The Federal Reserve predicted in mid-December that the economy will grow by 4 percent in 2021, and unemployment should decline to 5-1/2 percent. Given such optimism, it may be time to upgrade CNC capabilities in production shops. Upgrades can involve software, ergonomics, tooling, capacity, robotic loading and unloading, larger beds and gantries, stronger and larger vacuum capacity, or adding features such as stamping or labeling.
Anderson America (andersonamerica.com) allows customers to add options or upgrades before, during or after installation of its new ‘future proof’ Spectrum-M Series.
“There’s a list of no-penalty, in-the-field retrofits available for this machine,” says Tom Flowers, Anderson’s president of sales. “So, it can grow with the business that invests in it. Plus, it comes with a 25-year parts availability guarantee from Fanuc.”
The list includes an 8- to 15-position tool changer, a drill block that can be upgraded from 6 inline to 9 (as a 5+5), and pump capacity that can be doubled in the field without adding starters, switches, valves or even additional power drops.
The new 5G Series from CNC Factory can be expanded with hydraulic loading tables, robotic cleaning and dust extraction, an unloading conveyor with material sensing, and automatic pressurized lubrication. Even if the shop doesn’t actually need all these functions right away, it’s a smart move to buy a machine that’s pre-wired for them so it can grow as the shop’s needs grow.
5 axes and work cells
The Xtreme Series from Komo Machine (komo.com) features a moving table configuration and a side-mounted tool changer available with a single, twin or two-table option. Komo’s Fusion Series offers a larger tool changer and more Z travel, a moving table configuration and a spindle-mounted tool changer. Its Mach III Series has a 15-position automatic tool changer with aggregate capability, and the Solution Series was developed for customers who require flexibility in the length of the machine. They have a moving gantry with a table sizes of 5’ in the Y axis and up to 110’ in the X axis.
NexTech Machinery (nextechmachinery.com) offers a number of CNC choices from its parent company, Excitech CNC. For larger shops, the R400 is a work cell that adds various levels of automation for the loading and removal of finished parts. There are options for label printing, and the machine’s remote diagnostics ensure maximum uptime. For woodshops that are looking for a large format router, NexTech offers the 7’ x 14’ E3/R300.
Casadei-Busellato America (casadeibusellato.us) presents the Jet Master RT 13/3 with a working zone of 146” x 52”. The table is machined from thick phenolic with gasket channels throughout for reconfiguring the vacuum area. The company also offers a router nesting cell with automatic loading. Casadei-Busellato is imported and distributed by JKL Machinery (jklmachinery.com), which has a showroom in Brighton, Mich.
There are a number of large shop CNC options available from Techno CNC Systems (technocnc.com). The Venture is a nesting machine with a 12-hp HSD, automatic tool changer, eight-position rotary carousel and nine-spindle drill bank. There’s also a Venture Plus for high-volume shops.
The new Innovator from AXYZ (axyz.com) has several new features that include an exclusive, enclosed three-position tool changer option. It’s available in two sizes: 49” x 53” and 96” x 60”. The company also offers the Pacer that comes in widths from 60” to 103” and lengths up to 20’.
The flagship machine at Castaly Inds. (castaly-cncmachine.com) is the 5-axis Creative-510 with a 5’ x 10’ working area, Syntec controller, and six-zone vacuum table surface.
Moving to a larger machine
ShopBot Tools (shopbottools.com) says its PRSalpha series of full-sized gantry tools have “enough production capability for a three-shift factory”. These are easy to configure, reconfigure, learn and use, and they deliver full-production performance. The work area options are 96” x 48”, 96” x 60”, 120” x 60” and 144” x 60”.
Thermwood (thermwood.com) offers a number of entry and mid-level machines and four larg, MultiPurpose 5-axis units. The MultiPurpose 67 and 90 models come with single or dual moving aluminum tables, and a 12-, 16- or 19-hp spindle. Model 77 was developed specifically for 3D machining.
There are half a dozen nesting CNCs from Biesse America that range from the compact Rover K that comes with a 4’ x 8’ table and gantry structure to the Excel, which offers flexibility for machining more challenging components from solid wood to nesting panels, small doors, furniture and composite materials. The option to configure this machine with additional independent carriages (either one or two at the front and one at the rear) allows for significant increases in performance and productivity.
Felder Group USA (felder-group.com) offers more than a dozen CNC options, many of which have large table formats, 5-axes (including the new H150, the H500 and the new H350), and nesting setups (the H08, H80, H10 and H100). The H150 can be extended to full automation with different loading and unloading solutions.
