Intorex 5 Axis CNC Machining Centres Proving A Hit In The UK

Intorex the specialist manufacturer of 5 axis ‘between centres’ CNC machining centres have once again enjoyed another successful year and now have a total of 7 high specification TMC CNC machining centres working in the UK & Ireland, with a total of well over 150 sold worldwide. These machines are proving ideal for the production of finished sanded solid wood furniture and stair parts with even the most complex design and shape. Using their 40 years experience in the production of semi-automatic and CNC turning equipment, Intorex have used this knowledge to manufacture a range of CNC machining centres that can be used for both the production of standard turned items and more complex contemporary design parts that have become very popular in recent years. The current range consists of 3 different models of machine to suit varying production requirements.

As standard all machines are equipped with automatic hopper feed loading systems, a milling head for shaping and a flat belt sanding unit for finish sanding flat faces. The TC1000 model also has two router head units fitted, one working in the vertical and the other in the horizontal. This gives the machine the ability to produce a wide range of different components. The new TKC1500 model has the same milling / sanding heads, but additionally is fitted with an overhead router head with 6 position rotary tool changer and a sawblade for producing turned parts. With this specially designed ‘patented’ blade it is possible to remove a large amount of stock in one pass, without sacrificing the quality and detail of the turning. Optionally to give further turning possibilities a vee type cutting gouge can be fitted and also a narrow vertical sanding unit for the turned parts. (So the machine has 2 x separate sanding heads). In total the TKC is equipped with 6 CNC controlled axis, 5 of which are interpolated. Other features include a self-centering system for manually loading large section blanks and also a pneumatically activated ‘cushion’ which prevents the machined part from being damaged when ejected on to the lateral exit conveyor belt.

The TMC can be supplied with a working length capacity of 1500 or 3000mm and has a total of 9 CNC controlled axis, 5 of which are interpolated. One big advantage the additional controlled axis gives is the ability to mill and sand at the same time. Also the TMC has a larger working capacity than the other 2 models offering a maximum section size to be loaded of 300mm sq (150mm sq. in automatic). Other features include a 10 position rotary tool changer and 22kw headstock motor. On request the TMC can also be equipped with a fixed or removable flat bed table to facilitate traditional 4 axis CNC machining with the router head. The table can be specified in different sizes with various pneumatic or vacuum clamping systems.

At the heart of the construction of all the machines is the electro-welded mono block solid steel plate base structure which has a wall thickness of 30mm. Only with this type of basement is it possible to achieve the highest quality machined components, even when working with pieces can that can be up to 300mm sq x 3m long. The rest of the design and build of the machines follow the same path using heavy steel construction of the main column along with the automatic hopper feed loader. As standard machines are supplied with Intorex’s 3D IntorEDIT design software but on request can be supplied with the leading Solidworks / Solidcam software package that includes kinematics and simulation giving the ability to produce complex asymmetric parts. Alternatively customers can choose their own software company to work with.

While the machine construction itself is of critical importance, there are some significant features on the machines that assist the actual operation and set up. These include hydraulic operation of the tailstock which is needed when producing items that may be quite thin and only when using hydraulics is it possible to properly regulate the clamping pressure. If not the piece will just break! When working with long thin / narrow parts such as stair spindles there is also a need to have some form of steady to hold the blank while it is being machined to help prevent any movement. As a result Intorex designed a ‘patented’ automatic adjustable pneumatic steady that works in conjunction with the CNC machine cycle so no manual intervention is needed. Other items of note are the eccentric tailstock device to enable ‘off centre’ machining and also the optional narrow sanding belt for turned parts which incorporates a pneumatic jump action, controlled through the CNC program, with 2 top and bottom ‘knife’ edge rollers meaning that the it is possible to precisely control what part / detail of the turning is sanded. Lastly the main movements and adjustments of the hopper feed loader are all by screw with siko mechanical digital readout to aid quick and precise set ups.

Highlighting the progress the company have made and their future commitment to product development and aftersales support / service (which they already have an excellent reputation for worldwide) Intorex have recently moved in to a new purpose built manufacturing, demonstration and training facility totalling 3,500sq/m.