Lathe makes prismatic and pressed parts

Coventry-based Adams Lubetech is a manufacturer of single-point and centralised lubrication equipment for OEMs in the food, compressor and conveyor sectors, and across industry in general. Consistently rising sales worldwide meant the company needed extra production capacity. So in early 2020 Adams Lubetech purchased its first lathe from Citizen Machinery, a fixed-head Miyano BNJ-51 turn-mill centre, to produce not only rotational parts, but components produced previously on a manual mill or a power press.

Eric Chambers, factory manager, says: “With these parts in mind, we wanted a powerful, rigid turning centre that was equally capable of milling. We selected the Miyano bar automatic primarily due to its competitive price. The first purely prismatic component we produced on it was an anchor block for our sister company in Belgium. We were milling and drilling the steel blocks manually in several operations, which was time-consuming, so we decided to use the Miyano as a chucking lathe to produce them automatically.”

The lathe effectively doubles as a CNC machining centre in this application. Each part, which has large threaded holes and smaller diameter holes machined into multiple faces, comes off the machine complete in a cycle time of 139 seconds.

The Miyano is also taking work from a power press at the Coventry factory, resulting in even greater advantages. A deep-drawn part previously required seven sequential operations, removal for skimming on a capstan lathe and return to the press for slotting. Lead-time was more than one month to produce a typical batch of 8000 and there was a lot of manual intervention for inter-machine handling. The same part is now produced in one hit from bar on the twin-spindle Miyano in 2.5 minutes, so the entire batch can be finished and shipped in a fortnight if the job is left to run around the clock, seven days a week.

For further information

Ricardo to partner Amey

Ricardo has signed an agreement to partner with Amey Consulting, an infrastructure, data and analytics provider, which will bring new digital and data products and services to global vehicle manufacturers. The pair plan to combine engineering domain expertise with digital analytics and data science to support clean, efficient and integrated propulsion and energy solutions for global transport OEMs. Ultimately, the aim is to add genuine value to customer products and leverage the tangible benefits of digitalisation.

For further information

ETG turning range takes off

Following the launch of the new Vulcan brand of quality yet cost-effective machine tools, the Engineering Technology Group (ETG) has released the new TC200 turning centre. As part of the TC Series, the TC200 is the smallest and most compact machine in the range with a 200 mm diameter chuck size.

The TC200 is a single-spindle, single-turret lathe with a 45° slant-bed construction to ensure maximum stability while ensuring effective swarf removal from the work envelope. This ergonomic design allows users to maximise the heavy-duty cutting potential of the machine during uninterrupted batch or series production without continually opening the door to remove chips.

ETG’s Vulcan TC200 is available in four variants. The base model has a swing over bed of 460 mm, a maximum turning diameter of 280 mm, a spindle speed range of 25 to 4200 rpm and a spindle bore of 61 mm diameter.

For manufacturers looking to reduce secondary operations, ETG can supply the TC200M. This machine provides the opportunity for live tooling stations on the turret for engineers seeking an increase in their capabilities. A servo turret provides high-torque live tooling speeds from 25 to 4000 rpm. ETG’s Vulcan TC200ML is also available, providing the live tooling version in a longer bed model.

The fourth model, the TC200L is the long-bed variant that extends Z-axis travel from the standard 490 mm, to 740 mm.

As standard, the TC200 series is supplied with a 3-bar coolant pump, 130-litre capacity coolant tank, eight-position hydraulic tooling turret, automatic lubrication system, tool kit, work light, three-colour beacon light, heat exchanger for electrical cabinet, chip conveyor, programmable tailstock, automatic part catcher and automatic tool probing.

For further information

MSC achieves six-figure savings for Sulzer

As a global specialist in fluid engineering technology such as pumping, agitation, mixing, separation and application technologies, Sulzer has a network of 180 manufacturing facilities and service centres across the globe. With more than 25 service and manufacturing facilities in the UK; a reliable and reputable supply chain is critical for this OEM and service provider, which is why Sulzer recently committed to a three-year contract with metalworking and MRO experts MSC Industrial Supply Co.

