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    Default Looking for turning centers, need advice

    I'm putting a proposal together to try and acquire new machines. I have 5 Hitachi-Seiki lathes that are old, beat, unsupported, and incapable of being retooled. The need to purchase new machines is due to obsolescence.

    I don't know much about lathes. I come from mostly milling. We are a production facility that machines mostly cast iron but we do have a separate aluminum machining cell that machines extrusions. The aluminum cell also has a H-S lathe that's seen better days. The cast iron machining is mostly endbells for motors up to 360 frame size. So, it's shaft holes, bearing faces, and tenons. Then the parts get 2nd OP on a VMC for bolt, ground, mount holes.

    I think I want to steer away from live-tooling just because we have tens of thousands of part families and it'd be easier to separate the 2nd/3rd OP to a mill with more tooling versus constantly having to change out live-tooling. I could be wrong. Plus, I can tool the lathes to accept all workflow instead of the way we are now with one machine doing one task. I hate to say it but with the amount of turnaround we have, I can't expect the operators to have a lot on their plate while machining. We do have one live-tooling Mazak and the operator is very proficient with the Mazatrol but if he disappears/retires, that machine is dead in the water.

    I know I'm leaving out a lot more information but I just would like a point in the right direction on what machines to look at. In the entire facility, we have Doosan, Mori Seiki, Hitachi Seiki, and Mazak turning centers. Most seem to like the Mazaks. The other issue is we aren't able to make the decision at our facility. The decision to purchase machines are made at the corporate level. Apparently on the last purchase, the facility was wanting another Mazak but could only settle for the Doosan that was less than capable for what they were initially wanting. Most of the operators feel indifferent about the Doosan. We have mostly Haas and Hyundai VMC/HMC's and those are fine so was figuring the same for turning? Just trying to aim for practical but more importantly, something that's still supported and flexible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbmgf7 View Post
    I'm putting a proposal together to try and acquire new machines. I have 5 Hitachi-Seiki lathes that are old, beat, unsupported, and incapable of being retooled. The need to purchase new machines is due to obsolescence.

    I don't know much about lathes. I come from mostly milling. We are a production facility that machines mostly cast iron but we do have a separate aluminum machining cell that machines extrusions. The aluminum cell also has a H-S lathe that's seen better days. The cast iron machining is mostly endbells for motors up to 360 frame size. So, it's shaft holes, bearing faces, and tenons. Then the parts get 2nd OP on a VMC for bolt, ground, mount holes.

    I think I want to steer away from live-tooling just because we have tens of thousands of part families and it'd be easier to separate the 2nd/3rd OP to a mill with more tooling versus constantly having to change out live-tooling. I could be wrong. Plus, I can tool the lathes to accept all workflow instead of the way we are now with one machine doing one task. I hate to say it but with the amount of turnaround we have, I can't expect the operators to have a lot on their plate while machining. We do have one live-tooling Mazak and the operator is very proficient with the Mazatrol but if he disappears/retires, that machine is dead in the water.

    I know I'm leaving out a lot more information but I just would like a point in the right direction on what machines to look at. In the entire facility, we have Doosan, Mori Seiki, Hitachi Seiki, and Mazak turning centers. Most seem to like the Mazaks. The other issue is we aren't able to make the decision at our facility. The decision to purchase machines are made at the corporate level. Apparently on the last purchase, the facility was wanting another Mazak but could only settle for the Doosan that was less than capable for what they were initially wanting. Most of the operators feel indifferent about the Doosan. We have mostly Haas and Hyundai VMC/HMC's and those are fine so was figuring the same for turning? Just trying to aim for practical but more importantly, something that's still supported and flexible.
    This is an excellent post, but it's not super clear what advice specifically you are seeking.

    This would be good one for the venerable Jashley I think.

    I might play editor on your post just so it's a bit more "Digestable" for the most experienced production oriented "Peeps" here. [In a mo].

    360-ish frame size motor bell caps in cast iron.


    The B axis mill turn "Thing comes to mind" but nor sure how well a machine like an integrex munches through cast iron specifically. Surface finish versus rigidity on awkward materials in a "balls to the wall" production environment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbmgf7 View Post
    I'm putting a proposal together to try and acquire new machines. I have 5 Hitachi-Seiki lathes that are old, beat, unsupported, and incapable of being retooled. The need to purchase new machines is due to obsolescence.
    ^^^ Completely replacing a bunch of machines/ free'd up floor space / big overhaul.



