Mazak took its Kentucky-built VC-Ez 26 Vertical Machining Center to the next level of advanced manufacturing technology at IMTS 2022. Along with the machine's rugged 40-taper spindle and full range of auto tool changer and chip/coolant management options, the VC-Ez 26 showed how virtually any shop can increase part processing capability with the addition of Friction Stir Welding.
For traditional subtractive machining, the affordable, highly configurable VC-Ez 26 meets many production needs with enhanced operator ergonomics and a generous work area to ease the loading and unloading of workpieces and tools. An extremely fast traverse rate of 1,417 ipm (36 m/min) in the X, Y and Z axes enables higher throughput. For traditional subtractive processing, a 25 hp (18.64 kW) 12,000 rpm (standard) or versatile 29.5 hp (22 kW) 15,000 rpm (optional) spindle offers 81.13 ft-lb (110 Nm) of torque for additional production versatility.
To optimize part-size flexibility, axis travels on the VC-Ez 26 measure 50" in X, 25.98" in Y and 25" in Z (1270 mm x 660 mm x 635 mm), which enable the machine to accommodate maximum workpiece sizes of 55.12" long, 24.02" wide and 22.4" tall (1400 mm x 610 mm x 570 mm) and weights up to 3,306 lbs (1,500 kg).
Beyond subtractive machining, Friction Stir Welding (FSW) is a solid-state joining process that uses frictional heat and forging pressure with a non-consumable tool to join two metal plates without melting the workpiece. Commonly considered a forging process, FSW creates full-penetration, defect-free welded joints stronger than conventional methods and is well-suited for jointing alloys with low melting points, including aluminum, copper and brass, among others. This capability is seamlessly demonstrated on the VC-Ez 26 machine using the Mazak MegaStir Premium tool holder combined with the MT Tablet option for program download and tool monitoring.
All VC-Ez Series machines sport C-frame designs with X and Y axis motion via moving the table and saddle. For rigidity and repeatable part precision, guideway systems use Mazak’s MX linear roller guide systems, and dual lagged pre-tensioned ball screws ensure precise axis movement. For increased maintenance free operation, the auger-type chip removal systems provides an economical solution, or for increased chip volume, the addition of an affordable hinge-type chip conveyor ships affixed to the machine to eliminate the cost of a second shipping pallet.
The machine is designed for standard or customized automation solutions for unattended production and productivity, including full collaborative robot installations such as Mazak Automation Systems’ CC-10 and CC-16 Cobot Cell System models. Additional popular options include a rotary table, filter tray, dual probe kit, through-spindle and Niagara coolant, auger chip conveyor and Mazak’s SUPERFLOW 1,000 psi high-pressure coolant system. For hands-free adjustment, operators can control an optional programmable coolant and/or air nozzle system via M-code or from a separate control panel for 180°+ range of motion and to teach a specific angular location for every tool.
For ease of control and programming success, Mazak’s MAZATROL SmoothEz CNC provides dual 800 MHz processors, 512 MB of RAM and a vibrant 15" capacitive touch screen that includes a full keyboard and displays up to 60 lines of code. Within the control, EIA/G-code and MAZATROL Conversational programming languages support a full range of programming options directly on the machine, while the MAZATROL TWINS function enables use of Solid MAZATROL, Virtual Machining and Cutting Adviser through Smooth Cam Ai and centralized storage and file management through Smooth Project Manager.