Another machining cell at Alcon

When Tamworth-based Alcon Components was awarded a contract to supply the lightweight monobloc brake calipers for a new hybrid electric hypercar, the subcontractor turned to Kingsbury to supply an automated, turnkey machining cell that would produce the aluminium components.

Comprising a Hermle C32U five-axis machining centre fed with pallets from an Erowa Robot Easy 250 automated storage and handling system, the cell has already started producing calipers, as the job had previously been proved out on a near-identical cell installed in 2016. Essentially, the only difference is that the latest machine has extended tool capacity.
The hypercar has one brake caliper per wheel, the set of four requiring in excess of 24 hours to be machined from solid aluminium billets. Four operations are needed: pre-milling on another vertical machining centre, op 1 on the Hermle C32U, transfer back to the other machining centre for simple boring cycles, and finish machining on the C32U. Fully Interpolative five-axis machining of freeform surfaces accounts for less than 10% of cycles on the Hermle machine, with 4+1 and 3+2 strategies used
wherever possible.
A limited number of road-going hypercars will be produced, while a few track-only versions are also planned. Alcon is responsible for the full foundation brake system, pedal box and actuation, as well as a number of precision chassis components. When the contract has been completed, Alcon will split its ongoing production of calipers for high-performance road cars, race cars and defence vehicles between the two automated Hermle-Erowa C32U cells. A smaller C20U on the shop floor, purchased in 2007 with an Erowa automated pallet storage offset to the side rather than positioned directly in front of the machine, will then be reserved for producing prototypes.
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