Five-axis investment pays dividends

Significantly reduced machining operations leading to reduced part cycle times, improved operational efficiencies and new business wins are just some of the benefits that Baker Engineering is experiencing from its latest Doosan five-axis machining centre investment.

Mills CNC, the exclusive distributor of Doosan machine tools in the UK and Ireland, supplied Baker Engineering, a precision toolmaker and engineering subcontract specialist based in Derby, with the new Doosan DVF 5000. The machine was installed at the company’s new, purpose-built 8000 sq ft facility in April 2020, where it is being used to produce a diverse range of precision components, as well as specialist tooling, jigs and fixtures for its growing UK and international customer base.
Baker Engineering’s DVF 5000 is the second Doosan machine tool to arrive on site, the first being a new DNM 6700 vertical machining centre, which was acquired in February 2017.
Baker Engineering is a family-owned business established in 2008 that today employs 15 members of staff. The company is ISO9001-accredited and committed to continuous improvement, making regular investments in the latest machine tool and ancillary manufacturing technologies to maintain its competitiveness and strengthen its preferred partner relationships with customers.
A number of CNC machines can be found on site at Derby, including machining centres with integrated 4th-axis units, lathes with bar feeders, and wire EDM machines. In addition to offering precision subcontract machining services, the company has specific strengths in manufacturing aerospace component tooling (such as jigs and fixtures for ground support maintenance); tooling for the measurement and inspection of railway tracks; and tooling used in the power-generation sector.
As a forward-thinking company the decision to invest in the latest five-axis machining technology was a natural one, and had begun in earnest earlier in 2019.

Explains director Adrian Baker: “Multi-axis and multi-tasking machine tools help manufacturers improve their productivity. We’re a company that’s looking to constantly improve; we had done our homework into the technology and could see that an investment in a five-axis machine tool would deliver significant performance benefits. In addition, the investment would send the right signal, externally and internally, that Baker Engineering was focused on the future.”
The key advantages from investing in five-axis machine tool technology were immediately apparent to management and staff at the company and included: the ability to machine complex shapes/parts in a single set-up; the added benefit that ‘one-hit’ machining has on reducing the time and costs involved in set ups; and the ability to improve/maintain part accuracies owing to a reduction in work handling.
“Since the installation of the DVF 5000 we have experienced all of these benefits,” states Baker.
A demonstration of the machine’s capabilities, and its impact on Baker Engineering’s performance, can be seen when machining an electrical housing-type component. Prior to the arrival of the DVF 5000, this part was completed in five separate machining operations with a cycle time of 2.5 hours. However, when machined on the DVF 5000, the number of operations can be reduced to two, with a cycle time of 45 minutes.
“This is typical of the results we have been able to achieve since our investment in the machine,” says Baker.
Prior to making the purchase decision, Baker Engineering investigated the market in order to help identify the type of machine that would “fit the bill”.
“We were pleased with the DNM 6700 vertical machining centre that we bought in 2017 in terms of its performance and reliability, and have been impressed with Mills’ aftersales service and support,” says Baker. “When considering the five-axis machine investment it was natural that we approached them to discuss our requirements.”

The company’s discussions with Mills CNC led to the recommendation of the DVF 5000, which is a best-selling five-axis machine from Mills CNC’s machine-tool portfolio. This compact and rigidly-built machine is said to deliver high cutting performance and machining flexibility. The machine offers full simultaneous five-axis machining capability as well as 3+2 and 4+1 operations. Baker Engineering is predominantly using the machine for 3+2 and five-face machining.
Baker Engineering’s new DVF 5000 features a direct-drive spindle (up to 18.5kW/12,000rpm), linear guides and a 500 x 450 mm work table with 400 kg table load. The machine boasts 40 m/min rapids and was supplied to Baker Engineering with a 60-position ATC, integrated tool measurement and the latest Fanuc 0iMF control.
Since installation at the end of April, the DVF 5000 has been in constant use at Baker Engineering’s facility. As well as it helping the company increase its productivity and efficiency, the machine has also helped win new machining work.
“News travels fast,” states Baker. “On hearing that we had invested in Doosan five-axis machine-tool technology, a new customer made contact asking us to quote on a job. We have successfully turned that enquiry into an order.
“Our decision to invest in the Doosan DVF 5000 has been vindicated,” he concludes. “The machine has significantly strengthened our machining capacity and capabilities. It is fast, accurate and reliable, and represents great value.”
For further information

