World premiere of iQ300 at EUROMOLD:
Smart solution for economical machining of miniature parts

Up to now, precision micro machining centres have mainly been built by re-search institutes and some machine tool makers ­ with little thought to pro-duction costs. To meet the growing demand for a machine that can produce very fine part geometries with superb accuracy at acceptable cost levels, Ma-kino has launched its iQ300 Precision Machining Centre at EUROMOLD in Frank-furt, Germany from December 2nd ­ 5th. This innovative new machine is on view to the trade public for the first time at this exhibition.

iQ by name, iQ by performance: this new precision micromachining centre from Makino is the smart response to the ever-greater miniaturisation and more complex functionality seen, for example, in mobile phones, other portable digital devices, medical equipment and optical products. The iQ300 delivers precision micromachining with the required accuracy at practical cutting feed rates ­ something that has been difficult to accomplish with con-ventional vertical machining centres.
Roundness accuracy to within 0.65 µm has actually been measured for a micromachin-ing toolpath radius of 0.1 mm executed at a cutting feed of 100 mm/min. At high cutting feeds of 2,000 mm/min in circular machining (50 mm hole) roundness accuracy was measured to within 0.6 µm with a toolpath radius of 28 mm.
The feed axis mechanism features ultra-precision rolling guideways and linear drive motors. This combination ensures fast responsiveness and a smooth feed action similar to that of sliding guideways. The lubrication supply system has been designed to accommo-date machining programmes involving long hours of repeated tiny feeds. The XYZ axes all feature linear motors that are optimally positioned to ensure that their push/pull effect does not affect the rolling guideway straightness. The iQ300 is equipped with a 0.005 µm scale feedback system. The feed mechanism provides excellent responsiveness, moving faith-fully to command increments of just 0.1 µm, and minimises tiny undulations to deliver high-quality machined surfaces. The lines that occur in a machined surface at the time of quad-rant reversal and the striped patterns due to fine undulations are suppressed to a level that cannot be discerned by the human eye.
The iQ300 is fitted with a newly developed 45,000 min-1 spindle, based on the highly reliable V Series spindle of which 6,500 have been installed around the world since 1996. The top spindle speed has been increased by a further 5,000 min-1 and the HSK-E32 spin-dle taper hole adopted. The cooling efficiency of the spindle motor and bearings has also been improved to reduce spindle dynamic run-out in high-speed operations. This improve-ment helps to bring out the full performance of micro tools with increasingly small diame-ters and contributes to a longer tool life.
The iQ300 follows Makino philosophy in machining centres, where the first priority is to have a stable, rigid and accurate mechanical structure. Even with its compact dimen-sions, the machine weighs over 8,000 kg. Though all movable parts are light in weight, they are supported by a strong, heavy structure.
Thermal stability is important in ensuring precision machining over long periods. The iQ300 comes with a number of thermal stability features: cast-iron machine construction optimally designed on the basis of structural and thermal analyses; spindle core cooling and under race lubrication system; double jacket cooling system for the linear motor drive mechanism; coolant temperature controller (optional); bed and Column Stabiliser (optional); and Makino Thermal Chamber (optional).
Level differences between areas machined with different micro tools are a big headache in micromachining. A standard feature of the iQ300, the hybrid automatic tool length measuring device, accurately measures and corrects the tool tip position and that of the rotating spindle nose. This reduces level differences to an absolute minimum so that the machined surfaces are of outstanding quality and position, even with micro tools.

The table measures 600 mm x 400 mm in relation to XY-axis travels of 400 mm x 350 mm. This practical size is conducive to the machining of multiple same-shape items and the use of automatic chucks and precision vices.
Last but far from least, the intelligence of the iQ300 is demonstrated in its ease of opera-tion. A lighter door makes for easier opening and closing ­ an important factor in precision micromachining where the machining chamber door is opened and closed more frequently to check the machining condition. Large transparent polycarbonate windows provide im-proved visibility inside the machining chamber, even when the door is closed.

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