13 Jun 2012
MACH 2012 REVIEW
The MTA’s biennial show hailed a resounding success with a significant number of visitors and orders won
Steve Backley OBE, former world javelin record holder, medal winner at three consecutive Olympic Games and in-demand motivational speaker, opened MACH 2012 at a time when manufacturing is increasingly being relied upon to drive the UK’s economic growth.
The Manufacturing Technologies Association, which organises the MACH series of exhibitions, estimates that turnover for the manufacturing technologies sector in the UK is about £1.2 billion, of which more than 80% is exported; it also stresses that without manufacturing technology there can be no manufacturing, which contributes an estimated £140 billion a year to the nation’s economy. Motivation enough, it could be argued, for Government to take a greater interest in manufacturing than has been the case in the recent past.
Yamazaki Mazak UK Ltd (www.mazak.eu), one of several companies visited by Dr Cable, reported strong interest and excellent new business enquiries from customers during the five days of MACH 2012. The Worcester-based machine tool builder exhibited eight machines on two stands, and confirmed more than £3 million of new business during the five-day exhibition. These orders came from a wide variety of sectors, including aerospace, automotive, general sub-contracting and oil and gas, with particular interest being shown in the company’s Integrex and Variaxis machines. Mazak machines that are designed and built in the UK were represented by the Vertical Centre Smart 430A which, according to UK sales director Tony Saunders, also attracted significant interest.
Smaller companies also did well at MACH 2012, as confirmed by Carl Windram, managing director of the sub-contract engineering firm Central Grinding Services Ltd, of Oadby, Leicestershire: “We had a great show with a huge amount of enquiries — so much so that we are looking to buy another grinding machine so we can fulfil potential orders. MACH has helped us to step up our operations and move our business onto the next level.”
Little and large
Leamington Spa-based Mills CNC (www.millscnc.co.uk), which recorded first-quarter sales of £12 million, also judged MACH 2012 to be a great success. Managing director Nick Frampton said: “I can say that with sales of £1.8 million during the five days — and a record number of serious sales enquiries — we have had a very successful exhibition. We have grown considerably in the last two years and invested significantly in people, our infrastructure, and in the Mills brand and how we market and promote ourselves. Particularly encouraging was the interest shown in our large-capacity Doosan VTS 1620M vertical turning lathe, the Puma 700LY long-bed lathe with Y axis and driven tooling, and the new NHM 6300 machines. We believed it was important to showcase a good cross-section of the Doosan machines we sell and support in the UK and Ireland, which meant that in one area of our stand we had our smallest machine, a Lynx 220B lathe, and in another the tallest machine at the show, the VTS 1620M.”
The VTS 1620M (pictured overleaf) is ram-type vertical turning lathe with a 2m turning diameter and a 1.6m turning height. It has a large square-cross-section ram with a 960mm maximum vertical travel and is integrated with the machine’s travelling cross-beam. The ram head also features a fast realignment system. The maximum rotational speed of the 1.6m-diameter table is 250rev/min, and it can accommodate workpieces that weigh up to 10,000kg. The 18.5kW 3,000rev/min BT 50 milling spindle delivers 262Nm of torque.
Mills CNC also took the opportunity to launch a number of new Doosan machine tools, including a new range of compact Lynx sub-spindle lathes and a new range of (NHM) heavy-duty horizontal machining centres. In all, the company sold 14 machines off the stand.
Hurco Europe Ltd (www.hurco.com) also welcomed a record number of people to its MACH 2012 stand, which was the company’s largest to date. Contacts were logged from 549 companies — a 24% increase over the previous MACH and continuing the trend of a 20% visitor increase per show since 2002. This, says managing director David Waghorn, is in line with the High Wycombe company’s growth in turnover and customer base over the past decade. “During the show and the following week, we booked 18 orders totalling £1.4 million,” he says, adding that all of the nine machines exhibited at the show are now sold.
Those machines were representative of Hurco’s ranges of vertical machining centre and CNC lathes, together with a five-axis high-speed machining centres from the German manufacturer Roeders, for which Hurco acts as sole agent in the UK and Ireland.
