Fermat introduces new horizontal boring mills

Fermat Machinery in the Czech Republic is owned and managed by Jiri and Jan Ferenc, brothers who first learned the machine tool trade from their father. The company started as a machinery remanufacture business in 1990. Using their experience and engineering degrees as well as their ambition to grow the company, they decided to manufacture new horizontal boring mills. "Because of our previous experience with remanufacturing we learned the changes needed. Our new horizontal boring mills incorporate these improvements and are more rigid with greater precision," said Jan Ferenc, CEO. The company has grown from four employees in 1990 to 450 employees in 2011.

Fermat now operates in several locations in the Czech Republic and Slovakia utilizing more than 215,230 sq. ft. of space in seven buildings for engineering, machining, assembly, parts storage and sales. The company recently purchased two new plants. One is located near Pilsen adding 20 skilled metalworking employees, expanding capabilities and adding more space. Another plant operates close to the town of Zlin increasing production capacities. This branch also brings new machines into the Fermat range of products: smaller CNC milling machines.

Fermat Machinery manufactures floor-type and table-type horizontal boring mills. The floor-type machines offer spindle diameters from 5.12 inches up to 6.30 inches. The table-type HBMs are manufactured with spindle diameters from 4.33 inches to 6.30 inches.

Engineering Department

The manufacture of precision horizontal boring machines is the company's main focus. Jiri Ferenc, Owner, is the chief engineer and designer who sets the tone of flexibility in the engineering departments meeting customers' specific needs. Located in Brno, Czech Republic, six engineering designers work on all facets of the machines and an additional five engineers work on the headstock design. New designs and improvements are always being studied by the two engineering departments. Fermat owners continue to invest profits back into the company for technology improvements. For example, in 2010 Fermat put $5.3 million USD in new production equipment, expansion of its facilities and increased the number of employees.

The headstock engineering department has improved the headstock by reducing the number of moving parts, consequently reducing vibration and friction on the parts. One example of this improvement is a design where 10 rotary parts in the headstock became one component. Fermat has designed a headstock with a ram stroke. "We find that approximately 40 percent of our customers require ram stroke," said Jan Ferenc. Fermat engineers have recently designed a new tilting headstock that will allow productive and efficient machining of wind mill parts. Fermat engineers have also designed a new automatic micro-indexing head option for the machines.

Headstock Assembly

The most important part of the horizontal boring mill is the headstock which requires precision components including the spindle. Fermat's headstock assembly and testing is performed at the Brno plant. Special headstock castings are temperature treated through an annealing process. Spindles are nitrided and manufactured with precision grinding machines at the plant. The power from the motor to the spindle is transmitted by a two-speed German ZF gearbox. The headstocks are oil chilled for temperature control. Through-spindle coolant is an available option.

After the headstock is assembled it is placed on a testing stand. Geometries are checked and all functions of the headstock are tested. Then if a customer's headstock will have added accessories such as angle heads or other heavy tooling, at this point adjustments are made as needed. Fermat customers can choose a right-angle and universal head that moves in all directions.

"Our headstock is designed and manufactured so that as it moves up and down the column it has the same power and rigidity at the top of the column as it has at the bottom," said Jan Ferenc.

CNC Rotary Table for Table or Floor-Type Machines

The Fermat rotary table is designed with a heavy-duty large bearing that enables the table to hold up to 33,000 lbs. (15 metric tons) on the T15 model with larger sizes all the way up to T50 that can hold up to 110,000 lbs (50 metric tons). The tables have positioning accuracy of 4 arc seconds per 40-inch radius. The rotary table consists of a bed, slide and rotary clamping plate. The slide enables the rotary clamping plate to move in the V- or X-axis. The clamping plate is fitted onto the large cross taper roller bearing. Two motors and two pinions control the movement of the large bearing. To achieve precision during heavy machining the rotary table is hydraulically clamped at eight points for the larger tables and four points for the smaller tables. All movements of the rotary table are made by the CNC control in concert with a rotary encoder in the center in increments of .001 degrees. The rotary table operates as a continuous 4th axis. The housing of the ballscrews moving the table are chilled to prevent thermal growth.

Column Design

Fermat manufactures two types of columns, depending on customer requirements and the model of the boring mill. One type of column is of grey cast iron with a counterweight inside. The cast column is stress relieved.

Fermat has also developed a fabricated column with no counter- weight required. The column is wide for stability with numerous horizontal as well as diagonal ribs inside the column to provide rigidity. The column and slide are constructed in a single piece design with two ball screws for the 5.12 inches spindles and three ball screws for the 6 to 6.3 inches spindles. This column is designed to be used with linear ways for faster movements.

Bed Design

The HBM bed is made of grey cast iron that has been stabilized by annealing. It features either heavy-duty linear guide ways or box ways that are induction hardened. A special Super G material is used between the bed and rotary table slide to reduce friction. If a bed is four meters or less in length, a ball screw is used for movement. If the bed is longer, a rack and two pinions design is used.

Customer Requirements

Fermat horizontal boring mills are modular in design so that customers can order machines for each unique manufacturing requirement. Customers can specify which control, type of headstock, number of tool stations, added operator platforms, specific clamping plates for the tables, touch probes, all types of milling heads and face plates and many other options.

Industries Fermat serves with its horizontal boring mills include: wind power, oil and gas, agriculture, mining, construction, aerospace, shipbuilding, forestry, railway, defense, large gears and gear boxes and others.

"We like to hear from our customers, sales people and distributors about their requirements for specific applications," said Mr. Ferenc. "Our company and employees are known for their innovation and we strive to provide the best new technology design."

Manufacturing and Distribution

The Czech Republic has a well-educated work force and its principle industries include machinery and equipment manufacturing. "Our country has the highest percentage of manufacturing as part of its GDP in the European Union," said Mr. Ferenc. Machinery and transportation equipment are its greatest exports.

Fermat has chosen Lucas Precision, Cleveland, OH, to import the machines and set up a sales and distribution network in the United States. Lucas Precision formerly manufactured horizontal boring mills and has experience with customers using HBMs. Lucas Precision and its chosen distributors will handle sales, installation, service and machine assembly in the U.S.

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