Combination lathe brings flexibility

Cheshire Seals & Components Ltd (Cheshire Seals), based in Warrington, has recently extended its workshop capacity with a new Harrison Alpha 1550XS manual/CNC lathe from Colchester Machine Tool Solutions.

Managing director Paul Wallace says: “We had an existing Colchester centre lathe which had been very useful to us, but we needed the machining flexibility that the Alpha could bring. We bought plenty of extra kit for the Alpha and from day one it’s been put through its paces. The machine is performing well and is certainly earning its money.”
Cheshire Seals is a family-run, independent manufacturer of machined parts in a wide variety of materials, ranging from aluminium to zirconium, taking in duplex stainless steels and nickel alloys, and many exotic metals, through to plastics and rubbers for seal manufacture. The company also takes initial customer design concepts and converts them into fully finished products, whether it’s a one-off prototype or a full production run.
Wallace adds: “We looked at other CNC machines but felt that the flexibility of the Alpha lathe and its various modes of operation within the Fanuc system were strong factors in our decision. We find that the machine torque is excellent for cutting harder materials, while the lathe has significantly improved our cutting and program creation times by using ISO programming and the eight-station turret.”
The 2 m between-centres Harrison Alpha 1550XS has a swing over bed of 554 mm and a 104 mm spindle bore. A large 15 kW motor allows spindle speeds up to 2000 rpm.
For further information

Mastercam 2019 Lathe unveiled

From accepting and programming any CAD file, to dynamic roughing and precision finishing, Mastercam 2019 Lathe from CNC Software provides a variety of techniques to turn parts as required. Available in the UK from 4D Engineering, Mastercam 2019 Lathe features a newly developed tool designer, turn-mill environments and multiple plunge functionality.

Tools can be built from 3D STEP models using the software’s tool designer, which is a function panel with tab-style navigation that provides a structured workflow similar to using a wizard. Users can define tools, assign them to operations, and view them when running ‘Classic Backplot’ and Mastercam Simulator.
Mastercam 2019 allows lathe users to run select turn-mill machine environments. Here, operators can experience automated job set-up and part transfer, full machine simulation, and simplified programming of C/Y-axis toolpaths.
A further newly developed feature is the lathe groove toolpath, which includes a multiple plunge option that permits users to rough-out a groove with rib cuts. Consistent tool pressure can result in better chip control and more even tool wear. Multiple plunge gives the option to machine ribs with a more aggressive feed rate than in initial plunges.
Additional functions of Mastercam 2019 Lathe include improved support for cross-centerline turning, and full integration of the PrimeTurning toolpath strategy from Sandvik Coromant.
For further information

Machine investment reaches £400,000

As one of the UK’s foremost exponents of machining plastic components, Hertfordshire-based Plastic Turned Parts continues to invest in its future. The recent arrival of two Citizen sliding-head lathes means that the company’s total investment in 2018 exceeded £400,000.

The two new machines, a Citizen L20 with its LFV technology and a Citizen B16E sliding-head lathe, bring the total number of CNC lathes to 11, all of which are used solely for the machining of a wide range of plastic materials. Plastic Turned Parts fills the volume niche where injection moulding is not viable due to time and/or cost restraints, or where the plastic material is simply not capable of being moulded.
“Everything we machine here is plastic and we are able to achieve much greater dimensional accuracy, with no concerns over shrinkage,” says Jonathan Newis, managing director. “Three of our Citizen machines have LFV technology, which is ideal for machining plastics as swarf can be controlled precisely.”
Growth at Plastic Turned Parts is coming from old and new customers across a diverse range of industries. One particular client has increased its requirement for two specific components from 50,000 each, to 150,000 each, and one of the two new machines will be dedicated to that work. This increase is down to strong global sales among its customers and a trend in reshoring parts.
“Customers are seeing distinct advantages to having plastic parts machined rather than moulded, mainly around cost and timescale relating to manufacturing mould tools, but also the consistent quality that machining can bring,”
says Newis.
For further information

University chooses Index turn-mill centre

The £7.5m advanced manufacturing technology centre opened recently by Queen’s University Belfast provides manufacturers in Northern Ireland and beyond with services that include consultancy, collaborative R&D, industrial training, and intervention for problem solving and cycle time reduction. Also, the facility can take manufacturing processes from product inception through to pre-production.

Acquiring the new equipment to populate the facility, which opened last year, took 21 months and saw the installation of seven new metal-cutting machine tools and a host of inspection and scientific equipment. The only lathe ordered in the first round of investment was a twin-spindle Index G220 turn-mill centre, supplied by Kingsbury, which was immediately put to use optimising a production process for an air bearing manufacturer in England whilst the company waits for its own G220 machine to arrive.
Head of the facility, Colm Higgins says: “The Index turn-mill machine is currently being used to evaluate the possibility of raising the efficiency of rough-turning stainless steel bar. In collaboration with our customer, we are hoping to develop a technique that replaces single-point turning with a process that instead uses a milling cutter in the B-axis spindle.
“Spreading the cutting load across several inserts rather than just one, as the bar is turning, would considerably increase the feed per tooth and hence metal removal rate, leading to reduced cycle times,” he adds. “Admittedly, accuracy and surface finish would not be as good, but for a roughing operation it does not matter. We are also reviewing other turn-milling processes for this manufacturer.”
The B-axis spindle on the G220 is positioned above the spindle centreline and is supplied with cutters from a 140-tool magazine. There is also a lower turret with 18 driven stations.
For further information

Finance supports investment at AD

At the Kent facility of AD Engineering, a five-figure funding injection from NatWest has seen the company invest in a Muratec MT100i/T2 twin-spindle turning centre to manufacture essential metalwork components that form part of wider engineering structures.

Investment in the CNC machine will enable AD Engineering to meet existing client demands, and help the business operate more effectively and efficiently.
AD Engineering specialises in precision, multi-axis CNC machining for the subsea, aerospace, space and transport sectors. Founded in 1993, the company has consistently adapted its business model to ensure growth and sustainability, including investment in sophisticated CNC technologies. Under the stewardship of owner and managing director Carlos Forlese, the business has plans to grow its workforce to meet increasing demand for international orders.
“Agility has been key to the success of our business, and regular investment in the latest CNC technologies helps ensure we stay ahead of the game,” he says. “NatWest has been invaluable both in its support and the funding it has provided. They had a unique understanding of our business needs and the whole process was smooth from start to finish. Over the next 12 months we plan to grow our business even further, increasing capacities and investing in our workforce.”
Lucas Douch, relationship manager at NatWest, adds: “AD Engineering is a perfect example of a firm which is willing to invest and diversify in order to ensure business longevity. The funding we have provided will not only enable the business to meet current demand, but develop new opportunities and support job creation in the local area.”
For further information