Northwood Technologies

Northwood Core Technologies

American Iron

American Iron means that each machine starts with thousands of pounds of tubular steel weldment skirted with steel plating. This gives Northwood rigidity and strength that other manufactures can't supply.  Learn more

High-Precision Linear Guide Rail System

Northwood starts with precision machined rail beds before any assembly begins.  From there, each rail is verified using high-tech laser metrology.  Northwood then applies linear compensation to ensure repeatability and accuracy throughout the motion of the machine.

Precision Ground CNC Ballscrews

The ballscrew systems that Northwood has chosen are proven to produce the accuracy needed long into the future.  The ballscrews are driven directly through the FANUC servo motors using both turning nut and turning screw methods depending on the application. Northwood also protects the ballscrew with heavy-duty bellow systems to ensure reliability.

Cast-Iron Integrated Drive

Northwood has developed an integrates cast-iron drive casting that houses the FANUC servo and the ground ballnut allow for precision alignment of the servo and turning ball nut.

Quality Components

Northwood has long stand relationships with the top component manufacturers for all of its machine components.  This means that the brands trusted by Northwood are the brands trusted and respected throughout the industry.  These top quality components are readily available to support Northwood CNC Machining Centers.

Third-Party Integration Compatible

With a large machine installation base throughout many industries, we have integrated our equipment with the majority of third party solution providers.  Renishaw, Heidenhain, Z-Corp, Z-Laser, SlabSmith, Proliner, LT-55, High Tec Industrial (HTI) and Applied Automation Technologies are several companies who have created specific packages designed for our equipment.

Service, Support and World Class Training

Due to the modular design of Northwood's equipment, spare parts are readily available from our Louisville, KY facility located within minutes of the UPS Overnight Headquarters.  Our technical support staff is feared towards keeping your productive and solving issues in a quick and courteous fashion.  In accordance with our quick-to-production philosophy, training and implementation is completed on-site by our veteran application staff.

Northwood Metrologoy

All Northwood CNC Machining centers are tested, verified and compensated using a laser interferometer.  When necessary, the Faro Tracker is used to verify rotary axes and 3D or volumetric positioning accuracy.  Northwood's metrology department also includes high-precision digital levels, precision ground tram bars, wireless Renishaw Ballbar, and indicators that are capable of compensating the machine to provide a high-level of accuracy and precision.

3-Axis Advanced Technologies

Head Configuration

Northwood's 3-Axis TA CNC Machining Centers start with a single tooling plate and typically one spindle unit.  Spindles range up to 22HP liquid-cooled spindles and and as many as four (4) on a single tooling plate.  Machines can feature multiple tooling plates that allow for dual-processing.  Dual-Processing allows for simultaneous machining on separate tables of two different or unique parts.  

Besides spindles or routers, Northwood can accommodate just about any other tool needed for any industry. This includes 360 degree programmable saws, horizontal routers, large vertical drilling units (4 line, 19 line, etc), single vertical drills, molder heads, 20HP Fanuc Drive Milling spindle for aluminum and other high-torque, lower RPM applications and many other tools.  

Northwood has standard modules of each of these tooling options that can be adapted for any machine.  A custom tooling plate or dual-custom tooling plates with independent X (horizontal), Z (vertical) and U (horizontal), W (vertical) axes are commonly available from Northwood.

Since Northwood doesn't just build a single head router, the head configuration can vary greatly on every machine.

Custom Head Configuration Machining Centers

Roller Hold Down - Machine part nests with smaller parts when vacuum flow-through is not enough!

Three Axis Single or Dual Table - Vacuum flow-through, part-location stops, 20-position tool changers, and multi-head machines are all available.

Tool Changers

Northwood has Automatic Tool Changers that range from 8 positions up to 20 positions.  These tool changers can be mounted to the spindle tooling plate to provide dynamic and efficient tool changes or can be mounted to the bridge in a static location.  The advantage of the travel along or dynamic tool changer is that tool change cycles are minimized, however for machines with narrow center spacing between multiple spindles, the tool changer increases the minimum spindle spacing.  As Northwood understands each industry, they can recommend the best tool changer for your application.

Dynamic and Static Tool Changing Machining Centers

Roller Hold Down - Machine part nests with smaller parts when vacuum flow-through is not enough!

Three Axis Single or Dual Table - Vacuum flow-through, part-location stops, 20-position tool changers, and multi-head machines are all available.

Adjustable Spindle Center Spacing

When a single tooling plate holds multiples spindles, Northwood can provide horizontal axes for adjusting the spindle center spacing.  This can be done via a manual center adjustment or via a servo controlled programmable axis via the CNC.  Northwood commonly features 4 spindle with servo adjustment center spacing for applications that need spacing ranging from 15" to 32".