Mark Wingfield, owner and managing director of spark erosion specialist A&M EDM Ltd, confirmed delivery of a DCX22 twin-column, bridge-type machining centre (right) while visiting the Hurco stand. The tenth Hurco machine (including two CNC lathes) to be installed in this sub-contractor’s Smethwick factory since 2004, it will extend A&M EDM’s CNC metal-cutting capacity up to 2,200 x 1,700 x 750mm. Supplied with a two-axis head, the machine is capable of performing simultaneous four-axis work. Mr Wingfield says: “This investment is driven by buoyancy in the automotive and aerospace sectors. We are being asked to produce larger press tools for front and rear headlight clusters, while bigger jigs and tooling plates for aircraft manufacture are also required. A&M has a policy of installing multiple machines from the same supplier to simplify training and work transfer. For metal cutting — both turning and prismatic — we have standardised on Hurco machines due to their robustness of build and the versatility of WinMax conversational control software.”
Having almost doubled the value of orders taken previously at a MACH exhibition, and with a 25%-plus increase in the number of serious enquiries to follow up, XYZ Machine Tools Ltd (www.xyzmachinetools.com), of Burlescombe, Devon, is another company delighted with its participation in MACH 2012. “We sold more than £400,000-worth of machines at the show,” says managing director Nigel Atherton, “and with more than 500 quotes sent out in response to quality enquiries, we are confident of many more orders in the coming weeks and months.”
A strong MACH 2012 performance by XYZ Machine Tools Ltd follows last year’s record-breaking sales achievement and the introduction of the company’s ProtoTrak LPM (Lean Production Machine) machining system. This is the first ProtoTrak-equipped machine tool to be fitted with an automatic tool changer, and visitors to the stand were shown several innovative features designed to shorten setting-up times and to provide a competitive advantage in prototype and low-volume production. In fact, the significance of the new LPM was highlighted at the show with the presentation of the MWP advanced-manufacturing 2012 award for the Best Entry-level Machine Installation. This relates to an LPM supplied to Spa Aluminium Ltd, a Kent-based stockholder/fabrication business with no previous experience of CNC machining that is now supplying precision machined components to various customers throughout the UK.
Another award winner was Halesowen-based Sandvik Coromant UK (www.sandvik.coromant.com/uk) for the Best Cutting Tool — the new CoroMill 176 indexable-insert gear-milling hob. Intended for machining straight-cut and helical gears in the module range 3 to 9, and with inserts tailored to specific customer needs, CoroMill 176 combines significantly higher cutting performance with straightforward insert changes to reduce cycle times. The hob features teeth in a spiral formation designed to cut the machining time per gear wheel. This is the result of a ‘fully effective’ design compared with the ‘half-effective’ designs found on conventional hobs (which use tangentially mounted inserts). Also featured is Sandvik Coromant’s established iLock interface, with the elimination of insert movement contributing to significantly extended tool life.
The CoroMill 176 cutter can be used on conventional hobbing machines as well as the latest CNC multi-tasking mill-turn centres and five-axis machining centres. Target markets include industrial transmissions, heavy vehicles, agricultural machinery, locomotives and wind turbines.
MACH 2012 got off to an especially good start for Coalville-based Tornos Technologies UK Ltd (www.tornos.com), with the first-day sale of a Tornos Gamma 20/6B sliding-head turning centre to Hi-Spec Precision Engineering Ltd. Hi-Spec, which is based in Market Overton, Rutland, manufactures hydraulic valve and cylinder components in batches from 1,000 to 3,000. Tornos then went on to collect the MWP advanced-manufacturing 2012 award for Best Turning Centre for its new MultiSwiss 6¥14 six-spindle sliding-headstock machine. This is based on a ‘fully integrated’ concept that is aimed at users of multi-spindle turning machines, cam-operated machines and single-spindle turning machines.
The show was a winner for Sodi-Tech EDM Ltd (www.sodi-techedm.co.uk), with UK technical sales manager Chris Hellyer confirming four orders placed with the Coventry company during the show and more than 300 enquiries for its Sodick linear-motor wire-cut and solid-sink EDM machines. Promach 3D Ltd, a Derby-based sub-contractor with a wealth of experience in the motor-sport, aerospace and rail industries, was one of the four businesses that purchased an AG600L LP2WH Wire EDM machine on the stand, having been impressed by its easy-to-use touch-screen controls and cost-effectiveness. Martin Spooner, Promach 3D's managing director, says the new machine “will dovetail nicely with current operations and give us extra scope for cutting difficult-to-machine materials accurately."
