Success for GrindingHub

GrindingHub 2022 concluded on 20 May, with the four-day event proving a major success. More than 370 exhibitors showcased their latest grinding technology innovations, products and solutions across almost 18,000 sq m of exhibition space. A total of 9500 visitors crowded into the three fully booked halls, with around 40% coming from abroad. An impressive sight was the total of more than 240 machines working live at the exhibition, many of them on large and prestigious stands. The next GrindingHub is scheduled for 14-17 May 2024 in Stuttgart.

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Turning centre addresses skills gap

Hartlepool-based JJ Hardy is investing in a new Mazak QTE-200 SG turning centre as a way of plugging the skills gap for CNC machinists in the northeast. The new machine will help the company to introduce an unmanned shift and keep pace with growing demand.

Managing director Andrew Pailor says: “Our plan is to get more out of what we have. We’ll use technology, including new machine tools and, in time, additional automation, to increase our capacity with one manned shift and one unmanned shift each day. The new QTE machine is an affordable solution that will be equipped with a Hydrafeed barfeed, a parts racking system for finished components and an automatic tool eye for inspection. Most importantly, we’ll also have the ability to monitor work online while it runs unmanned.”

With an eight-strong machine shop, JJ Hardy concentrates on automotive and energy work, as well as the rail sector, for which its manufactures components such as bogie parts, hangar bolts, shackles, suspension links and impellers.

Says Pailor: “We have an older Mazak turning centre that has been a good solution for us and has outperformed some of our more expensive competitor machines. However, it doesn’t have some of the equipment we need to get it running unmanned.

“The new QTE is equipped with Mazak’s latest Mazatrol innovation, SmoothEz, a touchscreen CNC,” he adds. “It’s now so easy to program that we can put CNC operators with much less experience on the machine. They can be running it, unsupervised, very quickly.”

Described as a simple and compact machine design, the QTE is equipped with a high torque spindle and 12-position drum turret, along with capacity for 12 different tools.

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SwissNano 10 unveiled at SIAMS

At the SIAMS 2022 exhibition in Switzerland last month, Tornos took the opportunity to release its SwissNano 10 for micro-turning applications in sectors such as watchmaking, medical and dental.

SIAMS is a key event in the micro-technology industry, attracting visitors from far afield. On the Tornos stand they got to see first-hand the new SwissNano 10, which the company says increases productivity by at least 40%.

Despite its small size, the SwisssNano does not shy away from even the most difficult challenges. Now capable of machining parts up to 100 mm in length (up to 10 mm diameter), Tornos says the SwissNano stands out as a solution for any workshop looking to boost its productivity and efficiency. The machine’s footprint remains modest, despite an integrated chip conveyor, since it has been ingeniously placed under the bar feeder. This design is an adapted solution that allows for optimal management, even in a restricted space. Additionally, the SwissNano’s lower power consumption makes it a particularly energy-efficient machine, reports Tornos.

The company says that users can improve and secure autonomy with Tornos’ Active Chip Breaker Plus software, while increasing their parts portfolio with four tools and up to two live tools in back-operation.

All SwissNano machines are designed to produce small parts requiring very high precision. The kinematics allow these machine to produce a large number of watch movement parts, from simple to complex – including, for example, gear hobbing – with high surface finish.

Notably, the SwissNano’s kinematic structure was conceived for balance and thermal management, thus allowing very fast warm-up.

Joining the SwissNano 4 and SwissNano 7, the new SwissNano 10 completes and expands the range.

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Hurco expands UK engineering team

The technical team supporting users of Hurco machining centres and lathes throughout the UK and Ireland has been expanded by the arrival of four additional service engineers. Aaron Hewett, Liam Storer, Ben Pringle and Vinicius Gomes are currently undergoing training at Hurco’s High Wycombe facility before shadowing technical support engineers in the field. All of the new recruits have strong experience with other machine tool brands, so will be quickly up to speed with the Hurco range. There is now a total of 20 Hurco service engineers serving the British and Irish markets.

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Sliding-head lathes increase capacity

Good-quality machine tools operate reliably and hold tolerance for two decades or more. The problem is that technology moves on so quickly that the productivity of older machines cannot match that of their newer counterparts. This was the situation in which Redruth-based subcontractor DP Engineering found itself until it purchased three new Cincom lathes from Citizen Machinery UK: an L20-XLFV installed three years ago, an identical machine that arrived in autumn 2021 and an M32-VIIILFV bought at the end of last year. The latter two machines were direct replacements for equivalent 20 mm and 32 mm capacity sliders of similar type and make acquired around the turn of the millennium, several machine generations ago.

Philip Anthony, DP Engineering’s sales and marketing director, says: “The faster rapid traverses and higher power and speed of the main and sub spindles, as well as of the driven tools, have increased our capacity considerably. One stainless steel aerospace part we previously turn-milled in one hit on an L20 that is 20-plus years old now takes half the time to produce on its modern replacement.

“It is a similar story on the 32 mm machine, which is more user-friendly than the former-generation lathe and has better access and visibility into the machining area,” he continues. “Moreover, the addition of a rotary B axis on the gang tool post enables us to machine more complex parts than was previously possible on our sliders.”

A notable technological advance from Citizen since DP Engineering purchased the earlier Cincoms was the introduction five years ago of its proprietary LFV (low-frequency vibration) chip-breaking software running in the Mitsubishi control. It has resulted in a significant increase in productivity when machining malleable materials such as titanium and stainless steel.

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