£6.85m funding for NAMRC facility

The Nuclear AMRC’s proposal to establish a new advanced manufacturing research centre in Derby has secured government funding.

Supported by Derby City Council and the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, the proposal has been awarded £6.85m by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government. Local partners will also invest in the proposed £20m project to create a new permanent home on Derby’s Infinity Park for Nuclear AMRC Midlands, creating 70 jobs and helping to reboot the local economy after the coronavirus crisis.
For further information www.namrc.co.uk

Five-axis investment pays dividends

Significantly reduced machining operations leading to reduced part cycle times, improved operational efficiencies and new business wins are just some of the benefits that Baker Engineering is experiencing from its latest Doosan five-axis machining centre investment.

Mills CNC, the exclusive distributor of Doosan machine tools in the UK and Ireland, supplied Baker Engineering, a precision toolmaker and engineering subcontract specialist based in Derby, with the new Doosan DVF 5000. The machine was installed at the company’s new, purpose-built 8000 sq ft facility in April 2020, where it is being used to produce a diverse range of precision components, as well as specialist tooling, jigs and fixtures for its growing UK and international customer base.
Baker Engineering’s DVF 5000 is the second Doosan machine tool to arrive on site, the first being a new DNM 6700 vertical machining centre, which was acquired in February 2017.
Baker Engineering is a family-owned business established in 2008 that today employs 15 members of staff. The company is ISO9001-accredited and committed to continuous improvement, making regular investments in the latest machine tool and ancillary manufacturing technologies to maintain its competitiveness and strengthen its preferred partner relationships with customers.
A number of CNC machines can be found on site at Derby, including machining centres with integrated 4th-axis units, lathes with bar feeders, and wire EDM machines. In addition to offering precision subcontract machining services, the company has specific strengths in manufacturing aerospace component tooling (such as jigs and fixtures for ground support maintenance); tooling for the measurement and inspection of railway tracks; and tooling used in the power-generation sector.
As a forward-thinking company the decision to invest in the latest five-axis machining technology was a natural one, and had begun in earnest earlier in 2019.

Explains director Adrian Baker: “Multi-axis and multi-tasking machine tools help manufacturers improve their productivity. We’re a company that’s looking to constantly improve; we had done our homework into the technology and could see that an investment in a five-axis machine tool would deliver significant performance benefits. In addition, the investment would send the right signal, externally and internally, that Baker Engineering was focused on the future.”
The key advantages from investing in five-axis machine tool technology were immediately apparent to management and staff at the company and included: the ability to machine complex shapes/parts in a single set-up; the added benefit that ‘one-hit’ machining has on reducing the time and costs involved in set ups; and the ability to improve/maintain part accuracies owing to a reduction in work handling.
“Since the installation of the DVF 5000 we have experienced all of these benefits,” states Baker.
A demonstration of the machine’s capabilities, and its impact on Baker Engineering’s performance, can be seen when machining an electrical housing-type component. Prior to the arrival of the DVF 5000, this part was completed in five separate machining operations with a cycle time of 2.5 hours. However, when machined on the DVF 5000, the number of operations can be reduced to two, with a cycle time of 45 minutes.
“This is typical of the results we have been able to achieve since our investment in the machine,” says Baker.
Prior to making the purchase decision, Baker Engineering investigated the market in order to help identify the type of machine that would “fit the bill”.
“We were pleased with the DNM 6700 vertical machining centre that we bought in 2017 in terms of its performance and reliability, and have been impressed with Mills’ aftersales service and support,” says Baker. “When considering the five-axis machine investment it was natural that we approached them to discuss our requirements.”

The company’s discussions with Mills CNC led to the recommendation of the DVF 5000, which is a best-selling five-axis machine from Mills CNC’s machine-tool portfolio. This compact and rigidly-built machine is said to deliver high cutting performance and machining flexibility. The machine offers full simultaneous five-axis machining capability as well as 3+2 and 4+1 operations. Baker Engineering is predominantly using the machine for 3+2 and five-face machining.
Baker Engineering’s new DVF 5000 features a direct-drive spindle (up to 18.5kW/12,000rpm), linear guides and a 500 x 450 mm work table with 400 kg table load. The machine boasts 40 m/min rapids and was supplied to Baker Engineering with a 60-position ATC, integrated tool measurement and the latest Fanuc 0iMF control.
Since installation at the end of April, the DVF 5000 has been in constant use at Baker Engineering’s facility. As well as it helping the company increase its productivity and efficiency, the machine has also helped win new machining work.
“News travels fast,” states Baker. “On hearing that we had invested in Doosan five-axis machine-tool technology, a new customer made contact asking us to quote on a job. We have successfully turned that enquiry into an order.
“Our decision to invest in the Doosan DVF 5000 has been vindicated,” he concludes. “The machine has significantly strengthened our machining capacity and capabilities. It is fast, accurate and reliable, and represents great value.”
For further information www.millscnc.co.uk

Hurco automated production demonstrator

Following the UK launch by Hurco at the end of 2019 of a portable cobot (collaborative robot) range, the company has set up a new manufacturing cell at its High Wycombe technical centre to help potential customers across Britain and Ireland see the way in which machine-tool tending may be simply and inexpensively automated.

Hurco is keen to showcase the productivity and cost benefits that come from maximising spindle uptime. The cobot installed in the demonstration cell has a twin gripper attachment and feeds a Hurco TM8i three-axis CNC lathe.
For further information www.hurco.co.uk

2500T hydraulic press for DMP

Beckwood Press Co has been awarded a contract by Diverse Metal Products (DMP) to manufacture a 2500-ton hydraulic forming press.

Scheduled for delivery later this year, the press will be used to make embossed heat exchanger plates in nuclear missile tubes for the US Navy.
The custom press will feature an eight-point square gib guidance system that is fully adjustable left-to-right and front-to-back to minimise lateral movement under load. The 1.2 x 1.65 m bed and ram bolsters will be machined to accommodate DMP’s existing tooling. Safety features include light curtains on the front opening, fixed polycarbonate guarding on the rear, and a UL-certified electrical enclosure.
Like every Beckwood press, DMP’s new machine includes several uptime-focused features. For instance, the structure is engineered for ‘infinite life’ using FEA software, while dual linear and pressure transducers offer reliability and redundancy. In addition, Beckwood’s proprietary PressLink module facilitates fast, complementary remote support.
“We are proud to support companies like DMP, who supply critical components to the US military,” says Josh Dixon, Beckwood’s director of sales and marketing. “Our unwavering commitment to engineering and manufacturing presses in the US results in safe, reliable machinery and gives every Beckwood customer a competitive advantage.”
“DMP is proud to partner with Beckwood on this project,” adds John Keith, one of DMP’s owners. “Selecting a US manufacturer to help us support the US Nuclear Navy was our number one objective. Beckwood has done what they said they would. We are excited to deploy this asset in the coming months.”
For further information www.beckwoodpress.com

£1.45m investment in robotics firm

Foresight Group, an independent infrastructure and private-equity investment manager, and Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), have made a £1.45m follow-on investment from the Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund into Inovo Robotics.

This investment will allow Inovo to grow sales internationally and brings the total invested by the fund to £2.95m, having originally invested £1.5m in October 2018 to support the company’s first product to market. Inovo is developing a competitively priced ‘cobot’, a collaborative robot designed to operate safely
within a human work environment.
For further information www.wae.com