CNC Machine Tools News

Two Turrets, Two Spindles, Two Approaches

Mazak has many options when it comes to turning centers with multi-tasking capabilities. Two such machine series, Mazak’s Multiplex and HQR, accomplish this in different ways.

Both Multiplex and HQR feature two spindles and two turrets. However, the twin spindles and turrets on Multiplex machines mirror each other, while HQRs have opposing spindles and an upper and lower turret. Each spindle and turret configuration provides specific advantages, so, depending on your application, one of these machines may be a better fit for your needs than another. In general, Multiplex machines are well suited to chucked parts and HQRs are ideal for bar workpieces.

Multiplex Series Advantages

Mazak Multiplex configuration

Part of what makes Multiplex Turning Centers so adept with chucked parts is their center partition, which allows them to essentially function as two machines in one. You can load or unload parts from one side without interrupting machining operations on the other spindle. The machine is even capable of simultaneously running two completely different part programs on each of its spindles. This feature, unique to the Multiplex series, makes the machines incredibly productive, especially when paired with a flexible gantry loader system.

When the center partition is not in use, it is easy to transfer parts from one side to another to machine both the front and back sides of parts. This Done-In-One, single setup production increases efficiency and improves part accuracy.

HQR Series Advantages

Mazak HQR configuration

The biggest advantage of the HQR Turning Centers’ spindle and turret configuration is its capacity for balanced cutting. With upper and lower turrets, the machine can cut parts from both the top and the bottom. This strategy optimizes throughput, which makes it better for high volume work. Adding bar feeders to HQR machines also increases capacity and simplifies material handling.

The fixed headstock on an HQR’s main spindle makes it a better option for bar workpieces than a Multiplex machine. On a Multiplex, both spindles can travel in the Z axis, which makes bar stock slightly more challenging to handle. In this case, the Multiplex must move the bar stock in and out of the spindle repeatedly, whereas an HQR can feed bar stock through the fixed headstock. To support the bar stock’s movements, a Multiplex often requires a telescopic mechanism to help manipulate the bar as it is fed into and out of the spindle.

One other key feature that enhances throughput is the HQR’s built-in robotic unload hand. It unloads finished parts and supplies new parts outside of the machine. Because the HQR does not have a center partition like the Multiplex does, the HQR’s spindle stops when the door is open to transfer parts. This hand improves productivity by speeding up the transfer of parts and reducing those non-cut times.

Determine the Right Machine for You

Different spindle and turret configurations optimize Multiplex and HQR machines for different applications. When your parts are primarily bar fed, the HQR will increase your productivity. For chucked parts, Multiplex machines simplify part handling and increase spindle utilization. Consider your applications, weigh the pros and cons of each machine against your needs and choose the best option for your shop.