Milling Machines Highly dynamic, precise and universal

Editor: Ahlam Rais

With OPS-Ingersoll’s high-speed Eagle V9 milling machine 3D geometries or 3D surfaces can be produced efficiently and reliably for the die and mould industry due to its high dynamics and precision. In contrast, the Promech company in Abtwil, Switzerland moved into a completely new territory with this machine. Here, the focus was primarily on parts production for the medical industry. Accordingly, the requirements for a universal and at the same time high-precision machine were demanding.

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Production cycles of 500-600 pieces per year are called off from these components. Form and position tolerances of 2/100 mm are required.
Production cycles of 500-600 pieces per year are called off from these components. Form and position tolerances of 2/100 mm are required.
(Source: OPS-Ingersoll)

Switzerland’s Promech company is known for producing parts especially for medical equipment manufacturers. The Abtwil-based company currently produces 500-600 components every month and according to the firm’s Managing Director René Tschudin, an increase in quantity is expected due to the enormous potential in Switzerland. In this background, the company wanted to invest in a new 5-axis milling machine.

OPS-Ingersoll’s High-Speed Eagle V9

Promech’s goal was to invest in a machine that fitted the machine park and which could also be used as a back-up machine. After intensive research followed by a conversation with Michel Minikus, owner of Mikutec and a representative of OPS-Ingersoll in Switzerland, the firm decided to go ahead with OPS-Ingersoll’s High-Speed Eagle V9.

It was the machine concept, the design and the spindle that caught Tschudin’s attention: “There were a few things that I found very interesting about the machine. For example, the mass ratio; the machine was robust; the center of gravity is low, especially the centrally located B axis. Also, other manufacturers work with a swivel bridge on the A axis and a bearing in movable stringers. However, on the Eagle V9, everything is centrally mounted and can be configured centrally. Apart from this, the double gantry drives and the fact that all components that generate vibrations are decoupled from the milling area were some of the other features that I found interesting. The design of the kinematics is simply ingenious.”

Regarding the spindle, Tschudin opted for the HSK E 63 spindle with a torque of 130 Nm and a spindle speed of 20,000 min-1 from Steptec. This spindle offers an optimal combination for milling aluminium, chrome steels, special alloys or even high-strength plastics. The immense importance of the ‘ingenious kinematics’ was proved by an actual machining operation in Abtwil. With a cube-shaped 3-fold clamping, an extremely off-center projection was produced, for which stability of the basic kinematics was almost exclusively important. In addition, this workpiece was completely finished in one clamping operation, including a predetermined breaking point.

Today, Promech has a number of linear machines. However, these machines do not provide a large power transmission such as the Eagle V9, nor do they have the precision. In terms of energy consumption, again these machines are not up to date.

Another new feature of the Eagle V9 for Tschudin was the external production tool changer which boasts of a capacity of over 200 cutting-tools. While double grippers are often used in series production for fast changeover times, he wanted a pickup spindle for more process reliability. The production changer loads an internal 30 pos tool-changer that allows for fast and reliable cycle times.

Uncompromising when it comes to precision

The high-speed Eagle V9 is extensively used in tool and mould making, especially in the milling of 3D geometries in hardened steel and the machining of graphite and copper. For Michel Minikus, however, these facts are not easily adaptable to parts production: “We are very successful with the machine in terms of high dynamics where 3D geometries or 3D surfaces have to be produced very precisely and with high quality. However, the quantities and the number of milling tools at Promech in Abtwil was also a challenge for us because we did not have any major contact with this industry until now. But what mould-making has in common with this industry is precision.”

And when it comes to precision, the Eagle V9 is uncompromising. This was also elementary for Tschudin because form and position tolerances of 2/100 mm are required. After six to seven swivels, using the entire traverse range, the alignment holes must be correct. For this reason, the company intends to air-condition the hall in the near future.

However, according to Tschudin, one also requires a technology in the machine that can implement this. In this area, the Eagle V9 already has all the prerequisites with complete water management, a coolant through the spindle with up to 80 bar pressure, a completely new cooling concept including the latest precision coolers, and temperature stability.

Future-proof concept

This starts with the automation planned by Promech, for which perfect accessibility from the side is provided and all interfaces are already available. It also extends to the TNC 640 control system, for which OPS-Ingeroll has a close partnership with Heidenhain.

In addition to the technical highlights, other factors also influenced the company to opt for OPS-Ingersoll. First of all, the service, which has been continuously optimized in recent years and now they are very well positioned in Switzerland.

Since the machine has been installed, Tschudin has put it to the test time and again, and the results prove that he made the right decision.

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