a120nx Horizontal Machining Center

January 06, 2017
a120nx Horizontal Machining Center

Makino announces its newest addition to the nx-series, the a120nx horizontal machining center. As the largest machining platform within the nx-series to date, this machine is built to take on oversized structural components for industrial equipment, diesel engines and semiconductor manufacturing, while delivering high levels of speed and accuracy.

“You can’t approach big parts the same way you would any other part, and that’s why everything about the a120nx is sized for heavy-duty manufacturing,” said John Einberger, product line manager at Makino. “We wanted to employ the proven designs of our other nx-series machines, such as three-point leveling and tiered column design, while ensuring that the machine could mechanically handle the unique challenges of large workpiece machining processes.”

The a120nx features vast X-, Y- and Z-axis travels of 74.8 inches, 63 inches and 66.9 inches (1,900 mm, 1,600 mm and 1,700 mm, respectively), and the machine’s standard large pallet size of 39.4 inches by 39.4 inches provides capacity for parts weighing up to 11,000 pounds. The machine’s automatic pallet changer switches from one pallet to the next in 38 seconds, minimizing non-cut times for the highest levels of productivity. Capable of storing up to 204 tools of wide-ranging sizes and designs, the a120nx accommodates tools up to 35.4 inches long, 14.0 inches in diameter, and weighing up to 77 pounds. Tools are loaded into the automatic tool changer (ATC) from an easily accessible, ergonomically friendly exterior loading station to prevent operator fatigue.

At the foundation of the machine is a three-point supported bed casting to ensure all points are stable and contacting the floor. Developed to maintain the machine geometry and alignments, this design characteristic of the nx-series machines simplifies installation and enables easy relocation of the machine. Building on the rigidity of the bed casting, the a120nx uses a unique tiered column design that delivers greater resistance to Z-axis cutting forces throughout the work envelope. Robust cross roller-style B-axis table bearings work in concert with a high force rotary clamping system to ensure stable cutting throughout the machine’s expansive work zone.

The a120nx is equipped with Makino’s four cone pallet location and clamping system that delivers a secure 46,500 pounds of force on the pallet. This superior clamping capability, combined with all pallets built to a master pallet, eliminates deflection. An engineered precision air-blow system provides locating surfaces cleaning, as well as pallet clamp confirmation as standard features.

Larger parts typically mean larger features, too. Tool length, diameter and weight capacities of the a120nx support processes that feature the use of large face mills, boring bars and line-bar tooling.

To further ensure ideal geometry and accuracy, the a120nx has a number of systems in place to manage the heat generated by rapid traverse of 2,126 inches per minute. For one, the ballscrews are core-cooled in all axes to give consistent accuracy during continuous production.  Moreover, the ballscrews are all dual supported and pre-tensioned to ensure unparalleled dynamic positioning repeatability.  Feature-to-feature movement distances on large parts are typically much greater, so rapid traverse rates were increased for the a120nx in order to cover these expansive distances quickly.

Beyond its proven speed and accuracy, the a120nx also improves productivity in cutting and non-cutting performance.  The standard high torque 8,000-rpm spindle boosts continuous power levels by 19 percent over levels typical to machines of this class. With 50 continuous (74 peak) horsepower available, this spindle is ideally suited for heavy roughing of iron castings and hard-metal applications. In addition, the spindle features significant improvements in acceleration and deceleration due to its high duty rated performance characteristics that reduce rigid tapping times by up to 30 percent.  Also available is an optional 18,000-rpm high power spindle, ideally suited to high metal-removal rate machining of light alloy structural components.

Chip and coolant management features are often overlooked and result in interrupted operations, increased labor costs, machine damage, part-quality issues and reduced tool life. The a120nx enables shop owners to avoid these challenges with supplementary management features, including a sloped surface to remove obstacles between the workpiece and an external chip conveyor, letting chips fall freely. The trough design facilitates rapid chip and coolant evacuation and reduces maintenance needs with a solid panel Z-axis cover design.  A standard cyclonic filter provides ultra clean coolant to the through spindle coolant pump and acts as a secondary coolant filter, polishing coolant in the main tank.

The a120nx comes to the market ‘automation ready’, being fully compatible with Makino’s versitile multi-machine, multi-pallet MMC2 flexible manufacturing system, complete with Makino’s highly capable MAS-A5 cell controller.

Related Glossary Terms

  • boring


    Enlarging a hole that already has been drilled or cored. Generally, it is an operation of truing the previously drilled hole with a single-point, lathe-type tool. Boring is essentially internal turning, in that usually a single-point cutting tool forms the internal shape. Some tools are available with two cutting edges to balance cutting forces.

  • coolant


    Fluid that reduces temperature buildup at the tool/workpiece interface during machining. Normally takes the form of a liquid such as soluble or chemical mixtures (semisynthetic, synthetic) but can be pressurized air or other gas. Because of water’s ability to absorb great quantities of heat, it is widely used as a coolant and vehicle for various cutting compounds, with the water-to-compound ratio varying with the machining task. See cutting fluid; semisynthetic cutting fluid; soluble-oil cutting fluid; synthetic cutting fluid.

  • fatigue


    Phenomenon leading to fracture under repeated or fluctuating stresses having a maximum value less than the tensile strength of the material. Fatigue fractures are progressive, beginning as minute cracks that grow under the action of the fluctuating stress.

  • flexible manufacturing system ( FMS)

    flexible manufacturing system ( FMS)

    Automated manufacturing system designed to machine a variety of similar parts. System is designed to minimize production changeover time. Computers link machine tools with the workhandling system and peripherals. Also associated with machine tools grouped in cells for efficient production. See cell manufacturing.

  • inches per minute ( ipm)

    inches per minute ( ipm)

    Value that refers to how far the workpiece or cutter advances linearly in 1 minute, defined as: ipm = ipt 5 number of effective teeth 5 rpm. Also known as the table feed or machine feed.

  • machining center

    machining center

    CNC machine tool capable of drilling, reaming, tapping, milling and boring. Normally comes with an automatic toolchanger. See automatic toolchanger.

  • metal-removal rate

    metal-removal rate

    Rate at which metal is removed from an unfinished part, measured in cubic inches or cubic centimeters per minute.

  • polishing


    Abrasive process that improves surface finish and blends contours. Abrasive particles attached to a flexible backing abrade the workpiece.

  • rapid traverse

    rapid traverse

    Movement on a CNC mill or lathe that is from point to point at full speed but, usually, without linear interpolation.

  • tapping


    Machining operation in which a tap, with teeth on its periphery, cuts internal threads in a predrilled hole having a smaller diameter than the tap diameter. Threads are formed by a combined rotary and axial-relative motion between tap and workpiece. See tap.

  • work envelope

    work envelope

    Cube, sphere, cylinder or other physical space within which the cutting tool is capable of reaching.