Mazak, maybe Okuma - are right around that 300k Mark before tons of automation comes into the picture.
 

finix

Plastic
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
The Mill E 500/700 U that was already on your radar seems like it would work perfect with the 20 micron tolerance. You could just about get one on the upper end of your budget with a 7 pallet system included and upgrade it to a 3r linear system at a later date.

Correct me if I’m wrong, if I upgrade to the linear system, I loose the initial investment for the 7 pallet pool? Any reason for this approach as opposed to not picking up the 7 pallet pool and adding a 3R work partner+ at a later date?


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empower

Titanium
Joined
Sep 8, 2018
Correct me if I’m wrong, if I upgrade to the linear system, I loose the initial investment for the 7 pallet pool? Any reason for this approach as opposed to not picking up the 7 pallet pool and adding a 3R work partner+ at a later date?


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work partner eliminates the 7 pallet pool, it does not add to it. machine only has 1 way to load pallets in it, either the 7 pallet pool, or a linear system.
 

finix

Plastic
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
work partner eliminates the 7 pallet pool, it does not add to it. machine only has 1 way to load pallets in it, either the 7 pallet pool, or a linear system.

Thanks for clearing that up. That’s how I understood it originally. I’d rather not tie myself up with 7 pallets… then kick myself for not going with larger pallet pool as we recently experienced with the horizontal.

Buy the machine without the automation&tool matrix for R&D, in addition to some current sub’d out 3+2 work. Add work partner & tool matrix at later date with a new budget for production if project is a success.


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empower

Titanium
Joined
Sep 8, 2018
Thanks for clearing that up. That’s how I understood it originally. I’d rather not tie myself up with 7 pallets… then kick myself for not going with larger pallet pool as we recently experienced with the horizontal.

Buy the machine without the automation&tool matrix for R&D, in addition to some current sub’d out 3+2 work. Add work partner & tool matrix at later date with a new budget for production if project is a success.


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thats a pretty solid plan. however you might want to get the tool tower right away. IIRC thats not something thats easily installed in the field after you buy the machine.
 

barbter

Diamond
Joined
Oct 27, 2007
Location
On Tour...
thats a pretty solid plan. however you might want to get the tool tower right away. IIRC thats not something thats easily installed in the field after you buy the machine.

This!
If you don't do it now, you'll always be busy and the time will never be right to install it later.
Also, there then might be some integration issues if it's 3,4 or 5 years down the road....
 

empower

Titanium
Joined
Sep 8, 2018
This!
If you don't do it now, you'll always be busy and the time will never be right to install it later.
Also, there then might be some integration issues if it's 3,4 or 5 years down the road....

integrating a linear pallet system down the road is not an issue. tool tower is a whole other story though, thats something you need to decide on right now.
 








 
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