Mills CNC has recently supplied Dyer Engineering, a precision manufacturer located in the northeast of England, with five Doosan machine tools.
The machines – three Doosan DNM 4500 vertical machining centres, one Doosan DNM 6700 large-capacity vertical machining centre and one Lynx 2100LMB lathe equipped with driven tooling and supplied with a barfeed – have been installed at Dyer Engineering’s 100,000 ft2 split-site manufacturing facility in Stanley, County Durham.
All five machines were selected for their reliability, productivity, cutting performance, competitive price, ready availability, and the service and aftersales support provided by Mills CNC. The decision to make such a significant investment in capital equipment followed an internal audit undertaken by Dyer Engineering. It was intended that the audit would identify any weaknesses or potential production ‘pinch points’ that could affect the company’s ability to meet its future growth objectives and ambitions.
Says Leigh Foulger, BatchLine Division lead: “We are committed to continuous improvement and, as such, continually monitor and benchmark all aspects of our performance. The audit results revealed that some of our existing CNC machine tools, while still performing adequately were, owing to their age, becoming less reliable and more prone to breakdown. We knew that the situation, if not addressed, would only become more acute over time and so we decided to ‘grasp the nettle’ and make the significant investment required to address our weaknesses and improve our machining capabilities in one fell swoop.”
Although Dyer Engineering does not necessarily push its machines to deliver exacting part accuracies (typical tolerances required are ±0.2 mm), they can be in operation around the clock and, as such, have to be reliable performers in order to meet OTIF arrangements made with customers.
For further information www.millscnc.co.uk
Bolton-based Silcoms supplies the aerospace industry with nickel alloy, titanium, stainless steel and aluminium engine ring components and assemblies, including seals, shrouds, segments and casings.
The company was awarded an additional contract in 2018 to supply a complex rotating fan seal for a large civil aircraft engine programme, which prompted the need for additional capacity. Managing director Jim Hill took the opportunity to develop a new process route that would speed production of the rotational titanium parts, while maintaining the tight tolerances needed.
The new method of manufacture now hinges on the use of a Hermle C50 UMT five-axis machining centre fitted with a torque table for carrying out in-cycle turning operations. Supplied by Kingsbury, the machine performs three operations in two set-ups that previously required five operations on three different machines. As a result, floor-to-floor time has been reduced, while fewer set-ups mean that the risk of accumulative tolerance error is minimal.
Produced from a titanium forging, the 1015 mm diameter fan seal has to be turned to a final wall thickness of 3 mm. Here, it is crucial to control dimensional accuracy and avoid distortion. After a number of preparatory machining stages, the Hermle five-axis machining centre completes the next five operations in two set-ups over 20 hours. Semi-finish and finish turning have been compressed into one operation on each side. During the second clamping on the Hermle, turned and milled features are completed. Critical dimensional features are held to ±20 µm over the full diameter of the part.
Says Hill: “Consolidating turning and milling on one machine has significant benefits. Apart from a reduction in component handling and an improvement in accuracy, it cuts the lead-time for converting a titanium forging into a finished seal, and reduces the total number of tools we need.”
For further information www.kingsburyuk.com
Arrowsmith Engineering of Coventry is capitalising on 20% growth over the past 12 months by investing over £200,000 in a Doosan four-axis machining centre and robotic cell. It is hope the move will boost production speed and increase capacity by 50%.
The company is using lights-out manufacturing to run a precision aero-engine part 24 hours a day, seven days a week, supplying more than 200 components every month to customers based in Spain and the US. Integrating robots into the process has removed the need for a second machining centre.
Managing director Jason Aldridge says: “I’m a big fan of automation and don’t’ sign up to the notion that it’s taking jobs; if anything it will make us more competitive so we can take on additional people. The Doosan CNC machining centre and collaborative robot system is our first investment in robotics, and has been configured to suit our specific requirements for 24-hour manufacturing on a complex component for the aerospace sector. It has removed the need for an operator to load and unload the parts, and this person has gone on to a different production process that is more skilled. This is just the start of what we are sure will be a continuous investment drive in robots.
“It’s made us 15% quicker and given us a 50% capacity boost; that’s some payback already,” he continues. “Automation shouldn’t be seen as something that only the big boys do; SMEs can access it cost-effectively and we need to ‘grasp the nettle’ in order to bring the UK’s productivity in line with our international competitors.”
For further information https://engtechgroup.com/
Traditionally a three-axis vertical machining centre user, Singer Instruments in Watchet installed its first five-axis CNC machine at the start of 2019 to streamline the manufacture of aluminium components.
The German-built Spinner U5-630, a 40-taper machine, was supplied through sole UK agent Whitehouse Machine Tools, and is equipped with high-pressure coolant through the spindle and a separate clean tank, as well as Blum spindle-mounted workpiece probing and a tool-setting probe.
Cycle-time savings have been dramatic and there has been a considerable reduction in the number of set-ups needed across a raft of different parts. This positive outcome is a result of using the two additional rotary CNC axes provided by the swivelling trunnion and rotary table to reposition components automatically. In one case, a table for Singer Instruments’ Rotor automated screening instrument used in the biological sciences sector, is produced in three set-ups, whereas previously it required nine separate prismatic machining operations on a three-axis VMC. More typically, components formerly needing six operations are now produced in two.
Investment in five-axis capacity was instigated by Steve Maconnachie, CNC machinist at Singer Instruments. Maconnachie previously ran his own subcontract machining business with his brother in the Midlands and had used five-axis technology for many years. He was familiar with all the leading makes of machine, many of which were reviewed before deciding on the Spinner purchase.
“Some of our components are tightly toleranced to ±5 µm, so we maintain the temperature of our production area to within a couple of degrees,” he says. “It’s true that many of the five-axis machines we considered could hold this tolerance, as does the Spinner, whose price was also competitive. It was little more than half the cost of one of the other production centres shortlisted.”
For further information www.wmtcnc.com
When Peterborough-based Rivercircle invested in one of the first XYZ UMC-5X gantry-style simultaneous five-axis machining centres just over 12 months ago, its ambition was to gain efficiency by transferring work previously performed on three- and four-axis machines.
Such was the company’s success in doing that, it has won numerous new contracts for five-axis work, resulting in the arrival of its second UMC-5X.
“We had no work that demanded full five-axis capability when we bought the first XYZ UMC-5X, but knew we could reduce set-up time and cycle time by moving work from other machines,” explains Paul Langan, Rivercircle’s production manager. “Furthermore, we had no expectation of keeping the machine busy 24/7, but as word spread, customers began to recognise the capability that we now had, and work kept coming in.”
The influx of orders from existing and new customers for dedicated five-axis work meant that additional capacity was required. However, due to the success of the first machine from XYZ, there was no reason for Langan to look anywhere else for the second.
“Work is continuing to move towards five-axis machining and, with the two XYZ UMC-5X machines, we can combine operations and become far more efficient, which will ultimately lead to more work as we are more competitive,” he says. “The ease of use of the machines, with the Heidenhain control that we are familiar with, along with support from XYZ Machine Tools, made our decision to double-up straightforward.”
The arrival of the second XYZ UMC-5X was enhanced by investment in several seats of Mastercam five-axis software to ensure there were no bottlenecks in processing the increased amount of work generated by the additional machining capacity.
For further information www.xyzmachinetools.com