Makino a61 Ideal for Orthopedic Implant Manufacturing

Horizontal machining centers have proven speed and accuracy in stainless steel, cobalt chrome

MASON, OH-September 2008-All manufacturers strive for precision, but the word takes on new meaning for manufactured components of implantable medical devices. The slightest machining error or deviation from the design can have severe impacts, especially since errors in manufacturing medical components may not become evident until the device fails in-vivo. This can result in costly revision surgery or in the worst cases, public scrutiny and even litigation.

That’s why many manufacturers are relying on the Makino a61 horizontal machining center for orthopedic implant manufacturing.

Field Proven
For McMurray, Pennsylvania based FPD, a knee-implant made of cobalt chromium-molybdenum alloy required time-consuming and expensive hand finishing. The part was especially challenging due to tight tolerances, sweeping geometries and a very fine surface finish. Previous manufacturers of the part utilized grinding to complete the part, but often struggled with the complex features. FPD felt the parts had to be milled to be consistent.

After purchasing an a61, FPD was able to eliminate finishing the part by hand, thanks to the machine’s ability to easily machine complex geometries and tight tolerances. With the a61, FPD was able to meet high production demands from its customer in this difficult part.

Another example is Huntsville, Alabama’s Brown Precision. Brown was an aerospace, 5-axis part producer, but wanted to apply their skill to the medical industry, where they knew a 5-axis with accuracy in harder materials, such as 316 forged stainless steel, would be needed. To achieve these goals, Brown Precision decided to purchase a Makino a61.

Since installing the a61, parts like the forged stainless steel bone plate, which once took several setups to complete, can now be finished in single setup. With the a61, Brown Precision saw a 40 percent decrease in cycle time for the part. The company now owns several a61s, an a51, and many other Makino machines for medical device and instrument manufacturing.

a61 Features and Benefits
The a61 has a work zone size of 32 x 36 inches, and a pallet size of 19.7 inches. The rapid traverse and the feedrate of the a61 are 1970 ipm (60 m/min.). A host of tool monitoring capabilities, all equipped as standard features, allows users to achieve extended machining hours with no labor costs.

The a61 comes with a 40-taper, 14,000-rpm spindle standard, that has exceptional acceleration characteristics, minimal vibration and a high-powered spindle option. It also has a ring-type 40-tool magazine standard, with larger magazines from 60 to 313 tools optional.

Makino’s proprietary, next generation Geometric Intelligence (GI) servo control with Radical Mode is a standard feature on all 1-Series machines. GI with Radical Mode helps provide the lowest cycle times achievable while maintaining superior accuracy and meeting the customer’s Cpk requirements.

The a61 has an automatic pallet changer with safety guards and two pallets, for a fast pallet change time of 7 seconds. And, it offers a tool-to-tool change time of 0.9 seconds with a chip-to-chip time of 2.5 seconds.

Other features include a chip conveyor and filtration system, through spindle coolant (300 psi), a standard three-point support system, an ergonomic swing, operator control panel, a safety-designed four-layer protective operator door window and an overhead shower coolant.

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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Media Contact
Amber Long or Jake Smith