Driven by quality, innovation and continuous improvement, Sulzer witnessed indifferent levels of support from its previous integrator of consumable products and made the bold move to change its supplier during the pandemic. It was only a matter of weeks from signing the contract before MSC was identifying savings worth hundreds of thousands of pounds at Sulzer.

Notably, MSC identified the savings ‘virtually’, during the UK lockdown.

The initial phase of the contract is seeing MSC implement vending solutions into two of Sulzer’s largest UK manufacturing sites in Birmingham and Leeds, with bespoke solutions introduced gradually at Sulzer’s other UK sites.

MSC application engineer Stuart Wiezniak was tasked with identifying ‘cost-down’ improvements to meet and exceed MSC’s contractually agreed commitments. Using its manufacturing expertise, a choice of unbiased suppliers, hundreds of best practice reference points and the combined experience of 15-strong application engineering team, MSC identified productivity gains and cost-down savings that would shatter the contractually obliged target on just two machine tools at the Sulzer manufacturing site in Leeds.

During his initial and socially distanced site ‘walk-round’, Wiezniak was introduced to the machine shop and staff, where early conversations identified concerns over a new project that involved turning a 4 m long Inconel shaft for a new high-pressure pump product line used in heavy-engineering sectors such as offshore.

Currently turning hundreds of 3 to 4 m long Super Duplex shafts, the introduction of Inconel for a new product line raised concerns for Sulzer. However, with hundreds of shafts turned annually on lathes over 20 years old, Wiezniak had no concerns over the performance of the machines.

“The older machines have construction and rigidity that far outweighs most modern machine tools, so we had the perfect foundation for trialling MSC’s range of tools,” he says. “We selected a couple of premium carbide grades for Inconel machining, achieving marginal gains on the speeds, feeds and overall cycle times. To attain the ‘step change’ we really wanted, we had to look at ceramic tooling.”

With the extensive range of Japanese ceramic cutting tools from specialist NTK recently added to the MSC range, Sulzer adopted a paradigm shift in strategy. For Sulzer, the concern around switching to ceramic tooling was the potential for additional heat and distortion. Wiezniak thus identified the need to change the machine coolant, as well as the slide wipers on the lathe bed from nylon to steel to protect the machine bed from the increased swarf temperatures created by high-speed and feed turning.

“With the machine fully prepared for trials, we worked closely with NTK’s application engineer Glyn Shaw and Sulzer’s machine operator and programmer Jamie Fieldhouse; a genuine team effort.”

Despite the stable machine platform, the new coolant and the slide guarding, the trio of engineers realised that the steady rest on one lathe required relocation from an average distance of 1 m from the cutting tool, to 350 mm, to increase the rigidity and stability for ceramic tooling. Ceramic tooling is inherently more brittle and susceptible to vibration than its carbide counterparts.

An initial batch of five Inconel 625 shafts required machining from a raw 200 mm diameter by 4 m long billet, down to a range of stepped diameters from 100 to 180 mm. After the primary work of preparing the machine and devising the rough machining strategies, the trials began. When rough machining the shafts to just leave +2 mm for semi-finish turning, the best carbide turning results typically yielded a finish machining time of 14 hours and 1 minute. Cutting data included depths of cut from 1 to 3 mm, cutting speeds of 40 to 50 m/min and spindle speeds of 80 to 200 rpm. These times, like all other times recorded by MSC at Sulzer account for cutting time only and do not include the additional reductions in set-ups and tool changes.

Wiezniak says: “Upon the recommendation of Glyn, we selected NTK’s Bidemic series of inserts and, in particular, the JX1 grade with a round RNMG12 insert geometry. This was because the Bidemic range offers better wear and notching resistance compared to whisker ceramic grades that are used widely in the industry.

“The NTK trials started at a cutting speed of 250 m/min, but we found the optimal speed for this job at 370 m/min, a massive increase over the 40 to 50 m/min we could achieve with carbide,” he continues. “We also increased the spindle speed from 80 to 200 rpm to over 740 to 1000 rpm, depending upon the diameter being turned.

