Three years of continuous growth at Zoro

Zoro, a UK supplier of fasteners, tools and equipment to businesses within the engineering sector, is celebrating its third year of continuous growth, a period during which the company’s team has doubled in size and the product portfolio has expanded significantly. Since January 2020 alone, the company has launched over 97,000 new products. Plans are now in place to increase staff by another quarter within the coming year. Zoro supplies PPE and equipment to more than 126,000 companies in the engineering, automotive, aerospace, rail, marine and construction markets across the UK.

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Aerospace drives jig borer demand

Starrag Group company SIP is currently assembling a series of high-precision jig boring machines destined for installation by multiple customers active in the aerospace industry.

The five machines – comprising a four-axis horizontal model and the remainder of three-/five-axis vertical designs – are scheduled for installation and commissioning during the second half of 2021.

These SIP machines will produce a range of workpieces, including gearboxes, structural components and satellite guidance systems. The quartet of vertical machines under construction will be able to accommodate workpieces weighing ranging from 2500 to 4000 kg, and have clamping surfaces from 1200 x 900 mm to 1700 x 1200 mm. The horizontal machine will handle components weighing up to 4000 kg on a clamping surface of 1200 x 1200 mm.

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XYZ helps Wykes on green energy drive

Wykes Engineering is at the forefront of the green energy revolution, manufacturing a range of products for renewable power generation. Demand for new systems and expansion of existing on-site anaerobic generation capacity at its Rushden location led to investment in machining capacity, part of which saw the arrival of large-capacity turning in the shape of an XL 780 lathe from XYZ Machine Tools.

The XYZ XL 780 with its 780 mm swing over the bed and 3 m distance between centres provides Wykes Engineering with the capacity and versatility it requires for the machining of smaller parts. This investment was Wykes Engineering’s first move into CNC turning, so priorities had to include ease-of-use, and support for programmers and operators.
“The Siemens control was completely new to us, but we’ve found it extremely easy to use, especially with the training support we received from XYZ Machine Tools,” says John Houghton, design engineer at Wykes. “We had a demonstration of the machine at XYZ’s factory on a Monday, which convinced us that it was the right machine and control. We placed the order the following week and the machine was installed and commissioned just 10 days later.”

The XYZ XL 780 also offered other advantages to Wykes Engineering, including the price. Having reviewed the market for lathes of this capacity, the company found the XYZ machine to be 10-20% less expensive than its competitors. Also, Wykes was reassured that service support and spares were readily available should the need arise.

“If we had any questions relating to programming and operating the machine, which was all part of our learning curve, they were answered with a simple phone call to XYZ,” concludes Houghton.

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Edgecam behind vaccine containers

Now that the first vaccine for COVID-19 has gained approval – with others expected to follow – a supplier to the pharmaceutical industry is manufacturing packaging components and delivery systems ready to support distribution once availability is assured. West Pharmaceutical Services has 25 manufacturing sites around the world, including a plant in Bodmin, Cornwall, where it manufactures tools for elastomeric packaging components.

Production of the company’s mould tools takes place on a range of Makino, Haas and Ingersoll CNC machining centres, many with five axes. Interim production manager Chris Tamblyn says all programming, from simple, basic operations, through to complex, fully automated five-axis machining, goes through Edgecam CAM software.

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187 robots help produce Fiat 500 EV

Comau has provided FCA and the Fiat brand with automation solutions and its know-how in the development of industrial processes to produce FCA’s first fully electric vehicle, a ‘Made in Turin’ product. The path started symbolically in July 2019 with the installation of the first Comau robot, which initiated the production line of the new fully electric Fiat 500 model inside FCA’s historic Mirafiori plant. A total of 187 Comau robots were subsequently integrated in the different phases of the car manufacturing process.

The Comau team also needed to adapt systems to a new body design of an iconic car, while responding to the technical characteristics of an electric vehicle. In particular, Comau developed and equipped body assembly lines dedicated to processing the structural parts of the ‘New 500’, including the front and rear floors, and the body sides and framing, which are assembled and welded to provide the complete car body with shape.

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