A win-win situation

Mills CNC, the exclusive distributor of Doosan machine tools in the UK and Ireland, has supplied precision subcontract specialist RPS Precision Engineering with a new multi-tasking, twin-turret, twin-spindle turning centre. The machine, a Puma TT1800SY, is now operational at the company’s new 674 sq m facility in Rawtenstall, Lancashire.

As part of the investment package, Mills also supplied the TT1800SY turning centre with a servo-driven Hydrafeed MSV 110 bar feed, as well as a number of different-sized collet chucks and adaptors. In just a few short weeks the investment is already paying off with the TT1800SY having a positive impact on the company’s productivity and performance.

Says Michael Sirrell, owner and managing director: “The TT1800SY is a productivity powerhouse. It might appear small from the outside, but its twin-spindle, twin-turret configuration is helping us machine high-precision components quickly and accurately – in one hit. Furthermore, by integrating the machine with a servo-driven bar feeder, we’ve created an automated manufacturing cell that is both efficient and reliable, which we can run unattended during the day. It’s a real win-win situation for us.”

He adds: “In the near future, when we fully embrace lights-out operations and run the machine unattended overnight and over the weekends, the productivity benefits will be even more impressive.”

A significant percentage of parts at RPS are small and have short cycle times. Materials include hardened and mild steel, aluminium, stainless steel, copper, bronze, brass and plastics, while geometric tolerances are often in the realm of 0.002 mm.

The Fanuc controlled 65 mm bar capacity TT1800SY is equipped with a left and right spindle (both 26 kW/5000 rpm) and features a Y axis (±50 mm), driven tools (5.5 kW/5000 rpm) and an upper and a lower turret (12/24 position).

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£22.6m for AMPI initiative

A consortium led by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has secured £22.6m of funding for a five-year innovation initiative, the first for the Advanced Machinery & Productivity Institute (AMPI), which will be based in Rochdale. The provision of this funding has come through UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund (SIPF).

AMPI will stimulate and support the rapid growth of the UK’s machinery manufacturing sector as it transitions to highly integrated digital solutions with sophisticated automated and autonomous robotic systems. The institute will enable invention, realise innovation, and increase the adoption of new machinery and robotics through UK equipment manufacturers. AMPI expects to grow the UK’s advanced machinery capability to a £2bn export capacity within 10 years, establishing over 30,000 high value manufacturing sector jobs in the process.

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ABB to buy ASTI Mobile Robotics

ABB will acquire ASTI Mobile Robotics Group (ASTI), a global autonomous mobile robot (AMR) manufacturer with a broad portfolio across all major applications enabled by the company’s software suite. The move will expand ABB’s robotics and automation offer, ensuring it can offer a complete portfolio for the next generation of flexible automated solutions.

Founded in 1982, ASTI has its headquarters in Burgos, Spain and employs over 300 people in Spain, France and Germany. The company is majority owned by Veronica Pascual Boé, who is also CEO. Today, ASTI supports one of Europe’s largest installed fleets of AMRs and has a broad customer base in sectors such as automotive and pharmaceutical, across 20 countries. Since 2015 the company has enjoyed close to 30% growth annually and is targeting approximately $50m in revenue this year.

For further information www.astimobilerobotics.com

Registration opens for Subcon 2021

Registration for Subcon 2021, which is co-located with The Engineer Expo and – new for 2021 – Manufacturing Management Show, is now open to visitors. Taking place in-person at Birmingham’s NEC on 14-16 September 2021, Subcon’s headline sponsors are IAMP and SCS Concept Group. Around 200 exhibitors are expected, including Hoffman Group UK, Wilson Process Systems and Oldham Engineering. Manufacturing Management is also curating a three-day conference with panel discussions and keynote addresses from Make UK CEO Stephen Phipson, Made in Britain CEO John Pearce and many more.

Gordon Kirk, Subcon event director, says: “We’re delighted to bring Subcon back and provide a long overdue opportunity for UK manufacturing to meet in person. The show is a timely and unique platform for UK manufacturers looking to source or develop a robust and localised network of UK supply chain partners.”

Register for Subcon at https://bit.ly/3subconreg

Height gauge improves efficiency

With tolerances on components getting tighter and customer requirements getting stricter, Chelburn Precision was keen to improve its measurement abilities. Based in Rochdale, the company found the solution in a Trimos V7 height gauge supplied by Bowers Group.

Chelburn Precision is a subcontract engineering company making large precision components, mostly for the canning, rubber and plastic, paper converting, and mining industries. Already working with a smaller height gauge, the team found it was holding the company back when measuring larger sized components.
In particular, the team was not able to reach the full height of components with the existing height gauge, resulting in the need to either turn jobs over to measure from a different plane, or make time and room on one of its machine tools to carry out checks. This task not only required extra time, but stopped the production of both the machine tools and their operators while the quality inspectors requested and verified checks to ensure part conformance in line with specifications.

The Trimos V7 is one of the tallest height gauges on the market and highly suitable for workshop environments, says Bowers. Notably, the height gauge features a pair of lateral insert holders, offering robustness and flexibility that allow the use of diverse probes up to 400 mm long.

Michael Horsfall, production director at Chelburn Precision, says: “We have used Bowers Group before for many different measuring devices that we own, so we were in good hands. They even loaned us a smaller unit for us to trial as they were confident that we would be impressed by the quality, accuracy and ease of use of the Trimos height gauge.”

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