EES initially approached the Client with the concept of a specially designed machine in 2009, following its successful refurbishment of a number of long bed Marwin Gantry Machines, which are used for machining of Aircraft Wing Stringers & Spars. A pending re-structure of its manufacturing facilities in 2013/2014 left the client with the choice of either re-locating several existing machines or contracting EES to design and manufacture a new Gantry Machine; the relocation would be costly and would inevitably result in a massive loss in production, so the client opted for the new Gantry Machine.
The machine is of fixed bed, travelling gantry construction with a Bed length of 31,500mm and an X Axis travel of 30,000mm. The component is clamped in Vices mounted on cross-members that effectively form the Table area of the Bed; wide apertures between the cross-members allow the swarf to fall into the middle of the base, directly into the centre-mounted Swarf Conveyor.
Three independently programmable Spindles are mounted on the front & rear of the Gantry; the primary 45Kw/2000rpm Spindle, mounted on the front of the Gantry, is designed to carry a 315mm wide Facemill for roughing and finish prepping of the Wing Stringer; the two 15Kw/9000rpm Auxiliary Spindles, mounted on independent Saddles on the rear of the Gantry (pictured above) are used for machining of clamping slots and profiling of details on the back of the Stringer.
The machine is fitted with the very latest Fanuc 31i multi-channel CNC System, which allows 3 separate part programmes to run (one for each Spindle) simultaneously, around a virtual X Axis.
In developing the final design, EES sat with the Clients production engineers to discuss the challenges of machining this particular type of component and, just as importantly, the shortfalls of existing off-the-shelf machine tools. From there, the concept design was adapted in to a detailed design solution that is tailored to meet this Clients individual manufacturing requirements.
Despite the fact that the machine has only been in production for a relatively short period of time, the Client is already reaping the benefits; cycle times have been reduced significantly due to the unique Gantry design which enables two machining operations to be performed simultaneously. Furthermore, this has all been achieved in under 12 months, from concept design to commissioning at the Clients site – exactly to the quoted delivery date and at a fraction of the cost of any recognised, commercially available Gantry Machine.