New 5-Axis Machining Centre from Taiwan

Taiwanese machine tool builder Leadwell CNC Machines has introduced a new model, BC-600, at the smaller capacity end of its of BC-series of 5-axis machining centres. On all four models, the rotary axes are provided by a ±110-degree B-axis spindle and an integrated C-axis rotary table, both of which may be interpolated with X, Y and Z to allow full 5-axis machining.

The competitively priced, highly specified machines, which are fitted with scales in the linear and rotary axes as standard, are available in the UK and Ireland through recently appointed sole sales and service agent WH-Lead, which is moving into its new Towcester facility this month (April 2020). The first batch of Leadwell machines for stock and demonstration will start arriving from early May.

A notable feature of the 12-tonne BC-600 is its generous working envelope for the nominal 4.7 by 3.8 metre footprint. Travels in X and Y are 1,100 mm and 610 mm respectively, while in the Z-axis components 610 mm tall can be machined with the spindle in the vertical orientation, rising to 790 mm with the spindle horizontal. Cutting feed rate is up to 10 m/min, while rapids are 36 m/min in X and Y, 30 m/min in Z for short idle times and high productivity.

The flush, 600 mm diameter rotary table accepts workpieces weighing up to 400 kg, but the full 1,280 x 610 mm fixed table is able to accommodate 1,400 kg components for 3- or 4-axis machining. The C-axis uses a direct drive motor to provide high torque and rigidity and to avoid the backlash normally associated with worm gear drives. Maximum standard rotational speed of the C-axis table is 120 rpm but there is an optional 800 rpm version to provide turning capability.

Working area of the Leadwell BC-600, showing the B-axis tilting spindle and flush C-axis rotary table.

The tilting spindle, which can be positioned to within 20 seconds of arc, is driven at up to 15,000 rpm (optionally 10,000 or 12,000 rpm) by an 18.5 kW motor. It is replenished automatically with 40-taper or HSK-T63 cutters from a 40-station tool magazine. The spindle’s rigidity, coupled with the wide machine column and base and the use of linear roller guideways in the orthogonal axes with dual-nut, 40 mm diameter ballscrews in X and Y, result in the ability to undertake rigorous metalcutting.

A broad spectrum of cuts can therefore be taken, from roughing of tough superalloys to fine finishing of any material, ensuring that single set-up production, which is the rationale for 5-axis machining, can be realised.

Controls available are Heidenhain TNC640 with 21 GB of programme storage, a DCM function to minimise the risk of a collision during 5-axis cycles and KinematicsOpt geometry error compensation; or Siemens 840D with either full 5-axis or 4 +1 interpolation; or Fanuc 0MiF, which is available only with 4 + 1 capability.

The BC range is completed by models BC-700, -800 and -960, the largest of which has an installed weight of 18.6 tonnes, an 800 mm diameter table and a working envelope of 2,040 mm by 1,000 mm by 820 (min) / 948 mm (max) in Z.

The Leadwell BC-600 in action