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medical manufacturing That limitation didn’t stop Omax from introducing Micro,


a new fi ve-axis milling machine for micro-manufacturing in 2014. Two other longtime competitors, Kern Precision (Webster, MA) and Makino (Auburn Hills, MI), also introduced new technology, and so did a relative newcomer to machine tooling, Chicago-based Microlutions (see sidebar).


Plug and Play Kern introduced its Micro fi ve-axis milling machine in early 2014 to the United States, touting not only its reliability and precision, but also the size of its footprint, the capacity of its palletized toolchanger, its plug-and-play capability, its power, and its versatility in terms of the size of workpiece it can accommodate.


“In general, the ultra-high precision milling market, where


high productivity and precision are key, lacked a highly reli- able fi ve-axis machining solution,” said Gary Zurek, Kern’s


US managing director. “The combination of high produc- tivity and achieving ultra-high precision on fi ve-axis and three-plus-two axis parts has always been challenging to manufacturers.” The Kern Micro offers medical device manufacturers a


diversifi ed fi ve-axis machine that can bridge the gap among milling technologies, including high-speed machining, hard milling, graphite milling, and micro milling, he said. With its rectangular footprint, occupying just shy of 5 x 10' (1.5 x 3 m) on the shop fl oor, the Kern Micro not only has a small footprint; the slim design also means several machines can be lined up like row houses with other Micros, for a highly automated work system. “In today’s economic climate, shop real estate is very ex- pensive,” said Zurek. “Doing more in a Kern Micro is a prized attribute, but if a machine is taking up a lot of shop space


These titanium and stainless


steel orthopedic and prosthetic components were cut with


abrasive waterjet technology from Omax.


28 — Medical Manufacturing 2015


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