Productivity doubled at Stratos

At Stratos Precision Engineering in Gloucester, where the subcontract machining of plastic parts constitutes the vast majority of output, the manufacture of a particular component was causing problems exacerbated by the need to produce around 5000 per year.

The component in question is an acrylic manifold block for a flow control device that previously had to be clamped three times in conventional vices mounted side by side on the table of a Haas VF4 vertical machining centre. This process has now been replaced by a more modern clamping system based on a four-sided tombstone and indexing trunnion supplied by 1st Machine Tool Accessories.
To be specific, the solution is a US-manufactured Chick indexing subsystem that consists of a Multi-Lok having four faces, each carrying a twin-position Qwik-Lok clamp that secures two parts at once against a central jaw each time the handle is wound to closure. The whole arrangement is mounted horizontally on a fourth CNC axis comprising, in this case, a Haas HRT210 rotary table and Chick tailstock.
Notable among the benefits is that the operator is now able to fixture eight plastic billets at a time, close the machine doors, walk away for an hour to do other jobs, and return to unload eight parts machined on three faces, ready for a second operation to mill away material from the back face. The previous strategy of using three individual vices meant that the operator had to be in almost permanent attendance to open the doors, reset the components and close the doors, to be able to extract one finished part every 15 minutes.
Output is thus doubled, despite the cutters being in contact with the material for a similar length of time. The saving comes purely through less handling of the components, coupled with the need to program fewer tool changes.
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Shaking up the market

MACH Machine Tools, part of the Vigilance Group, has recently introduced a range of CNC bed mills equipped with the advanced DynaPath control. There are three machines in the range: the MDM 700 (X, Y and Z-axis travels of 710, 400 and 500 mm respectively); the MDM 850 (830 x 500 x 610 mm); and the MDM 1000 (1000 x 500 x 610 mm).

In addition to the machines’ ISO40 taper spindles with up to 5000 rpm spindle speed, and 1524 x 330 mm working tables offering a maximum load capacity of 500 kg, all three models are equipped with a range of value-added features supplied as standard. These include a 12.1” touchscreen, MPG hand wheel, air draw bar, interlock table guard and coolant equipment. Furthermore, Wi-Fi capability facilitates ‘remote’ diagnostic and online support.
The DynaPath control system is inherently versatile and features conversational and ISO/G-code programming capability. An 8 Gb on-board (program) storage facility, combined with 1000-line look-ahead, ensures fast processing speeds and responsiveness.
Another feature of the control is its simple to understand menus, and the integration of on-screen graphics to help eliminate programming omissions and errors. The provision of an advanced DXF reader, as standard, featuring grouped hole and contour selection, adds to the control’s flexibility and appeal.
Datum setting using alignment, a suggested feeds and speeds database, sub-program calling, the ability to use macro-programming, the ability to facilitate program simulation using tool path or 3D rendered graphics, and programmable spindle control – are among further features of the DynaPath control.
“The first MDM machine – a MDM 1000 – arrived in the UK at the end of September and was sold immediately,” says Mike Corbett, MACH Machine Tools’ CNC machine tool divisional manager. “We’ve since brought in more machines, and interest in them has been nothing short of phenomenal.”
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Smart technologies at Metalex

The 33rd edition of Metalex, which takes place on 20-23 November in Bangkok, will offer a new focus on smart metalworking technologies.

Among focus areas for the show, which is billed as the ASEAN region’s leading machine tool and metalworking exhibition, will be: new technology for metal wire, tube and pipe; new materials such as aluminium and lightweight materials; and smart sensors based on MEMS, wireless and IoT technology.
Staged across 65,000 sq m of exhibition space at the BITEC venue in Bangkok, Thailand, Metalex is expecting around 100,000 visitors to attend from the ASEAN region. Alongside the exhibition, organisers will also host the ASEAN Industrial Investment Forum, ASEAN Metalworking Summit and Metalex Congress.
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Dugard appoints sales trio

Dugard Ltd has appointed three new sales engineers to support rising demand for the increasingly diverse ranges of machine tools that are now available from the company.

At the tail end of 2018, Dugard became the sole UK and Ireland sales and distribution outlet for the Korean brand of Hanwha sliding-head lathes, a move which was rapidly followed by the company being named as the sales and distribution outlet for the Kitamura brand of machines. Since taking on this added responsibility, sales enquiries have risen significantly.
To support the sales growth, Dugard has recruited Mark Anson, Alex Clarke and John Brimblecome as the respective area sales managers for the Midlands, southwest and northwest. All three are apprentice-served engineers with decades of experience to successfully service the Dugard customer base.
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Small quick-change interface

Hainbuch’s established Centrotex quick change-over interface is now available in a version for smaller spindles. Thus, the company says that Centrotex S is the smallest system available on the market for setting up clamping devices in a matter of seconds.

Offering a diameter of just 224 mm, Centrotex S is well suited to quick change-over system for machines with a small work space. Offering repeatability to ≤0.002 mm on the interface – without having to align – the latest version of the Centrotex quick change-over system can also withstand rigorous operating environments.
The machine adapter is mounted on the spindle, and the clamping device (equipped with the adapter counterpart) can be exchanged for another clamping device in less than a minute. As a result, long set-up times are a thing of the past.
Hainbuch’s smallest Centrotex version does indeed incorporate the proven technology of its big brother, however, it is superior in terms of convenience. The Centrotex S is actuated via just one radial locking screw, while ergonomic operation has been significantly improved thanks to the fewer tightening turns required. In addition, the Monteq changing fixture unburdens the machine operator and contributes to a faster clamping device set-up.
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