40% faster turning and 100% more tool life

Towards the tail end of last year, Merseyside subcontractor Bryken took delivery of its sixth Miyano BNE-51MSY turn-mill centre, having bought its first as recently as June 2018. Operations director Phillip Taylor says that regular investment in new plant is key to thriving in a competitive global marketplace, and he makes sure that no machine tool stays on the shop floor for more than 10 years. The company, which has 95 employees and generates annual turnover of £10m, derives 40% of its business from the oil and gas industry, and is a major supplier to the high-voltage power sector, among others.

Citizen Machinery UK, which supplied the fixed-head Miyanos, is also the source of four Cincom CNC sliding-head lathes currently on site, which have been in use at the Prescot factory since the mid-90s. A dozen older models, which took over from six times as many cam autos, have all now been replaced. It leaves three 32 mm capacity Cincom sliders installed since 2014 and a more recent 20 mm capacity model that uses Citizen’s proprietary LFV chip-breaking technology.

Taylor, son of one of the company founders, runs the subcontracting business together with his brother Stewart and sister Natalie Lund. He explains: “Around 90% of our turnover comes from producing precision turned parts, many of which also require a lot of prismatic machining, so our choice of turn-mill centre is crucial to success.

“We started to upgrade our fixed-head lathes by replacing them with Miyanos in 2018 in response to an upturn in demand that gathered pace at the beginning of this year when we bought three more BNE-51MSYs in the space of two months,” continues Taylor. “The 51 mm bar capacity, twin-spindle turning centre with its two 12-station live turrets, the upper one featuring a Y-axis, is ideal for our needs. It is highly efficient at the balanced machining of complex routines at both spindles, so we can take chunks out of cycle times, which are now between 20 and 40% faster than on previous lathes. The machine meets the increasing demand for the supply of high added value parts at competitive prices.”

He adds that other makes of lathe were scrutinised during the plant renewal process. In comparative trials, the BNE-51MSY offered the quickest TAKT times and was also better value for money than others he considered. The lathes could also hold 20 µm total tolerance on machined dimensions.

One reason for the lathe’s impressive speed is Citizen’s superimposition control technology, which allows the sub-spindle to track the upper turret for cutting reverse-end features while the same turret is performing front-end operations on bar at the main spindle. If the lower turret is operational at the same time, three tools are in cut simultaneously, delivering the performance of a triple-turret lathe for significantly lower capital outlay.

Another benefit that Bryken operators appreciate is the ability with the Mitsubishi control to use the hand-wheel to run through an entire machining cycle. This capability provides verification of the program, detecting any potential clashes.

Over the years, market forces have dictated a move at Bryken towards more fixed-head turning for the production of larger diameter, complex components; the simpler work having largely disappeared overseas. Nevertheless, nearly a third of the lathes on-site are still of the sliding-head variety. The four Citizen Cincom models are the most recently installed – three M32-VIII lathes and an L20-XIILFV – the cardinal numbers representing maximum bar diameter.

The latter machine, installed in May 2018, was bought to produce subsea oil and gas components from tough materials such as Monel, Inconel, titanium alloy and 440C stainless steel. These metals produce stringy swarf that benefit greatly from the low-frequency vibration (LFV) functionality built into the operating system of the Mitsubishi control.

Taylor says: “We saw a demonstration of LFV at Citizen’s showroom and were impressed with the way chips break up and do not clog the machine, or wrap around the component or tool. It means we can leave the machine running unattended for long periods. LFV can be simply switched on and off using a G-code in the program. We use it for turning at the main spindle and axial drilling at the sub-spindle of the L20, and switch it off to maximise metal-removal rates when milling with the live tools.

“We tried making parts from these exotic materials on other sliders but the swarf was not chipping, even with high-pressure coolant,” he adds. “Tool life was so poor it was taking away a lot of the profit. Now cutters last at least twice as long, plus there is less machine downtime and scrap is more or less eliminated.”

Low-frequency vibration technology has started rolling out across the Miyano fixed-head lathe range with the introduction of the BNA-42GTYLFV, and Taylor is keeping a close eye on developments. He points out that subcontractors rarely know the orders that will be coming in next and which materials they will have to machine. As LFV is not a pecking macro that tends to prematurely wear out tools, but is integral within the control system, having this built-in chip-breaking capability is of great benefit when machining stainless steels, copper, plastics, and nickel and titanium alloys.

Taylor concludes: “We source a lot of lathes from Citizen because they have a wide range of machines that use advanced technology. We also receive good support, especially with the applications engineering and training they provide. Citizen and their equipment have made a big improvement to our operational efficiency.”

