Matching machine-tool investment to the intended applications is something Crediton-based subcontractor Adaero Precision Components has done well over the years. The latest addition to its capacity, a Wele AQ1265 three-axis vertical machining centre with Nikken rotary table fourth-axis, is no exception.
The provider of the Taiwanese-built machine, sole UK agent Whitehouse Machine Tools, has delivered numerous other machining centres to the subcontractor during the last decade, sourced from Brother and Akari. So Adaero had confidence this time around in the supplier’s advice, despite never having heard of the Wele brand.
On this occasion the requirement was to replace an ageing, four-axis machining centre that had become unreliable.
Mainly, the new machine has been devoted to carrying out cycles of relatively low complexity on simple parts, such as large aluminium plates. A moderate level of investment was appropriate in a machine fulfilling this type of work. Nevertheless, Dimensional accuracies of typically ±0.01 mm need to be held. Furthermore, despite three-quarters of output from the factory being aluminium parts, the machine has to be robust to perform arduous cutting cycles, continuously, every day from 08:00 to 17:00.
David Smith, Adaero’s finance manager says: “The Wele met our requirements and cost significantly less than other machines we reviewed. Our engineering director Jack Wilson-Hill visited a Whitehouse customer to see a similar machine in action and was impressed with the rigidity of build. The fact that Wele is part-owned by Toyoda, a Japanese manufacturer of top-end machine tools, also pointed to production equipment that was of high quality, added to which the AQ1265 was competitively priced, so we placed the order.”
For further information www.wmtcnc.com
Numac Engineering, a subcontractor which secures more than half of its business from the oil and gas sector, has ordered a Hermle five-axis, trunnion-type, mill-turn centre to strengthen its prismatic machining capability and simultaneously add extra turning capacity.
Kingsbury, sole agent for the German machine builder, will install the Hermle C42UMT in the customer’s Stalybridge factory in October 2019.
The Hermle C42UMT will also allow the contract machinist to take on more complex work in the aerospace and motorsport sectors. A wide variety of metals is already machined on site, encompassing most grades of stainless steel, as well as exotic materials including titanium and nickel alloys such as Hastelloy and Incoloy.
Andy McLaren, managing director at Numac, says: “We have four-axis horizontal and vertical machining centres here, but are keen to add full five-axis milling and drilling, both to increase the complexity of parts we can produce and reduce the number of set-ups needed for 3+2 axis work.
“The Hermle’s torque table will cut the number of separate operations even further on some of our mill-turned components, as we’ll be able to avoid a separate clamping on a lathe,” he continues. “We have a number of oil and gas parts earmarked for such a process improvement, and estimate that typically the number of set-ups will be halved, resulting in major efficiency and productivity increases.”
Some 18 months were spent by McLaren researching five-axis mill-turn centres and says he opted for the Hermle primarily due to its superior turning capability, the table having a maximum speed of 800 rpm and the ability to turn components with the trunnion positioned at any angle.
For further information www.kingsburyuk.com
At the Coalville facility of Terex, a mobile crusher machine manufacturer, a large-capacity Doosan DBC160 horizontal borer from Mills CNC has been installed.
Used to produce the high-accuracy bores, holes and threads found in the fabricated sections of Terex’s mobile crushers, the DBC160 accommodates sections that can weigh up to 30 tonne. Machining operations can be relatively long and, such is the need to maintain productivity, that high removal rates are an ongoing requirement. Up to 70 mobile crusher machines are manufactured at Terex’s Coalville facility every month.
Jason Toon, operations and facilities manager, says: “The machine specification we’d drawn up included the requirement for a large 3 m Y axis. We didn’t realise at the time that the new Doosan DBC160 borer could be supplied with such a large Y axis, although when we found out, we were naturally interested. The DBC160 is a new machine and we were going to be the first customer in the UK to buy one. This, plus the performance-critical nature of the investment meant we had to get it right first time.”
The DBC160 is a large-capacity, moving-column type borer equipped with a 160 mm diameter boring spindle (45 kW/2000 rpm). Workpieces measuring 3400 mm in diameter, and up to 20 tonne in weight, can be accommodated on the machine’s B-axis rotary table.
“We have been delighted with the DBC160 machine’s performance, and cannot speak highly enough about Mills CNC’s dedication and commitment, which have been first-class,” concludes Toon.
For further information www.millscnc.co.uk
The huge growth in fish farming in recent years is proving good news for a small precision engineering company based near Spalding.
A one-off job 10½ years ago has turned into a major stream of business for Channing Engineering, which employs eight people at its workshop in the village of Pinchbeck.
Run by Colin Channing, the company makes parts that are in high demand for fish farming businesses in Norway, the Faroe Islands and Canada. As a result, more than half of its work is now exported and, unlike many, the firm has no worries about the implications of Brexit with all of its main sales destinations outside the EU.
With business continuing to grow due to its reputation for quality and reliability, Channing and his team have decided to replace one of the company’s Bridgeport machining centres, working with the Engineering Technology Group (ETG) to purchase a new Hardinge GX710S.
“The previous machine was a highly reliable piece of kit, so it made sense to get another Bridgeport,” points out Channing. “It’s been a while since we’ve had to replace a piece of equipment and it was the first time we had worked with ETG. Everything went very smoothly and, when any issues did crop up, we received a rapid response, which is just what you want with a significant investment.”
The Bridgeport Hardinge GX710S is a three-axis vertical machining centre with 20 tools on an ATC carousel and a single spindle speed of up to 12,000 rpm. Table size is 800 x 400 mm, while travels in the X, Y and Z axes are 710, 400 and 430 mm respectively.
For further information www.engtechgroup.com
Having doubled the size of its premises in 2016 and the same year purchased its first five-axis machining centre, a Hurco VMX42SRTi with swivelling B-axis spindle, subcontractor Almond Engineering has installed a second, similar model.
Managing director Chris Smith favours this style of five-axis machining centre over the trunnion-mounted rotary table arrangement due to its versatility for tackling a greater variety of work, including the four-axis machining of large components.
Last year saw the arrival of a Hurco VMX30i, purchased with a fourth-axis rotary table to speed set-ups, increase production efficiency and reduce delivery times, plus a larger three-axis VMX60i with 1525 x 660 x 610 mm working volume that significantly extends the size of component that can be machined at the Livingston site.
Overall spend in 2018 exceeded £400,000, and half that figure is due to be spent again this year, including on new software. Driving this level of investment was 25% growth in 2016/17, a further increase in turnover the following year and a predicted 19% rise this financial year. It is a pace that Smith describes as “almost too fast” in view of the perennial difficulty in hiring skilled staff.
Much of the growth has come from winning new business from the medical sector in Scotland, such as the assembly of lines for producing contact lenses and the machining of parts for operating theatre equipment. The industry now accounts for 8% of the company’s revenue by value.
Semiconductor firms across the central belt of Scotland are the other main sector serviced, while contracts are also received from the ever resilient aerospace and defence industries. A hallmark of the subcontractor’s service is significant design input into the mechanical engineering aspects of the contracts it undertakes.
For further information www.hurco.com/en-gb