With all things there is a beginning. When you’re a child you learn about father time. With CNC machine tools, there is the Father of all Machines, the Double Column Machining Center (DCMC). From this one machine type all other machines are built, whether it be a CNC lathe or a machining center. All CNC machine frame or bed construction is machined on a large double column machining center that can range in size from 1.6 meters between columns to 4.5 meters between columns, and table lengths ranging from 2 meters to 12 meters, and all points in between.
The Evolution of Double Column Machining Centers
Like time, Double Column Machining Centers are constantly on the move, but time measured across years rather than days and weeks. It’s evolutionary as much as revolutionary as the technology for the DCMC grows and changes. Since as early as 1964, Okuma has been central to the development of DCMC systems and now is a world leader in the production of these machines. Okuma’s DCMC evolution includes the migration of the MCV to the MCV-AII and the MCR to the MCR-A5CII, the latest in entry-level head changing CNC machines.
With double column machining centers, head changing capability is the name of the game. This allows the DCMC to be a vertical machining center in the morning and over the course of 90 seconds change to a horizontal machining center. As the machine makes this exchange the entire machine systems change to continue to allow for normal machine operation from tool changing to system utilities such as “through the spindle coolant.”
MCR-A5CII: The Latest Revolution
The MCR-A5CII, with its multiple heads, can now machine all five sides of a part from a single set-up. With this machine it takes only 2-3 set-ups to accomplish the same tasks that would require 5-6 set-ups on a vertical machining center. Multiple set-ups cost money and consume time. Additionally, every time a part needs to be re-set there’s a chance for error, and by the time the part is nearly completed this is very costly because the part that is machined in error due to a re-set is not only a loss of material but also a loss of all of the time and effort put into the part.
The next time you’re working through multiple set-ups on a part, think three-dimensionally. Think DCMC and how the reduction of set-ups would put money into your pockets. Because after all, aren’t time and money the same thing.
Is your shop killing time with multiple set-ups? Not sure if you could cost justify a DCMC? Comment below or contact us and let’s discuss whether you should join the revolution!
Brian Trei is Double Column Product Specialist, Okuma America Corporation.