AIM REDESIGNS MASTERJETSAW

April 1, 2009
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HICKORY, NC - Recently, Advanced Industrial Machinery (AIM) of Hickory, NC, redesigned one of its top products, the MasterJetSaw combination cutting saw/waterjet system, to reduce design/build costs and significantly improve stonecutting throughput and productivity. To achieve these goals, AIM incorporated a new drive and control system into the MasterJetSaw: the IndraMotion MTX CNC machine control platform, Profibus remote I/O and the innovative IndraDrive Mi integrated motor and drive system, all from the Bosch Rexroth Corp.’s Electric Drives and Controls technology group.

Combining a rigid, high-accuracy 20-horspower (HP) rotary cutting head, high-speed diamond-tipped blade and a 50-HP abrasive waterjet cutter into a single unit, the MasterJetSaw allows fabricators to cut accurately and repeatedly in stone up to 4 inches thick, reports the manufacturer. Most cuts are straight, using the 20-HP rotary saw. The waterjet is used for radiuses, sink cut-outs, holes for pipes and fixtures, and other circular or curved cuts.

Until recently, AIM built waterjet and saw machines using conventional servo drives and motors, but it was looking for new technology that would:

• Reduce the machine footprint

• Lower machine component costs

• Reduce the time to build machines and deliver to the market

• Improve stonecutting productivity and materials utilization

AIM worked with Livingston & Haven of Charlotte, NC, a leading supplier of manufacturing productivity technology solutions, and a major distributor of Bosch Rexroth products, to identify the best solution to satisfy their requirements for the MasterJetSaw. AIM and Livingston & Haven chose to upgrade the machine with the Rexroth IndraMotion MTX CNC platform and the IndraDrive Mi integrated servomotor and drive system, for a complete drive and control solution.

Rexroth’s innovative IndraDrive Mi combines a servomotor and drive into a single, ultracompact unit that is about 50% smaller than conventional servomotor and drive systems, according to the company. By mounting the drive electronics on the motor, instead of in a separate control cabinet, it is possible to dramatically reduce machine footprint and component costs.

Using IndraDrive Mi integrated motors and drives allowed AIM to replace a large freestanding enclosure that previously housed all the servo amplifiers, power supplies, contactors and other components with two smaller, 24- x 24-inch cabinets mounted on the machine. This reduced the overall machine footprint considerably and saved costs on the enclosure.

“Reducing the MasterJetSaw’s footprint, component cost and machine build time were all important goals for us,” said AIM president Bob Pharr. “The Rexroth IndraDrive Mi was key to meeting all three. By using the IndraDrive Mi we cut the machine electrical build time in half.”

The IndraDrive Mi also improved the MasterJetSaw’s operational efficiency, resulting in material savings.

In terms of stonecutting, closed-loop control of multi-axis interpolated motion has resulted in optimal rounded cuts, reports Pharr.

Additionally, the IndraMotion MTX CNC precisely controls the movement of the circular saw and waterjet to make sure each piece is cut properly with minimal waste and much greater accuracy. As a result, operators can space parts with much tighter tolerances, cutting more pieces from each slab.

“The parts are accurate to within four to five thousandths of an inch, far more accurate than what’s been done in the past,” said Pharr. “Because the original cut is more accurate, it speeds up the finishing process.”

One of the first companies to use the updated MasterJetSaw with the Rexroth IndraMotion MTX and IndraDrive Mi technology is Elite Installation and Designs, Inc. of Hendersonville, TN. According to Elite President Chris Brown, within the first week of using the MasterJetSaw, they were able to eliminate overtime entirely, and were cutting so fast they moved five days ahead of their production schedule.

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