Stourbridge-based HCM Engineering Ltd
, a leading precision toolmaker and die-casting process technology specialist, recently invested in a new Doosan Mynx 9500/50 large-capacity three-axis vertical machining centre supplied by Mills CNC
, the exclusive distributor of Doosan machine tools in the UK and Ireland.
The machine is a robust and rigidly built box-guideway three-axis machining centre ideal for heavy-duty machining operations, including interrupted cutting, and long machining runs. It is a proven performer capable of delivering high material removal rates at speed, as well as providing a super-fine finish.
Mike Hanson, HCM’s operations managing director, said: “It is a versatile machine — a real all-rounder.”
The Mynx 9500/50 was installed at the HCM’s 12,000ft2
facility in February and has been put to work machining complex, high-precision die-cast mould tools for a number of leading OEM and Tier One customers - predominantly from the automotive sector.
The die-cast mould tools machined on the new Mynx 9500/50 are complex and are characterised by their intricate and high-precision features such as thin walls, ribs, tapers, single and/or multiple cavities etc — and increasingly by their larger sizes.
Specific mould tool elements machined on the Mynx include 3-D ‘component’ forms and features, 2-D plates, mould inserts, cores and slides etc. They are made from hardened tool steels and are machined to tight geometric tolerances (0.025mm) and high surface finishes, and to exacting quality standards.
Established in 1969, HCM Engineering is an independent, privately-owned precision toolmaking company with over 50 years’ experience and expertise in the moulding and die-casting sector.Complete tooling solutions
The company provides customers with complete ‘concept to completion’ tooling solutions offering design consultancy and design for manufacturing (DFM) services at the start of projects through to the manufacture and supply of high-quality and competitively priced high-pressure, low-pressure and gravity die cast mould tools. As part of its services the company also provides machined or additively manufactured prototypes for test builds etc.
The company is committed to continuous improvement and achieving best practice and, as such, regularly invests in its people, its plant and equipment, and its processes and systems to improve its performance and competitiveness.
Mike said: “We regularly monitor and review our performance. If, and when, we see any area for improvement - we act quickly and decisively to rectify the situation.”
Simon Hanson, HCM’s commercial managing director, added: “Customers’ tooling requirements are constantly changing. Over the last 10 years the trend, within the automotive sector, is towards larger and more complex mould tools. It is a trend, certainly with the rapid growth of electric vehicles (EVs), that looks set to continue well into the future.
“This is good news for toolmakers, as long as they have the requisite machining capabilities available to manufacture large-size dies.
“To stay ahead of the curve, and to remain competitive, we identified that we needed to increase and improve our milling resources - specifically relating to the size and weight of the tools we could machine.
“Although we have a number of 2 and 3m bed length machines at our facility, we realised that it would be a strategically sound move to invest in another, technically excellent machine to enable us to succeed in, what is, a constantly changing and ultra-demanding market. With the trend towards large mould tool production - we needed to invest in the Mynx machine.”
The Mynx 9500/50 is a large-capacity machine with an impressive work envelope — X, Y and Z axis travels of 2,500 x 50 x 850mm — and can accommodate workpieces up to 3,500kg in weight.
The machine’s 2,500 x 950mm work table is being used by HCM to machine large single workpieces as well as multiple smaller jobs. These can be machined in a single set up and, such is the reliability of the Mynx 9500/50, they can be machined unattended - overnight and over the weekends.Unmanned operation
The new VMC has lots of things going for it when it comes to unmanned operation and high-efficiency machining. Its powerful, high-torque and thermally-stable BT50 built-in 22kW spindle (10,000rev/min - 452N-m), with its Big Plus dual contact face and taper configuration, delivers excellent high-speed and high-accuracy cutting performance, even when machining exotic materials or undertaking long machining runs.
Mike said: “The Mynx’s rigid design and build combined with its advanced spindle technology, which includes through-spindle-coolant capability, enables us to ramp up feeds and speeds and to take aggressive depths of cut — all of which help reduce cycle times.
“The machine’s technical prowess, in addition to its 40-position servo-driven automatic tool changer with a 2.5sec tool changeover time, gives us the ability and confidence to run the machine unattended overnight and over the weekends.”
HCM is no stranger to Doosan machine tools or Mills CNC having invested in two DNM 650 Mk II vertical machining centres in 2014.
Simon continued: “Mills CNC knows our business and we have a good relationship with them as we previously acquired Doosan machines we got from them have performed well over the years. In mid-October 2020, Mills made contact to inform us that they would soon have a large-capacity Doosan machine arriving in stock in the very near future.
“The size and technical specification of the Doosan Mynx 9500/50 appeared to match our requirements perfectly and, when we found out its price and that it could be delivered, installed and be up and running in early 2021 - we were sold — order to delivery took just 10 weeks.”
Mike concluded: “The productivity benefits we are experiencing from the Mynx investment are dramatic and significant. Just on machining 2-D plates - we estimate that we are now 800% faster than we were before.”