Dinolift Boosts Productivity with Robust Niigata Flagship Model HN1000-S
Dinolift Oy, a personnel lift manufacturer based in Loimaa, has invested in the improvement of its production with the Niigata HN1000-S horizontal machining center supplied by Machinery. This machine is the flagship model of the Japanese manufacturer Niigata, which has a history spanning nearly 100 years.
Dinolift began to consider the acquisition of a new machining center in 2020, but the project was postponed by a couple of years due to other significant investments within the company. In 2022, the project was revisited.
“An upright drilling machine would not have been suitable for our needs because, for example, the tool change is much faster in a horizontal machining center. Niigata is a new acquaintance in our production, but we have had many positive experiences with Japanese brands – and Niigata represents the highest quality among them. Niigata convinced us also because it focuses exclusively on the production of horizontal machining centers,” explains Tuomas Heilala, Head of Method Development.
“We considered the purchase from among three Japanese brands. The key factor in the selection was the large size of the parts we machine, to which Niigata responded with the best Y-movement. The specifications of the machine were also desirable, and Niigata’s pallet change station is an open space that suits us. Niigata’s Fanuc control system was also on the wish list of our operators. Niigata’s price was right from the start, and the machine’s good references were convincing. The choice of the machine has proven to be a good one in practice, and, for example, the machine’s frame feels very sturdy,” Heilala elaborates on the selection of Niigata.
Dinolift placed the order with Niigata in early autumn 2022, and the machine was put into production in late August-September this year. “The process from the quotation stage to the machine’s delivery went smoothly through Machinery, and the installation schedule was adhered to without delay. Also, Machinery’s after-sales services have impressed us from the very beginning; Asko Silvala in the service department is a highly competent guy, and we have strong faith in Machinery’s service operations,” Heilala evaluates.
NIIGATA HN1000-S FLAGSHIP MODEL
Japanese manufacturer Niigata started its operations in 1904. Their first machines were lathes. The first NC-controlled horizontal machining center was produced in 1972. Today, the main product group is specifically horizontal machining centers, with several product lines available to meet customer needs.
Dinolift’s new machine is the horizontal machining center NIIGATA HN1000-S with Fanuc 31i-B control. The HN series is Niigata’s oldest and most popular machine model, with over 2800 units delivered. The HN-S development version is designed for high efficiency and precision work without sacrificing sturdiness. It is currently Niigata’s flagship model and meets the machining needs of most customers. The machine has a pallet size of 1,000 x 1,000 mm and a pallet load capacity of 3,500 kg. According to Kari Pirttilä, who sold the machine to Dinolift, it has the largest travel dimensions in its class: X-2030 mm, Y-1650 mm, and Z-1200 mm.
An external pallet station at ground level facilitates the handling of large-sized parts and ensures user safety. Niigata HN1000-S is a so-called hybrid model, with X- and Z-linear guides and a Y-sliding guide that enables high speed movements without compromising stability. Niigata’s Monitor Ace V2 tool management system allows the definition and monitoring of the processing values and tool life of individual tools during machining. Dinolift’s Niigata is equipped with an 80-tool magazine.
The machine spindle has a gearbox and is designed for heavy machining: power of 37/30 kW, a maximum speed of 6,000 rpm, and a torque of 1200 Nm. Special attention has also been paid to chip removal from the work area and guide protection at high speeds.
One setup for a finished part
“With our new Niigata, we secure the majority of our parts’ machining possibilities, and we can machine all parts under two meters with this machine. The machine is, in part, a replacement investment, and after this investment, no part depends on a single machine. But Niigata also creates many new possibilities, especially in design. We also gain a lot more efficient machine time since we can load the pallets outside the machine in advance. Production efficiency is also increased because we can now complete parts with a single setup that previously required two setups,” Heilala summarizes the opportunities opened by Niigata.
Towards Unmanned Operations with Niigata
“Our production runs in two shifts, and so does this new Niigata. At the same time, when the machine was installed, we transitioned to remote programming. As a result, we gain more efficient machine time. Niigata also has the option of an FMS system, and we plan to use this option in the near future. This will allow us to utilize the machine’s efficiency to the maximum in a third unmanned night shift. This is possible due to tool monitoring systems and other features in Niigata,” Heilala highlights future plans.
“In addition to Niigata, we have invested heavily in production development and automation. Automation of welding using the FMS system, an automatic wash line in the surface treatment department, and a surface treatment robot in the paint shop are part of our upcoming acquisitions.”