Universal Turning in a New Dimension

With the IT600, the INDEX Group opens a new chapter in universal turning. Through the use of field-proven components, the flexible IT600 is designed to manufacture medium and small lot sizes up to batch size 1 of mold making, tooling and prototyping considerably faster and more economically than with conventional universal lathes.


By the innovative arrangement of the tool turrets with interpolated CNC turret indexing axes and the use of field-proven components, the Universal Lathe INDEX IT600 promises increased productivity and time savings during setup. In conjunction with a standard “intelligent Y-axis” (interpolation using the C and CNC turret indexing axes) in the upper 14-station turret and an additional lower multifunction turret with 10 stations that can accommodate even very long boring bars and ensures a stable tailstock function, the machine provides a high performance density. With a spindle clearance of 65 mm both for machining of up to 600 mm long workpieces between centers and chuck parts up to a turning diameter of 380 mm with the usual INDEX precision.

External and transverse machining with upper tool turret

In the tool carriers of the IT600, the indexing movement is executed as an NC rotary axis without mechanical lock and thus allows freely programmable angular positioning of the turret. This allows multiple tool assignments at each station, so that the upper tool carrier can be equipped with up to 28 tools. By eliminating the mechanical lock, very short chip-to-chip times of 0.6 sec can be achieved.

The upper tool turret with carriage paths of X = 220 mm and Z = 600 mm is primarily intended for external and transverse machining. The positioning accuracy of the machine is ensured by a direct measuring system in the X-axis. Of the 14 stations in the upper turret, seven stations can be fitted with live tool holders. A quick-change system enables a high-precision and fast tool change without removing the tool holder.

Universal turning in a new dimension INDEX IT600

Universal turning in a new dimension INDEX IT600

Y-axis as standard

Building on nearly 30 years of experience with the “intelligent Y-axis” in INDEX lathes, the INDEX engineers incorporated a Y-axis in the upper tool turret of the machine with little effort as a standard feature. This Y-axis is generated by the interpolated movement of the CNC turret indexing axis and simultaneously by the C-axis of the work spindle. The combined movement in the IT600 in conjunction with a powerful tool drive (7 kW / 15 Nm / 8,000 rpm) provides a large Y-axis travel of ± 75 mm. The Y-axis can be used to mill surfaces and slots on the workpiece and to drill eccentric holes. The precision and rigidity of the Y-axis is ensured by high-resolution encoders on the C-axis and by the A-axis integrated in the turret, in conjunction with position control. Milling can then be easily programmed in X and Y coordinates using the TRANSMIT option.

Internal machining with additional multifunction turret

With two tool carriers – maximum degrees of freedom in the work area

With two tool carriers – maximum degrees of freedom in the work area

New to this universal lathe is the optional, lower horizontally arranged tool carrier with carriage paths of Z = 650 mm and X = 110 mm. It is primarily used for internal machining in a separate machining plane. Here too, the X-axis is provided with a direct measuring system. The axial holding of drilling tools in simple tool mountings provides a maximum of accuracy and stability in this horizontal arrangement of the tool carrier due to the optimal flow of forces. In addition to 7 tool turrets with classic VDI 30 mountings, there are 3 recessed UniFlex mountings, which allow, for example, deep-hole drilling of up to 200 mm depth. The indexing angle between the stations is 45°. This reduces the risk of collision with the chuck when using such long drilling tools. Through an interlock, the clearance can be further increased if, instead of three, only two, even longer, tools are used for deep-hole drilling up to 330 mm. However, then only 5 additional standard tools are available.

Tailstock function in the lower turret

Thanks to high feed forces of up to 17,500 N (40%), the lower turret has a tailstock function. The tailstock not only uses the Z-axis for supporting the workpiece, it is also precisely adjustable in height by means of NC control of the X-axis. This allows easy compensation of vertical misalignments of the tailstock center. In case of deviating movements by workpieces of different weights that may arise already due to different contact pressures, the spindle line can be individually adjusted by moving the tailstock in the X and Z directions. In addition to height adjustment, the concentricity of the tailstock center to the workpiece can be corrected, if necessary, in the Y direction by means of the A-axis of the turret, via the CNC controller.

