MOORESVILLE, NC - Holz-Her will show the Evolution 7405 vertical CNC machining center at IWF 2014 in Atlanta.
A semi-finalist in the Challengers Distinguished Achievement Award program, the Evolution made its North American debut at the Cabinets & Closets Expo, April 9-10 in Somerset, NJ.
The CNC machine compresses a fully-functional, highly automated CNC machine into 50 square feet - processing panels vertically, like a vertical panel saw, to reduce floor space usage.
Vertical machining centers have proven popular, with thousands sold. They have allowed custom woodshops and closets companies that are landlocked to automate without relocating or rebuilding. And in larger plants they have formed production pods for the increasingly tailored "batch-one" cabinets and storage systems.
Essentially, the operator places a panel into the rail at the opening on either side of the Evolution, and it does the rest. It cuts all four sides and the front face, feeding the workpiece through the system and sawing, cutting, drilling, shaping, and grooving, delivering the finished piece at the exit end.
Simplifying operation of the Evolution is its HOPS software package, which has a 3D milling simulator - previewing the project. Evolution also handles design files from other applications through a DXF interface.
In the standard configuration, it handles panels 3 feet high, and up to 10 feet long (without additional support rollers). A panel weighing up to 165 lbs. can be a processed. It can automatically adjust to workpiece thicknesses from 0.33 inch to 2.75 inch without operator adjustment. And it can mill workpieces as small as 8x2.75-inch.
To move the workpiece through its processing sequence, including bottom trims, a software controlled, patent-pending work holding system incorporating suction pods comes into play. These cups automatically position themselves to allow machining of work pieces up to 5 feet long, on all four sides without re-clamping.
On the standard Evolution 7403 series, a drill head is equipped with 6 horizontal drills for in-line drilling in x and y direction as well as grooving cuts with an integrated x axis saw. Integrated tool optimization reduces machining time and travel of the tools.
The standard heavy duty 7.5 HP motor drives the spindle with 80 mm diameter tool capacity, including edge profile machining
An optional performance package in the Evolution 7405 has a 9 HP heavy duty HSK spindle with 6-position auto tool change. This can profile edges, cut square toe-kicks, engrave, etc., precisely milling and drilling the workpiece on all four sides and its front.
"The Evolution is unique versus other vertical machining centers in the market due to the unique patent-pending work-piece holding," says says Michael Cassell, Executive Sales/CNC Product Manager at Holz-Her US. "All other machines utilize pneumatic clamping to hold the work piece.
"This restricts machining on the bottom side and limits drilling and grooving close to the bottom edge. If machining these areas of the panel is required, the part must be released and rotated and re-indexed. This can result in mis-positioning, misalignment or incorrect referencing as well as increasing cycle time.
"The Evolution utilizes vacuum-pod positioning- this allows for full clearance around all edges and the full face of the panel, thereby eliminating any restriction of machining. With this method of work holding the Evolution can machine all surfaces in a single set up and no re-indexing of the part is required."
The clamping system has another advantage: since a vacuum is used for part holding instead of clamping, damage to delicate materials or to high gloss surfaces is eliminated.
Vertical machining, in addition to reducing in floor space usage, has faster cycle times - and greater efficiency of dust collection since it is on a contained space.
The Evolution is aimed at panel processing for closet components and MDF doors, says Cassell. "We are exploring potential in solid wood applications, particularly in sizing and profiling of 5 piece cabinet doors," he notes.