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Case study: Machining i-beam end faces with a milling rail and gantry

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 Using a gantry with a milling rail creates working envelope to suit the specific project. it also enables a 2 axis milling rail to be used across 3 axes. This is illustrated in this case study from the construction sector.

The Problem

  • The customer, ‘Cementation Skanska’, is an internationally recognized specialist piling and ground engineering subcontractor. For a major construction project, they were looking for an efficient solution to machine end faces of 10 metre length i-beams.
  • Outsourcing the machining of these large items would be too expensive and cause unnecessary delay. Therefore, the company decided to procure a solution to enable machining to be carried out in-house.
  • The steel i-beams were manufactured in 30 metre sections and cut to 10 metre lengths. Following this rough cut, the end face of each section needed to be machined accurately to allow a connection flange to be welded. After the welding operation, each connection flange needed to be machined once more, making them flat and ready for construction.

The Solution


  • The solution provided by Mirage was the ‘MR750 x 750 Picture Frame Mill’, (named after the machine’s 750mm x 750mm stroke).
  • The assembly included a hydraulically driven 2-axis milling rail (MR1500), a Mirage Gantry equipped with a ball screw feed, and a purpose-built frame.
  • Feed types included manual operation; for moving the milling head into position, plus an auto-feed setting for when each cut was being made.

The Outcome

  • An effective in-house machining solution was provided: This enabled Skanska to machine a large number of i-beams.
  • Each i-beam could typically be set up in under an hour, with the average machining time of just 45 minutes.
  • The resulting accuracy of the machined beams and flanges enabled accurate building construction.


More about the Mirage Milling Rails

Mirage’s 2-axis milling machines each incorporate the latest workshop machine tool technology in to a portable format for use on-site. All milling machines are highly accurate and use the latest linear guides and ball screw technology to ensure maximum performance.

The MR1500 used in this project is available with the choice of either air or hydraulic drive power. Accuracy is ensured through the use of precision linear 'V' rails and the ball screw feed. Hand feed is 10mm per /rev and auto feed to 'X' axis is 0-83mm/min.

If you would like to speak to your regional technical sales representative get in touch here

Download the Mirage Machines Linear Milling Buyers Guide

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