Refurbished machines cost college around 50% less

Sorted Machine Sales recently sourced and refurbished four pre-owned Harrison M300 lathes for the Salisbury campus of Wiltshire College & University Centre. The investment will help the campus establish a new, fully equipped engineering department ready for its first influx of T-Level students and apprentices in September 2023.

“Due to the unfortunate closure of the local UTC, we’ve been investing heavily in an engineering department for Salisbury, which includes a machine shop,” explains Ben Elger, deputy head of department – engineering (automotive) at Wiltshire College & University Centre. “We inherited five lathes and five mills from the UTC and wanted a machine tool specialist to inspect them.”

Sorted Machine Sales is a long-standing partner of the established engineering department at the nearby Chippenham campus of Wiltshire College & University, so Elger reached out.

“Upon inspection, Sorted concluded that although the mills were good, the lathes were not fit for purpose,” he says. “They made some proposals and we opted for four reconditioned lathes. From our homework we saw the Harrison M300s as a good bridge between academia and industry, with a solid reputation for longevity.”

After sourcing the pre-owned lathes, Sorted Machine Sales set about bringing them up to scratch.

“We performed a comprehensive strip-down and refurbishment, replacing any worn parts as we went,” explains Marc Bowers, director at Sorted Machine Sales. “We added new coolant hoses, LED lights, safety guards, quick-change tool posts and a DRO. The machines also got a complete repaint. It was the right balance: sourcing decent pre-owned machines when the budget for new wasn’t available. We saved the college around 50% against the price of new machines. Furthermore, we delivered a complementary tooling package that included cutting tools, chucks, centres and tool holders.”

Concludes Elger: “Sorted were fantastic from the outset, providing us with solid options. Furthermore, the machines look immaculate; you wouldn’t think they were reconditioned. Sorted will now service and maintain the machines on our behalf.”
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XYZ machines reduce cutting times for impellers

Sheffield-based Straaltechniek UK has been manufacturing equipment for the surface preparation industry since 1982 with its range of blasting and shot-peen machines.A key element of the blast wheel is the impeller, which is made from D2 tool steel. Originally manufactured in several operations on a lathe and then a machining centre, this component has six side apertures making it an ideal part for production on a turn-mill machine.

Ryan Doxey, machine shop supervisor, says: “We installed the XYZ TC 320 LTY in November 2022 as it has a full C axis and driven tools on a Y axis, so we can virtually finish one impeller from a solid billet in a single operation. Significant savings in handling, set-ups and faster machining combine to give us a valuable reduction in cycle times. There are a large number of different impellers as, we not only make blast wheels for our own machines, but also retrofit and refurbish machines from other manufacturers, bringing them up to the latest modern efficiency standards. We carry out all the programming on the shop floor and the Siemens 828D ShopTurn Touchscreen control is a favourite with our machinists.”

As well as the XYZ TC 320 LTY, the company also has a XYZ VL 425 lathe with ProtoTRAK control, which turns the blast wheel itself.

“The blast wheels can be up to 405 mm diameter, and we program them on the ProtoTRAK control on the shop floor with sufficient capacity to hold them in soft jaws to complete the machining,” explains Doxey.“The ease of programming on ProtoTRAK and the reliability of this machine gave us the confidence to invest in the XYZ TC 320 LTY and ShopTurn.”
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Pucktechnik relies on 11 Emag VL machines

Pucktechnik, based in Solbiate Arno near Milan, is a contract manufacturer founded in 2017 that produces casting tools and various components. In total, the company has nearly 30 machines, including 11Emag VL turning machines and an Emag K 160 LA hobbing machine. These solutions provide high-volume and automated series production.

Primarily, with the help of these Emag machines, the company can produce around 650,000 wheels and wheel hubs for earthmoving equipment each year. What is interesting here is the deployment of four independent production lines with a high degree of automation.

The machines in each line are completely interlinked via TrackMotion, also from Emag, with various operations running directly one after the other. As a result, the quantities produced in this area have increased massively in just a few years. The basic technological principle of the lines begins with TransLift, a lift-and-turn carriage on the TrackMotion line gantry with programmable electric gripper, which picks up the raw-parts from a parts store, transports them to the machine at a speed of up to 150 m/min and deposits them on the machine’s internal shuttle. Thanks to the vertical arrangement of the spindle, it can pick up the part from the pick-up position of the shuttle and guide it into the working area of the machine.

After machining, the workpiece is discharged from the machine via the shuttle and transported to the next machine or the discharge conveyor using the TrackMotion system.In short, the combination of Emag pick-up technology with various automation solutions, from TrackMotion to robots, results in powerful and individually adaptable systems.
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Manufacturing rebounds

Britain’s manufacturers are seeing a rebound in activity in the first quarter of the year as the domestic and global markets improved.The latest Make UK/BDO Q1 Manufacturing Outlook survey shows a marked pick-up on the picture in the final quarter of 2022. The figures echo the gradual improvements in other data such as the UK and European PMIs which are now only just in negative territory, as well as a strong pick-up in demand from China. Most notably, the improvement was driven by strong demand in the mechanical equipment and electronics sectors.
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Projects worth £1.2m for Walker Engineering

Northwest-based firm Walker Engineering has enjoyed a record start to 2023by winning a host of new projects across the UK. With total new work worth over £1.2m in 2023 alone, the Skelmersdale company has utilised the strength of its team to enter new markets and territories around the country. Growing its team by 11% from 26 to 29 in the year to date, Walker Engineering is now looking to recruit more trainee fabricators, welders, pipefitters and mechanical and electrical engineers. The business is also spearheading a campaign to recruit five new apprentices in various roles.
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