Adjustable Spindle Center Spacing Machining Centers

Roller Hold Down - Machine part nests with smaller parts when vacuum flow-through is not enough!

Three Axis Single or Dual Table - Vacuum flow-through, part-location stops, 20-position tool changers, and multi-head machines are all available.

Machine Worktables

Northwood Machining Centers Commonly feature cast-aluminum vacuum plenum worktables with high flow for superior part holding.  Other options include matrix worktables, flat face milled cast-aluminum worktables for custom fixtures and each cast-iron T-Slot worktables.  Whatever the application demands, Northwood has a worktable to accommodate the proper fixture and part holding.

Worktables designed for your application are available on:

Roller Hold Down - Machine part nests with smaller parts when vacuum flow-through is not enough!

Three Axis Single or Dual Table - Vacuum flow-through, part-location stops, 20-position tool changers, and multi-head machines are all available.

Programmable Part Location Stops

Part location pins or stops are common on all Northwood Moving Table CNC Machining Centers.  These allow operator to quickly locate parts in the X and Y axes to begin machining cycles.

Programmable part location stops are available on:

Roller Hold Down - Machine part nests with smaller parts when vacuum flow-through is not enough!

Three Axis Single or Dual Table - Vacuum flow-through, part-location stops, 20-position tool changers, and multi-head machines are all available.

Roller-Hold Down

For applications that demand holding small parts within plywood or other nests, Northwood provides a unique Quad Power Roller-Hold Down System that can accommodate stacking material up to 3 sheets for multi-up part processing.  Rollers ensure the parts are held down and that the nest does not move while machining.

For more information, check out our Roller Hold Down page!

Dual Processing CNC Machine

Dual-processing CNC machines feature dual-worktables and dual-tooling plates that can work independently of each other.  This process increases throughout and allows for long set-up times to take place on one side, while the other side of the machine begins its cycle.  When the lengthy setup is complete, the operator can begin the cycle on side number 2, without waiting for side number 1 to complete.  This is increasingly important the longer the cycle times of the program and the longer the custom fixtures take to setup.  Processing two unique or different parts simultaneously makes one machine have throughput equal to two individual machines in some applications.

For more information, check out our Three Axis Dual Table or our Five Axis Dual Table machines!

FANUC Driven Milling Spindle

Northwood provides an ISO40 taper Fanuc driven spindle that is capable of rigid taping in aluminum and other materials.  This spindle offering allows the ability to operate tooling with extremely high-torque at low RPMs.  This option includes a standard 12 station travel along tool changer in most cases to hold enough tools for multiple parts.

For more information about FANUC robotics, check out our Why Choose Fanuc page!

Auto-Unload Material Handling

Automatic Unload Material Handling systems allow for quick unload and faster preparation for the next load cycle.  This accomplished by moving the finished part nest onto an off-load machine table via a pushing unit that includes a vacuum dust/chip collection outlet to clean the table and prepare the table for the next sheet.  This allows the operator to load the next sheet of material and cycle start the machine before proceeding to the unload table once the machining cycle begins.  This process increases throughout and efficiency.

Automatic Unload Material Handling Available On:

Roller Hold Down - Machine part nests with smaller parts when vacuum flow-through is not enough!

Three Axis Single Table - Vacuum flow-through, part-location stops, 20-position tool changers, and multi-head machines are all available.

Spindle Mounted C-Axis

A 360 degree programmable C-Axis allows for contouring using this programmable axis and special tooling.  It also provides the machine the ability to adapt to many different style aggregates including horizontal drilling units, and adjustable angle saws.

Spindle Mounted C-Axis Available On:

Roller Hold Down - Machine part nests with smaller parts when vacuum flow-through is not enough!

Three Axis Single or Dual Table - Vacuum flow-through, part-location stops, 20-position tool changers, and multi-head machines are all available.

Overhead Laser Projection

Northwood can integrate with an overheard part project laser to help the operator setup the adjust pod fixtures and then load the parts quickly and correctly onto the machine.  The laser is capable or accurately projecting where the machine will cut for visual verification that the parts are loaded correctly before the machining cycle begins.  This increases throughout as it decreases the load time.

Overhead laser projection system is available on:

Roller Hold Down - Machine part nests with smaller parts when vacuum flow-through is not enough!

Three Axis Single or Dual Table - Vacuum flow-through, part-location stops, 20-position tool changers, and multi-head machines are all available.

The FabCenter - If you are looking for a one machine solution or would like to add a CNC with a solid saw to your line up, the Northwood FabCenter is for you.

