The FP4A and FP4MA basically started out as an evolution of the fully conventional FP4M (see bottom of page).
As a typical conventional Deckel milling machine the FP4M engaged the z and x-axis via a common lever and the z axis was moved via a handwheel located on the saddle.
When a control and drives were elaborately slapped on this setup it resulted in the FP4A (A might well have stood for "automated"), which due to its mechanics could still only engage either the z or the y axis, but not both simultaneously. This mechanical limitation made it a 2.5 D machine. Since it could only move 2 axis simultaneously, it only had 2 Bosch axis sets, and no additional sets could be installed, resulting in the fact that no powered Deckel accessories could be used.
Additionally only a simpler control would be sufficient. The FP4A started out with the Contour 1. This was followed by the Contour 2 in early 1986. It did not get the Contour 3, because that was a full 3D control. What then followed was to confuse customers for decades. Deckel decided to bring out a simplified and cheaper version of the FPNC series to achieve better sales. These machines were to be fully 3D, but to be spec'd down in other regards. These would be the new FP2A, FP3A and FP4A with the Contour 3, but they had no mechanical heritage in the previous FP4A. In order to differentiate the two, the simpler FP4 machine now had to be called FP4MA, which ties it to its FP4M heritage and customers would be at a loss forever.
Some more pictures from an FP4A with Contour 2:
Note here the cover plate. It looks like this is where the feed lever goes on the conventional machines.
Note here the drive system for the y and z axis. One servo drives both axis through a belt, which is clutched hydraulicly. Also note accessory connections under the x axis on the left side of the saddle.
The sales brochure for FP4A without the M designation in 1985.
The machine could not be equipped with the NC rotary table or the NC indexer.
Screen graphics and irregular pocket milling cycle were sold as an option (flip that dip switch).
FP4A (MA) floor plan:
Where it came from: the conventional FP4M