Makino Cell Integration

J3 automated cell featured at IMTS 2006

MASON, OH--September 2006--The impact of increasing foreign competition and global pricing pressures has caused U.S. manufacturers to reexamine the way that they make production parts.  By turning towards all levels of automation, manufacturers can reduce labor costs, increase throughput, ensure part quality and repeatability, and remain flexible to adapt to quickly changing volumes, designs and products.

Makino provides single source integration to its customers, serving as a “one-stop shop” for turnkey engineering and complete production system solutions. For more than a decade, Makino project, mechanical, controls and applications engineers have provided operations with the machinery, skills and solutions necessary to effectively implement automation processes.

Automation and Integration Solutions
Automation technologies have been shown to decrease costs through shorter lead times, reduced setups, reduced scrap rates and lower direct and indirect labor costs. This is done while increasing productivity and providing greater flexibility for rapid response in part demand or design.

These process solutions can range in scope from a single machine to large manufacturing systems containing machining centers, fixtures, conveyors, robot and gantry loaders, automated assembly and inspection equipment, parts washers and part marking.

J3 HMC Cell
At IMTS 2006, Makino’s automation and integration will be showcased via several lean cells, including a cell with two J3 horizontal machining centers--a setup ideally suited for high-volume production parts.

The J3 has state-of-the-art functions supporting high efficiency.  It can reduce overall costs by machining faster than most HMCs, due to its high speed spindle and superior acceleration/deceleration.

The featured demonstration will include two J3 high speed horizontal machining centers in a lean cellular manufacturing operation. Both machines are equipped with two-face machining, which allows for uninterrupted cutting, and hydraulic rotary couplings that energize the fixtures from the under-side of the tombstone. There are no manual couplings involved, which typically require a great deal of maintenance.

In the cell, parts will be machined in a sequential process. A Fanuc robot picks parts from an input conveyor and loads the first operation. Upon completion, the part is automatically picked and placed to the second machine for the final operation, then finished parts are robot loaded to the output conveyor.  The robot is equipped with quick change grippers to facilitate part handling and enhance the flexibility of the system.

The demonstration illustrates the value of highly automated, practically implemented systems for medium to high volume part production. Additionally, the cell includes a controller and all necessary software and hardware communications to run extended hours with no manual intervention, allowing for a substantial labor cost reduction.

Essential monitoring and sensing systems are integrated into the process to provide error checking and error proofing. Unlike manual part loading, the robot cannot feel or see the part into the fixture. Even tool seating detection is monitored automatically to ensure process reliability.

The J3
The “stacked axis” design of the J3 horizontal machining center makes it ideal for integration of part feeder systems. There are no physical limitations in the front of the machine to complicate integration design, and the small footprint of the J3 allows it to fit in a small area of the shop.

Non-cutting time is further reduced due to fast automatic tool changing and quick table index times. This can reduce the number of machines needed, reducing overall capital investment.

The J3 offers superb accuracy and agility, while often achieving 10 percent or more reduction in machining times versus other traditional modern machining centers. It has been designed with many features in order to improve overall reliability and reduce maintenance, such as a reduction of components in the tool changer and spindle/ram assembly and a chip disposal system with an inclined oil pan and shortened coolant trough to quickly remove chips and heat.

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