When three years ago, Birmingham City University decided to switch its engineering courses to the new globally accepted CDIO (conceive, design, implement, operate) framework, the workshop of its School of Engineering was refurbished and equipped with seven machines from XYZ Machine Tools (www.xyzmachinetools.com
These machines — a manual lathe, two ProTurn SLX 355 lathes, two SMX ProtoTrak mills, a 1060HS vertical machining centre and a CT65 LTY turning centre — were procured after what mechanical-engineering programme leader Tony Hayward describes as “an intense tendering process”.
One of the key elements of the university’s tender document was the need for the machine control systems to be user-friendly and easy to use.
Technical manager James Pring said: “The machines would be used by workshop technicians, academics and students alike, so straightforward operation of the machines was important.
"The commonality of the ProtoTrak control system across the lathes and mills allows users to switch from machine to machine without any complications.
"The students have very little time to familiarise themselves with the machines and controls, and they tend to come along needing large numbers of parts to be produced in a very short space of time, so that ease of use is vital for efficiency.”
Mr Hayward said: “The overall package supplied by XYZ Machine Tools from pre-sale through to delivery, training
and on-going support gave us the capacity, capability and confidence to deliver to the new CDIO curriculum.
“The icing on the cake was the provision of tooling vouchers that we can spend as and when we need to with Ceratizit UK & Ireland to further enhance the performance of the machines, without drawing on our existing budgets.”