Grounded ball screws, linear roller guides and NSK high-precision ball bearings help IMSA consolidate its top position in specialized deep hole drilling machines, which are particularly popular for automotive applications. PES reports.
IMSA is an Italian company that has become a world leader in specialized machining centers for drilling deep holes. For more than 30 years, IMSA has introduced a number of technical innovations that, in addition to consolidating its position, have led to the installation of more than 500 machines currently operating in Italy and the rest of the European Union, as well as in Canada and the United States. , Brazil and Mexico. The company has a particularly significant market share in the automotive mold manufacturing sector.
Drilling deep holes is a complex mechanical operation due to the absolute precision and productivity required by today’s market, especially (but not exclusively) in the automotive mold industry. Molds used to make medium and large plastic components require deep drilling to create long and precise cooling channels, some up to 1500 mm and larger.
Partnerships contribute to the history of innovation
IMSA has always been able to anticipate market needs by providing its customers with new concepts capable of making a quantum leap in the performance and performance of deep hole drilling. These include its exclusive autofocus system for optimal movement of stable supports, developed back in 1996, and the concept of independent drilling and milling axes, which arrives next year. In 2000, IMSA unveiled a vertical portal structure for the column, which is said to provide 16 times the rigidity of traditional solutions.
The evolution of IMSA’s deep hole drilling machines continued with the introduction of the milling head replacement, which for the first time made it possible to change the drilling head of the pistol without operator intervention. The company has also launched its Swing on Top switching system, which allows the same spindle to be used for both deep drilling and milling operations.
IMSA integrates powerful liquid-cooled electric spindles in its latest Evo series of the highest class, both to improve productivity when drilling deep holes and to ensure high-level milling before and after drilling the die conditioning circuit .
“Our partners have always played a key role in all the technological innovations that distinguish our company,” said Marco Colombo, Head of Technical, IMSA. “To put our design ideas into practice, we use high-quality components that can ensure the best performance and reliability over time. For example, NSK has always been our starting point in traffic control throughout the evolution of our machines. The availability of optimum quality NSK bearings, ball screws and linear guides has allowed us to build the highest performance machines in our sector. ”
Rotating table provides processing of the matrix in five axes
One of IMSA’s latest innovations is the development of a rotary tilting table that allows the machining of dies in five axes using only one clamping position, which further reduces production time. The MF1000-3T Evo, a deep to medium hole drilling machine weighing up to 2.5 tonnes, is the first model to be equipped with this solution.
Mr Colombo explains: “For this particular application, we have created a single-head machine with one HSK63A electric spindle (200 Nm), combined with three deep-hole drilling heads, including automatic head change and an 80-position automatic tool change tool. .
In addition, the MF1000-3T Evo is supported by our own design automation system for two-station pallet replacement (expandable up to six), which allows the customer to perform complete mechanical operations of considerable complexity with minimum downtime and long unmanned cycles. . “
Here, too, IMSA uses NSK’s latest generation solutions to achieve the required high performance, even in a relatively small machine.
“To transform axial movement into rotational motion, we use two 63 mm diameter NSK ZSS series propellers,” explains Mr Colombo. “Compared to the previous generation of ball screws, they guarantee greater rigidity and perform better in terms of speed and load capacity. as a result, the working axes of the machine can move with a feed speed of up to 30 m / min. This is just one of many examples of how the components we choose in collaboration with NSK technicians allow us to achieve our ambitious goals. “
Another product family of NSK that is extremely important for machines designed by IMSA are the RA series roller guides, which represent the best rigidity, load capacity and precision. Cellular roller construction technology ensures smooth and quiet movement and prevents the rollers from crossing in order to completely eliminate the risk of damage or premature damage. The roller guides, together with NSK ball screws, are the heart of the solution, which guarantees a solid movement in IMSA machines.
Flexibility and customized deliveries
The cooperation between IMSA and NSK is long-standing and is strengthened by the constant interaction between the designers of the Italian company and the specialists from the local support team of NSK.
“During all these years of cooperation, we have seen that NSK ball screws are the best in the world,” said Mr Colombo. “A well-sized NSK ball screw is practically eternal, so we are happy to continue this successful partnership. In addition, we appreciate the company’s ability to be very flexible; NSK local staff is always available to meet our specific needs in a short time.
“We often order custom products, such as individual lengths or double ball screws, which are essential to ensure the best mechanical performance of our portal structure. We especially appreciate flexibility in delivery. “
From high precision ball bearings to roller bearings; from linear guides with automatic lubrication systems to heavy-duty ball screws; There is no product in the NSK catalog that IMSA designers have not looked at carefully.
“The most important thing is the common vision of the two companies: to add value to the machines in terms of productivity and durability. In this way, we achieve our goal: to meet the expectations of our customers and make them return with any new project that the market requires, in the spirit of long-term cooperation. “