The optimum machine tool together with the optimum tool result in the perfect combination. And that makes cost-effective processes and impressive machining results possible. One good example of this is the cooperation between the machine manufacturer, F. Zimmermann GmbH, and MAPAL. For demonstrations and machine acceptance tests, Zimmermann equips its new horizontal machining centre with milling cutters from MAPAL.
F. Zimmermann GmbH developed its first horizontal machining centre specially for the machining of structural parts for the aerospace industry. The aluminium structural parts, such as wing parts and frame ribs, are generally milled from solid material – with up to 95 percent material removal. Fault-free machining with respect to dimensional accuracy and surface finish is crucial here. And the component structure that becomes more and more delicate with increasing material removal represents an additional challenge. In order to make the milling process as efficient as possible even in these areas, the FZH machining centre offers maximum rigidity.
Core technology is a water-cooled moving column
For the core technology of the 5 or 6-axis horizontal machining centre is a robust, water-cooled travelling column. Whereas conventional machine concepts suffer from lever-related deviations with increasing slide, the guide carriage distance of the Zimmermann machine increases with increasing plunging depth into the material. That actually increases the rigidity. In order to achieve maximum efficiency, Zimmermann employs its own patented M3ABC 3-axis milling head in the machining centre. Particularly in the pocket corners of a workpiece, this milling head has to perform only very small swivel movements – allowing the feed rate to be kept more or less constant and hence the machining time to be significantly shortened.
At an open house in June 2017, Zimmermann demonstrated its machining centre with tools from competitors. These tools failed to meet the expectations, however, and were unable to exploit the performance of the machine. “Why not test the performance of the MAPAL tools?” thought the project managers at Zimmermann, as MAPAL was presenting its milling cutters for high-volume machining at the event. No sooner said than done. A short time later, representatives of the two companies carried out extensive milling trials with different tools together.
Complete machining of a pocket in less than a minute
“Our goal was to choose the optimum tools from our portfolio for the machining operations on the Zimmermann machine,” explains Dietmar Maichel, Project Manager 3D-Milling at MAPAL. The tool manufacturer’s portfolio contains different milling cutters for the different tasks during the high-volume machining of aluminium structural parts. The tools are perfectly designed for use on such high-performance machines as the Zimmermann machine. The SPM milling cutters are available in a solid carbide design and with PCD and ISO inserts. A total of four tools are used today at Zimmermann for the different demands of the roughing and finishing operations.
“The perfect combination – the machine, the 3-axis milling head and the tools from MAPAL – give the user a real performance boost,” said a delighted Steffen Nüssle, Sales Director Export and Head of Applications Engineering at Zimmermann, immediately after the first tests. “With the SPM-Rough ISO shoulder milling cutter, we achieved the best results that we have ever achieved with a tool with indexable inserts.” The ISO tools with polished indexable inserts are the latest addition to the MAPAL SPM product range. The SPM-Rough with wave profile also surpassed the expectations for material removal with excellent smooth running. “The complete machining of a 190x190x40 mm pocket is now effectively possible in less than a minute,” explains Nüssle.
The experts at F. Zimmermann GmbH are convinced by the MAPAL tools. “The use of the SPM milling cutters has given us a quantum leap forward in the aluminium machining. And it shows us what the perfect combination of tool and machine means in terms of performance,” says Nüssle. In the meantime, the tools are therefore first choice when it comes to machine acceptance tests or demonstrations for customers from the aerospace industry at Zimmermann.
The Zimmermann machines are suitable not only for the machining of metals. “Many of our customers manufacture parts of composite materials,” says Steffen Nüssle. Zimmermann therefore also wants to mill trial parts of these materials using MAPAL tools. “We are optimistic that with the MAPAL milling cutters for composite machining, we will also find a new secret weapon to exploit the performance of our machines even better.” The corresponding plans are already in hand.