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FZP32 from F. Zimmermann: The first portal milling machine of the newly designed FZP machine family with thermosymmetrical design

Model, tool and die makers must deliver perfect quality at competitive prices under increasing deadline pressure in order to prevail against strong global competition.

FZP32 from F. Zimmermann: The first portal milling machine of the newly designed FZP machine family with thermosymmetrical design
The completely newly developed FZP32 machine: The 5-axis portal milling machine is compact, very flexible - and highly accurate.

Zimmermann is responding to this with the completely newly developed FZP machine line. The 5-axis portal milling machines are customizable, space-saving - and extremely thermostable. This is ensured by the new thermosymmetrical design with a center-guided Z-slide. Daniel Demlang, technical director at F. Zimmermann, knows the advantages for the user.

An evolution is a progressive process, a revolution, on the other hand, is a fundamental and lasting structural change of a system - "this is exactly what we have done with the development of our new FZP machine line," reports technical director Daniel Demlang. The demands that model, tool and die makers have to meet today have grown steadily: Their customers demand workpieces with near-perfect surfaces and consistently high dimensional accuracy. The key to this is manufacturing equipment that minimizes rework to ensure fast delivery times. "Our customers are burdened by increasing cost pressure and the demand for ever higher quality with simultaneously increasing deadline pressure for components. Reducing throughput times for workpieces was one of our main goals with the newly developed FZP series in terms of design," describes Demlang. "Stable process control and high machining quality are decisive factors for the cost-effectiveness of our systems." However, the customizability of the milling machines was not allowed to suffer. Machines of the FZP series are therefore even more flexible in terms of set-up and designed with a comprehensive range of additional options.

FZP32 from F. Zimmermann: The first portal milling machine of the newly designed FZP machine family with thermosymmetrical design
Daniel Demlang: "With our new FZP line, we want above all to support customers in being able to compete successfully on the market in the long term."

Customizable - not only in length and width
"With our new FZP line, we primarily want to empower customers in being able to compete successfully on the market in the long term," says Zimmermann expert Demlang. The developers have placed particular emphasis on the customizability of the machines. Their structure can be varied in length and width with different vertical slides and gantries, thus adapting to a wide range of workpiece sizes. The "lightest" machine from the FZP line is the new FZP32 with a working range of up to X = 10, Y = 4 and Z = 2.5 meters. The user can use it to machine block materials, plastics, as well as CFRP, GFRP and aluminum, among other materials. Due to the large working area, it is also possible to mill components completely without reclamping. "The modular design of the machine offers the possibility to consider different options: Automation solutions, such as a pallet changing system, a positionable rotary table, dust extraction bells or an individualized tool clamping system are possible," explains the technical director.

Thermosymmetrically constructed
It was important to the developers to develop the FZP line for maximum dimensional accuracy during workpiece machining. This is because changing temperatures in the hall as well as long machine running times inevitably influence the machining quality. For this reason, the Zimmermann developers designed the portal milling machine thermosymmetrically - a concept that was used highly successfully for the first time at Zimmermann in 2017 in the compact FZU portal milling machine line and was enthusiastically received by our customers.

FZP32 from F. Zimmermann: The first portal milling machine of the newly designed FZP machine family with thermosymmetrical design
It can be equipped with automation - here with changeover slides on both sides.

"The idea of the thermosymmetrical design is based on the fact that inevitable thermal influences can be absorbed to a considerable extent by the design of the machine structure," explains Demlang. In the portal milling machines of the FZP line, Zimmermann has arranged the milling spindle, guides and other accuracy-determining components in such a way that their heating is either absorbed or can expand in non-critical directions. The gantry's center-guided Z-slide in double-bridge design has an octagonal cross-section that makes it particularly stable. "With this design, we achieve very high thermosymmetric stability," says Demlang. Comparable systems usually use complex cooling or software-based compensation for this purpose.

"Our concept is future-proof, especially when the demands on quality and surface continue to rise," promises the Zimmermann expert. Among others, companies that do not have an air-conditioned machine hall and are therefore particularly exposed to temperature fluctuations in their production will also benefit from this. And this is where this new design scores points, according to Demlang. The design of the structure alone reduces the effects of the influencing variables to a minimum.

VH10: milling head with extraction
The VH10 milling head is used. The fork head is designed in monoblock versions made of cast iron. It is compactly built, has only minimal interference contours, achieves high clamping forces and thus enables stable component machining. Zimmermann optionally equips the VH10 with process cooling with cooling lubricants or even minimum quantity lubrication. To reduce throughput times, a powerful spindle with 34 kilowatts at a maximum speed of 24,000 rpm is used as standard in the milling head. "We have now also equipped the VH10 with a dust extraction bell around the milling tool," Demlang tells us. This makes it suitable for abrasive and harmful materials such as GRP or CFRP, which are used in aircraft construction. The dust extraction system captures the dust directly at the point of origin, which greatly reduces contamination of the interior.

Great flexibility by design
Hall situations are often a challenge for the installation of milling machines. Free installation space is usually scarce and machine concepts must offer a high degree of flexibility in installation. The Zimmermann developers have applied symmetry not only to the basic structure of the gantry, but also to the complete machine concept. This allows the customer to individually determine where exactly he wants the connections or peripherals. "We can then simply position the peripherals as required by the hall situation without making any major design changes to the new FZP32," says Demlang. Overall, the ratio of floor space to work space has been optimized with the new development.

Zimmermann equips the new machine line with larger tool magazines or even pallet changers on request. This allows users to reduce non-productive time and make their production more automated. Another feature: "Milling-turning applications are increasing, especially in aircraft construction, for example for turbine production," reports Demlang. "For this purpose, we also equip our milling machines with carousel rotary tables on request." No matter what task the customer needs to solve, Zimmermann's experts can execute the machines in a customer-specific, optimized way with their modular plant construction kit (MAB).

FZP32 from F. Zimmermann: The first portal milling machine of the newly designed FZP machine family with thermosymmetrical design
The developers have applied symmetry not only to the basic structure, but also to the complete machine concept.

What's next?
"We already have the first orders for the FZP32, our 'light' entry-level model in the new series," says Demlang. "Based on the new double-bridge gantry, we will soon launch the new FZP37, a machine in the medium segment, and the FZP42, one in the heavy segment for the mold and die industry." The heavy-duty FZP42 machine will be in the 1,000 newton-meter torque range. "We have taken a forward-looking path with this machine line," the Zimmermann expert is convinced.
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