Talking about innovation at METAV

METAV organiser, the VDW, is inviting all those interested to take part in its METAV Web Sessions – entitled ‘Let’s talk about innovation’ – from 15 to 19 June.

“METAV 2020 has had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and so now we want to offer visitors and exhibitors an alternative in the form of the METAV Web Sessions,” says VDW executive director Dr Wilfried Schäfer. In good time before the rescheduled METAV in March next year, the METAV Web Sessions will provide a platform which allows users from the metalworking industry to keep abreast of the latest innovations in production technology.
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Robotic cell highlights work holding

At this year’s MACH exhibition at the Birmingham NEC, which has now been postponed until January 2021, Schunk had planned to demonstrate its expertise in gripping systems and clamping technology with live demonstrations of a robotic cell co-ordinated with a machining centre featuring robotic loading, unloading and measuring.

The automated machining cell would have seen components loaded into a FANUC RoboDrill machining centre from a racking system via a FANUC robot, and subsequently removed from the machining centre and loaded to a Renishaw Equator gauging system. On the bed of the FANUC RoboDrill would have been Schunk’s Vero-S zero-point clamping technology, clamping components for the machining process.
The base table of the Renishaw Equator was due to be fitted with a Schunk NSL Mini 100-2 clamping station, a compact stationary clamping system that has an area of 199 x 99 x 30 mm. Despite the compact design, the Schunk NSL Mini offers a clamping force of 1000 N, which is extended to 3,000 N with the Schunk NSL Mini Turbo variant.
The multiple components in the automation cell would have been clamped in pallets all fitted with Schunk NSR robot modules. NSR is a maintenance-free robot coupling system for pallet handling that provides easy adaption to robot arms of all kinds. The compact, quick and easy-to-integrate pallet-handling system allows automated loading extremely close to the machine table, robot module and loading station. NSR robot modules can be operated with a system pressure of 6 bar, which ensures that additional pressure intensifiers are not required. From a positional and repeatability perspective, the NSR has been designed with an easy joining process that ensures a repeat accuracy of 0.005 mm.
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Raysun turns to XYZ for tool-room update

Rugby-based Raysun has developed its business from a designer and manufacturer of bespoke jigs and fixtures with a well-equipped tool-room facility, to one of the UK’s leading ‘fast-make’ specialists for turbine components. Today, the company places particular emphasis on the development of smaller hot gas parts such as nozzle guide vanes, seal segments, seal carriers and turbine blades for aerospace and land-based applications.

This involvement with the turbine industry came from Raysun’s early collaboration on the Rolls-Royce Viper Grinding project, where both Tyrolit and Raysun engineers were heavily involved in invention, development and exploitation of Viper technology. Through this work, Raysun had a need to update its tool-room capacity and, the addition of Heidenhain controls to XYZ Machine Tools’ HD vertical machining centre range brought the two companies together for the first time.
Raysun’s involvement in the Viper Grinding project also opened up opportunities to further diversify the business, which saw the introduction of its ‘fast-make’ concept that provides rapid product development of small hot gas turbine components.

“Typically, it could take an OEM 12-18 months to take these parts from concept to production-ready parts,” says company director Charles Ray. “However, with our systems and flexibility, we can achieve this in under six months. Typically, we spend 4-6 weeks on each stage of the project, these being design, jigs and fixture production, and final product development, with machining work spread across our tool room and separate production facility. The result of this fast-make concept has been rapid growth over the past three years, and we have several active projects in-hand for major customers that have placed additional pressure on the ageing machinery within our tool room.”
A legacy of the Viper Grinding work meant that virtually every machine at Raysun featured a Heidenhain control, and this would be the first tick box in selecting any replacement machine. The recently added option of the Heidenhain TNC 620 control to its HD range of vertical machining centres brought XYZ Machine Tools to the attention of Raysun.
“Without the choice of the Heidenhain control, which we are very familiar with, we probably wouldn’t have even considered XYZ as an option, but when we saw it was available, the other aspects of machine choice fell into place,” says Ray. “The tool room works on a wide range of parts, some with small, high-precision features and other much larger items, such as assembly jigs for building cars. To cover the range of requirements, a machining centre with a reasonable size table was required, and the XYZ 800 HD was ideal. The combination of the XYZ 800 HD machining centre and the Heidenhain control has definitely impressed us, and it fitted our requirements well with the added benefit of being a price-competitive package that was available in the timeframe we had.”

