Tooling Considerations with a Moulder Upgrade

Shop owners and experts discuss the tooling costs and choices relating to a new moulder purchase. June 23, 2006

We are in need of another moulder. We currently own 2 Hydromat 23C's. Needless to say, we have a lot of money invested in tooling. With our Hydromats, we have a max feed speed of 200 fpm, 6000 rpm, 6 heads (15-20 HP), jointers, 1-13/16" spindles, and the list goes on. We are interested in Weinig's new Powermat series, which includes the HSK technology, the 12,000 rpm capability, which could equate to better surface finishes, faster feed rates, etc. Our biggest hang-up is the tooling costs, including new grinder, involved in introducing a new moulder that won't accept the 100+ 1-13/16" typical moulder heads we have been using with the Hydromat moulders. I'm sure others have been in a similar situation and I'm curious if you made the leap to the Powermat with the hefty costs involved?

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor R:
Have you looked at the new Martin T-92?

From contributor B:
Does Weinig offer a dynamic balancer with that machine for the heads? I would be concerned at 12,000 rpm. I know guys who are very careful and still have had vibration problems at 8,000 rpm.

From contributor U:
You have a very important decision to make, and your concerns are justified. Have you looked into Weinig making you a H-22-b? This machine is capable of running 400 lf per minute and remains jointed as you have now. Is the 12000 rpm machine jointed? Will Weinig buy back all your equipment on trade-in to offset your total cost, or will you be faced with two types of tooling? If your new 12000 rpm machine is non-jointed, then you still have a single knife finish. Your feed rate would be about 60 lf per minute if non-jointed. A thing to think of is, you are using two terms that might not be the same. Hsk and powerlock may not be the same. The angles of the tool where it locks in may be different form one manufacturer to another one, causing you to buy from only one manufacturer. This could be a costly move. You have a big decision to make and only you and your company can make that. I hope you at least ask about Weinig making you a h-22-b. In my opinion, that is the best machine they make. One other thing - the maintenance on the new Powermats is a crucial part of your operation. Ask lots of questions, get good sound answers.

From contributor C:
Weinig has just started using the Haimer Dynamic Balancer. Also, Weinig offers Powerlock Spindle Adapters for use with conventional type tools like you currently use.

Weinig has granted manufacturing licenses to a number of manufacturers worldwide to make their Powerlock tooling. Currently, I (Wood Tech Tooling) have availability of this type of tooling from 4 different tooling manufacturing companies. In fact, I recently heard that SCM has reached an agreement to use Powerlock tooling on some of their machinery. This should ease your mind about having only one manufacturer monopolizing the market.

From the original questioner:
I have not looked at the Martin T-92. We also have 2 Weinig moulders in another plant, so chances are we will stick with Weinig for the simple fact that our operators and maintenance personnel are familiar with Weinig machinery, not to mention we have spare parts sitting on the shelves.

I have also heard that when spinning faster than the typical 6000 rpm, out of balance heads become more of an issue. I didn't hear it from the Weinig rep, but it will be a question I bring up. If that is an issue and the recommended fix is to purchase a dynamic balancer, then there is another added cost we didn't plan for.

If in the end we choose to purchase the Powermat 2000 with HSK heads, we would have to purchase the spindle adapters because we wouldn't sell our current moulders. We may phase them out some day, but it wouldn't be for some time.

I have also heard from our tooling guys that Weinig has granted other companies the opportunity to make the HSK type heads. Obviously, that is a good thing - a little healthy competition always helps keep the prices down. As far as jointed heads, this is a must for us. We use them all the time.

From contributor U:
I am a little confused with contributor C's post about the adapters. First of all, you would have to purchase them for all the spindles as well. But here is what really confuses me: The diameter on a powerlock head is roughly 3 5/16" diameter. That's how they can spin so fast. Now, if you use your existing tooling rated at 6000 rpm and roughly 5 29/32 up to 6 27/32 depending on the bore size, are you not defeating the whole concept of the smaller size cutterhead, and is the cutterhead rated for 6000 rpm still okay for the 12,000 rpm machine? It seems to me you would max out your cutting circle real quick, if you could spin it at all with your existing tooling being so large.

Please call Weinig and talk to Rick Earp. There are weight restrictions for the adaptors as well as rpm restrictions for use of the adaptors. I still stick with my original post - buy a h-22-b and run 400 lfpm.

From contributor O:
Balance is not a problem with the powerlock cutterheads, as they are balanced as a unit at the factory with the gibs and screws in the head. There is absolutely no need to buy a balancer. There is also a sensor on the machine which will shut it down if an issue arises.
You *can not* run spindle adaptors with conventional tooling at 12000 rpm. Inverters are an option to allow conventional tooling to be run if necessary . The powerlock heads are no more expensive than conventional tooling and much less than hydroheads. There are many manufacturers making the tooling now, so availability and variety is not a problem.
There is also a jointed version, the P2020, available 10,000 RPM. 16 knife marks/inch at 210FPM with a 4 knife head. No outboard bearings required. If you are seriously considering these machines, do yourself a favor and arrange a demo with us at Weinig.