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Recommended solutions for 5-axis multi-tasking & high-mix, low-volume production sites handled by Kitagawa Corporation × Mazak

Akihiro Iwata
Engineering Advisor

Chucks, vices, and rotary tables from Kitagawa Corporation (hereinafter referred to as Kitagawa) are used all over the world in combination with machine tools from various Japanese machine manufacturers. Among them, Yamazaki Mazak (Mazak) has widely adopted both tables and chucks at various locations in Japan and Southeast Asia as a standard, establishing a high track record as a user. We have a particularly close collaboration with the manufacturer in Thailand.

In this article, we will introduce a 5-axis multi-tasking solution that combines Mazak's machine tools and Kitagawa's products with Mr. Kakutani, an application engineer at Mazak (Thailand).

Kitagawa chuck equipped as standard!
Providing machine tools tailored to the needs of each area

Compared to other manufacturers, Mazak has demonstrated its strength and uniqueness, especially in the field of multitasking. In addition to its five bases in Japan, the company has production plants in the U.S., U.K., Singapore, China, and India, and produces products that meet the needs of the local market. Kitagawa also provides combinations of products that are suitable for the needs of each area according to these machine tools. In Thailand, machines manufactured in Singapore are often introduced, and Kitagawa's chucks are equipped as standard.

Solutions for 5-axis machining

Mazak 5-axis machining center "VARIAXIS series" × Kitagawa 5-axis centering vise "V75V series"

▲ Demo machine exhibited at METALEX 2022

One of the biggest reasons why Mazac is supported by 5-axis and multi-tasking sites is the existence of "MAZATROL". MAZATROL is Mazak's unique CNC system that enables interactive programming, whereby users can easily perform interactive programmingby answering questions on the NC screen. Programming 5-axis machining is considered to be particularly difficult because it requires specialized knowledge and experience, but with MAZATROL, the hurdle of implementing 5-axis machining is quickly lowered.

Proprietary AI automatically estimates the machining process and machining conditions by making full use of accumulated data such as programs created in the past, and optimizes the machining conditions.

The VARIAXIS series, which is combined in this solution, realizes process-intensive machining and multi-tasking on machining centers, and is capable of multi-face machining with one chucking and 3D curved surface machining with simultaneous 5-axis control.

Kitagawa's 5-axis centering vise V75V series is a compact and lightweight vise suitable for roughing on 5-axis machining centers. Its light weight makes it easy to load and unload, and it is suitable for light cutting such as aluminum. Users of 5-axis and multi-tasking machines, which are Mazak's forte, often work in high-mix low-volume production sites, and therefore select vises that are easy to change setups. Moreover, it is relatively low-priced, making it easy to introduce, which is recommended for the Thai market.

Multi-tasking machine x Automatic jaw change system

Mazak multi-tasking machine "INTEGREX series" × Kitagawa automatic jaw change system "BR-AJC"

▲ MAZAK collaboration solution demo machine exhibited at EMO 2023

This solution combines Mazak's INTEGREX series, which is said to be synonymous with multi-tasking machines, with Kitagawa's automatic jaw change system (AJC). The jaws are automatically changed by attaching attachments to the robot. This is a revolutionary system, as there are still very few automatic jaw-change systems in the industry that are compatible with standard chucks. Since the BR series, which is a standard chuck, can be used as it is, the initial cost can be significantly reduced.

The T-nut plus mechanism is used to restore high gripping accuracy of 0.01 mm T.I.R. or less even when the jaws are attached and detached. Since it reduces the time and labor required for jaw replacement and achieves high accuracy, it is recommended for high-mix low-volume production sites with frequent setup changes. In addition, customers can choose between full automation (with robot) and semi-automation according to their situations such as factory environment, machining conditions, and budget. It is also possible to use it semi-automatically at first and gradually make it fully automatic.

<Features & benefits of the automatic jaw change system>
・AJC compatible with standard chucks
・Eliminates the need for manual changeovers and has good grasp accuracy
・Fully automatic (BR-AJC) and semi-automatic (BR-AJC_M) can be implemented in stages
・Equipped with an air blow function for easier chip cleaning than conventional systems

Japanese engineers are stationed in Thailand and technical consultation is smooth

without time lag, which I think is one of Kitagawa's strengths that other manufacturers do not have. Advices from engineers based on experience, theory, and evidence are very valuable, and because we can consult with them locally while looking at actual drawings, we can make proposals to our customers with confidence. We are able to provide stable services, from sales to support, entirely within Thailand, thanks to close and smooth communication not only among Japanese but also among Thai staff members,” says Mr. Kakutani of Mazak (Thailand).

Please refer to the chart below for details on solutions and product specifications with the Mazak vertical machining center VCN series.

▲ From left to right: Mr. Iwata of Kitagawa (Thailand) and Mr. Kakutani of Mazak (Thailand)

Tomoya Kakutani
Application Supervisor

2013: Joined Yamazaki Mazak Co., Ltd.
Responsible for processing evaluation of new models at the Aichi head office
April 2017: Assigned to Thailand as Application Supervisor of Mazak (Thailand) Co., Ltd.

If you are looking for a high-precision lathe chuck or interested in other machine tools (NC rotary table, vise, etc.) or AJC in Thailand, please contact us using the form below.

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