The Stone Router - In 2001, we were challenged by a customer to build a stone machine. Designing a machine from the ground up enabled us to engineer something built for one purpose; machining stone!

Additional Options

  • Drill Banks
  • Horizontal Routers 
  • Multiple Spindles 
  • Dual Tables
  • Aggregates
  • C-Axis Saws & Moulders (360°)
  • Contact Tool Measurement
  • Laser Tool Measurement
  • Touch probe for part location and inspection
  • Barcode Reader
  • Overhead laser projector for part/pod location
  • Pop-up pins for part locating
  • Roller hold down
  • Material handling for loading and unloading tables
  • Vacuum pumps for part positioning
  • Auxiliary tool changers for additional tool capacity
  • Dust and chip collection
  • Dual-path processing capabilities

5-Axis Advanced Technologies

FANUC 310i/31i-B5 CNC Control

FANUC 310iThis is the flagship of FANUC's industry leading CNC control systems. The 31i-B5 control includes state-of-the-art hardware including ultra high-speed processors in use, high-speed CNC internal bus, and optical fiber cables used for high-speed data transfer to greatly improve the CNC's performance. FANUC provides Northwood with high-reliability and easy maintainability in even the harshest environments. The CNC control features a touch screen human machine interface for easy operator input.

FANUC 31i-B5 CNC Control Available On:

Five Axis Moving Table or Five Axis Moving Gantry - Take a look at our state-of-the-art five axis machining centers.

FANUC Alpha Series Servo Motors and Amplifiers

Five Axis Fanuc ServosFANUC supplies Northwood with the most reliable Servo Motors and Amplifiers in the CNC industry.  These motors are built to last and provide the necessary power to the machine.  The torque curves are specifically designed for each individual application to ensure power is available when needed.  Northwood has over 20 years of experience with CNC technology and has confidence in FANUC's products.

FANUC Alpha Series Servo Motors Available On:

Five Axis Moving Table or Five Axis Moving Gantry - Take a look at our state-of-the-art five axis machining centers.

Precision Ground Ball-Screw Drive System

Ballscrew Linear DriveThe ballscrew systems that Northwood has chosen are proven to produce the accuracy needed long into the future.  The ballscrews are driven directly through the FANUC servo motors using both turning nut and turning screw methods depending on the application. Northwood also protects the ballscrew with heavy-duty bellow systems to ensure reliability.

Precision Ground Ball-Screw Drive System Available On:

Five Axis Moving Table or Five Axis Moving Gantry - Take a look at our state-of-the-art five axis machining centers.

High Precision Linear Guide Rail System

Five Axis Linear RailNorthwood starts with precision machined rail beds before any assembly begins.  From there, each rail is verified using high-tech laser metrology.  Northwood then applies linear compensation to ensure repeatability and accuracy throughout the motion of the machine.

High Precision Linear Guide Rail System Available On:

Five Axis Moving Table or Five Axis Moving Gantry - Take a look at our state-of-the-art five axis machining centers.

Heavy Duty 5-Axis Spindle Head

The 5-Axis CNC head features outboard rotary encoders that provide positioning feedback directly to the CNC Control. The liquid cooled spindle has the necessary RPM to work within tooling manufacturers specifications.  Northwood utilizes the HD style head and offers several spindles that range from 8.5HP up to 40HP and optional thru-tool coolant, external halo coolant and air blast.

Heavy Duty 5-Axis Spindle Head Available On:

Five Axis Moving Table or Five Axis Moving Gantry - Take a look at our state-of-the-art five axis machining centers.

Construction

  • Welded steel stress-relieved bridge fabrication 
  • Cast iron casting for heavy duty vertical ram

Programming

  • 5-Axis High Speed Machining
  • Up to 64 Position Automatic Tool Changer
  • 5-Axis Tool Center Point (TCP) with Nano-Smoothing 2
  • 5-Axis CAD/CAM Software

Optional Features

  • Single or Dual Table (fixed or moving)
  • Non-contact Tool Measurement (Laser) or Contact Tool Probe
  • Touch probe for part location and inspection (CMM style verification)
  • Worktables - Aluminum/Trepsa Matrix Tables for vacuum pod support or Cast-Iron T-Slot worktable
  • Linear Scales or Encoders (for increased accuracy)
  • Flood Coolant with thru-tool coolant or natural water for stone/glass grinding.

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) Design

stone/fea.jpgThe rapid advance of Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) techniques and software have lead to a virtual revolution in companies that continue to invest in the latest in high-speed computers and computational software for analyzing parts and assemblies. One of the most important components of CAE that Northwood uses is Finite Element Analysis (FEA), a detailed mathematical computer simulation that enables engineers and designers to develop products more quickly and completely that traditional prototyping methods allowed. FEA makes it possible for specific machine components to be targeted for in-depth analysis to eliminate failure from fatigue rather than waiting for those components to begin failing (sometimes years into a product's lifecycle).

