Makino Launches New Additions to Successful Slim family
With more than 3,500 machines already sold, the Slim family of compact vertical machining centres has been proving its worth in the high-volume production market worldwide since 2014. At EMO 2023 Makino presented important additions to the Slim family, such as new size of machines and mill-turn capabilities.
Customers in the automotive, medical and industrial components markets have been enjoying the benefits of Slim3n machines for years. Designed for mid- to ultra-high-value operations, the Slim3n can perform taper #30 machine with the highest degree of flexibility in this sector. What differentiates the Slim3n from drill tap centres is its unique spindle capabilities, HSK interface and one of the biggest X stroke-to-machine-width ratios. That significantly boosts its performance per square metre.
The Slim3n’s success story is due to Makino’s flexibility to fulfil customer requests. High-volume component manufacturers want the shortest possible lead time in the most compact layout. The Slim3n is designed to be highly customisable to meet just those needs, offering everything from 3-axis to 4+1 and from fixed table to automatic pallet changer with hydraulic fixtures.
Several design features are another key factor in the Slim success story. With all machine axes stacked on the spindle, it supports all automation processes and facilitates the loading of parts without stopping the production line. The design also enables highly dynamic axis movement and maximises the working area. There are no moving elements on the table, which is another important factor for long-term production processes. The benefit is that the weight of the parts does not affect the machine’s movements and precision.
After listening to customer requests, Makino developed the Slim5n with 30% more working area in a machine with just 200 mm more width. The depth and height are unchanged. The Slim5n will continue to offer the same high degree of flexibility as the Slim3n, which means an 8,000 rpm spindle for high-torque applications and a standard 16,000 rpm spindle, both with an HSK-A50 interface to maximise process reliability and rigidity.
This new member of the Slim family comes in two different configurations to meet the specific needs of two specific user groups. The best-of-both-worlds model on show at EMO 2023 will showcase two machining areas, one for milling and one for turning – both inside the same table. Targeted at job shops in general, this machine will reduce process complexity, which is particularly important for smaller firms. Since each operation – milling or turning – is consolidated within one machine, users will get a finished part each time they run a cycle. As its milling and turning capabilities have not been compromised in any way, this machine really does offer the best of both worlds.
The second Slim3n Mill-Turn configuration is geared more toward production companies that require larger turning diameters and would not benefit from process consolidation. Here, the turning motor is in the centre of a more symmetrical table with a higher capacity for components such as EV motor housings. Both configurations come with a skiving option, which greatly increases performance in producing geared features, along with a 3,000 rpm motor for turning, and the same spindle configurations as Slim3n.
Slim3n gantry automation
An automation concept will particularly interest component manufacturers in the EV market, where batch sizes are still not increasing to the extent expected. As a tailored solution to manage such uncertainty, Makino has developed an automation package for up to four machines that loads parts within the system and can be expanded for new volumes as batch sizes increase. After users have loaded parts onto a conveyor belt, the system identifies each pallet and part to be produced and tells a specific machine to produce the component – with no user intervention required.