Robust CNC tailstock with a large stroke

Y-axis +/-75 mm (interpolated) in conjunction with a powerful tool drive

Y-axis +/-75 mm (interpolated) in conjunction with a powerful tool drive

For shaft machining, the IT600 also comes as a version with a programmable NC tailstock. The servo positioning and mounting on linear guides allow workpiece lengths up to 600 mm to be machined. The position and the unusually high contact force of up to 10,000 N (100%) are determined in the CNC program and regulated by the motor current.

High productivity by 4 axes

Through the use of two tool carriers in connection with a generous tool pool, the time per piece can be reduced as compared with machines with one turret especially in the machining of flange parts. Thanks to 4 axes, synchronous cutting with two cutting edges instead of only one can mean an increase in productivity for users of conventional universal lathes. This is especially true when working with very long boring bars because on universal lathes an NC program may had to be interrupted by a programmed intermediate stop for space reasons in order to insert a long boring bar. And then, after the drilling operation was finished, another intermediate stop was required to remove the boring bar again.

The powerfully dimensioned working spindle (17.2 kW) with C-axis allows speeds up to 4000 rpm. With a spindle clearance of 65 mm for bar machining, the IT600 allows the machining of workpieces with a maximum length of 600 mm at a torque of 328 Nm. The max. turning diameter in the 250 chuck is 380 mm, the tool cutting circle diameter is 620 mm. Optionally, all the classic chuck sizes of 200, 250, 300 to 315 mm can be used, taking into account the applicable safety regulations.

Practical user benefits

The vertical design of the clearly structured work area not only offers the best conditions for optimal chip flow, but also a significantly lower access depth compared to inclined-bed lathes, which facilitates the setup of the upper tool turret and thus reduces idle times. This is based on a heavy vertical cast machine bed in a strongly ribbed and closed box design, which allows a compact footprint and, with its high vibration damping, is the best prerequisite for precise machining of materials that are difficult to cut. An INDEX spindle featuring a thermosymmetrical design in the headstock contributes to the high precision. The low projection of the tool carriers and the isolation to the rest of the machine support the thermal stability. The work area is easily accessible to the operator due to its high and wide sliding door. After removing the panels, service access to all the motors and machine components is possible with ease.

The control: choice of SIEMENS 840D solution line or FANUC 32i-B

In line with the universal use of the machine, the control concept of the IT600 was chosen with special emphasis on user benefits. There is a choice between two alternative control concepts: the SIEMENS 840D solution line (sl) and the FANUC 32i-B.

Both controls are combined with powerful drives and high-torque motors of the latest generation.

Hence, the user receives the control technology of his choice. As standard, both controllers allow all the machining cycles that are available on the machine. INDEX-proprietary cycles further simplify programming.

The control panel and operating philosophy come consistently from the well-known and proven INDEX philosophy. This means: all the necessary machine functions are arranged as usual and leave nothing to be desired in terms of usability and ergonomics.

The new universal lathe INDEX IT600 can be equippedwith a FANUC CNC (FANUC 32i Model B) or optionally with a SIEMENS CNC (SIEMENS 840D sl).

The new universal lathe INDEX IT600 can be equippedwith a FANUC CNC (FANUC 32i Model B) or optionally with a SIEMENS CNC (SIEMENS 840D sl).

Strategies for process safety

With the optionally available INDEX Virtual Machine (SIEMENS control) and VPro programming support, collisions can be largely avoided. In the sensorless INDEX tool breakage monitoring option, the rotation of the turrets is used as collision protection. From the measured load of the drive, the CNC controller detects collisions. The turret automatically dodges and usually avoids a cutting edge break.

As standard accessories, an INDEX bar loading magazine and a space-saving cleaning system with integrated chip conveyor included in the machine concept are offered, as well as a coolant system with a 335 liter tank as standard or an INDEX ECOfluid coolant system with a separate 500 liter tank.

Source INDEX-Werke GmbH & Co. KG