Advanced CNC Machine for Aerospace Installed at Saginaw’s Merrill Technologies Group

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The Raptocut from Italian firm FPT Industrie has been installed at Merrill Technologies Group in Saginaw in partnership with Fadal Engineering, the first in the U.S. // Courtesy of Merrill
The Raptocut from Italian firm FPT Industrie has been installed at Merrill Technologies Group in Saginaw in partnership with Fadal Engineering, the first in the U.S. // Courtesy of Merrill

Merrill Technologies Group in Saginaw, a contract manufacturer for the aerospace, defense, energy, automation, transportation, and heavy equipment sectors, has installed the first Raptocut milling machine in America in partnership with FPT Industrie and Fadal Engineering.

“At Merrill, we are constantly looking for ways to expand our offerings and broaden our portfolio,” says Bob Yackel, president of Merrill. “FPT and Fadal truly understand the ever-changing needs of the manufacturing landscape.

“We’ve invested in FPT since 2018, and they have continuously produced equipment that meets our growing needs. Their technology has allowed us to remain at the forefront of the CNC machining industry and pioneer production in industries across the board.”

FPT, a CNC and milling machine manufacturer based in Italy, makes the Raptocut. Fadal Engineering, based in Troy, operates as the North American importer of FPT products for companies like Merrill.

The travelling-column milling machine adds additional CNC machining capabilities — specifically in the aerospace machining and engineering space — in high-volume, high-speed aluminum plate machining to meet growing production requirements of those fields. The Raptocut offers high speed, high metal removal rate with a spindle speed of 30,000 rotations per minute at 140 horsepower.

It offers a machining envelope — or where a piece of material can be effectively cut — of 280 inches by 100 inches by 40 inches and cutting speed of 2,000 inches per minute for aluminum alloy parts. Downtime is eliminated with the Automatic Pallet System, which allows for staging and setup of the next part without interrupting operation.

“This is a very unique machine with four pending international patents,” says Ezhil Viswanathan, vice president of sales at FPT North America. “The Raptocut is truly game changing when it comes to critical aerospace and defense products that require multi-axis machining with high tolerance complex geometry.

“It’s very easy to load a vertical pallet that rotates quickly to a horizontal position. Setting up and machining this way provides exceptional chip evacuation. The twin pallet system optimizes the time to load the next part.”

Merrill has invested in FPT tools before the Raptocut. The Dinomax is a 20-inch by 10-inch vertical gantry machine used for heavy-duty machining as well as high-speed cutting. It offers automatic head changing capabilities, which gives Merrill the ability to machine a variety of materials.

“Flexibility is key when it comes to our machinery portfolio,” says Jeff Yackel, vice president of Merrill. “The Raptocut and Dinomax from FPT give us the ability to adapt our production to machine a range of materials with the highest machining envelope possible.”

Merrill’s manufacturing floor space, which spans nearly 700,000 square feet, is dedicated to design, fabrication, machining, and integration operations. It employs more than 350 people.

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