Ditching the Drill Press for a FlexArm to Tap Aluminum Extrusions

Watch the video of this application at the bottom of this page.

A recent prospect reached out to the FlexArm team looking for a better tapping solution. The company is a nationally-ranked advanced facade contractor, and they were looking for an efficient way to tap aluminum extrusions.

They are currently outsourcing these parts or tapping them in-house with a drill press. However, the problem with outsourcing is that they have no control over the quality or consistency of their parts. Because their volume is so high, they were hoping to leave the drill press for a quicker and more efficient option. We told them to send in some of their parts and we would test them using the FlexArm.

The extrusion needs two inches of total thread depth and needs to accept a set screw at the end. We fixtured up the part horizontally and chose to tap with the GHM-18 Hydraulic FlexArm. The multi-position head (signified with the ‘M’ in GHM) will allow the operator to tap horizontally and easily reach their desired thread depth.

Finished Aluminum Extrusion After Tapping With FlexArm

One issue we ran into during this tap test was chip evacuation. The end-user supplied us with a straight flute pulley tap, but due to the horizontal positioning, the chips had nowhere to go. We swapped the tap with a 3 flute spiral point tap, and this helped to pull the chips out of the part. The tap change was a success and the FlexArm had no problem tapping the aluminum extrusion to the correct depth.

If you are experiencing any similar problems or just looking to speed up your tapping process give us a call at 1-800-837-2503 or schedule a tap test today.

 

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Standard Features

  • Hand Pendant
  • 22″ Touch Screen Monitor
  • Omron FlexCNC Controller
  • Mobile Control Panel
  • Through Spindle Coolant 
  • Auto Tool Changer 
  • Flood Coolant
HP
Max RPM
FT/LBS
Series

18

4000

92

C-20-02 / C-10-02

18

6000

61

C-20-02 / C-10-02

33

12000

61

CM-20-02

Auto Stand-Off – This is currently defined to be surface stand-off and not to be confused with vector stand-off in 5-axis mode. The current auto stand-off is based on a changing surface and will adjust vertically based on the angle of the “A” Axis, so there is five (5) axis taken into account during the calculations, but this is not the same as the tool vector stand-off. There is the ability to do the vector stand-off change while the machine is running manually with buttons on the screen.

Z-Reader Probe – The Z-Reader is a device for mapping the location of the surface. It can be controlled manually & programmatically. The option is NOT active while cutting & is retracted out of harm’s way. It can be triggered to verify the surface at every pierce before the cutting process starts, or it could be used to drive surface mapping of the whole part before cutting starts. It begins with initialization or zeroing of the device to the surface at the beginning of a program and then accumulates or tracks the difference from that zeroing effort.

Automatic Edge Finder – The edge finder is or can be utilized manually (Jogging Method & Screen Buttons), programmatically (M & G codes), or fully automatic routine (dedicated program). This option sets offsets & program rotation to match the orientation & location on the cutting table.

AC Unit Installed on Electrical Cabinet – The unit is mounted on the cabinet’s High Power (480v) side. It is close to the location where the drives are mounted. This option keeps the cabinet temperature stable and allows heat dissipation faster. The servo drives for all axes are the most significant contributors to heat inside the electrical cabinet.

5-Axis Renishaw CalibrationThe calibration unit is a Renishaw model APCA45 with a modified spherical stylus. The device has a retractable cover and air purge to clear debris & dust during the activation process. It mounts to a swing arm controlled by a pneumatic rotary, so it is out of the way during regular operation and swings into the calibration position for calibration only. 

HP
Max RPM
FT/LBS
Series

18

4000

92

G-20-06 / G-10-06

18

6000

61

G-20-06 / -10-06

40

4000

217

GM-20-06 / G-20-06 / G-10-06

40

6000

145

G-20-06 / G-20-06 / G-10-06