‘Special-purpose’ machine for valve bodies
Manufactured at Mazak’s Kentucky production facility in the USA, the new Orbitec 20 is a specialist valve-body production machine that can complete various valve features in a single set-up. These include the facing of flange surfaces, the conical boring of taper holes, face milling, end milling, threading, internal grooving, concave machining and ‘phonographic’ finishing. This results in much shorter set-up times and increased productivity, with this new machine capable of producing eccentric features on stationary workpieces.
Axis travels are 280mm (X), 600mm (U and V) and 1,230mm (Z). The X axis has a maximum feed rate of 15m/min, while the C-axis spindle has a turning speed of 35-600rev/min. The Orbitec 20 is also equipped with an NC positioning table with a pallet size of 630 x 630mm and a maximum load capacity of 1,500kg. It has a tool storage capacity of 60 tools, and the option of twin pallets is available, enabling Mazak’s Palletec system to link the Orbitec 20 with machining centres to offer both a turning and a milling solution.
At the show, DMG and Mori Seiki announced that they were just weeks away from finalising their merger in the UK and moving the combined operation to a new building (Tel: 0844 800 7650) near Coventry Airport. The two companies have around 100 UK staff and approximately 9,000 machine installations on some 5,500 sites.
Representing the group’s first jointly developed machine, the MillTap 700 vertical milling, drilling and tapping centre maximises the time that the spindle is in cut by accelerating the linear axes at 16m/sec2 to feed rates of 60m/min — plus there is a high-speed tool changer that delivers a chip-to-chip time of 1.5sec. To achieve this performance, the complete drive for the tool magazine — which can hold 15 cutters (25 is an option) — is integrated into the two-axis (Y, Z) spindle head. The machine has a 700 x 420mm work area and a Z-axis travel of 380mm; its table can hold workpieces weighing up to 300kg. The 25kW high-torque spindle has a top speed of 10,000rev/min as standard (optionally 24,000rev/min). DMG/Mori Seiki has adapted the Siemens 840D Solutionline CNC, which features 3-D programming software, integrated tool management, a Sinamics 120 compact inverter and a 10in monitor. Optionally, the machine can be equipped with the Progressline, which displays the remaining process time and quantity of parts needed to complete an order. Expansion options are available for multi-axis machining and automation solutions.
Also making its debut was DMG/Mori Seiki’s DMU 65 FD MonoBlock machining centre (right). This has a 650 x 650 x 560mm working volume and an integral turning facility, allowing complete machining of complex mill-turned components. Accelerating at 6m/sec2 to 40m/min rapids, coupled with a chip-to-chip time of 5.9sec, makes this a fast production centre; added to which, complete machining in a single set-up increases accuracy and minimises cycle times, due to short idle times and reduced set-ups. This machine’s swivelling rotary table features direct drive technology, has a maximum speed of 1,800rev/min and supports a maximum load of 600kg. Workpiece size is up to 650mm in diameter x 500mm high. A 35kW 18,000rev/min spindle with HSK-A63 tool interface rounds off this mill-turning package.
On a pre-MACH visit to Mazak’s Worcester facility, Vince Cable said: “Businesses like Yamazaki Mazak demonstrate that the UK can continue to lead the way in developing cutting-edge technologies”. Cue Mazak’s Vertical Centre Smart, a compact VMC capable of a variety of operations from heavy-duty machining to high-speed machining. It is equipped with the Mazatrol Smart CNC, which offers a choice of conversational or conventional EIA/ISO programming.
Established in Huddersfield in 1976 to produce heavy-duty hydraulic cylinders, Hystat Systems Ltd placed an order with Haas Automation Ltd, Norwich (www.haas.co.uk), for a second Haas horizontal machining centre. Hystat has a Haas EC-1600 HMC and will now add a Haas ES-5 HMC to its stable of CNC machines. Horizontal machining centres in the ES-5 series are compact in terms of the floor space required, while having a work envelope of 1,016 x 457 x 533mm. A VMC-style enclosure provides good visibility and ease of access. Each machine features a 24+1 side-mounted tool changer and is equipped with an 8,000rev/min 40-taper spindle. An in-line direct-drive system couples the drive directly to the spindle to provide fine surface finishes, extreme thermal stability and quiet operation. For added performance, there is the option of a 12,000rev/min spindle powered by a 30hp vector dual-drive system. For increased tool capacity, a 40-pocket side-mounted tool changer is available.