    Quote Originally Posted by rbmgf7 View Post
    I don't know much about lathes. I come from mostly milling. We are a production facility that machines mostly cast iron but we do have a separate aluminum machining cell that machines extrusions. The aluminum cell also has a H-S lathe that's seen better days. The cast iron machining is mostly endbells for motors up to 360 frame size. So, it's shaft holes, bearing faces, and tenons. Then the parts get 2nd OP on a VMC for bolt, ground, mount holes.
    Mostly cast iron

    9 " diameter x 3 " cast iron stock ? (Had to look up 360 frame size ?) Still does not tell you size of end cap ?

    Features shaft holes,

    bearing faces , tenons, ---> the ones I have looked at have more complex cast geometries ? (But those don't need to be machined ?)


    You are working with castings ?

    What are the dimensions and types of processes for your aluminum extrusions ?


    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ________


    Advice you are looking for...

    Quote Originally Posted by rbmgf7 View Post
    I think I want to steer away from live-tooling just because we have tens of thousands of part families and it'd be easier to separate the 2nd/3rd OP to a mill with more tooling versus constantly having to change out live-tooling. I could be wrong. Plus, I can tool the lathes to accept all workflow instead of the way we are now with one machine doing one task. I hate to say it but with the amount of turnaround we have, I can't expect the operators to have a lot on their plate while machining. We do have one live-tooling Mazak and the operator is very proficient with the Mazatrol but if he disappears/retires, that machine is dead in the water.
    ^^^ This is hard for me to untangle ; other "Peeps" here probably get what you mean ?

    Quote Originally Posted by rbmgf7 View Post
    I know I'm leaving out a lot more information but I just would like a point in the right direction on what machines to look at.

    In the entire facility, we have

    Doosan, Mori Seiki, Hitachi Seiki, and Mazak turning centers.

    Most seem to like the Mazaks.

    The other issue is we aren't able to make the decision at our facility. The decision to purchase machines are made at the corporate level. Apparently on the last purchase, the facility was wanting another Mazak but could only settle for the Doosan that was less than capable for what they were initially wanting. Most of the operators feel indifferent about the Doosan. We have mostly Haas and Hyundai VMC/HMC's and those are fine so was figuring the same for turning? Just trying to aim for practical but more importantly, something that's still supported and flexible.

    ^^^^ I'm thinking J-series integrex maybe ? (from what you have said so far) or you have to get really "Jiggy" with live tooled lathes ? But then again your trickier features are all milled on verticals (cast iron) so I'm starting to "Get" why you might be going round and round the mulberry bush on this one.

    Good support ???? [How have you found support from MAZAK so far ? Sounds like you want MAZAK but need to also do due diligence and not make any obvious blunders as the decisions you make will "Stick" for the next 12 years or so ?].

    Very broad range from even Takisawa lathes to Nakamura Mill turn maybe ? (Even Okuma B axis mill turn ?) more spendy but rugged ?


    Tough one...


    So what do you think is going to sell the "top brass" on all this is brutal efficiency and longevity?


    Does your company seek to branch out into any other types of work ?


    Dare I ask what's the total budget and what kind of production numbers you get up to in a year ?

    Are machinists and operators likely to be let go as a result of your proposal / increased efficiency and automation ?

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    Honestly sounds like an internal decision here regarding 'how' the work is best done. This is not something a forum can solve. I would not make it one guy's decision either. Needs joint input within the facility.

    What we typically do is a "gathering" of problem solvers to decide how. With that kind of throughput, I would be thinking outside the box and possibly robotics.

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    Running cast iron all day I'd buy the cheapest lathes I could get and replace them every five years. I don't mean crappy I mean lowest-cost, no bells and whistles. And I doubt that your guys are programming at the control so Mazak doesn't show me any advantage ... If your guys like Haas then they aren't doing anything too demanding.

    I like these, around fifty k, but nobody else here does. Oh well. Their loss.

    small_vtl.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    Running cast iron all day I'd buy the cheapest lathes I could get and replace them every five years. I don't mean crappy I mean lowest-cost, no bells and whistles. And I doubt that your guys are programming at the control so Mazak doesn't show me any advantage ... If your guys like Haas then they aren't doing anything too demanding.

