Four and 5‑axis Machining in a Single Automated Cell

Mason, Ohio – October 2008 – A flexible manufacturing system is traditionally comprised of several similar machining centers, each capable of one type of machining. But thanks to interchangeable pallets and a powerful cell controller, Makino  has demonstrated that different machine types can be easily integrated into a single cell with an automated pallet handling system.

"We can combine 5-axis machining centers with four-axis machines because we design our machines to be easily integrated into automated cells, and several machines of similar size have interchangeable pallets," says Mark Rentschler, marketing manager at Makino. "We demonstrated this at IMTS with a cell containing a D500 5-axis vertical machining center and an a51 horizontal machining center." These machines share the same 400mm standard pallet and can be easily integrated into a single machining cell.

"We're seeing a surge in interest for flexible manufacturing systems that combine processes," adds Rentschler. "Everyone needs reduced fixturing time, reduced cycle times, increased spindle utilization, and flexibility in their process. Shops can take full advantage of their 5-axis capabilities by installing a flexible manufacturing system that will allow unattended machining for multiple types of applications."

A pioneer in developing lean systems for the machining industry, Makino created the Makino Machining Complex (MMC), an automated modular material handling system that links Makino machining centers (up to 15), pallet loaders and operators. Delivering spindle utilization up to 95 percent, the MMC2 enables any machining operation to go lean. Makino MMC2 customers are able to reduce inventory and WIP, lower labor costs and cost per part, increase productivity and shorten lead times.

D500 and a51
The 5-axis component of the cell is Makino's new D500 5-axis vertical machining center, designed to handle the demands of a job shop environment and produce complex 5-axis parts. The machine contains ultra-high torque DD motors, providing superior acceleration that can decrease cycle times of 5-axis simultaneous machining applications.

About Makino
A world leader in advanced CNC machining centers, Makino provides a wide range of high-precision metal-cutting and EDM machinery, including horizontal machining centers, vertical machining centers, 5-axis machining centers, graphite machining centers, and wire and Ram EDMs. Our flexible automation solutions provide reduced labor costs and increased throughput in a variety of production volumes and designs. With Makino engineering services, we offer industry leading expertise for even the most challenging applications across all industries. For more information call 1.800.552.3288, or visit

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IMTS 2008 - MMC2: JPG   YouTube
D500: JPG   YouTube
a51: JPG

Related Links:
D500 Press Release
D500 Specifications
a51 Press Release
a51 Specifications
Webinar: The Evolution of Lean
Webinar: New 5-Axis Machining Solutions From Makino
Youtube: 5-axis machining Makino D500 accuracy test
Youtube: Makino D500 5-axis machining of big, heavy mold block

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Media Contact
Amber Long or Jake Smith