As with all of XYZ’s ‘plain-English’ ProtoTrak controls, the latest-generation PMX control fitted to the new LPM does not require G and M coding knowledge. An added attraction for an existing user of a ProtoTrak-equipped CNC/manual machine is that once the ProtoTrak LPM is set up and running in CNC mode, the operator can revert to working on a manual-tool-change mill. The net result is an instant productivity boost, while avoiding the need to recruit additional skilled staff.
In addition to demonstrating the new LPM, XYZ’s sales and applications team was kept busy during MACH 2012 demonstrating examples of the company’s extensive range of ProtoTrak-equipped CNC/manual bed/turret mills and lathes plus Siemens-equipped full-CNC machining centres and turning centres, the latter available with driven tooling if required. The good news for anyone who missed the opportunity to see these machines in action is that demonstrations can be arranged at any of the company’s five regional showrooms.
Taking the opportunity offered by MACH 2012 to introduce a host of new and upgraded cutting tool ranges, WNT (UK) Ltd, Sheffield (www.wnt.de/en-en/), unveiled HCX1115, a new grade for turning steel. Sitting within the ISO P15 grade of carbides, its key benefits are the extended tool life that can be achieved through its enhanced process reliability and wear resistance. Typically, tool life is extended by 35-50%, depending on the application. In one example quoted, machining fasteners from C45V material at a surface speed of 200m/min with a 2.5mm depth of cut and a feed rate of 0.38mm/rev, edge life increased from 14 to 21min.
These inserts are available in a wide range of ISO shapes, and WNT has extended the existing range of chip-breakers for steel materials with two new designs. NR14 and NR17 provide excellent chip control and high edge stability on roughing applications, including interrupted cutting at large depths of cut.
Meanwhile, Corsham-based Gewefa UK Ltd (www.gewefa.co.uk) launched a new tool-holder concept for general and heavy-duty milling operations involving substantial radial and axial forces on the cutting tool. In essence, this is a hydraulic chuck that, with the addition of a second mechanical side clamp, provides “100% tool shank security”. Hydraulic chucks are widely regarded as offering one of the best means of gripping tools when undertaking heavy or difficult machining operations in materials such as titanium, composites and exotics. However, there is always a risk of the cutting-tool shank slipping or pulling out — a situation that applies to any friction-based securing arrangement such as roll-type milling chucks, shrink tool-holders, hydraulic chucks and collet chucks.
To combat this, Gewefa has developed its fail-safe side-locking tool-holder for use with cutters machined with the universal Weldon flat or Whistle Notch. In addition to the hydraulic chuck-clamping action around the cutter, which provides damping and anti-vibration features, the secondary side clamp arrangement locks a screw onto the cutter’s Weldon flat or Whistle Notch surface.
Regenerative technology that cuts overall power consumption by almost 6%, reduces normal non-cutting times by 30%, makes use of recyclable materials and contributes to greater operational flexibility is behind the first showing at a UK exhibition of Citizen’s latest-generation M32 CNC sliding-head turn-mill centre; added to which, Bushey-based Citizen Machinery UK Ltd (www.citizen-miyano.co.uk) says that an immediate saving of 90% of the machine’s power consumption can be made when it is switched on but not actually cutting metal.
To counter rising energy costs, the Cincom control incorporates a graphical ECO-Monitor that reads and displays information such as power consumption and highlights performance ratios of operational times and set-up, alarmed stoppages, cutting against non-cutting, and overall times lost when the machine is not operating.
With the overall ECO package incorporated into the latest M32-VIII model and machining the same component as produced on a previous-generation M32, a typical cycle time has been reduced from 55.7 to 48.5sec — a saving of 12.9%. Features such as automatic optimisation of axis overlap not only reduce non-cutting elements by up to 30% but also contribute to a smoother action, helping to suppress any likelihood of vibration being set up. Spindle indexing is direct, tool life management is included in the Cincom software and, according to Citizen, auto skip avoids elements that could have a negative influence on cycle time.
DMG-Mori Seiki’s compact NTX2000/SZM five-axis mill-turn lathe provides a combination of five-axis simultaneous milling and six-sided finish machining. Tooling options include a 76-position magazine with a chip-to-chip time of less than 7sec. When equipped with a modified bar loader and a workpiece unloading device, the machine can be used fully automatically for material diameters of up to 65mm. Automation solutions can also be provided for larger bar diameters.