“Cutting with an average depth of 1.5 to 2 mm, we reduced the rough machining time on the five Inconel 625 shafts from 14 hours, to just 2 hours and 4 minutes per shaft. This yielded a material removal rate (MMR) of 222 cm³/min, up from the previous rate of 30 cm³/min. An unexpected benefit was the improved concentricity after releasing the steady rest. With carbide tools, the rollers were showing a run-out of up to ±1 mm, yet with the ceramic inserts, which only increased workpiece temperature by 9°C during machining, the runout was consistently between ±0.15 to 0.20 mm.”

Aside from a nominal annual tooling cost increase of less than £1000, the six-figure financial savings justify the tool cost increase.

“From discussions with Sulzer, they have already identified more than 170 forward orders for the next 12 months for this particular pump,” says Wiezniak. “Based on our CAM and cutting-tool data, we project that we will reduce annual machining costs by 85%, reduce machining times by 85% and reduce the cost per part by 8%. To qualify this, total cutting hours will fall from 2380 per annum to less than 350, and this doesn’t include set-up and tool change reductions. This will yield a significant six-figure financial saving for Sulzer on the production of forward order Inconel 625 shafts and the respective pumps.”

With the groundwork and trials already successfully implemented on the Inconel parts, the cutting data has also been adapted for Sulzer’s large-bed turning centre that presently has more than 100 Super Duplex shafts scheduled for production.

“Although Super Duplex has a somewhat different and softer composition than Inconel, it is still an extremely difficult material to machine,” says Wiezniak. “We have already started work on this and are fully confident that we’ll replicate the ‘seven times’ overall cycle time reduction from the Inconel parts, doubling our already fantastic results.”

Indeed, MSC has already identified further and potentially equally impressive savings on the same shafts on a third machine. With the rough-turned shafts finished to +0.3 to +0.5 mm, the final process of grinding takes place on an 8-tonne Churchill BX cylindrical grinding centre.

Explains Wiezniak: “While we are optimising the turning process to minimise stock for finish grinding, we have identified potentially huge savings when grinding the Inconel shafts. By introducing new grinding wheel technology with the help of Kim Dean from Tyrolit, we can double the depth of cut from the existing 0.05 mm, to 0.1 mm, effectively halving the 36-hour cycle time. But taking this even further, we’ve also identified cycle-time savings from slashing non-grinding times with the introduction of a secondary wheel dressing unit to reduce wheel traversing distances and dressing times.”

For further information

Three lathes acquired in five years

Based in Steinhagen, Germany, wastewater pump manufacturer Pentair Jung Pumpen, has invested in three CNC lathes from CMZ in the just five years, mainly for turning steel and cast-iron components.

“We have found the ideal partner in CMZ,” states managing director Stefan Sirges. “Just like at Jung Pumpen, for them, quality is a crucial element in the manufacturing of their lathes. Our third CNC lathe in just five years; I think that says it all. The whole package – the product, service and consultation – is excellent.”

The trio of CMZ CNC lathes at Pentair Jung Pumpen comprises TD-35-Y-1350, TC-30-Y-800 and TC-30-Y-800-L-servo+GL20II models.

Pentair Jung Pumpen started operations in 1924 when the business was founded by plumber Heinrich Jung in Steinhagen.” That humble plumbing business is now a premium manufacturer of wastewater pumps that employs over 350 people, with a yearly turnover of €78m. Since 2007 it has belonged to Pentair Plc, a global supplier of water technology solutions.

Quality is not just a cornerstone of business strategy, it is written into the company’s DNA and forms its main motto. When the moment came to renew its existing machine tools, quality was a non-negotiable condition for choosing a suitable partner.

Sirges admits that when he came across CMZ and learnt about the painstaking manufacturing process of the lathes in depth, his mind was made up. For customers such as Pentair Jung Pumpen, for which quality at every stage of the process is fundamental, this aspect is a deciding factor.

For further information