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Cost-effective pneumatic workpiece ejector

Clamping specialist Hainbuch is now offering users of its Mini Series, or the earlier Toplus or Spanntop chucks, an innovation that is designed to save time and money. Vario Part and Vario Quick end-stop systems already in the product portfolio have now been joined by a third variant, the Vario Flex.

The pneumatic workpiece ejector pushes the workpiece from the chuck automatically. Pneumatic workpiece ejector depth can be adjusted by means of a retaining mechanism, and can be positioned in the machine exactly as required for the workpiece.

Hainbuch’s Vario Flex workpiece ejector can also be used as a basic end-stop for coolant wash or air flush. To do this, the pneumatic spring is removed and a feed tube attached. The optional workpiece-specific end stop with holes for the wash and air-flush can then be mounted directly to the interface.

According to Hainbuch, valuable time can be saved using the standardised end stops. Set-up times are reduced and the user always has the right end stop to hand. Whether to use Vario Quick or Vario Part is just a matter of preference. For precise, rigid clamping, Hainbuch recommends using the Vario Part system, which works on the same principle as a gauge block. System height can be adjusted in 1 mm steps with gauge discs. Featuring axial run-out of < 0.02 mm at the part of the end stop that touches the workpiece, Vario Part is suitable for machining finished components. The Vario Quick variant, which is intended for fast, flexible clamping, has a trapezoidal thread screw to allow clamping length to be adjusted quickly. A half-turn is equivalent to an axial adjustment of 1 mm. For further information www.hainbuch.com


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Supplying parts for metal puzzles

Dawson Precision Components (DPC) is supplying world-class British-engineered parts for thousands of 3D revolving Revomaze metal puzzles. The Greater Manchester engineering firm manufactures components for Revomaze developer Ashton Pitt Ltd, based in Cumbria, which sells the cylindrical mazes globally.

Players need dexterity, memory, endurance and self-control to unlock the metal puzzles. They have to avoid traps and stick closely to tiny walls and bridges to find their way out.
Oldham-based DPC has so far supplied 5000 mazes plus other precision-engineered parts, including aluminium sleeves and stainless-steel drawbars and pins.
The first Revomaze puzzles went on sale in 2009. Since then, the range has expanded to 18 designs, each offering increasingly complicated challenges.
Simon Dawson, managing director of DPC, says: “The Revomaze concept is a top-of-the-range maze or executive toy comprising brass nickel-plated bodies, stainless steel pins and draw bars, and aluminium outer sleeves. Our client, Ashton Pitt, wanted a highly-reliable precision engineering company to manufacture the parts, while they focus on promotional work and designing new puzzles.
“DPC first made parts for the beginner level blue-coloured maze,” he adds. “There are currently eight different versions in production with more planned.”
The mazes have very complex designs, with square and circular moves, different paths and depths. For example, the indigo-coloured game has seven depths. Precision-engineered parts include ramps leading from one level to another, sliders, pins and bridges. Some mazes include magnets.

“Machining the parts requires very complicated G-code programming for our equipment, which can take two days to complete,” says Dawson. “The client provides the designs for each maze, then we work hand-in-hand with them to develop their designs into machinable parts.”
DPC uses a top-of-the-range Citizen M32 machine for the main maze bodies and a Mazak turn-mill centre for aluminium sleeves. Further Citizen machines are used to manufacture other parts. In addition, DPC’s product inspection and process control services are also critical. There are 21 aspects that are checked thoroughly.
“The finish of the mazes is crucial,” states Dawson. “The brass raised body is nickel-plated to a bright, durable finish. Outer sleeves are diamond-turned to get a beautiful finish, then colour-anodised to match its particular mating maze design.”
The foundation sets of Revomazes are finished in aqua, blue, green and bronze colours, while the master set is coloured indigo, gunmetal, copper and mint. Further puzzles are orange, red, black, gold, titanium, lime, purple, salmon and silver.
Commenting on the mazes’ global popularity, Dawson says: “There is a big scene around these including YouTube videos and online forums. A YouTube review of the blue Revomaze by Mr Puzzle on how to complete the puzzle has nearly five million views. There are limited editions, collectors’ versions, puzzlers and gamers. There’s a real buzz.”
The Oldham precision engineering company is working closely with Chris Pitt, of Ashton Pitt, based in Askam-in-Furness, Cumbria.

Pitt, who has a background in engineering, electronics and data systems development, says: “We looked carefully for a production manufacturer who has the same passion about quality that we, and all our worldwide clients, require for a premium product. We have enjoyed a very successful relationship with DPC due to the meticulous attention to detail by Simon and all the staff. Our success to compete worldwide relies on the very high quality of the machining and the subcontractors to provide the best finish that allows us to grow year-on-year.”
DPC was founded in 1965 and provides wide-ranging precision engineering and subcontract services to clients in the UK, Europe and beyond. A member of the British Turned Parts Manufacturing Association (BTMA), the company works across sectors including aerospace, defence, energy, environmental, marine, medical, motorsport and rail.
Over £1m has been invested in expanding DPC’s workshops and premises in recent years by owners Simon Dawson, Paul Dawson and Julie Hughes.
DPC’s new machines include a Miyano BNA 42 GTY with low frequency vibration (LFV) technology, and a Citizen L20 Type 8, also with LFV, which enables better swarf management in metal or plastics.
The Citizen is a 20 mm capacity sliding-head with sub-spindle live tooling and magazine bar feed, while the Miyano is 42 mm capacity and of similar configuration to the Citizen. DPC says it is the first of its type to be installed in the UK with LFV technology. The Miyano has replaced two older machines and complements other machining capabilities of 32 and 50 mm diameters.
A family owned company, founded in 1965, DPC has built a strong reputation for being progressive and innovative, with a programme of continuous investment in the latest machine tools. Together with the latest production control software and inspection facilities, this strategy ensures that the company offers a premium service at the forefront of engineering technology.
DPC’s production facility houses CNC turning and milling equipment, comprehensive inspection facilities and bespoke finishing and packaging services. The company’s approved subcontractors provide heat treatment and plating services to complement DPC’s in-house portfolio, ensuring all customer requirements are satisfied. A highly skilled and motivated workforce is a reflection of a company that places great emphasis on continual training and career development.

