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Machining Large-Sized Components

SORALUCE's new SORALUCE PXG-W gantry-type multitasking-milling machine reduces the number of clamps required when machining very large workpieces and minimizes cycle times and potential errors. It can also work with centesimal tolerances on large-sized workpieces, even those that weigh hundreds of tons.

The SORALUCE PXG-W has a working volume of 1,000 cubic meters and weighs 500 tons. It measures 19 m in length, 7.25 m clearance between columns and 7.3 m in height. The height is also configurable due to the 5 m vertical travel of the crossbeam. The SORALUCE PXG-W belongs to the range of large-sized gantry milling machines and completes the top end of the company's PM, PMG and PRG gantry-type machine range.

This model is designed to meet the machining requirements for a range of highly demanding parts used in the construction of machinery for the energy industry, the machining of marine and CHP motors and general machining of large workpieces.

"The SORALUCE PXG-W is a versatile multitasking solution designed to maximize productivity through its ability to handle milling and turning operations on the same machine," said a company spokesperson. "It provides a high return in machining large workpieces with a high degree of technical complexity, and makes it possible to machine a range of shapes and sizes. Its distinguishing feature is its ability to handle different machining processes, including turning, milling, boring, drilling and threading, with efficiency and precision." To that end, it has several milling and turning heads with automatic tool changing.

The work area is split into two sub-areas. The surface of the main sub-area is for machining prismatic parts. It is equipped with 12 x 6 m floor plates, and has a load capacity of 25 t/sq. m. The second sub-area comprises a turning table with a hydrostatic mounting, featuring a 6 m diameter table with a load capacity of 150 t. The turning head has a power rating of 200 kW and a maximum speed of 50 RPM. This enables it to handle large-scale roughing out operations on large-sized parts from various sectors.

The SORALUCE PXG is fitted with a Siemens 840D SL CNC, which enables both milling and turning operations to be handled on the same machine, thus reducing the number of set-ups and avoiding difficult transportation and relocation operations when large components are to be machined. It has two operator platforms, each with its own control panel, enabling the operator to take up the best position for each operation.

The core goal in the design of the SORALUCE PXG-W was to ensure that customers could obtain the maximum precision. "The machine is provided with linear guides on the XYZ axes, which provide certain advantages over conventional solutions such as hydrostatic guides. Linear guiding system avoids the thermal gradients caused by the flow of oil through the structure of the machine, ensuring better geometrical stability and substantially reducing the maintenance required," said the spokesperson.

The general performance of the machine has been analyzed carefully by SORALUCE's innovation and design teams, who have run multiple simulations to correctly characterize the different deformations caused by the displacement of the moving parts of the system. In the light of the results of these analyses, SORALUCE has created and applied a number of devices that largely offset the deformations caused by the weight of those moving parts. One of these devices is the innovative Vertical Ram Balance system (VRB), patent pending. The system, which consists of a CNC controlled electromechanical system, patent pending, offsets the rolling caused by the torsion of the cross beam and the differential bending of the columns when the ram travels along the cross (Y) axis of the machine. The system is designed to ensure maximum precision in terms of the perpendicularity of the X- and Y-axis, whatever the working position.

The machine also has a new thermal monitoring system that checks for changes over time in all of its structural components via a function built into the CNC. It also has the latest thermal compensation algorithms developed by SORALUCE.

The turning table is fitted with sensors so that a function built into the CNC can be used to help the operator to re-balance the weight of parts with asymmetric geometries.

The structure of the machine is built of cast iron, which offers stability and internal damping capability. The machine also has all the technology developed by SORALUCE to improve its dynamic performance and help increase stability during machining.

This includes the Dynamic Active Stabiliser (DAS), developed by SORALUCE. This system enables a damping effect to be actively incorporated into the structure of the machine, thus increasing its cutting capability by up to 300% and reducing the risk of chatter or instability during machining.

The SORALUCE PXG-W also has other smart systems to help maximize its productivity, such as Adaptive Control, which continuously adjusts the machine's feedrate in line with power consumption to adapt it to tool capacity and process circumstances. It also features the SSV system, which helps avoid the regenerative effect caused by certain chatter conditions during the process. This is particularly effective during large-scale boring and turning operations.

The equipment built into the SORALUCE PXG covers a wide range of circumstances. It has seven milling heads for different geometries and power settings, which in some units can be as high as 81 kW. This variety makes the machine highly flexible, and enables it to machine a wide range of different parts, however difficult and inaccessible the areas to be machined may be. All heads are manufactured by SORALUCE.

The machine is also fitted with a magazine with three turning accessories that enable it to work with automatic or manual Capto C8 and prismatic tool clamping. Tool changes can be made automatically over the whole 5 m travel. In this case, the capacity of the on-board magazine is 180 tools.

In spite of its complexity, the machine is easy to operate due to the kinematics on the heads and accessories integrated into the CNC. This means that the geometries of these elements can be compensated for and the working axes can be oriented automatically, thus facilitating and improving the operator handling experience.

The SORALUCE PXG-W machine also includes technological features that fall within the concept of Industry 4.0, including a full monitoring package based on cloud computing. It incorporates utilities such as a real-time machine status display with relevant information on the status of the ongoing machining program; email messaging in case of problems; the production of reports on sensitive issues for users such as production and processes, such as energy consumption and performance during machining cycles; and diagnostics for key signals for equipment maintenance. This is all done via secure connections routed through a PC or mobile device (smartphone or tablet) by accessing a single website online.

For more information contact:

Soraluce America, Inc.

875 N. Michigan Ave., #3183AB

Chicago, IL 60611


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