FEA tools also provide visual verification of both the element meshing (for integrated calculations) and for the locations of resulting data for large, complex structures or for small, single parts. In this process, geometries are broken down into elements, and each element is meshed, with each mesh connecting at points called nodes according to various model parameters and analysis type. The byproduct is an accurate simulation and prediction of various physical effects such as stress, strain, deformation, vibration, etc. This means that you can expect your Northwood machine to be rigid, quiet, strong, and long lasting. Combined with good result estimation practices and error checking, FEA is an invaluable tool for the modern manufacturer.

Motion Controls

Ballscrew Driven Motion

Five Axis Ball Screw BallscrewNorthwood employs the most respected mechanical drives in the machine tool industry - ground, precision, reciprocating ballscrew systems. These drives are renowned for their ability to carry extremely high loads smoothly, efficiently, and quietly with little or no maintenance. This means that little or no power is consumed by the inefficiency of the drive system, leading to more accurate servo control and more work done at the tool.

In addition, ballscrews are the number one choice for eliminating backlash in linear drive systems. Unlike various forms of rack and pinion systems, ballscrews use rolling elements in raceways thereby eliminating the sliding that occurs during engagement and disengagement. This can be done using the elastic deformation properties of the rolling elements using negative clearance raceways or by using offset races in the ballnuts themselves.

Designers have tried to devise various tricks to circumvent these issues because rack systems are cheaper. One of the most common rack designs uses opposing pinions with some sort of pre-loadable linkage such as a chain. The problem with that design is if they are adjusted too low or high or the backlash is too high, the wear becomes excessive and efficiency plummets. Another problem with rack systems is that the relationship between the pitch circle of the pinion gear and the pitch line of the rack is very critical both for positioning accuracy and backlash. If those two pitch components are not perfectly tangent, then the system will detect binding (when the pinion tries to travel too deep) or release (when the pinion leaves the pitch line slightly and creates "play"). In either circumstance, the linear speed of the system will fluctuate.

Ballscrews are an integral unit by design, and thus retain a consistent working relationship; wherever the screw is mounted and aligned, that’s where the nut goes. Because Northwood utilizes a rotating-nut design on most of its system, the screw can be pretensioned, fixed, and laser calibrated for long-lasting, world-class performance. If you examine any high-end machine tool, five-axis CNC, or precision grinding machine in the world, you will likely find a precision ballscrew drive.

FANUC Motion Controls

FANUCFANUC is the industry leader for high-performance, high-reliability CNCs. From the 0i, the worlds most popular control with more than 400,000 units in service to the 30i, one of the most innovative controls with dual processing capabilities, Northwood is capable of integrating the right control for your application.

Using advanced microchip technology, Northwood’s CNCs are compact yet rugged. The advantages of Northwood’s precise, high-performance digital servo systems are evident in the quality of every part that you make. Northwood offers a standard 12-month warranty on its machining centers, but with an average fourteen-year mean time between failures, it will probably be a long time before you need to take advantage of Northwood’s technical and replacement part support.

Fanuc offers a wide range of value-added services that can lower your overall cost of ownership. Fanuc is loaded with the following premium features to ensure maximum productivity:

  • Multi-language support
  • Simple programming and operation with manual guide 0i
  • Operator friendly graphic display for visual part program verification
  • Extended help functions and alarm/operation history
  • High-speed machining for making higher quality parts faster
  • Tool life management for maximum machine utilization
  • Cutter compensation for print dimension data input
  • Canned cycles for simplified part programming
  • Custom Macro B for extending existing canned cycles, or creating new ones
  • Rigid tapping for high-quality tapping with low-cost, solid taps
  • Skip cycle programming for on-machine probing

Software Applications

StoneVision for Stone Fabricators

At Northwood, we maintain our StoneVision line of software applications which integrate with AlphaCAM to enable you to program your machine easily.  We have custom software for our routers, our FabCenters, and our SawJets.

Stone Fabricator Interface

Our touch-screen optimized interface for our stone machines makes loading programs and running your machine seamless.

DoorVision

At Northwood, we have created a custom integrated AlphaCAM solution for programming architectural doors.

Job Tracker

Our JobTracker software enables you to keep track of your production environment.  It enables you to monitor the programs run on your machine, as well as the time each tool has been used.

NWScan Barcode Loading

Our barcode system makes loading a program on your machine as simple as scanning a barcode.