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Star Micronics will introduce its Star ST-38 sliding-head mill-turn centres – suitable for the electronics, aerospace and medical sectors – at Mach 2010.

One of five Star multi-axis CNC lathes on show, it will take centre-stage on a stand that, at 350m2, is Star’s largest ever.

Star will host an impressive array of partner companies and their products.

All are designed to extract maximum benefit and productivity from sliding-headstock lathes.

Equipment on display will include LNS bar feeders and Star’s Agency range of FMB bar magazines; high-pressure coolant systems from Pumps and Equipment; Filtermist oil-mist collection and filtration; Nobel fire suppression; PSL Datatrack production-management software; cutting tools from WNT and NTK; and two agency lines from Emmaco UK, namely IBAG high-speed spindles and Argotech acoustic and power-monitoring systems.

In addition, manufactured parts can be inspected on a Hommel Opticline non-contact measuring system from Metrology Direct.

Demonstrations running on all five Star machines will show their full capabilities in conjunction with the above equipment.

In addition to the new ST-38 fitted with an FMB Turbo 5-55 bar magazine, there will be a 10mm capacity SR-10J equipped with an FMB Micromag and three 20mm capacity lathes.

There will also be an SR-20RIII with LNS 5-42 3m magazine, ECAS-20T plus FMB Turbo 3-36, and the SR-20JN without guide bush fed from an LNS short bar magazine.

Although sliding-head lathes above 32mm capacity are available on the market, it is very rare to find one in use in the UK because, until now, the mainstream players have not offered one.

The new lathe has 12 CNC axes shared between two C-axis spindles and three live turrets for one-hit machining of highly complex components.

X- and Z-axis rapid feeds are 30m/min, resulting in short idle times.

A three-axis and a two-axis turret can perform combinations of turning and prismatic machining concurrently on round or hexagonal bar rotating at up to 7,000rev/min in the main, 11kW spindle.

Another two-axis turret is devoted to simultaneous back-working on a parted-off component in the 7.5kW/7,000rev/min counter spindle.

Each turret has 10 tool stations driven by a 4kW/5,700rev/min motor for carrying out prismatic cross-working and end-working operations.

As each station can accept two tools, a total of 60 cutters can be resident in the machine for almost limitless metal-cutting flexibility.

Despite its suitability for machining complex components in small batches, the ST-38 remains faithful to the origins of sliding-headstock technology, as it can produce simpler parts economically in high volumes.

To this end, idle times are further reduced by Star’s motion-control system, in which programming is carried out off-line for relatively simple turning operations, resulting in high-speed cycles on the machine.

Conventional computer numerical control is provided by a standard Fanuc 30i-A CNC system.

It is used for more complex operations, programming being in ISO either remotely or at the machine.

For parts involving a combination of simple and complex operations, the complete cycle can be made up from both motion-control programming and traditional ISO format.

ST-38 is a strong, robust machine weighing well over six tonnes.

It has 350mm of headstock stroke in Z, allowing parts up to this length to be produced in one chucking.

The other 11 CNC machining axes are C on the main spindle; Y, Z and C on the synchronous sub-spindle; X and Y on both the left and right rear turrets; and X, Y and Z on the front turret.

Standard equipment is comprehensive, extending to a coolant chiller, broken-tool detection, air purge on the counter spindle, centralised lubrication, absolute position detection, component ejection monitoring and a parts conveyor.

The machine can be retrofitted with a chip conveyor if this option is not selected at the outset.

High-pressure coolant systems rated from 50 to 250 bar are also available.

They are invaluable for breaking up and removing stringy swarf, such as that produced when stainless steel is machined.

HPC also allows deep-hole drilling in the main and counter spindles to a maximum depth of 120mm.

Many of the tool-holders used on Star’s 32mm-capacity sliding-head lathes – ECAS-32T, SV-32 and KNC-32 – are compatible with the ST-38.

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