    I like these, around fifty k, but nobody else here does. Oh well. Their loss.

    small_vtl.jpg

    For a vertical turning center isn't that crazy cheap ?

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    IMGDFUO!

    Shops go tits up, making an overall change from 2 Axis to Live Tooled Lathes. It needs to be planned accordingly. Not just one day we're live boys. From the quoting, machine assignment, scheduling, time management, training, TOOLING, process control, down time evaluation/correction, maintenance, to QC, th shipping. It means more than just freeing up the Mills.

    Just saying, I think the OPs thinking is right about that. But it's tough in 2018, everyone is trying to shove the latest greatest thing down your throat. I have no idea how many machines were talking. Were it me I'd be looking at a cell of Mori NLs or Okuma Captains or Mazak quick turns. I wouldn't want to mix and match, one control builder. Mazak and Mori are okay together but slide an Okuma in between and its everyone's favorite. Plus a very different post.

    R

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    Quote Originally Posted by cameraman View Post
    ^^^ Completely replacing a bunch of machines/ free'd up floor space / big overhaul.





    Mostly cast iron

    9 " diameter x 3 " cast iron stock ? (Had to look up 360 frame size ?) Still does not tell you size of end cap ?

    Features shaft holes,

    bearing faces , tenons, ---> the ones I have looked at have more complex cast geometries ? (But those don't need to be machined ?)


    You are working with castings ?

    What are the dimensions and types of processes for your aluminum extrusions ?


    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ________


    Advice you are looking for...



    ^^^ This is hard for me to untangle ; other "Peeps" here probably get what you mean ?



    ^^^^ I'm thinking J-series integrex maybe ? (from what you have said so far) or you have to get really "Jiggy" with live tooled lathes ? But then again your trickier features are all milled on verticals (cast iron) so I'm starting to "Get" why you might be going round and round the mulberry bush on this one.

    Good support ???? [How have you found support from MAZAK so far ? Sounds like you want MAZAK but need to also do due diligence and not make any obvious blunders as the decisions you make will "Stick" for the next 12 years or so ?].

    Very broad range from even Takisawa lathes to Nakamura Mill turn maybe ? (Even Okuma B axis mill turn ?) more spendy but rugged ?


    Tough one...


    So what do you think is going to sell the "top brass" on all this is brutal efficiency and longevity?


    Does your company seek to branch out into any other types of work ?


    Dare I ask what's the total budget and what kind of production numbers you get up to in a year ?

    Are machinists and operators likely to be let go as a result of your proposal / increased efficiency and automation ?
    A bunch of great follow up questions so I'll do my best to reply.

    Yes, we work with castings. We literally have thousands (some o/h, others made to order) of castings and each casting can have a dozen different processes. As far as endbell size, it's not respective to frame size. It was just to get a ballpark idea. We work upwards to 18 inches (give or take) so a machine with a large swing is needed. Bed length isn't too important. The primary method of workholding for the castings is an expanding hydraulic chuck with whatever special workholding process we have to grab onto the part. Pretty plain-Jane. We do have a few processes where we machine on both sides of an endbell. We have a fixture that allows us to do so but I would think a twin spindle lathe would suit this process better.

    Don't worry too much about the aluminum. That cell is by itself and only does one task on the lathe. No need for flexibility there.

    I know saying no to live-tooling/mill-turn might sound crazy but with the amount of tooling we would need for a mill-turn lathe to get us where we are without having to 2nd/3rd OP on a VMC; the cost would be astronomical. I'm sure those figures would steer the top-brass away immediately. Plus, we already have all the VMC's tooled to do our 2nd/3rd OPs. I know most of you would disagree but I'm trying to be reasonable with costs.

    I'm not specifically set on a brand. It sucks because someone 20 or so years ago got into Hitachi Seiki and now we're screwed for support. Not their fault but it's what I'm afraid of. I haven't been around machining for long but I can see Mazak and Okuma have been around for a minute but I know nothing about Doosan, Hyundai, or Haas.

    AFAIK, no branching out.

