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New sliding-head CNC multi-spindle lathe
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At the AMB 2018 show in Stuttgart (18th – 22nd September), German turning machine manufacturer INDEX launched a six-spindle CNC automatic lathe capable of sliding-headstock (Swiss-type) turn-milling. Available in the UK and Ireland through sole agent Kingsbury, the MS22-L is the world’s first multi-spindle turning machine that allows simultaneous use of two tool carriers for sliding-headstock machining at all six spindle positions, ensuring high productivity.

The machine is a variant of the established INDEX MS22 fixed-head six-spindle multi. It allows all the advantages of the technology to be applied to series production of long, slender, complex turned parts up to 200 mm long from bar ranging from 5 to 22 mm in diameter. 

Typical examples are injector nozzles for internal combustion engines, pistons and nozzles used in fluid technology, and dental implants. Equally, to meet the needs of the emerging electromobility sector, the new multi is also ideal for turning a wide variety of shafts. Traditionally, such components are machined far less productively on single-spindle sliding-head lathes.

The front-opening MS22-L has six air-cooled motor spindles integrated into a drum, with a three-part Hirth coupling to ensure precise positioning. To achieve optimal results across different applications, each ball-bearing guide bush with double-cone collet can be programmed to exert different pressures; when milling, for example, the bar stock is firmly clamped. 

A swivelling, 10,000 rpm synchro spindle with 120 mm of Z-axis travel not only ensures damage-free removal of components but also enables reverse-end machining in conjunction with six tools, two of which are driven. 

The machine can have up to 62 CNC axes, including 12 compound slides with X and Z axis travels of 62 and 85 mm respectively. Each spindle is configured with a full C-axis, while Y-axis slides can be added to allow an extensive range of machining options such as off-centre, inclined or cross drilling, threading, contour milling, gear hobbing, elliptical deburring and polygonal turning.

As the tool carriers are arranged in a V-shape, two CNC slides can work at one spindle simultaneously. Each of the 12 slides can perform internal or external turning, or boring, or driven tool work. Only the toolholder determines the type of machining that can be undertaken. Workshops are therefore not restricted by having to run a specific type of tool in any given position, resulting in a flexible layout that plays a key role in reducing machining times.

Different feed rates and cutting speeds can be specified at each of the 7,500 rpm spindles, avoiding compromised machining conditions. The MS22-L is therefore able to undertake economical production of components in materials such as high temperature alloys that previously could not easily be machined on a multi. Optimal metal removal parameters at each station maximises productivity and tool life as well as ensuring high surface quality. 

Control is by the Siemens 840D solutionline, which is easy to program on the shop floor and automatically performs collision checking including for the synchro spindle. Comprehensive diagnostics for the machine and control are included, and it is possible to specify tool monitoring and a teleservice connection for troubleshooting.

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