FlexiCAM » Custom Built CNC Machining Centre for a truck body manufacturer
cnc machining centre for automotive industry

Custom Built CNC Machining Centre for a truck body manufacturer

FlexiCAM has manufactured, delivered and installed a 20m XXL CNC machining centre to a European manufacturer of truck bodies. The client specializes in producing various types of truck bodies for cargo, food and furniture transportation vehicles as well as customised curtain track structures. They are known for high levels of customizations and they had recognized their need of specialised equipment for the production of aluminium and composite components considering precision, reliability, and flexibility in their choice of manufacturer.

Customer requirements for building the XXL CNC Machine

The client needed a CNC machining centre with a larger than usual table size to accommodate their large truck body components. They needed the machine to both route and cut materials made from various materials including tri-laminate, aluminium, wood and technical textiles. To adhere to health and safety standards, they required to incorporate measures into the machine design to mitigate the risk of airborne particles from the tri-laminate materials which could cause skin irritation.

They also required a 450mm diameter saw for some of the profile cutting. A high-pressure vacuum system was needed to hold the non-porous material due to its large size in both length and width. The goal was to maximise throughput, setup and process time. Lastly, the building had a low ceiling height, which made it necessary to consider how the extraction system could be accommodated.

FlexiCAM consulted with the client’s production team to explore different solutions for addressing these issues and possibly those that might arise during the design process to build a machine that would enhance the quality concerns and productivity targets.

What FlexiCAM Delivered

1. To accommodate the large size of their larger truck panels, the machine table size was established to be 20m long and 3.5m wide.

cnc for automotive industry

2. To enable cutting and routing on the same machine, a dual head was installed on the machine carriage. The dual head carried a 12KW vertical spindle for routing and a 7.5KW horizontally mounted spindle to hold the 450mm saw blade.

3. The machine gantry clearance was set to 280mm with a Z-axis stroke of 470mm. To minimise the risk of airborne particles, a dust shroud was installed on the saw spindle and connected to the extraction system. This mechanism helped to improve equipment performance and reduced cleaning time at the shop.

Additionally, FlexiCAM added a pressure foot and anti-friction plate to help stabilise smaller parts during cutting and to support the construction of smaller units as well as the large refrigeration truck units.

dust shroud for cnc machine
cnc machining centre with extraction system

4. Due to the limited height of the building’s ceiling and the length of the table, a fixed extraction system was installed for removing the irritant particles.  This allowed the removal of particles from the work area and address the height restrictions of the building which would have been impossible for a free-hanging extraction system.

extraction system

5. The machine table surface was made of phenolic material and was equipped with six 7.5KW high-pressure vacuum pumps distributed across six different zones of the table. This enabled the cutting of the large panels and, by zoning the table, made it possible to set up multiple smaller jobs, as the operator could designate specific zones for each job and switch the vacuum pumps on and off as needed. This significantly reduced the setup time and increased productivity and throughput.

vacuum pump

6. FlexiCAM added a “ride along” rotary tool changer mounted on the gantry. It had a capacity for 12 tools and allowed for quick tool changes allowing increased efficiency, flexibility and reduced downtime.

tool changer for cnc machine

7. The saw spindle was designed to rotate on the controlled C-axis, which enables precise positioning and rotation of the saw spindle. This feature results in more accurate cuts and smoother finishes.

saw spindle for cnc machine

8. The slotted suction channel dust collection system was installed on the machine, which is particularly useful for machines with long axis movements. It enables the axis to move without any difficulty. Additionally, this suction system is highly beneficial for customers who have low ceilings in their facility.

dust extraction system for cnc machine

9. The HT-8 hand-held pendant was utilised on the machine, which integrates the functionality of an operator panel and a machine control panel into a single device. It is attached to the gantry, enabling it to move along the complete X-axis travel. This feature allows the operator to control the machine without having to move back and forth to access the control panel.

hand-held pendant

Goals and Objectives Achieved

The client was extremely happy with the performance of the machine, particularly the flexibility it offered across its wide range of product variants. The increased throughput also improved the product delivery times to the extent that the customer could accept more orders. It was always anticipated that the business had room for growth.

The successful installation of this 20m CNC Machining Centre and the positive impact it had on the client’s production led to the client’s second order of the same configuration.

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