    Automation. It's funny you bring this up as I have discussed this with others. This current facility is challenging to automate due to the multitudes of models, however, not impossible. I wouldn't want to automate just to replace a person in the current; that would be terrible. However, in the next few years, at least a third of the machining department will lose it's skilled employees due to retirement and probably half of the workforce in the entire facility in the next decade. With it being troublesome trying to keep young [talented/skilled] people staffed, there's a good possibility our long term employees will not exists. We will just fall into the perpetual training cycle with new employees. I hate it but it's a reality and it's beyond my control. If anything, my hopes are if we can automate, we can increase productivity therefore hopefully staffing more people. The unique nature of our entire operation actually rests on the need for human interaction (sub-assemblies and final assembly). Only the machining department would see automation. Then, it would be great that if our production picked up to the point that we could return some of the work that was offshored. It might not be a whole lot more cost effective but some of our sales are actually due to customer loyalty for domestically made products. For some reason, just making a few adjustments in the recent past, we've managed to bring back one or two processes because it was surprisingly cheaper to do it here than overseas.

    I wasn't given a budget nor asked to do this but it's an inevitable disaster waiting to happen. I think it's better to have the proposal proposed and rejected in case things do fall apart versus not having anything and it still falling apart. In fact, we were told projects would only be considered only if the ROI was 1 year....yeah.

    I just figure I ask here because I hope to understand and figure things out by asking machinists, not salesmen.

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    We do have one, modern VTC. The operator hates it with a passion. The endbell just turns into a soup bowl of chips and coolant. He tries to avoid as much machining on it as possible and I don't blame him. It's just the nature of our operation. I'm sure that would work in other scenarios.

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    Quote Originally Posted by huleo View Post
    Honestly sounds like an internal decision here regarding 'how' the work is best done. This is not something a forum can solve. I would not make it one guy's decision either. Needs joint input within the facility.

    What we typically do is a "gathering" of problem solvers to decide how. With that kind of throughput, I would be thinking outside the box and possibly robotics.
    I 100% agree but there's 2 people in charge of the machining departments. Me and the other guy on the verge of retirement. I admit I'm green and would like some guidance. The other guy has fought the fight on trying to get new equipment and he's burned out.

    I've been developing ideas on robotics since I have a little background with automation. The way I would look into streamlining our workflow is separate the lathes (95% 1st OP) and put the mills in a separate cell for 2/3 OP. I doubt there's any way to automate the lathes but I have concepts for automating the mills. Are there APC lathes?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbmgf7 View Post
    A bunch of great follow up questions so I'll do my best to reply.

    Yes, we work with castings. We literally have thousands (some o/h, others made to order) of castings and each casting can have a dozen different processes. As far as endbell size, it's not respective to frame size. It was just to get a ballpark idea. We work upwards to 18 inches (give or take) so a machine with a large swing is needed. Bed length isn't too important. The primary method of workholding for the castings is an expanding hydraulic chuck with whatever special workholding process we have to grab onto the part. Pretty plain-Jane. We do have a few processes where we machine on both sides of an endbell. We have a fixture that allows us to do so but I would think a twin spindle lathe would suit this process better.

    Don't worry too much about the aluminum. That cell is by itself and only does one task on the lathe. No need for flexibility there.

    I know saying no to live-tooling/mill-turn might sound crazy but with the amount of tooling we would need for a mill-turn lathe to get us where we are without having to 2nd/3rd OP on a VMC; the cost would be astronomical. I'm sure those figures would steer the top-brass away immediately. Plus, we already have all the VMC's tooled to do our 2nd/3rd OPs. I know most of you would disagree but I'm trying to be reasonable with costs.

    I'm not specifically set on a brand. It sucks because someone 20 or so years ago got into Hitachi Seiki and now we're screwed for support. Not their fault but it's what I'm afraid of. I haven't been around machining for long but I can see Mazak and Okuma have been around for a minute but I know nothing about Doosan, Hyundai, or Haas.

    AFAIK, no branching out.