The various models in the NTX series feature good accessibility to the working area. A main spindle and optional NC pivoting counter-spindle, a milling head at the top with ±120deg B axis and torque drive, and an optional turret below with 10 live tools all contribute to a comprehensive manufacturing package. Rotational speed is up to 5,000rev/min for the main spindle and counter-spindle, and 12,000rev/min for the milling spindle. Simultaneous machining using the milling spindle at the counter-spindle and the turret at the main spindle is available. Meanwhile, the MAPPS IV control ensures speedy progress from drawing board to finished workpiece, with a CAM system from Esprit installed as standard in addition to conversational programming. The combination of MAPPS IV and CAM functions means that users are more shopfloor-oriented and can respond more flexibly and efficiently to customer requirements. Moreover, the machines are equipped as standard with MORI-NET, a function that allows remote maintenance and monitoring of operating status.
DMG-Mori Seiki also used MACH to demonstrate the versatility of the Gildemeister CTX beta 1250 TC B-axis mill-turn centre. This features a powerful upper B-axis mill-turn spindle and is capable of machining workpieces up to 1,250mm long x 390mm in diameter, or up to 65mm (optionally 76mm) diameter from bar. The B axis, with its 12,000rev/min spindle, swivels by ±100deg and is supplied with HSK-A63 Capto C6 tools from a 24-position disc magazine; an 80-position chain magazine is an option. The rapid-traverse speed is 45m/min, raising productivity by keeping idle times short.
The 19in screen of the DMG ERGOline CNC enhances reading comfort, while Soft-keys allow the integration of additional and more-detailed status information. The Siemens ShopTurn 3G user interface provides G-code or conversational programming, or a combination of the two, together with process simulation and an Ethernet port for fast data exchange.
Meanwhile, orders totalling £1.2 million for nine sliding-headstock mill-turn centres were taken on the stand by Star Micronics GB Ltd (www.stargb.com), with customer requirements spanning the capacity range from 16 to 32mm diameter. One of the first orders to be placed with the Melbourne, Derbyshire, company came from Droitwich sub-contractor LMS Precision Engineering, which is run by father-and-son team Roger and Scott Street. A third of this company’s turnover is derived from the aerospace sector, but it also machines large quantities of sub-20mm components for a customer in another industry sector; one of these requires a lot of cross-working and previously needed to be sub-contracted. With the new Star SR-20RIII (with its five live cross-working tools) installed, LMS will be bringing manufacture of this particular 316 stainless-steel component back in-house and will supply the entire family of parts from one source.
Sawing and cutting-off
From the top end of its product range, Kasto Ltd, Milton Keynes (www.kasto.uk.com), showed a Kastotec AC5 automatic bandsawing machine with — for the first time — a low-speed high-torque gearbox for cutting nickel alloys and other tough materials. It has a steel/mineral cast composite construction (said to be six- to eight-times more vibration-absorbing than cast iron) and a powerful main drive through a rigid, play-free, spur bevel gear that delivers 98% of the available power directly to the drive wheels.
Functions of the Kastotec AC5 include automatic slowing of band speed and feed rate during entry and when exiting the cut to prolong blade life, plus optional, non-contact deflection monitoring to detect if the band is wandering outside pre-set limits. A patented feature involving retraction of the stock and blade on completion of a cut avoids marking the face of the material or cut piece, and eliminates the risk of damaging the blade teeth. Rest-piece length is down to 35mm in automatic mode, allowing users to make savings through a reduction in scrap levels, particularly when costly materials are being processed.
Also new at MACH 2012 was the Kastofunctional automatic, pivot-type bandsawing machine. This has a hydraulic in-feed and is of solid construction with a robust, torsion-free welded base for rigorous use in workshops. It is capable of ‘cutting to length’ material up to 260mm round/square. Mitre-cutting to the left by 45deg and to the right by 60deg can also be performed on tube, section and solid material. The cutting speed is steplessly adjustable from 20 to 110m/min to suit any type of metal, even tough varieties; there is also a choice of inclined material magazines for applications involving the unattended cutting of large orders.
