Direct-Drive Indexer Improves Cycle Time by 30%

Hardinge Inc., Workholding Division
May 30, 2007

CNC Engineering is a job shop located in Lake Elsinore, California. CNC Engineering manufactures tight tolerance, high quality parts for aerospace, defense and commercial industries requiring high precision work. Some production runs are for 10,000 pieces or more. The company does both CNC milling and turning and has been in business for 21 years.

Recently, CNC Engineering purchased a Haas Super Mini Mill and was using an existing Haas indexer on one of the jobs running on this mill. Dave Ahlberg, the local salesman for Hardinge's distributor, Machinery Sales Co., stopped by for a visit and mentioned Hardinge's new High-Speed Direct-Drive 2150-degree per second rotary system to Casey Heinrichs, Vice President of CNC Engineering. Casey indicated that he would like to know more about it. Dave Ahlberg brought in John Lillycrop, Hardinge's Western Region Workholding Sales Engineer to explain the features and benefits of the new Hardinge DD100 Direct-Drive Rotary System with an A2-5 5C colleted spindle.

Features that were of great interest to Casey were the 2,150-degrees per second indexing speed, the rigidity of the spindle provided by the high precision cross roller bearing system, the high accuracy provided by the ±2 Arc Second Renishaw encoder that is directly mounted to the spindle, and the ZERO backla±sh that is made possible by the spindle mounted direct-drive rare earth torque motor. This extremely accurate, high-speed, gearless, zero backlash system was introduced by Hardinge at IMTS 2006. Hardinge developed the high-speed system to match the fastest axis travels available in the industry on high-speed mill/drill machines so that these high-speed machines would not have to waste time waiting for the indexer to position. After John Lillycrop finished his presentation, Casey could see the benefits to his company using such a system and purchased the system that day.

Productivity Gain

In late March 2007, a follow-up visit with CNC Engineering was made by John Lillycrop and Joe Colvin, Hardinge's Vice President of Workholding to thank Casey for being the first company on the West Coast to purchase the system and to find out if Casey was pleased with its performance. Casey shared the productivity gain he has experienced on one of his jobs. This job was being run on the Haas Super Mini Mill using the Hardinge DD100 Direct-Drive System being controlled by Hardinge's Programmable Digital Servo Control Box that was coordinated with the CNC control through the use of an M-code for start and finish signals. By using the Hardinge DD100 Direct-Drive System, the cycle time on this part was reduced from 30 seconds to 23 seconds just from the 2,150 degrees per second indexing speed. This reduction in cycle time saves CNC Engineering 19.4 hours on a 10,000-piece production run.

Casey is extremely pleased with the Direct-Drive Rotary System and believes that he will be able to reduce cycle times on most of his other jobs. He also is very pleased with the accuracy and zero backlash of the system and can clearly see the benefits of those features on many of his jobs. Joe Colvin states that there will be no accuracy loss over time because there is no worm and gear to wear in a Direct-Drive System. For more information call 800-510-3161 or visit

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