    Automation. It's funny you bring this up as I have discussed this with others. This current facility is challenging to automate due to the multitudes of models, however, not impossible. I wouldn't want to automate just to replace a person in the current; that would be terrible. However, in the next few years, at least a third of the machining department will lose it's skilled employees due to retirement and probably half of the workforce in the entire facility in the next decade. With it being troublesome trying to keep young [talented/skilled] people staffed, there's a good possibility our long term employees will not exists. We will just fall into the perpetual training cycle with new employees. I hate it but it's a reality and it's beyond my control. If anything, my hopes are if we can automate, we can increase productivity therefore hopefully staffing more people. The unique nature of our entire operation actually rests on the need for human interaction (sub-assemblies and final assembly). Only the machining department would see automation. Then, it would be great that if our production picked up to the point that we could return some of the work that was offshored. It might not be a whole lot more cost effective but some of our sales are actually due to customer loyalty for domestically made products. For some reason, just making a few adjustments in the recent past, we've managed to bring back one or two processes because it was surprisingly cheaper to do it hear than overseas.

    I wasn't given a budget nor asked to do this but it's an inevitable disaster waiting to happen. I think it's better to have the proposal proposed and rejected in case things do fall apart versus not having anything and it still falling apart. In fact, we were told projects would only be considered only if the ROI was 1 year....yeah.

    I just figure I ask here because I hope to understand and figure things out by asking machinists, not salesmen.

    OK so you keep all your VMC's,


    Then I'd put my money in the direction of a BOXED way machine (I know I'm normally a cheer leader for the machines that have rolling element linear slides 'cuz I'm into nerdy parts/ profiles].


    So Nakamura Tome (Those seem to run for ever/ very rigid and hold tolerances over many years well); very rugged should handle cast iron well [All boxed way machine]. [Not sure if Methods (machine tools) are in your territory for Nakmura ? ].

    Maybe check out Takisawa (as they have some decent automation gantry type options but have no idea about 18" cast iron plates]. [haven't run / been involved with any of those, but seem to have longevity/ history in Japan. ]

    Currently DMG Mori NLX 's might be Ok but support might be varied and you have the CELOS control to deal with both Good and bad.

    Given your guys (and gals) know Dooasn then they won't be scared off by Fanuc based controls on either Nakamura or Takisawa or similar (seems Takisawa (not pretty), but seem to have serious longevity and ruggedness in the automotive sector in Japan and Yamazen (dealers for Takisawa… if that's right in your territory ?) are supposed to be pretty good for near turn key solutions and decent support especially if it's part of a larger contract. You can PM 2outof3 here (dealer and sales manager but for western region perhaps and maybe he can re-direct you ? ) They seem (YAMAZEN); engineering / application / machinist minded. And seem to follow through/ happy customers/ realistic support.).

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    I think littlerob1's idea about tooling is very important...

    But funny, I kinda like Emanuel Goldstein's* disposable HAAS idea.


    The mantra is to buy a very rigid machine as that cuts down considerably on your perishable tool costs/ useful tool life.

    So that being true, one is (theoretically) supposed to lean to cost benefit analysis of more expensive rigid machines vs. perishable tool costs and part quality (of course) when running not so rigid / light weight machines.

    cast iron ? [not the worst but still... ].


    Hanermo from Spain is the 'Wonk" on such analysis especially with HAAS versus other schemes. He posts from time to time pretty detailed analyses here on Pm forum.

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    * [C-MOS vs. TTL ?)

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    Eric, you have to understand the change from Lathes and Mills, to even basic Turning centers with C is breathtaking for most people. (not in a good way). I'm of course coming from the olden days of Machinists reservation and security. Its like asking a Carreer Mill guy to up and start setting, programming and chipping on a Lathe, its a lot to ask. The majority of Machinerers have their niche, or 2. VERY few can just walk around the shop and do it all, to it all. If I were Godly and everyone listened to me . Training would be Sweeping, Manuals, Inspecting, more Sweeping, CNC operation, CNC programming (but it would be one or the other)(Grinders, Mills, Lathes, EDM, CMM) after the person is very comfortable they can Sweep around the B Machines, maybe load some parts for a year, then.......

    Its just not what its advertised as. Until you are in charge of 5 Axes and the part Turning very fast, its hard to grasp the intensity (and beauty) of it all. IMHFOBIKUO.