Sheet-metal forming and fabrication
The Optiplex laser cutting machine from Yamazaki Mazak Optonics Europe NV (www. mazaklaser.co.uk) enables users to com-bine multiple machine operations without the need for operator intervention or down-time. A variety of automated set-up functions unique to Mazak ensures optimised cutting, even during extended unmanned operation. In effect, this enables Optiplex to implement non-stop cutting of different metals, regardless of metal thicknesses and eliminating the need for multiple laser machines and material nesting.
Crucially, this new machine is equipped with a constant-beam delivery system capable of compensating for table axis movements. This, in turn, delivers consistent beam power anywhere on the table for more-stable cutting conditions and improved accuracy. In addition, the new Optiplex uses just six external mirrors — five fewer than previous designs — significantly increasing the power to the torch. Productivity is further increased with rapid axis movements (120m/min feed rate and 1.2g acceleration) and rapid pallet change provided by a new high-speed twin-pallet system capable of changing pallets in 19sec and operating simultaneously with the automated set-up function. Control is via the new Mazatrol Preview 2 CNC touch-screen system, which automatically determines the cutting speed and acceleration from each point to the next from the program contour.
Scarborough-based Unison Ltd (www.unisonltd.com) unveiled an innovative quick-change tooling system that speeds up tooling changes on its all-electric tube-bending machines. The system covers all of the tooling components on the machine, and includes bar-code identification to verify the change-over process. On a 50mm single-stack machine, for example, a fully validated changeover involving six basic tool components to switch from manufacturing one good part to another can be accomplished in less than 3min.
Available as an option for any three-axis machine from Unison’s extensive Breeze range of all-electric tube benders (for diameters up to 76mm), the system should interest general metal fabricators seeking a fast and flexible means of handling small-batch production. It is also suitable for companies producing high-value-added tubular parts, such as those used in the aerospace industry, enabling costly early-stage errors to be eliminated from the manufacturing process.
All elements of Unison’s new tooling system are self-aligning and designed specifically to minimise handling and set-up times. The machine’s die and grip section is mounted directly on a threaded tool post with a large keyway, facilitating accurate placement, and is secured by a retainer ring that only needs to be hand-tightened. The fixed-position wiper die and holder similarly mounts on a splined shaft and only requires tightening with an Allen key.
The advantage of faster tool change-over is maximised by the completely automatic set-up capability of Unison’s all-electric bending machines. Unison’s Jim Saynor says: “Automated tooling verification can result in substantial cost savings for fabricators serving specialist markets such as the aerospace industry. Bending is normally one of the first stages of tube fabrication, which means that identifying any error at this point prevents a faulty part being propagated through the production process, where each stage adds cost.”
Leicester-based Jones & Shipman Grinding Ltd’s (www.jonesshipman. com) display featured four grinding machines, two of which were being exhibited in the UK for the first time. The largest machine on display was the latest UltraGrind 2000 CNC cylindrical grinding machine, which has a 500 x 2,000mm grinding capacity and a 500kg component weight capacity.
Features include a new design of modular wheel-head with multiple wheel options. Incorporated into the wheel-head swivel is an indexing device that includes both a Hirth coupling and Fanuc digital AC servo-motor positioning.
A further option is a high-precision Heidenhain rotary encoder, which allows a variable angular positional programming resolution of 0.0001deg. This new wheel-head design provides a wide choice of external and internal grinding-spindle combinations, effectively creating a custom machine but without the associated cost and build time. The wheel-head offers wheel sizes up to 500mm in diameter x 100mm wide and wheel spindle powers up to 15kW.
The UltraGrind has been designed with manufacturers of precision components in mind, particularly those producing complex precision parts in small-to-medium volumes. Flexibility combined with ease of use improves productivity, keeping component prices competitive and matching some high-volume production systems that rely on using multiple machines.
Also featured by J&S was the Kellenberger KEL-Vista UR 175/1000, which is positioned as an ‘economical/universal’ CNC grinding machine; it features a 1deg Hirth coupling B axis as standard. A cost-effective three-axis CNC alternative to hydraulically controlled cylindrical grinding machines, it features user-friendly menu-based programming, thereby extending its areas of application — even to operators with limited programming capabilities.
Other features of the UR 175/1000 include a compact design with a small footprint, a thermally stable swivelling work-head suited to chuck work and grinding between dead centres, and thermally optimised bearings to guarantee roundness and dimensional accuracy. The ergonomic design with a low machine platform allows for easy manual load and unload, which also contributes to rapid change-over times.
