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Fast and Accurate: Makino’s a120nx Large Part Machining Center Delivers for Aerospace Manufacturers

The Makino a120nx horizontal machining center delivers high speed and accuracy while also handling oversize structural components for the aerospace industry.

To mechanically support the unique challenges of large part machining, Makino employs the proven designs of its other nx-Series machines, such as three-point leveling and a tiered column design. Aerospace manufacturers are sure to find the a120nx more than able to meet their needs. The a120nx features:

  • Vast X-, Y- and Z-axis travels of 74.8 inches, 63 inches and 66.9 inches (1,900mm, 1,600mm
    and 1,700mm, respectively)
  • Standard large pallet size of 39.4 inches by 39.4 inches provides capacity for parts weighing
    up to 11,000 pounds
  • An automatic pallet changer switches from one pallet to the next in 38 seconds, minimizing
    non-cut times for the highest levels of productivity
  • Storage for up to 204 tools up to 35.4 inches long, 14 inches in diameter and weighing up to
    77 pounds
  • Maximum cutting feed rates and rapid rates for all linear axes of 2,126 inches (54 meters) per

Built for Rigid Continuous Production

Makino uses its three-point supported bed casting as the foundation for the a120nx. Makino’s design ensures all points are stable and contacting the floor. Developed to maintain the machine geometry and alignments, this design characteristic of the nx-Series machines simplifies installation and enables easy relocation of the machine.

Building on the rigidity of the bed casting, the a120nx incorporates a unique tiered column design that delivers greater resistance to Z-axis cutting forces throughout the work envelope. Robust cross-roller-style B-axis table bearings work in concert with a high-force rotary clamping system to ensure stable cutting throughout the machine’s expansive work zone.

Superior workpiece clamping is attributed to Makino’s four-cone pallet location and clamping system that delivers a secure 46,500 pounds of force on the pallet. This superior clamping capability combined with all pallets built to a master pallet eliminates deflection. Other standard features include an engineered precision air-blow system that cleans locating surfaces as well as pallet clamp confirmation.

Ensure Ideal Geometry and Accuracy

Machining of large aerospace parts requires producing larger features, too. Tool length, diameter and weight capacities of the a120nx support processes that use large face mills, boring bars and line-bar tooling.

The a120nx includes systems to manage the heat generated by rapid traverse of 2,126 inches per minute. The ballscrews are core cooled in all axes to yield consistent accuracy during continuous production. The ballscrews are all dual supported and pre-tensioned to ensure unparalleled dynamic positioning repeatability.

In addition, feature-to-feature movement distances on large parts are typically much greater, so rapid traverse rates were increased for the a120nx to cover these distances quickly.

Powerful Spindle Options, Pallet Clamping

The a120nx improves productivity in cutting and non-cutting performance.

The standard high-torque 8,000-rpm spindle boosts continuous power levels by significant levels over levels typically found in machines of this class. With 50 continuous (74 peak) horsepower, the spindle is ideally suited for heavy high metal-removal rate machining of ferrous and hard-metal materials. In addition, the spindle features impressive acceleration and deceleration capabilities due to its high duty-rated performance characteristics, that serve to reduce rigid tapping times by measurable amounts.

Also available is an optional 18,000-rpm high-power spindle, ideally suited to high metal-removal rate machining of light alloy structural components for aerospace components and semi-conductor manufacturing apparatus machining applications.

Within some machine tool designs, the management of the machining by-products is often overlooked to the point that they can result in interrupted operations, increased labor costs, machine damage, part-quality issues and reduced tool life. The Makino a120nx enables manufacturers to avoid these limitations with thoughtfully designed chip and coolant management features, including a combination of vertical and steeply sloped internal surfaces to remove obstacles between the workpiece and the machine’s central chip trough, allowing for efficient chip flow out, to the rear mounted high capacity lift-up conveyor. A standard cyclonic filtration system delivers ultra-clean coolant to the through spindle coolant pump.

Advanced Controls, Automation Ready

The a120nx is an agile heavyweight that comes with Makino’s Fanuc-based Pro-6 CNC control, which features a user-friendly touch-screen interface and advanced tool data management. Also included as standard is Makino’s patented Geometric Intelligence high-speed machining control system.

As more manufacturers look to increase productivity, reduce labor costs and compete successfully in the global marketplace, it’s critical that machining centers be designed to work in cells with robotic workpiece handling systems, as well as other types of automation solutions. The a120nx is fully compatible with Makino’s versatile multi-machine, multi-pallet MMC2 flexible manufacturing system and its highly capable MAS-A5 cell controller.

Discover more about the productive benefits of the a120nx in large aerospace part manufacturing at