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Odd-Looking Machine For Good Reason

Posted by: 19. June 2014

The Unisig USC-M CNC Drilling and Machining Center strikes a slightly threatening pose when its A-axis is in the +30 degree position.  It reminded me of Galvatron, an Age of Extinction transformer.  But unlike the scary profile of that maniacal killer robot, the USC-M’s silhouette has a much more constructive purpose. But it was the machine’s unusual look that caught my attention.  And I wondered why it was designed this way.  Unisig is well-known for its deep-hole drilling machines, which are designed to allow long drilling tools to be well-supported as they drill deeper and deeper into small diameter metal holes.

Building upon years of experience in the deep hole drilling business, Unisig has developed machine spindle designs that enable drilling very deep holes with small diameters.  Turns out, the same spindle design has another application – hollowing out and finish machining of mold bases.

The business of machining molds presents several exceptional challenges including, difficult to machine materials, tight tolerances, close surface finishes, and difficult-to-reach points inside the mold base from which material must be removed.

Enter the strange looking USC-M. Most machining centers have a maximum of five axes. What in the world, I wondered, would anyone need seven axes for?  The A axis (which provides the +30/-15 degrees of adjustment on the spindle relative to the surface of the table) isn’t one of the “extra” axes on this machine. But in conjunction with the Z1 axis (spindle cartridge movement in and out), which is similar to a boring machine spindle, and is an “extra axis,” these two axes combine to overcome the challenge of reaching and machining difficult to access points in the mold base. Additionally, due to the exceptional rigidity of the spindle (developed over years of deep hole drilling applications), plus its ability to reach into small areas without interference, hogging tough materials is possible without loss of accuracy.

The USC-M50 is the largest in the series, with a 59” x 47” table and 120” of X-axis travel.  The smaller USC-M38 and USC-M25 provide the same capabilities within a smaller envelope. View the full series of Unisig USC-M models, all of which include a video of the machine in action. 

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