Mazak's VC-500 AM Hybrid Offers Five-Axis Motion
Mazak presents its VC-500 AM, a hybrid multitasking machine that combines five-axis capability with additive manufacturing (AM) technology. The machine is said to enhance product design, reduce time to market and cut R&D costs.
The VC-500 AM machine quickly builds part features to near-net shape, without wasting expensive material or losing time by subtracting large amounts of metal from a solid piece of material using conventional machining, the company says. The machine offers geometric freedom via direct metal deposition, which enables both additive and subtractive machining capabilities in a single setup. The laser cladding heads of the VC-500 AM reside side-by-side with the subtractive machining spindle.
For additive manufacturing, the VC-500 AM uses fiber laser heat to melt the chosen metal powder and grow near-net-shape 3D forms. The cladding head applies the molten material layer by layer, all of which solidify as the desired part surface or features grows. The laser cladding head can also be used to coat chosen sections of the part with metal, allowing the machine to repair worn or damaged high-value components.
Constructed on a compact five-axis platform, the VC-500 AM accommodates a variety of part sizes and shapes ranging to to 19.7" in diameter and 12" in height, and weighing as much as 440 lbs. According to Mazak the machine is ideal for manufacturers who require optimum part finish and high accuracy and is also well-suited for educational institutions and research and development facilities.
After purchasing a 3D printer to solve a safety issue, turning shop Swiss Automation has found many more applications for the additive manufacturing technology on its shop floor.
Analyzing directed energy deposition and powder-bed fusion provides a thorough understanding of the extra machining necessary for a “near-net shape” versus a “net shape” manufacturing process.
This small shop invested in production 3D printing in part because its owner expects other manufacturers to make the same move. He wanted a head start.