Forget everything you thought you knew about manufacturing, because Mazak’s HYBRID technology promises to change it all and take you beyond conventional multi-process machine tools into the real future of Multi-Tasking. The new HYBRID series pairs additive, subtractive and joining processes for highly productive combinations never before thought possible. The result? Reduced lead times and part costs, increased machining accuracy and part quality, expanded part-processing capabilities and better levels of productivity, flexibility and profitability than ever before.
Some machines in the HYBRID Multi-Tasking Series have already made an impact. Mazak’s VC-500 AM, for example, already features one of the new technologies, laser metal deposition. Also known as selective laser sintering (SLS), this technique uses a single high-power laser to melt metal powder as it’s shot from a nozzle and into the laser’s beam. For its HYBRID machines, Mazak has placed these nozzles on additive heads capable of moving in five axes, a significant improvement over the linear motion of most additive solutions. Thanks to this innovation, the VC-500 AM is ideal for joining together two different materials or building part features with super alloys like Inconel 718.
The next level of laser metal deposition also makes an appearance in the HYBRID lineup: multi-laser metal deposition. On upcoming INTEGREX models, the multi-laser head will perform micromachining and coating using advanced CNC controls to direct powder from any angle and combat any deviation due to gravity while the AM head is tilted. These AM heads can use the heat of multiple lasers to quickly coat stainless steel with materials like Stellite No. 6 for applications involving impellers or other heat and wear-sensitive parts.
One of the newest processes is wire arc AM, a high-speed additive solution that offers programmable welding automation. As with conventional welding, an arc torch melts metal wire directly on the base material. This allows for exceptionally precise sealing coatings as well as the production of near-net shape part features. In the new “HOT WIRE” machines that Mazak will introduce at IMTS 2018, the HOT WIRE head has the same five-axis capability as the milling spindle, which allows manufacturers to build new part features or weldments on all of a workpiece’s surfaces.
With a well-established conventional technique as its basis, one of Mazak’s HYBRID Multi-Tasking machines even incorporates subtractive machining operations together with friction stir welding (FSW). This joining process applies highly precise levels of frictional heat and forging pressure to create full-penetration, defect-free welded joints. When compared to traditional welding, FSW makes it simple to minimize heat-affected zones and avoid any difficulties with joining flat, cylindrical or irregularly thick components. As a result, machines equipped with FSW heads will allow parts like semiconductor chamber components to be produced with far more ease than ever before.
HYBRID Multi-Tasking also encompasses a range of technologies that allow for gear machining in addition to conventional machining operations on a single machine platform, a capability that has become essential for many job shops. These capabilities center on SMOOTH TECHNOLOGY features built into MAZATROL Smooth CNCs, such as SMOOTH Gear Skiving, which allows shops to quickly machine both internal and external gears using a dedicated skiving cutter, and SMOOTH Gear Milling, which simplifies the machining of small lots of large external gears with commercial-off-the-shelf end mills. The HYBRID Multi-Tasking series also includes machines capable of gear hobbing processes for cutting OD spur, spline and helical gears affordably.