Mori Seiki opens its first manufacturing facility in the USA

About 50 million euros have been invested in the establishment of one of the world’s most efficient manufacturing and assembly facilities for horizontal machining centers.

On 7th November 2012 the president of Mori Seiko Co. Ltd., Dr. Masahiko Mori, inaugurated his company’s new US manufacturing facility in Davis in the presence of numerous customers and sales staff from DMG / MORI SEIKI USA as well as representatives of the international press, local politicians and of course the proud employees at the plant. Mori Seiki Manufacturing USA Inc. is MORI SEIKI’s first manufacturing facility in the USA. In the initial expansion phase its 20,600 m2 manufacturing and assembly area provides a capacity of up to 100 high-tech NHX4000, NHX5000 and NHX5500 horizontal centers.

The Davis location in California not far from Sacramento and only one hour’s drive away from San Francisco already has a long and successful tradition for Mori Seiki, because the home of the Mori Seiki Digital Technology Laboratory (DLT for short) is right next door. As a centre for research and development the DTL with its more than 80 employees collaborates closely with the R&D colleagues at the Mori Seiki headquarters in Japan. Due to the great time difference this transpacific development network works more or less round the clock on the tool machines and manufacturing systems of the future.

Thanks to an investment of around 50 million euros it has been possible to construct an over 20,000 m2 manufacturing and assembly facility for the production of horizontal machining centers within just a few months, a facility that even judged on global standards will set new benchmarks in the efficient production of high-tech tool machines. Dr. Mori then stressed in his speech the dramatic impact the new plant will have on the further growth of DMG / MORI SEIKI in the USA and therefore in one of the most important markets for tool machines worldwide. The future might see 5-axis machines from DMG or the MILLTAP700 milling and boring machines developed jointly with GILDEMEISTER being produced in Davis as well as the horizontal centers.

Dr. Mori went on to explain that seen in this context the facility in Davis constitutes far more than simply a manufacturing facility. In cooperation with the neighboring DTL it will in fact foster a highly dynamic hub of innovative machining technologies and manufacturing automation and in this function as a partner for all customers in the USA set vital impulses for the future.

The visitors at the opening ceremony were then taken on a tour of the company where they were able to see for themselves just how perfectly and efficiently state-of-the-art manufacturing methods can be implemented. They could marvel at the two enormous MPC 5-axis machines from Toshiba that have a maximum loading capacity of 20,000 kg and are used for the machining of large parts. Whereby the machine beds for the horizontal centers produced here are positioned automatically on pallets by a huge 6.5-ton gantry loading system with travel ranges of (in X, Y and Z) 48 m x 12 m x 2.2 m and then loaded and unloaded within 1.5 minutes.

Two highly automated and flexible manufacturing systems have also been installed in Davis for medium-sized parts. The smaller of the two systems encompasses two NH6300 horizontal centers from MORI SEIKI with a wash station and pallet pool for 40 workpieces. The larger FMS system includes three NH10000 horizontal centers from Mori Seiki with wash station and a capacity for 60 pallets. The workpieces and pallets are both fed into the manufacturing systems by huge Fanuc robots that can each lift up to 1,200 kg.

It is not, however, just the dimensions of the machines used, the high level of automation and extreme precision of the finished components that make the manufacturing systems so impressive, but also the consistent use of dry machining and minimal lubrication. This reduces wear, ensures clean working conditions and saves valuable resources on the one hand and on the other enables disposal of the chips exclusively via the powerful vacuum system.

The machined components are controlled on high-precision 3D-coordinate measuring systems before they are moved on to the assembly sequence. This applies equally to important components from suppliers such as machining tables or critical parts of the tool system and tool changer.

Assembly itself is then affected according to the flow line principle in which the machines are moved successively from one assembly station to the next. No rigid, mechanical transport system is used here, instead the complete machines are lifted by air cushions similar to those of a hovercraft allowing them to be slid over the shop floor with very little force and positioned exactly in the next assembly box.

Once final in-line quality testing is completed the finished horizontal centers are loaded directly onto the trucks after a throughput time of only two weeks and, thanks to order-based production, transported straight to the customer without any interim stops.

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