Having launched the new MX5 tool and cutter grinder at MACH 2012, ANCA UK Ltd’s (www.anca.com) technical staff were kept busy throughout the show demonstrating this latest member of the popular MX family. Designed as a lower-cost machine that incorporates the most important features of the MX platform, a reduction in the number of wheel packs offered, from six to two, has resulted in a precise, flexible machine that is now affordable to many more potential customers.
In common with the Coventry company’s premium MX7 model, the new MX5 is applicable to the manufacture of end mills and a wide range of other tool-grinding applications, including the precise manufacture of medical components.
Powerful big-bore heavyweight chucker
Big is beautiful’ was the message on the stand of TW Ward CNC Machinery Ltd (www.wardcnc.com). The Sheffield company is the exclusive UK distributor for Hankook horizontal and vertical lathes, and MACH 2012 saw the UK launch of the 45kW 7,536Nm (spindle torque) BB550 Hanturn big-bore (550mm) chucker-type CNC lathe. This heavy-duty machine has X and Z axes travels of 670 and 1,100mm respectively, plus an extra-wide (1,320mm) one-piece 5,210mm-long Meehanite cast-iron bed. This is complemented by a robust box-type headstock to guarantee stable performance for a machine that has an 1,100mm swing over the bed and a 600mm swing over the carriage. Other features include: a two-step gear change for high-torque machining at low speed; a box-type saddle and a 600mm cross-slide; a rigid six-tool turret for heavy-duty turning, boring and threading; and rapid-traverse rates of 4m/min in X and 6m/min in Z.
From Ward CNC’s extensive Hyundai-Wia portfolio was the KBN-135CL, a travelling-column planer-type horizontal boring and milling centre with a 2,000 x 1,800mm table. This machine, which is built for heavy-duty work on components weighing up to 20,000kg, features a one-piece cast-iron bed, hardened and ground box guideways, a heavy-duty three-speed high-torque spindle, and pre-tensioned and double-anchored ballscrews. It has axis travels in X, Y, Z and W of 4,000, 2,000, 2,000 and 700mm respectively. The rapid-traverse rates are 7m/min (X) and 10m/min (Y, Z and W); cutting feed rates up to 5m/min are available. A 22/26kW spindle motor provides spindle speeds up to 2,500rev/min, and the machine is equipped with a 60-station ATC.
Filtration and cleaning
Pershore-based Freddy Products Ltd celebrated its 50th anniversary with demonstrations of its new HP20-22 high-performance centrifuge system — and other innovations that can resolve various issues surrounding the use of oils and coolants in the work-place.
The HP20-22 centrifuge delivers particle filtration down to less than 5µm, which prevents swarf and dust particles returning to the work envelope. Contaminated coolant is fed through the connection lid and then deflected by a centre cone to the base of the rotating bowl. Centrifugal forces then act upon the dirty coolant to pack the contaminants into a cake at the wall of the rotor liner. Clarified fluid then overflows at the top of the unit through the vane assembly that returns the clean oil to its machine tool.
With its single-rotor clarification system, the new HP20-22 offers throughput levels of up to 80 litres per min of soluble oil, with marginally reduced rates for neat oils. Automatic lid-lock fully conforms to the Health & Safety at Work Act to guarantee operator safety, while the inverter drive increases the speed of the centrifuge rotor, which in turn increases the forces being exerted on the solid particles to maximise efficiency.
A compact design is the immediately noticeable feature of Tewkesbury-based MecWash Systems Ltd’s (www.mecwash.co.uk) Aqueous Vapour Degreaser (AVD), which has a footprint of less than 1.2 x 2.3m and an overall height of less than 2.4m. The system is fully self-contained and is designed to remove all types of contamination, including soluble and mineral oils or greases, polishing compounds, lapping pastes and NDT dye penetrants.
The unit cleans and degreases components via a single rotating, oscillating or static drum, with the washing process – optional high-temperature cleaning in excess of 100°C where needed — taking place in this single chamber. Components are subjected to immersion and spray wash, immersion and spray rinses, and hot-air drying.
