CNC Multi Promises Drastic Reductions in Manufacturing Cost Per Part

A new, multi-spindle turn-milling centre, in which the six independently controlled spindles are served by both a 2-axis CNC slide and a single-axis plunge turning slide, has been launched by German turning machine manufacturer, Index. Launched at the recent IMTS (Chicago) and AMB (Stuttgart) exhibitions, the machine is available in the UK through sole sales and service agent, Geo Kingsbury Machine Tools, Gosport.

Replacement of cam-controlled lathes for the production of parts up to 16 mm diameter, especially in the automotive industry, is the main focus of the new CNC multi, designated MS16C. It takes advantage of turning with carbide form tools that have been produced using the latest, highly controlled sparking processes, which have prolonged the life of this type of cutter. Form tools, usually found on cam-type lathes, are a fast method of turning multiple features on a component.

At the same time, the MS16C retains the flexibility of CNC multi-spindle mill-turning using two-axis interpolation of single-point tools in programmable, servo-driven compound slides. Advantages include shorter setup times as well as the possibility of driven tool operations and back-working for complete, one-hit machining.

The multi is particularly compact, with a footprint of just 1,300 mm by 2,600 mm, and has an integrated bar feed unit and chip conveyor. The standard 24 CNC axis version includes five X-axis form turning slides, two drilling slides, three compound slides with 45 mm travel in X and 70 mm in Z, a cut-off and back-boring slide with X/Z axes, and a synchronous, 10,000 rpm spindle that can move 140 mm in Z at 30 m/min.

The latter, which incorporates hydraulic parts ejection, allows reverse end machining in conjunction with up to three dedicated tools, two of which can be driven. The machine can alternatively be configured with five compound slides to provide 26 CNC axes.

The two tool carriers are arranged around each spindle in a V formation to allow simultaneous use of two cutters. Machining operations can be freely defined in almost any spindle position. Valuable time can be gained, for example, by performing internal operations while grooving the external workpiece contour.

Each cross slide can be equipped with several tools - internal, external, stationary or live - that can be engaged in succession under CNC. This makes it possible to reduce the number of required slides in the machine configuration or to increase the number of machining operations.

The six 8.7 kW spindles use maintenance-free, hollow-shaft motor technology and can be programmed to rotate independently at up to 10,000 rpm. Fluid cooling results in high power, allowing elevated loads and speeds without excessive heat generation, contributing to thermal stability. The ability to select speeds and feeds independently at each spindle results in optimal chipping, maximum surface quality and short production times, even when processing exotic materials.

All operations expected of modern turning centres can be completed, including drilling, elliptical deburring of cross-drilled holes, tapping, milling, polygon turning, hobbing, tooth milling, deep-hole drilling and slotting. Standard toolholder interfaces can be used with the appropriate adapters (Capto, HSK, VDI, Index).

The 26 CNC axes plus an additional five free axes for auxiliary equipment are controlled by an INDEX C200-4D, based on the latest generation of Sinumerik 840D solutionline control, featuring the new INDEXoperate user interface for multi-spindle automatic lathes.

All necessary set-up data are stored with the part program, allowing rapid job changeover. Numerous functions such as part production time evaluation or block time measuring help to optimise part programs. Index offers virtual machine set-up and interference checking on a PC workstation for the MS16C to reduce idle times further.

Index is by far the largest manufacturer of CNC multi's worldwide, having a 'C' range of machines encompassing maximum bar diameters of 52, 40, 32, 22 and now 16 mm, with 'P' and 'G' variants offering opposed spindle technology.

Contact: Richard Kingsbury, Managing Director,

Geo Kingsbury Machine Tools Limited

Quay Lane, Hardway, Gosport, Hants, PO12 4LB.

Tel: 023 9258 0371. Fax: 023 9250 1741.


Web site:

Contact: Chris Wright,


PO Box 42, Twickenham, TW1 1BQ

Tel: 020 8891 0603


Web site:

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