Part 1: Introduction
Mill-Turn CNC machines — with multiple-spindles and/or turrets— can dramatically improve machining productivity and accuracy by eliminating setups. These machines have been available for a long time. However, until recently, they were so expensive that only the largest and most sophisticated manufacturers could afford them. This is no longer the case. The makes and models of equipment in this category have grown and prices have come down. Even small job shops can now justify the cost of this equipment for making complex parts that require many operations. Manufacturers who have successfully made the transition to mill-turn manufacturing are reducing operating costs and reducing lead times for these parts, often realizing a return on investment within months.
Many other shops that wish to remain competitive in the complex part manufacturing arena are seriously considering mill-turn manufacturing but are justifiably cautious about taking this step. Mill-Turn equipment can be very complex and requires a clear and buttoned-down workflow that allows the programmer/machinist to generate safe and efficient manufacturing programs without becoming overwhelmed by the details.
Mastercam has deep experience working with customers and machine tool vendors to develop a safe and comprehensive software environment that maximizes the benefits while minimizing risks of mill-turn machining. This blog series outlines the key elements of this approach.