Step-Tec Making the tool spin: Swiss motor spindles for energy milling

Author / Editor: Al Breitenberger / Rosemarie Stahl

Motor spindles are an essential part of machining centres. The correct spindle enables users to master a wide range of applications, from delicate finishing operations to heavy-duty roughing. Last year, Swiss spindle-manufacturer Step-Tec has presented its product portfolio at EMO 2017 in Hanover.

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Step-Tec's motor spindles enable high-precision machining of large mould structures in one go.
Step-Tec's motor spindles enable high-precision machining of large mould structures in one go.
(Source: Step-Tec)

Step-Tec has been developing and building high-speed and high-performance motor spindles for mould-making, production, energy and aerospace applications since 1995. The spindle portfolio of more than 100 different types of spindles ranges from 90 mm to 320 mm in diameter, covering a performance range of 1 to 130 kW, with torque of up to 1,200 Nm on its most most powerful spindle.

Step-Tec offers a comprehensive range of standard platform spindles as well as tailored products, which – thanks to its intense investment in the latest technologies such as data management, electronics and high precision mechanics – ensure customers a leading position in competitive environments where precision machining on the highest performance level is a must.

In 2011, Step-Tec launched its HPC190, which set a new benchmark in terms of performance milling. It soon became a bestseller thanks to its compactness, energy efficiency and, most of all, its versatility in holding any optional equipment or feature a customer could ask for. Step-Tec followed it up with the XL successor, a heavy-duty spindle for roughing and milling large mould structures and tough materials, such as aluminium and titanium for aerospace components.

Even though the successful 190 series was the inspiration for the HPC290, it is nevertheless an all-new spindle, developed from scratch. The prototype of this new platform spindle in the 15,000 min-1 version with 46 kW and HSK-T100 was at Step-Tec's booth at EMO Hannover.

With a torque of 366 Nm, this spindle is capable of milling large mould structures in one go. The motor performance characteristics are ideal for roughing with face mills with inserts. Excess spindle power guarantees great chip volume even when machining tough materials.

These dynamics over the entire speed range enable users to roughen the workpiece followed by grinding to finish in one and the same fixture. By using small tools at higher speed, users get get the type of excellent surface finish that one tends to expect when milling small workpieces.