Gantry-Type Milling Machine

Gantry Milling Machine has Novel Toolchanger and Operating Platform

Machine tool manufacturer, SHW Werkzeugmaschinen, located in Aalen, near Stuttgart, has introduced a portal machining centre with gantry drive for the production of large, high accuracy components. Called PowerBridge, it is available in the UK through sole sales and service agent, Kingsbury.

The machine features a new, dynamic toolchanger that exchanges HSK A 100 or equivalent tools while machining is in progress, and an operating platform that can travel with the spindle into the working area. Both are believed to be world firsts. Other highlights include automatic milling head replacement, liquid-cooled drives and the possibility to integrate turning by fitting a 250 rpm rotary table with torque drive.

Design and development of the innovative production centre by Austrian firm, Fill Machine Engineering, in partnership with SHW, was sponsored by the German Ministry of Economics. The first PowerBridge was exhibited at the EMO show in Hannover last September (2013).

During tool change, the next cutter is not picked up by the spindle from the magazine but is transported by a 5-axis robot to the spindle, no matter where it is located. The robot is dynamically synchronised with the bridge and the tool is transferred synchronously to a toolchanger fork, raising productivity by minimising spindle idle time. The mechanism can supply tools to two separate bridges.

In the travelling control cabin, the operator is at the same height as the spindle and has a good view of the machining cycle as it progresses. Alternatively, the cabin can be parked at any position along the longitudinal axis in the work area, for example to avoid a potential collision.

The machining centre is of modular design, shared with that of SHW’s travelling column machines, and uses similar components for the bridge, milling head, rack-and-pinion drive and elsewhere. Three different models having widths of 3100, 4100 and 5100 mm respectively can be specified, bed length being from 10 to 50 metres. Z-axis travel is 1,800 mm and control is by Siemens 840 DSL.

A further innovation is already in the pipeline, namely a laser tracking system that continuously measures and compensates for axis errors during machining.

Please see the below video explaining the features of the SHW PowerBridge below:

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