• Small Town Values, World Class Products

HAAS UMC 500 – Kremin CNC Machine Reviews


In our machine shop, we use a lot of HAAS machinery. A year ago we upgraded to 5-axis milling with the HAAS UMC 500. See our thoughts now! We also invested into some of HAAS’ recommended upgrade, including the 90 Gallon Coolant Tank upgrade, 8 Station Pallet Pool, High Pressure Flood Coolant, Renishaw Probe Kit, and Renishaw Eye.

Video Transcript:

“In 2022 [Kremin] decided we needed to add more capacity to our HAAS-dominant CNC mill area, so we made a decision to purchase the HAAS UMC 500, along with the Pallet Pool behind me. This gave us more capacity that we needed to take care of our customers, but also gave us true 5-axis capability. It’s been a year now–almost a year, and here is what we’ve seen and learned about this machine in that time.

Let’s talk about some of the things that we really like this machine before we go and push you off the cliff and talk about the stuff that we don’t like.

First is the next-gen controller. It’s touch screen, and the guys seem to really like this controller. It’s a nice upgrade from the previous version controller that we have on all of our VF2s. The second is the work envelope. We have a very nice sized work envelope. It gives us more Z height than the than the VF2s. We have true 5-axis capability, and again that’s new for our facility. It’s something we haven’t had here. We also have the Renishaw Probe Kit in here. Higher pressure flood coolant is another nice feature to have when you need it. We went with the 90 gallon upgraded coolant tank, and this also comes with a 50 position tool chain. That’s a lot of tool holders to fit in a machine!

Like any purchase that you make you anticipate running into limitations and drawbacks. What we found since we purchased UMC 500, is that these limitations and drawbacks have really been starting to accumulate. Let’s talk about some of the cons of this machine.

#1: The Renishaw tool probe is in the way of the trunnion swing. You can only swing to -35 degrees on your b-axis before you run into interference issues there. Seems like they could have easily moved that into a different location and not limited your ability with that.

Secondly, the Renishaw eye experiences a lot of chip issues. Coolant gets on it, and then it can’t see–causing alarm issues. You can see right now it has chips all over it and it needs to be cleaned off, otherwise the shop guys are going to have issues.

Thirdly, inside the machine–and I’ll talk about this more in a separate Pallet Pool review–is the side door. In this machine, the pallet pool uses the side door of the machine to load and unload the pallets in. The issue with the window is that it’s narrower than the work envelope of the machine. If you’re not careful on how you place your vices or your fixtures on that plate, you could catch the edge of that door and bang up the side of the door, or it just won’t let it move through the opening. Seems like a very simple thing that they overlooked in this design.

Another issue that we run into which seems to be a very simple issue that shouldn’t be an issue, is chips clogging up the drains in the conveyor. [The UMC 500] has a conveyor system to bring out the chips into the chip gong. The problem is the chips are getting in and around the conveyor, and clogging up the drain so the coolant can’t return back to the tank. Next thing you know, guy comes over and it’s Pond Kremin inside the machine because all 90 gallons of the tank is inside the machine. The coolant has nowhere to go, and eventually starts to flood all over the place. They’re still working on fixing this issue for us.

So one of the things we weren’t aware of when we decided to upgrade and get the larger 90 gallon coolant tank system is that it requires a little bit of alteration from the original machine. The coolant runs out the base of the machine into the coolant tank. The bigger coolant tank doesn’t sit under the machine like they usually do with the regular size coolant tank. So they added a shroud that extends out and allows coolant to dump into the return side of the tank. [The problem is] this shroud has to be taken out weekly because if you don’t take it out and clean the chips that get caught in there, it’ll cause some of that flooding I was talking about inside the machine. If you don’t clean it off perfectly when you put the shroud back in and make sure it’s set all the way back in, it will cause it to leak on the floor in front of the machine making a mess. Constantly always having to clean things out behind this shroud is nothing but a big pain in the ass. Oh, did that cover my voice? Did that get it? The machine just censored me. Did you know? Did you know machines have feelings too?

One of the most obnoxious things about this whole system that every person in this facility is annoyed by is how loud the coolant pump is on this unit. It’s so loud that during installation we questioned, “Is this pump running properly? Is it running right?”
The response was that it is, and there’s nothing they can do with it because it’s fully functioning the way it should be. Let me uncover it to unload the true sound of what this thing sounds like. Fire it up, Mike!

[The worst sound you’ve ever heard.]

Isn’t that great? Isn’t that soothing? Just resonates right through your brain. Helps you think straight, gives you a little better clarity. Or vice versa makes you want to bounce your head off the floor.

Hey, want to hear the most annoying sound in the world?

[Sound continues]

So even while we’re in here trying to film this review on this machine, we run into issues. We have to take a minute to recover the machine, and make it to do what we want to do during the recording. Go ahead, Mike, fire it up. Nope. All right, try it again.

Overall, the HAAS UMC 500 has been a nice upgrade to our VF2 filled facility adding true 5-axis capability. A machine that has more tool positions than anything else that we have here, and so far it’s been capable of producing the tolerances that we need on any of the parts that we make up to this point.

The machine itself has been great, but all the accessories is where all the limitations and the drawbacks seem to be. The locations of the Renishaw eye and touch probe. The coolant tank upgrade option. The coolant pump. The conveyor issues with the chips building up. These are all issues that shouldn’t be issues, but they are, and for that reason I’m giving this machine a rating of 2.5/5.

If HAAS could take care of those things, which I’m confident that they will along the way, this machine would have a much higher rating. Until then, see you next time!”