The recently opened Advancing Manufacturing Centre
(AMC) - a unique, innovative and transformative research, design and manufacturing ‘hub’ based within West Highland College UHI’s Ocean Frontier facility in Fort William, Inverness-shire, has invested in two new high-performance Doosan machine tools supplied by Leamington Spa-based Mills CNC
, the exclusive distributor of Doosan machine tools in the UK and Ireland.
The machines, a Lynx 2100LMB multi-tasking lathe and a flexible DEM 4000 vertical machining centre, were installed in September and October 2021 respectively — in good time for the Centre’s official launch last month. They now form part of an impressive range of advanced manufacturing technologies and equipment the Centre has at its disposal.
The AMC is part of the national ‘Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund’ (AMCF) — an economic growth and regeneration partnership between the Scottish government, Scottish Enterprise, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and is also part-funded by the 2014-2020 European Structural & Investment Fund.
The overarching aim of AMCF funded projects is that they have a direct and measurable impact on increasing the manufacturing capacities, capabilities and competitiveness of SMEs within Scotland, and of becoming recognised agents of change and best-practice; transforming, rapidly where possible, national and regional skill and productivity levels.Advanced manufacturing technologies
To achieve these aims the Centre, through its £1.6 million funding, will help stimulate and improve the performance of SMEs by providing them with direct access to advanced manufacturing technologies and expertise — at zero cost to their businesses.
Margaret Weir, AMC’s project manager, said: “Providing existing and new companies with a risk-free ‘sandpit environment’ where they are able to fully explore and understand specific manufacturing issues and challenges they are confronting and, as a result, be able to then design and develop innovative solutions using freely available advanced manufacturing technologies at the Centre, is a real business benefit.”
It is also anticipated that the Centre, through its successes, will be instrumental in helping promote STEM subjects and careers within schools and colleges resulting, over time, in the establishment of a skilled STEM workforce aligned with local and regional business needs.
David Campbell, STEM project director, said: “The emphasis and focus of our projects are on meeting the needs of SMEs in the West Highlands of Scotland — helping them to become more competitive through embracing, utilising and exploiting the latest manufacturing, automation and smart digital technologies.”
The technologies and equipment acquired have a broad scope and are intended to appeal to, and attract, as many SMEs to the Centre as possible. The equipment and technology at the AMC were acquired via a rigorous tender process with Mills CNC being one of a number of machine tool suppliers invited to submit tenders for supplying a CNC lathe and machining centre.
Doosan machines are a recognised technology ‘staple’ for component manufacturers throughout the world, and Mills CNC, the distributor of Doosan machines in the UK and Ireland, is highly regarded and well respected not just for the machine tools it sells but for the range of after-sales services it provides.
Every year hundreds of large and small UK and Irish component manufacturers (OEMs and Tier One suppliers through to precision sub-contractors), universities, colleges and research centres, invest in Doosan machine tools from Mills CNC. Best-selling models
Among the best-selling models in Mills CNC’s machine tool portfolio are the Lynx 2100 series of lathes and compact Doosan vertical machining centres, including the DNM series of machines.
The Lynx 2100LMB is a best-selling 8in chuck multi-tasking lathe equipped with a 15kW, 4,500rev/min spindle, 3.7kW, 6,000rev/min driven tooling capabilities, a tailstock to machine longer parts, and the advanced Doosan Fanuc 0iTF control with 15in touchscreen iHMI.
The lathe has a maximum turning diameter of 310mm and turning length of 510mm, and in this instance was supplied with a CNC bar puller enabling it to machine components in larger batches from bar stock.
John Morning, Mills CNC business manager, Scotland (pictured), said: “The Lynx 2100LMB is a compact turning centre equipped with many advanced features that enable it to machine complex, high-precision parts in one hit.”
The DEM 4000 is a fast and versatile three-axis machining centre equipped with a 5.5kW, 8,000rev/min spindle, a 20-station ATC and the latest Fanuc 0iMF control. The machine also features a 650 x 400mm worktable with 400kg maximum table load and boasts 24m/min rapids on its three axes.
Mr Morning explained: “The DEM 4000 is ideal if you are looking for a small, compact machining centre but don’t want to compromise on speed or power.”
The AMC is an essential and integral component in helping Scotland grow and diversify its manufacturing base and create a highly-skilled workforce and high-skilled, well-paid and sustainable jobs in the future.
By providing SMEs with a range of services and access to advanced manufacturing technologies and equipment at zero cost to their businesses, the AMC is tackling, head-on, issues and perceived weaknesses in Scotland’s manufacturing base and sector supply chains exposed, recently, by the Covid-19 crisis.
Mr Morning concluded: “We are delighted to have been involved with the AMC at the outset and to have installed two of our best-selling machine tools at the centre.”