    R

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    Quote Originally Posted by litlerob1 View Post
    Eric, you have to understand the change from Lathes and Mills, to even basic Turning centers with C is breathtaking for most people. (not in a good way). I'm of course coming from the olden days of Machinists reservation and security. Its like asking a Carreer Mill guy to up and start setting, programming and chipping on a Lathe, its a lot to ask. The majority of Machinerers have their niche, or 2. VERY few can just walk around the shop and do it all, to it all. If I were Godly and everyone listened to me . Training would be Sweeping, Manuals, Inspecting, more Sweeping, CNC operation, CNC programming (but it would be one or the other)(Grinders, Mills, Lathes, EDM, CMM) after the person is very comfortable they can Sweep around the B Machines, maybe load some parts for a year, then.......

    Its just not what its advertised as. Until you are in charge of 5 Axes and the part Turning very fast, its hard to grasp the intensity (and beauty) of it all. IMHFOBIKUO.

    R
    I kinda dropped the "multi tasking" thing with Op on his second response and was recommending solid two axis lathes... Just to be clear.



    Sorry I didn't specify models.

    My "Thing" is I don't like live tooled lathes (either), those collision diagrams scare me and the whole thing looks like something designed by Dr Frankenstein... Very sinister looking over loaded turret (so maybe I share yours and OP's apprehension of such beasties). So only personally I like the idea and "purity" of 2 axis lathes and then any 4th axis stuff be done on a mill or mill turn type platform. Not sure if Op's stuff goes beyond orthogonal cuts/ 4 axes.

    So I relate very well to single point tools and milling but for some reason (for my stuff at least) can't get comfortable with live tooled turning centers and they are also really damn expensive too, that stuff adds up.
    $200K for MSY type deal from DMG.


    If I was being cynical one might say over the years that more of these live tools have been loaded onto the "Lathe" just to give the lathe guy more to do... But for certain types of work I'm sure they can brutally efficient once set up to do really long runs of just one part or very narrow group of part families.

    But for my applications and similar I'm not comfortable having "Milling" be done by 7 HP thing-e-my-doosal through the turret, I'm sure there are excellent examples of good work having been done that way, but may be a long time for me to really "Dig" that as part of a larger work flow. Conversely for smaller parts going 'Swiss" is a different universe all together.

    Also wondering about what kinds of cuts OP really needs to take and how that relates to lower end spindle Torque on 18" diameter parts in cast iron ?


    My 1c

    __________________________________________________ ___________________________


    In Op's case I was kinda interested in the large number of part families, if that's well organized and obviously professionally programmed for.


    ________________________________________________

    Just as side note: was interesting to me that MAZAK chose to publish a sort of white paper/magazine article pimping their J-series integrex for a frim in Japan that makes cast iron gears (will dig that up). But I think for OP's requirements and what he said I was pointing him to the most rugged and bomb proof boxed way two axis lathes/turning centers that I could think of.

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    It sounds like you’ve got quite an operation going there, including a hodgepodge of lathe brands and their respective controls. With all the old-timers retiring soon, including your right-hand-man, and having to train + support a bunch of kids I would suggest picking the most popular machine you’ve already got and standardizing as much as you can. It would make installation, programming, training, operating, documentation, replacing, tooling, maintenance, etc all so much easier. Plus it would come off as (and really be part of) a long-term “strategic” plan that may get better support from the decision makers (i.e. “eventually these will ALL be Mazaks” or whatever)

    I completely agree with what Rob said about appreciating the scope of what goes into delving into new technology - there is so much more to it that just buying the most-capable (and sophisticated) machine, especially when there are a bunch of legacy machines lying around singing their siren songs at the programmers all scratching their heads and stroking their beards with the new machine manuals spread all over the workbench, etc. You could have a nice new XZ lathe up and running in no time! I’m not advising to avoid considering, say, sub spindles or live tools but be careful.

    With “...tens of thousands of part families...” I wonder if runs are long enough to make the initial and following additional setup time involved in, say, a live tool machine worth it. In my world of relatively “low-volume + high-mix machining” setup time in a dragon that must be slayed! It sounds like you already have your mills and lathes tooled up to be ready run any job at any time and that is sweet...especially if you forecast a deficiency in skilled setup/operators in the not-too-distant future.

    I DO have a Takisawa with gantry and it’s rigid and awesome but, again, changing over the gantry to handle different parts would be a...dragon...IMO.