Raysun now has two XYZ 800 HD VMCs in place. With their 800 x 500 x 510 mm axis travels, 920 x 480 mm table size and 900 kg load capacity, the machines are being fully employed in a variety of tool-room applications. Constructed around a 4400 kg solid cast base and column, with traditional box slide ways on all three axes, the XYZ 800 HD provides a suitable machining platform for a wide range of components, with a mix of rigidity and agility supported by a 24-position tool changer and 25 kW/10,000 rpm spindle.
“The Heidenhain TNC620 control and optimised servos is proving to be a popular standard option among customers specialising in the aerospace and tool-room environments, where Heidenhain is traditionally strong,” says Nigel Atherton, managing director of XYZ Machine Tools. “The compact touchscreen user-interface of the Heidenhain control makes it attractive to a wider customer base and, by offering it on our HD range of vertical machining centres, we can now provide the optimum machine/control combination to suit a customer’s requirements.”
Raysun also needed to add to its turning capabilities and here it compromised on its desire for Heidenhain CNC and took delivery of an XYZ SLX355 ProTurn lathe featuring the SLX ProtoTRAK control. With milling, grinding and EDM being the key areas within tool-room, turning is an aspect of the business that has a lesser, yet vital role to play, and one where versatility is key.

“The ProtoTRAK control is ideal for what we needed as it allows anyone to step up to the lathe and commence operations thanks to its ease of use,” says Ray. “As with the XYZ 800 HD, the size and capability met our requirements and it is a no-nonsense machine that does an excellent job day-to-day for us.”
With these three machines from XYZ Machine Tools in place, the Raysun tool room is better placed to deliver to the expectations of the ‘fast-make’ side of the business, as well as individual customers for its general tool-room services.
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New CNC machines from Ajax

Ajax Machine Tools has introduced a range of CNC machines called the Atom and Proton. The Atom, being very small, is Ajax’s new mini CNC lathe.

Included among the machine’s features are a Siemens 808D control, a 100 mm diameter three-jaw chuck, an automatic four-way tool post that takes 10 mm tooling, and a tailstock with a 3 MT spindle. Atom machines are supplied on wheels and will plug into a domestic 13 A socket.
The Ajax Proton, which is also very small, is the mini milling version of the Atom. Again featuring a Siemens 808D control driving three axes, the Proton can mill, drill and tap, and also comes on wheels with the capability to plug into a 13 A socket. The machines are designed for use in home, garage, workshop, machine shop or classroom environments. Online training is available, while a PC version of the control is being offered for free.
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ESL takes Europe’s first CMM of its type

Basildon-based ESL Group recently became the first company in Europe to take delivery of Mitutoyo’s Crysta Apex V CNC CMM.

ESL Group quality engineer Dave Humphrey says: “We have used Mitutoyo CMMs for over 20 years and been very impressed with their ease and speed of use, as well as their reliability and accuracy. In addition, we always receive excellent service from Mitutoyo UK.
“Recently, we found the need to further increase our inspection capacity,” he adds. “Having installed a Mitutoyo Apex S CNC CMM less than two years ago, on contacting Mitutoyo UK it was interesting to hear about the technical improvements made to the new Mitutoyo Crysta Apex V CMM range.”
Although ESL Group considered that advances in areas such as software enhancements meant that the new CMM represented a further step forward for Mitutoyo, before committing to purchasing a Crysta Apex V machine, the company followed its normal commercial practice of considering the merits of other CMM brands in terms of their capabilities and price. As previously, the new Mitutoyo CMM proved to be the most attractive option and an order was placed.
“Our new Crysta Apex V and the existing Mitutoyo CMM are now located in our environmentally temperature-controlled quality department,” says Humphrey. “As the new machine is an evolution of its predecessor, it was easy for our three quality department staff to quickly become accustomed with its operation, and already they are able to swap from machine to machine with ease.”
The Mitutoyo CMMs have become the mainstays of quality provision at ESL Group, which uses them to perform first-off in-process and final inspection routines, and a multitude of other high-precision measuring and inspection tasks, such as the generation of full FAI and SPC reports.
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