When we chose to invest in a Matsuura MAM72-35V 5-axis machining center, we knew we were taking our high-precision machining capabilities to a new level. With a positioning accuracy of less than 0.0001” and repeatability better than 0.00005” over the full travel of the machine, this automated equipment is capable of achieving the tightest tolerances imaginable.
We also knew the MAM72-35V’s 32 pallet pool and 330 tool changer would significantly improve our productivity and flexibility, allowing us to transition seamlessly between prototype, production, and repeat jobs.
Now that we’ve had the opportunity to see this machine in action for several months, we’re pleased to report that it is exceeding our admittedly high expectations. Let’s look at some specific examples of how this machine is making our 5-axis machine shop better than ever.
Transitioning Seamlessly Between Jobs
We were recently running a production job on the MAM72-35V and had to stop suddenly to run three of another part we hadn’t run for three weeks. This unexpected interruption was no problem for the MAM72-35V.
Because the machine’s tool matrix is so massive, we still had the tools for the job from three weeks ago in the system alongside the tools for the current production job. We use standardized workholding in this machine, so we didn’t have to change any fixturing. We simply loaded blanks into the machine’s pallets while it was running the production job, assigned the correct program for the part to those pallets, and then switched to running the three parts. When the three-part job was complete, we transitioned seamlessly back to the production job. What would have normally been a multiple day interruption took less than a day.
Accommodating Expedite Orders
The ability to move frictionlessly from job to job empowers us to accommodate expedite orders as they arise. In the past, we would never tear a production job down to squeeze in a rush project. But with the MAM72-35V, we can set up tooling for a new job while a production part is running. When the program and tooling for the new part are ready, we can pause the production job, run the rush job, and transition back to the production job without requiring any teardown, setup, or changeover for the production job.
Supporting the Iterative Prototype Process
Typically, when machining prototype parts, we run a small batch of parts to customer specifications, and everyone hopes that the design was correct. If not, all parts need to be modified or remade.
It might seem ideal to run a single part for review, but that would require a typical machine to sit idle for days while the customer tests the part or assembly. With our Matsuura, it is now possible to run a single part, or one each of multiple parts in an assembly, and allow the customer to test those parts. While the customer has the parts, we can run other jobs, and switch over to finish the prototype job when testing is complete.
Progressing from Prototype to Production
As a 5-axis machine shop specializing in prototype-to-production, we’re thrilled that the MAM72-35V helps optimize this process.
When possible, it’s best to run a prototype on the same machine that will be used for production. But in reality, shops can’t always accommodate this best practice. Often, they use different machines for prototype and production jobs, which means they have to program and optimize the same part twice.
Because the MAM72-35V can accommodate prototypes and small-batch orders without inhibiting production output, we can use the same machine for prototype and production machining. The reduced programming and setup time translates to lower costs and shorter lead times. Rest assured the production parts will be exactly the same as the prototypes.
Achieving tight tolerances with a single setup
When manufacturing complex machined parts with tight tolerances, it is common practice to dial in your parts. This means making small tool offsets or program tweaks to adjust tight tolerance features. This is even regularly done on repeat orders.
To our surprise, the Matsuura MAM72-35V has reduced and sometimes completely eliminated the need for this time consuming extra step. The machine’s positioning accuracy is so impressive that the discrepancy from one batch of parts to another is often so small that our CMM can’t tell them apart.
What’s Next for Our 5-Axis Machine Shop?
These are some of the benefits we’ve seen in just eight months, and we are finding new process improvements and time saving ideas all the time! One thing is for sure: our 5-axis machine shop will never stop improving to push the boundaries of what’s possible. Whether it’s investing in automation, refining our processes, or applying unique capabilities, we’re dedicated to exceeding our customers expectations!
Need a complex machined part? Request a quote to work with us!