    Doosan, Mazak, and Mori are all popular brands and Doosan has the most popular control (Fanuc) but Mazak is probably the most “stable” brand, IMO. Takisawa has Fanuc, too. Again, though, if you get these all tooled up and whatnot to minimize setup time and you aren’t writing new programs all the time a more unique control (like the ones on the Mazaks and Moris) wouldn’t scare me (offsets, cycle start, option stop, etc can’t be THAT hard to find!) but I WOULD push hard to standardize on whatever it is you pick.

    That’s just my $.02. Good luck!

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    I tend to agree that concentrating more capability into fewer machines isn't the right approach for you. I'm on board with the more cheaper simple machines thing. The down side is it requires more operators, and frankly people suck. My reasoning is redundancy, simplicity and through put. A multitasking machine is better at complex parts where every setup induces error and cause quality problems. They are slow, fragile and expensive.

    Most lathes these days are live tool, doesn't mean you need to use it but you can test the waters in a gradual way vs. going all in and spending huge $$ on tooling only to have serious issues. Lathes make shitty mills, even multi-taskers don't cut as well as a real mill, but if you have the right work they can provide a significant benefit.

    I don't think I would go for the most affordable XZ lathe and call it quits. Haas lathes aren't that much cheaper than the budget options from the Koreans. Doosan and Hwacheon come to mind. I'd probably look at something that had live tool potential, with a common control and step slowly into streamlining your process. More spindles usually means better through put so that may be the driving factor, or labor is the driving factor and using live tools on a lathe makes sense.

    The other option is automation where through put gets trumped by long unattended runs. There you will want the ability to do more in one machine because the automation for each handling of the parts is expensive and difficult.

    So we don't have enough info to answer this, but those are the factors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbmgf7 View Post
    The endbell just turns into a soup bowl of chips and coolant.
    You're running coolant on cast iron ?

    Ahem

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbmgf7 View Post
    I'm putting a proposal together to try and acquire new machines. I have 5 Hitachi-Seiki lathes that are old, beat, unsupported, and incapable of being retooled. The need to purchase new machines is due to obsolescence.

    I don't know much about lathes. I come from mostly milling. We are a production facility that machines mostly cast iron but we do have a separate aluminum machining cell that machines extrusions. The aluminum cell also has a H-S lathe that's seen better days. The cast iron machining is mostly endbells for motors up to 360 frame size. So, it's shaft holes, bearing faces, and tenons. Then the parts get 2nd OP on a VMC for bolt, ground, mount holes.

    I think I want to steer away from live-tooling just because we have tens of thousands of part families and it'd be easier to separate the 2nd/3rd OP to a mill with more tooling versus constantly having to change out live-tooling. I could be wrong. Plus, I can tool the lathes to accept all workflow instead of the way we are now with one machine doing one task. I hate to say it but with the amount of turnaround we have, I can't expect the operators to have a lot on their plate while machining. We do have one live-tooling Mazak and the operator is very proficient with the Mazatrol but if he disappears/retires, that machine is dead in the water.

    I know I'm leaving out a lot more information but I just would like a point in the right direction on what machines to look at. In the entire facility, we have Doosan, Mori Seiki, Hitachi Seiki, and Mazak turning centers. Most seem to like the Mazaks. The other issue is we aren't able to make the decision at our facility. The decision to purchase machines are made at the corporate level. Apparently on the last purchase, the facility was wanting another Mazak but could only settle for the Doosan that was less than capable for what they were initially wanting. Most of the operators feel indifferent about the Doosan. We have mostly Haas and Hyundai VMC/HMC's and those are fine so was figuring the same for turning? Just trying to aim for practical but more importantly, something that's still supported and flexible.

    Mazak s are accepted in your company so these machines are a fit for moving forward. Everyone or at least a good percentage accept Mazak so these should be very accepted. These machines will take care of new jobs very well due to the programming being on the floor not tied to programmers who are overworked. The decision to do it with out regular programmers is superior I believe.

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    There are one drawback to the live tooled lathes as I see it: You run out of tool slots before you can say ca**. So if you need lots of different features (many tools needed) on your part I'd agree with doing the jobs on 2 or 3 machines.
    There is something going for the mill-turns but the tool changes are usually much slower than on a VMC. I would calculate how much time that eats up compared to the 2/3 machine strategy before buying anything. Or better yet: Ask the machinebuilders to do it for you.


    The problem with setup I don't agree with. With a tool eye it's fast.


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