For further information

Manufacturing software unveiled

Devon-based software developer, Lineal Software Solutions, has launched a software suite designed for the UK’s manufacturing sector. SQLWorks is an MRP platform that helps companies gauge future demand for products, purchase stock intelligently and control their manufacturing processes.

Lineal Software, which already serves companies right across the UK and as far afield as Sydney, Australia, has hired extra software developers to meet demand with the release of the latest version.

Mike Matthews, Lineal’s managing director, says: “This is a terrific leap forward for our SQLWorks software. The new release is our most advanced version, and introduces powerful new manufacturing and logistical control to our existing business management tools.”

The software also integrates with a wide-ranging set of other business applications, including accounting, stock and warehouse management, document management, and CRM. Lineal’s software team knows the ability for industry to automatically complete important engineering tasks, such as importing newly-designed assemblies (BoMs), capacity planning, updating part costs and forecasting future production.

A company spokesperson says: “Post-lockdown, many firms will be doing some serious soul-searching about whether their systems are really up to scratch. If you can’t innovate then you’re at a dead end, and modernisation will be an important part of the UK’s economic recovery.”

A recent Tech South West Award winner, Lineal recently featured on the Tech Tribe podcast to discuss the challenges of launching a new software product during the COVID-19 pandemic, getting more women into tech, and the post-lockdown recovery.

“SME manufacturers need a provider who will ‘take ownership’ of their pain points, solve these, and deliver better business results,” says the firm.

For further information

DP introduces Esprit 4.6

The latest Esprit 4.6 from DP Technology includes features such as turning tool-path enhancements, support for contour-type features in pocketing, automatic tool orientation for five-axis tool paths, improved support for multi-spindle and multi-channel machines, and a new connection to the Machining Cloud tool catalogue.

Enhancements to the turning cycles reduce perishable tooling consumption, minimise intervention from the machine-tool operator by creating more predictable machining processes and reduce the need for manual NC code editing, further improving user efficiency.

The new support for contour-type features in pocketing allows users to exploit Esprit’s ProfitMilling cycle to rough-out a profile without creating extra boundary geometry, while five-axis composite automatic tool orientation is a new programming method for the composite cycle.
“This is a big leap forward for simplifying five-axis programming and improving tool-path continuity,” says Yijun Fan, director of product marketing at DP Technology. “It makes it much easier to program five-axis composite components, especially in parts with hard-to-reach areas.”
Automatic orientation gives precedence to tool-path continuity, creating a better surface finish on a completed part.

Esprit 4.6 also enables support for multi-spindle machines featuring an off-centre sub-spindle with an X-axis slide, including machines with a tailstock and sub-spindle mounted on the same X-axis slide. Multi-channel machines are controllable with a new interactive method that synchronises motions within a cycle.

Machining Cloud is the fastest way to find, select and assemble tools from leading tool manufacturers. Esprit improves the connection to Machining Cloud with a simplified workflow, and via the introduction of a new job manager for full control over the import of tool assemblies.

For further information

Nissan Leaf passes 40,000 UK sales

As Nissan marks the 10th anniversary of the Leaf, Nissan GB is also celebrating its 40,000th Leaf sale. The UK has been one of Nissan’s fastest growing electric-vehicle (EV) markets, responsible for over one in five Leaf sales in Europe. Nissan’s Sunderland plant has been producing the Leaf since April 2013. In recognition of its position in the growing used EV market, the Leaf has just been named ‘Used Electric Car of the Year’ in the Driving Electric Awards 2021.

For further information

SW improves user experience

Machine-tool builder Schwäbische Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH (SW) has incorporated multi-touch capabilities into its recently released CNC HMI: the C|one control panel.

The main display of C|one, in addition to its multi-touch capabilities, is 24” in size and features increased haptic feedback. This feedback imitates the feel of real hardware buttons to prevent incorrect operation, while enabling the blind operation of functions. An intelligent touch-sensor additionally prevents accidental input due to water and dirt, while a multi-functional rotary dial provides precision for feed and spindle override, and can also serve as a hand-wheel.

When a fuse blows (a problem with a simple enough solution) it can quickly get buried in a traditional NC by the subsequent alarms it triggers. Instead of spending time digging for the root cause, C|one makes the problem clear, ultimately cutting downtime. The panel will indicate initial alarms, even when they cause a domino effect.

Among the tasks improved by C|one is managing programs, where program history and programs saved in the NC are viewable. The most recently selected programs are saved as history and up to five programs can be saved as favourites per table. Time stamps for file changes are tracked, while sub-program files and main program files are easily switched on the display, as well as the workpiece folders (depending on the needs of the operator). Table-dependent programs are selectable and de-selectable, and the system tracks these actions for straightforward review.
SW is exploring additional features for C|one implementation in the near future, such as advanced tool management.

For further information