Aqua-Save Technologies, MecWash Systems’ waste-water treatment division, unveiled the Aqua-Save Junior 2. No larger than a four-drawer filing cabinet, this uses evaporation to process a range of waste waters — from coolants through to floor scrubbings and compressor condensate — to reduce disposal requirements, water usage and, therefore, costs. Once separated, typically only 5% of the original solution volume needs to be removed from site with the rest available for re-use or — with appropriate permissions — discharged to drain. This mobile unit can handle up to 15 litres per hr of waste solution across a wide range of heavily contaminated substances, with built-in intelligent sensors assessing the composition of incoming solution and adjusting the operational process accordingly.
CAD/CAM and program verification
The latest version of Vericut CNC machine simulation, verification and optimisation software from Hove-based CG Tech Ltd (www.cgtech.com/uk) features numerous enhancements that contribute to increased speed. Taking advantage of multiple processors and background processing has resulted in Vericut 7.2 being significantly faster than previous versions, with no compromise on accuracy.
Implementing hundreds of customer-driven enhancements while also harnessing the power of Windows 7 with 64-bit multi-core processors has now further reduced the time required to develop, analyse, inspect and document the CNC programming and machining process. One new feature is Enhanced Optipath Feed Rate Optimisation, which optimises an NC program from a saved simulation. Users can adjust and re-optimise without re-running the simulation, via a new interactive panel. In response to customer demand for more interfaces to popular CAD/CAM systems, CGTech has also developed new interfaces to Delcam’s FeatureCAM, SolidCAM and Esprit CAD/CAM software; it has also released Vericut Composite Applications.
A major enhancement for the 2013 release of the PowerMill CAM system from Birmingham-based Delcam plc (www.delcam.com) is the patent-pending Vortex for high-speed and five-axis machining. The new strategy, previewed at MACH 2012, will also be added to Delcam’s feature-based programming and the PartMaker system for Swiss-type lathes later this year.
Developed specifically to gain the maximum benefit from solid-carbide tooling — in particular, those designs that give deeper cuts by using the full flute length as the cutting surface — Vortex can be used for two- and three-axis roughing, positional five-axis clearance and for rest machining based on stock models or reference tool-paths.
Mark Forth, product manager for Delcam’s Advanced Manufacturing Solutions, says: “Anyone that uses the Vortex strategy will be able to hear the difference immediately. Conventional roughing produces a sound of varying pitch, which indicates tool overload and chatter, while Vortex roughing gives a constant pitch, showing that the tool is operating under consistent conditions. Users will also be able to see the difference in the regular size and thickness of the chips produced, providing further evidence of the consistency of the cut.”
Prior to MACH 2012, Renishaw plc had attracted a great deal of interest with its innovative Equator gauging system — a lightweight, fast and highly repeatable gauge that operators can use with ‘push-button simplicity’. It duly won the MWP advanced-manufacturing 2012 award for Best Quality Control Equipment. However, the Wotton-under-Edge company could never be accused of resting on its laurels, and it added other new products to its exhibition line-up at the last minute.
The XR20-W rotary-axis calibration system works with Renishaw’s XL-80 laser interferometer to allow the measurement of rotary-axis positional accuracy to within 1arc-sec. Totally wireless operation and modular mounting options mean that it can be used to check a wide range of machines. Also available as a cost-effective way of checking the alignment and positioning performance of rotary axes, Renishaw’s AxiSet Check-Up takes just a few minutes to identify and report on poor machine alignments and geometry. Users of five-axis machining centres and multi-tasking mill-turn machines can therefore quickly identify problems that could adversely affect process setting times or result in non-conforming parts. Visitors could also check out Renishaw’s QC20-W wireless telescoping ballbar — the first calibration tool to allow testing in three orthogonal planes through a single reference point. A single, simple hardware set-up means that quicker testing is allied to the capability of producing a representative volumetric measurement of positioning accuracy.
Linear drives and ceramic components
Coventry-based Sodi-Tech UK Ltd (www.sodi-techedm.co.uk) is the UK agent for Sodick’s fifth-generation linear-motor wire EDM machine. This features linear motor drives for the X, Y, U and V axes, as well as absolute linear scales on all four axes; ceramic components; and cast-iron bed construction. Focusing on ergonomics to allow the optimum use of machine capabilities, enhanced optional features include a Jumbo wire feeder, HTP high-voltage circuit for use with small-diameter wires, a taper flex unit that allows tapers up to 45deg to be cut, and an L-cut wire chopper for easier disposal of used wire.