Industry News

Five-axis cell produces medical parts

Sheffield-based Tecomet, formerly Symmetry Medical, has installed three Hermle trunnion-type five-axis machining centres for manufacturing stainless steel medical components. The machines were supplied by
sole UK agent, Geo Kingsbury, and full production started in October 2016.

In view of the vast product range, two of the Hermle C 400 machining centres have 87-tool magazines, allowing all component variants to be produced without changing cutters, so minimising downtime. The other machine has a standard, 38-tool magazine and is reserved for larger batch quantities.

Components are produced from two grades of 316 stainless steel forgings. Generally they undergo two operations, although some require only one. Programs are long, as the components have complex shapes to match the human anatomy, and some cycles run to 300,000 lines of code.

Machining operations are mainly three-axis with the other two positioned and clamped, while some components require 4+1-axis cycles. The latter involve taper milling, slotting, drilling and tapping and take between 25 and 90 minutes.

Tecomet production engineer Steve Jackson says: “Hermle C 400 machines were chosen for this latest production cell because we know how good they are. We installed a pair of smaller C 22 U five-axis machines a couple of years ago to produce medical instruments and the installation has proved very successful. We have also been impressed with the service from Geo Kingsbury. If we have a problem on a machine or need help with an application, they are on it like a flash.”

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