Mitsui Seiki USA has developed the Vertex 55X-H, a hybrid machining center that combines additive and subtractive processes on one machine tool platform. According to the company, the machine’s hybrid technology results in a productive and repeatable process that produces good surface finish results. Cycle times are reduced compared to powder-bed additive processes, and both processes can be achieved in one setup on the platform. The machine is suitable for repair operations in the aerospace, power generation, and oil and gas industries.
The hybrid machine combines a CNC VMC with a spindle-adapted, laser direct-energy deposition powder-fed nozzle. Using this technology, parts can be 3D printed or material can be added to existing parts. The nozzle loads into the toolchanger and is changed automatically via CNC program prompts with an adaptive programming language. Multiple nozzles can be added for different powder flow rates or angles, and exact control of the deposition rate is possible using a variety of laser beam profiles.
A milling/drilling tool can replace the nozzle and aspects of the workpiece can be machined conventionally, including internal features. Surface work can be machined before the next layer of material is added or the workpiece can be printed to completion and then subsequently machined. According to the company, the machine maintains common center line integrity between the additive nozzle and subtractive tool as users switch between them. The product features sub-15-micron volumetric accuracy within the work envelope.
The machining center features either a CAT or HSK spindle with a speed ranging from 15,000 to 30,000 rpm. It offers an X-axis working range from 550 to 750 mm, Y-axis from 600 to 800 mm and Z-axis from 400 to 750 mm. An integrated coolant system enables either dry or wet machining.