Laguna Tools (lagunatools.com) has the SmartShop 3+2, a 5-axis model with a heavy one-piece steel frame, a 12-hp spindle and a Fanuc controller. There are several head options from HSD to fit specific needs.
The Talent T3 from New CNC (newcnc.com) is a panel-processing machine geared towards cabinetry, signage, plastic fabrication and fine woodworking. It can be upgraded with optional auto load and unload attachments. And the company also offers the Accel III that features a 12-position traveling carousel toolholder (HSK-63 and ER-32) and nine-spindle drill block.
SCM North America (scmgroup.com) carries over 40 machines CNC machining centers, including models from Balestrini, Accord, Morbidelli and Routech. With such a wide range of choices, a woodshop looking to upgrade should probably schedule an initial chat with a sales expert just to narrow down the options. Plus, a full catalog machinery supplier such as SCM will also be able to discuss creating work cells and integration with other machines such as beam saws, dust control and edge banders.
Founded in 1965 and now part of the Homag Group, Stiles Machinery (stilesmachinery.com) is a distributor for several manufacturers, including Greda, Homag, and Unique. The advantage here is that the company can shop among brands to meet the exact needs of a woodshop whether it’s producing furniture, millwork or casework.
With more than a century of family ownership (now in its fifth generation) and a list of patents, C.R. Onsrud (cronsrud.com) offers everything from simple inverted routers to industrial-scale manufacturing systems. There are almost two dozen categories in the CNC machining catalog. The company also offers Osync Machine Analytics, which is a software product that can let a shop manager know when there’s a problem such as productivity numbers are not reaching goals, or the load-time between parts or sheets is too long, or a tool is out of balance.
Atlantic Machinery (atlanticmach.com) in New Milford, Conn. has been importing woodworking machinery since 1984. It offers the Vitap Point K2, a compact CNC specially designed for custom furniture manufacturers and flexible high production. Grooving operations can be carried out without any set up time, and the machine can optimize panel cutting, drill holes in five directions, and perform squaring and routing operations. The newest model, the K2 2.0 has a proprietary bar nesting feature.
The Cobra Elite from CAMaster (camaster.com) comes in five table options – from 5’ x 5’ to 6’ x 12’ – and its steel frame supports a helical rack-and-pinion drive system, Servo motors on all axes with planetary gearboxes, and a 12-hp HSD spindle.
Hendrick Mfg. (hendrickmanufacturing.com) offers three 3-axis high-volume production machines and two 5-axes models. The HHD-V Series 5-axis is the company’s top-of-the-line model.
The Pegasus series CNC from Limtech Inds. (limtechindustries.com) is designed with a heavy-duty gantry and base frame construction for serious production. It uses a Fanuc controller that comes with a two-year warranty and has square linear guide bearings. The Z stroke can be up to 40”, the table can be up to 10’ wide by 40’ long, the machine can be equipped with up to eight spindles and eight Servo drive tool changers.
Diversified Machine Systems (dmscncrouters.com) builds industrial-grade CNC machines in the U.S. The company’s Essentials line offers a great universal platform ideal for configurability in both 3- and 5-axis versions. These machines feature a bigger bridge, rails and ball screw than the company’s entry-level Freedom line. The open-style format allows for easy loading and unloading, and the table on the 5-axis version pairs seamlessly with the DMS quick-change fixture system. Enclosed formats, ideal for dust containment, are also an option.
Holz-Her U.S. (holzerusa.com) offers three CNC machining centers, the Pro-Master 70, 71 and 72 series, with 3 to 5 axes. The company also has a new line of nesting CNC machining centers, the Dynestic 7532, 7507 and 7505, with a free-form software solution for stairs and frame construction.
MultiCam (multicam.com) makes a full line of CNCs including the production-grade 7000 Series. It can be configured with tables measuring 5’ x 5’ to 10’ by 50’. It has auto load and unload capabilities and automatic tool calibration.
Hermance Machine (hermance.com) provides a wide selection of industrial woodworking equipment from the U.S. and abroad at its 60,000-sq.-ft. warehouse and showroom in Williamsport, Pa. Hermance also specializes in equipment refurbishing and sales of used machinery.
Another option for used equipment is Ex-Factory (exfactory.com) which has a showroom in Zeeland, Mich. And shops making SIPs and other large architectural or carpentry units may wish to visit with Soukup (soukupamerica.com), which offers a multi-function CNC bridge for large projects.
This article was originally published in the February 2021 issue.