Large-capacity Y-axis lathe

Components are becoming more and more complex, and drawing tolerances ever-tighter. The ability of a CNC turn-mill centre’s live turret tooling to move in the Y axis, as well as in X and Z, has therefore become increasingly important to facilitate high accuracy, one-hit machining. If travel in only the latter two axes is available, the milling of flats, deburring, and the possibility of machining pockets and off-centre features in-cycle, are either difficult or impossible.

The latest Miyano fixed-head lathe from Citizen Machinery UK to feature a Y-axis turret, in this case with all 12 tool stations driven, is the new BND-64SY for turning parts from bar up to 64 mm diameter. Joining a similar model that accepts bar up to 51 mm diameter through the main spindle, the 4.75-tonne machine is a mid-range, multi-purpose, twin-spindle turning centre. A ribbed monobloc bed slanted at 30°, and carrying precision-scraped square guideways, provides high rigidity, optimal thermal and mechanical stability, and excellent vibration damping, says Citizen.

These characteristics result in highly accurate machined components and longer service life of the tools, which can mount flexibly in the turret using multi-tool holders in any position. The robustness of machine construction allows the turning and milling of tough alloys and metals in their hardened condition, even when taking intermittent cuts. Polygon turning and thread milling are both options in the FANUC 0i-TD control, which is capable of simultaneous four-axis interpolation.

The specification of the Japanese-built machine includes turret travels in X/Y/Z of 175/75/435 mm, some 530 mm of sub-spindle axis travel, and up to 20 m/min rapid feed rate.

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Pneumatic unloading system for Swiss DT26

The latest innovation from Tornos to support its sliding-head lathe customers is the pneumatic unloading system for the Swiss DT26 machine series. This new system avoids damage to any particularly intricate or fragile workpiece features.

For long workpieces with delicate features such as a fragile thread, the standard long-part system on Swiss DT and Swiss GT sliding-head machines may not provide the careful part handling required by the end user. For such types of workpieces, with a diameter up to 24 mm and a maximum length of 260 mm, Tornos now has a solution that enables delicate part removal.

Mounted on the tooling block for back machining, the system does not impair the possibility of using T510 and T520 tools. Ejection is via pneumatic operation, by using clamping jaws adapted to the respective workpiece type and material, ensuring there is no potential for part damage. 3D printing can facilitate jaw manufacturing, allowing complete customisation to the component form.

As a point of note, the system is equipped with sensors to monitor machine movements and provide optimum protection of the device. Furthermore, the design is such that it avoids interference with the machine’s counter-spindle.

With the addition of this system it is possible to keep a machine up to date and in conformance with customer component requirements, while employing only minor modifications. Tornos says that the retrofitting of existing machines is straightforward.

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Mazak machine boosts plane restoration

A restorer of vintage aeroplanes has increased its capacity and ability to produce challenging bespoke parts by investing in a new turning centre from Yamazaki Mazak. Kennet Aviation specialises in the renovation and servicing of historic aeroplanes, including Supermarine Seafires used in World War II, to the stringent standards required by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) – the UK’s specialist aviation regulator.

With the aim of enhancing in-house manufacturing capacity and growing its existing business, the company has invested in a Yamazaki Mazak Quick Turn 250MSY CNC turning centre. The new machine, built in the UK at the company’s Worcester-based European Manufacturing Plant, has enabled Kennet Aviation to quickly produce high-accuracy, bespoke aircraft components, and significantly reduce the time taken to restore aircraft.

Kennet’s investment has also opened up new business opportunities by enabling the company to subcontract its capability regarding the production of rare parts for vintage aircraft restorers and collectors worldwide.

Tim Manna, director at Kennet Aviation, says: “Existing components for these older aeroplanes can be very rare, and often not available anywhere. As we may only require very small batches, requesting parts from general subcontractors can be expensive and result in long lead times. We therefore decided to invest in a high-quality CNC machine tools to manufacture parts at Kennet, so we could bring selection, quality control and timing in-house.

“Mazak provided a brilliant service, and we’ve been very impressed with how quickly and accurately the machine has been able to produce parts,” he continues. “In fact, it has been so successful that we’ve since invested in a second machine, a VCN530C vertical milling machine with an additional rotary axis.”

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Global appeal to find BSA machines

BSA Tools, one of Britain’s most famous engineering brands, is reaching out to help locate its iconic machine tools believed ‘missing in action’ in all corners of the globe. The Birmingham-based business has launched an appeal to find the CNC and multi-spindle automatic lathes that have literally helped make the world go round over many decades.

Rescued from administration in 2017, the newly re-launched BSA Tools has created 15 jobs and tempted former employees to re-join the business and help a new generation of engineers. The company has the serial numbers of all machines in its archive and wants once again to service and maintain the equipment it knows best, both in the UK and overseas.

“These machines were built to last and we know many are still working out there, we just have to find them,” says Emily Eyles, business development manager for BSA Tools. “We’ve recently completed a rebuild on one machine that is 50 years old, and it’s now working as sweetly as it was on day one.

“What’s frustrating is that companies may be trying to make do with in-house servicing and repair,” she adds. “We have all of the equipment and serial numbers to help maintain these machines in pristine condition and keep them going for the next 50 years.”

An acronym of Birmingham Small Arms, the BSA name stretches back hundreds of years to the city’s ‘Gun Quarter’, which was recently immortalised on the small screen in the hit BBC drama Peaky Blinders.

BSA was also once the world’s biggest motorcycle manufacturer, owning brands including Triumph and Daimler.

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KMF continues to invest

Precision engineering firm KMF has invested in a significant piece of machinery that will double critical capacity. Resulting from an anticipated increase in demand post COVID-19, the group has purchased a second Yamazaki Mazak Quick Turn 250MSY to complement its suite of Mazak equipment. Adding to the facility’s capacity means KMF Group can further support its clients in the aerospace, instrumentation, scientific and medical industries.

Keith Nicholl, commercial director at KMF Group says: “The machine is co-located with an existing Quick Turn 250MSY, effectively doubling our capacity so we can respond to increased demands from new and existing customers. Both machines link to our offline programming capability, resulting in high levels of cutting efficiency, 24 hours a day, seven days per week.

“COVID-19 impacted many businesses, but as we emerge from the worst of the crisis, we’ve positioning ourselves to ensure that we’re fully prepared to support customers across various sectors with immediate effect,” he adds. “By investing now, and being business-ready, we can proactively support our customers with their own revival.”

The Quick Turn 250MSY has a 500 mm bed capacity, and is equipped with a 10” chuck on the main spindle and a 6” chuck on the secondary spindle, handling part sizes up to 380 mm. A Hydrafeed Multifeed magazine barfeed enables unmanned running of small-to-medium batch quantities.

Neil Coggins, area sales manager at Yamazaki Mazak UK, says: “As production begins to increase across multiple industries following the disruption caused by the pandemic, it’s vital that subcontractors have the engineering capacity to hit the ground running.”

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