Today, DPC employs 50 staff, including apprentices, and looks to grow the business through expansion and recruitment. The company is accredited to ISO9001 and can supply FAIR Certification in accordance with AS9102.
For further information https://dpc.co.uk/


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Turn-mill centre suits large parts

German lathe manufacturer Index has introduced a turn-mill centre, the G420, which is capable of producing large components in one hit within a compact footprint of about 15 sq m. Availability in the UK is through sole agent, Kingsbury.

Despite weighing 23 tonnes, the machine does not need any special foundation as the polymer monobloc bed has inherent mechanical stability. The lathe offers the best deflection resistance of any comparable machine on the market, claims the company, and has good damping properties thanks to generously dimensioned linear guideways in the X and Z axes. A ratio of static masses to moving masses of greater than 5:1 not only provides high stiffness levels, but enables dynamic movements with low vibration.
Workpieces up to 1.6 m long can be machined from bar up to 102 mm in diameter, while the chuck diameter is 315 mm (optionally 400 mm). Precision is assured due to the thermal stability provided by extensive cooling circuitry throughout the machine’s structure, moving elements and peripherals. Stored energy can be used for other purposes, such as additional process steps or heating the user’s factory.
Index’s G420 features a 26 kW/12,000 rpm milling spindle moving in the X, Y, Z and B axes at the top of a vertical bed. A 58-position (optionally 115-position) magazine is supplied for HSK-T63 or Capto C6 tools.
The Z-axis slideway of the milling spindle, and the Y/B axis with hydrodynamic bearing support and linear scale feedback of quill movement, are symmetrically designed for stability. A Y-axis stroke of ±170 mm, B-axis swivel of ±115° and large X-axis travel of 750 mm, together with the Z-axis movement and C-axis on the main/counter spindles, allow up to 5-axis simultaneous machining of complex components.
For further information www.kingsburyuk.com


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Versatile solution for large-part machining

Okuma’s new two-saddle lathe – the LU7000 EX – which is available in the UK from NCMT, is equipped with a high-power spindle and allows for the turning of large workpieces.

Providing a wide variety of features and modifications, the four-axis lathe can be customised in accordance with the client’s individual requirements, making it suitable for a multitude of applications.
Especially when turning large and heavy workpieces with diameters of up to 900 mm, Okuma’s LU7000 EX reveals its true potential. Equipped with a bed that is 2 m long, even very long parts can be machined, aided further by a self-travelling tailstock. These specifications make the LU7000 EX a good choice for the manufacturing of oil and gas parts.
The machine is equipped with two turrets that can be utilised simultaneously. Said to be a first for this class of machine, the lathe offers a milling turret which allows for a high chip removal rate of up to 120 cm³/min. For ideal cutting conditions, manufacturers can choose from different main spindles featuring sizes ranging from a bore diameter of 200 mm with a maximum spindle speed of 1500 rpm, to a bore diameter of 560 mm with a maximum speed of 350 rpm.
When designing the LU7000 EX, Okuma also focused on achieving high dimensional accuracy. The lathe’s high constructional rigidity, but also Okuma’s Thermo-Friendly Concept contribute to this goal. The application avoids any generation of immoderate heat during the manufacturing process, detects changes in temperature and compensates for thermal deformation. This way, inaccuracies due to thermal fluctuations can be prevented.
For further information www.ncmt.co.uk


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£500k investment at NDB ups productivity

Willenhall-based NDB Engineering, a specialist subcontract fastener machining business, has spent £500,000 in the past 12 months on the latest turn-milling technology from Citizen Machinery UK.

This budgeted spend, funded through Citizen’s tailored finance package, covered two Citizen Cincom L20-VIIILFV sliding-head turn-mill centres and a Miyano BNE-51MSY fixed-head turn-mill centre (pictured), plus Citizen’s Alkart CNC Wizard programming aid, all of which now form a critical part of the future business strategy. As a result, opportunities are being created to gain higher productivity and spindle utilisation, with ever greater confidence in quality being maintained.
Managing director Andy Williams says: “These machine installations have also saved us having to seek outside help to satisfy our growing order book, as we were very concerned about loss of direct control, especially over quality if we used outside subcontractors.”
Joint director Rebecca Dainter adds that over the previous 15 years the company had installed sliding-head machines but swarf control was a constant attention-seeking headache. “It restricted output and, without care, could easily degrade quality and decimate our productivity targets,” she says.
She follows on to reveal that when Low Frequency Vibration (LFV) technology became available from Citizen, the company immediately saw the potential to achieve greater security and control during the machining of difficult materials. “Swarf nesting problems have disappeared. In addition, we have improved our productivity by having the confidence to run unmanned, and on many parts can go through the night, giving us a massive leap in capacity with the added bonus of one setter/operator tending three machines.”
For further information www.citizenmachinery.co.uk


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