Automated mill-turn cell halves cutting cycles

A British designer and manufacturer of bedpan macerators for healthcare institutions and sewage treatment systems for municipal water companies, Haigh Engineering, has upgraded the capacity on its shop floor in Ross-on-Wye with the installation of a five-axis Hermle C 42 UMT prismatic machining cell featuring turning capability.

Included are a multi-level tool magazine for holding 50 tools in addition to the standard 42 tools, making a total of 92, and a six-pallet storage system served by a three-axis HS Flex Heavy robot for automatically transferring pallets with a maximum capacity of 1200kg into the working area and returning them after component machining. Kingsbury, Hermle’s sole UK agent, delivered the cell in September 2022.

Haigh Engineering’s production manager Neil Phillips says: “As well as allowing for future capacity increase and improved reliability, the Hermle C 42 enabled us to take two older, less efficient machining centres off-line.”Overall, current metal cutting time is today about half of that provided by the older mills (with the equivalent machining cycles).

A majority of throughput at Haigh involves the machining of castings, mainly iron but also stainless steel and aluminium, ranging in size from 400 mm high by 600 mm square, down to 150 mm diameter by 150 mm long. Some weigh as much as 250 kg. While Haigh currently attends the machine full time, as the setters optimise usage, the intention is to set up multiple parts on the six pallets and run the system lights-out. Some unattended machining already takes place at the end of each day shift by loading a raw casting that requires 60 minutes or more of metal cutting time, allowing production to continue past normal working hours.
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