Hurco automated production demonstrator

Following the UK launch by Hurco at the end of 2019 of a portable cobot (collaborative robot) range, the company has set up a new manufacturing cell at its High Wycombe technical centre to help potential customers across Britain and Ireland see the way in which machine-tool tending may be simply and inexpensively automated.

Hurco is keen to showcase the productivity and cost benefits that come from maximising spindle uptime. The cobot installed in the demonstration cell has a twin gripper attachment and feeds a Hurco TM8i three-axis CNC lathe.
For further information

ITC reveals new cutters for aluminium

Industrial Tooling Corporation (ITC) has released its latest 3204 range of end mills for aluminium workpieces.

The new three-flute range of solid-carbide end mills has been developed with a long flute length for reaching into cavities with high levels of rigidity and performance, says the company. ITC’s 3204 series cutters combine centre-cutting geometry with the company’s latest chip-breaking technology. A high-performance micro-grain carbide composition is said to generate extended tool life and wear resistance.
Developed in conjunction with its UK customer base, ITC says that the 3204 range incorporates a strengthened core diameter and efficient geometry design that rapidly expedites chips from the work envelope, while minimising vibration and stabilising performance. Suitable for everything from rough to semi-finish machining, the centre-cutting 3204 enhances surface finish and prevents re-cutting.
ITC’s 3204 series is available in diameters of 6, 8, 10, 12, 16 and 20 mm, with an overall length of 100 mm for tools from 6 to 12 mm, and an overall length of 150 mm for the 16 and 20 mm variants. These tool lengths have been optimised in line with customer feedback, and provides a flute length from 35 to 80 mm depending upon the chosen tool diameter. ITC says this factor has already been proven to increase stability, rigidity, longevity and overall performance in comparison with previous product lines.
The overall length and flute length combinations are the result of extensive trials and testing.
For further information

Ward CNC passes latest ISO9001 audit

Ward CNC has achieved continued recognition from its July 2020 ISO 9001:2015 quality management audit from the BSI. The achievement was underpinned by the fact that no non-conformities were found during both the July audit and the original awarding in December 2019.

Executive director Stephen Bodsworth (pictured front, centre) says: “Like many organisations during this time, we’ve had to adapt to the threats of COVID-19 and implement new ways of working for the safety of our colleagues, customers and suppliers. Throughout this period – and despite these challenges – we’ve been able to ensure that customer experience is at the high standard we demand of ourselves and that our customers would come to expect. Despite the audit taking place in a virtual form, we were still able to demonstrate the processes and management systems that enable us to keep these standards in this unique environment.”
For further information

XYZ sees return of customer confidence

At the height of the pandemic, XYZ Machine Tools reduced overall staffing levels while maintaining those crucial areas of customer support, service, programming support, spares and sales, with a core of 22 employees.

A strengthening in sales throughout June and July have seen that number increase to 56, with the prospect of more people being pulled off furlough in the coming weeks.
“Thanks to our strong financial position we’ve been able to weather whatever COVID-19 threw at us,” states Nigel Atherton, managing director of XYZ Machine Tools. “We were resolute in maintaining core customer service functions and this has paid dividends as customers have continued to accept existing orders, while we’ve also seen relatively strong sales of new machines during the pandemic. We must obviously remain focused and wary of the ongoing situation, but it’s encouraging to see customer confidence returning, with positive signs of a willingness to invest in new machine tools.”
For further information