Star to show future of sliding-head lathes

Star Micronics GB will showcase its range of sliding-headstock lathes at MACH 2024 (15-19 April, NEC, Birmingham). Visitors will experience a host of process demonstrations and witness a range of complex mill-turn components in production live at the event.

Following its worldwide debut at the EMO exhibition in Germany last September, the new SP-23 sliding head lathe will make its debut appearance at a UK manufacturing exhibition. An entirely new model capable of 1-inch (25.4 mm) machining, Star says the SP Series delivers outstanding versatility and performance within a modest footprint.

The SP-23 features an eight-station front turning platen and a seven-spindle cross-drilling inner tool post, on which it is possible to mount a wide variety of tooling attachments with five cartridge positions available. The machine features five drilling stations on the front and a four-station back-working platen with power tool capability.

Another key development within the Star portfolio, the new SD-26 Type E occupies the middle ground between the supplier’s 20 and 32mm bar diameter ranges. Capable of processing 26mm diameter material, the machine offers a programmable B1 head with four front and four rear facing tool positions, plus an additional six cartridge positions for various attachments.

Superseding the SB-16II Type E, the upgraded third-generation SB-16III model utilises the latest-generation FANUC 0i-TF Plus CNC control system. The machine includes Star’s dovetail structure for the Yaxis and features a fully programmable Caxis on both the main and sub spindles. Notably, the main spindle platen includes six turning tools, two fixed high-speed ER11 spindles for cross working, plus a further three modular cross power-driven stations that can accept a variety of cartridge attachments.

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Index names date for annual open house

The now traditional Indexopen house will take place on 9-12 April, taking place for the first time at the company’s newcustomer centre in Deizisau, near Stuttgart. Visitors can expect an exciting programme once again this year: machine innovations live in action, automation solutions in the most diverse configuration levels, and expert presentations. As always, there will be plenty of refreshments to enjoy.

Turn-mill centres for flexible and highly productive complete machining will occupy a place of choice at the Indexopen house. Taking the Index G320 turn-mill centre as an example, the lathe manufacturer will demonstrate what a fully automated manufacturing solution can look like. Index has enhanced the machine with an iXcenter robot cell that is extendable from two sides with a variety of modules. At the in-house exhibition, this automation solution will additionally feature a measuring and inspection station, which contributes to automated process control in combination with appropriate measuring software and the Index closed-loop interface.

The G320 will also include the new, external Index tool magazine expansion iXtools, which is configurable for any of the company’s turn-mill centres. iXtools is a comprehensive extension of the machine’s integrated tool magazine and offers unrestricted access to up to 396 additional tools.

Universal lathes will also be a prominent part of the open house. For instance, visitors will see the Traub TNA500 in action: now available in a long version with a turning length of up to 1200 mm and with 18 tool stations.

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Streamlining gear cutting processes with ETG

Machining gear components demands impeccable precision levels.And although dedicated gear hobbing and skiving machinesare common throughout industry, manufacturers often face issues with multiple set-ups and the application of jigs and fixtures. This challenge exacerbates when considering additional factors such as the shortage of skilled workers and the excessive floorspace required for multiple dedicated machines. According to the Engineering Technology Group (ETG), it is possible to eradicate all of these issues with Nakamura-Tome turn-mill centres. ETG is the UK representative for Nakamura-Tome machines.

A multi-tasking machine can change the situation because it performs turning, milling and gear cutting in a single process. Integrating these processes significantly reduces set-up changes, contributing to more efficient production. Moreover, machining quality remains at the same level as dedicated machines.In many cases it improves due to fewer set-ups.

Both gearhobbing and skiving have their own set of advantages. Hobbing is suitable for manufacturing high-volume parts and external gears, while skiving is for producing parts ranging from low to high volume. Skiving applies to both outer and inner gears, and when machining close to the walls on the end of a gear. It is possible to perform hobbing, skiving and other cutting methods on multi-tasking machines, producing various gear types such as spur gears and helical gears.

When investing in a Nakamura machine from ETG, the ‘Smart Support’ software solution simplifies the creation of special machining programs developed by Nakamura-Tome through a conversational programming interface.Recently, the software introduced a gear hobbing function that now enables users to create dedicated programs by inputting variables in accordance with guidelines. To enhance user-friendliness, the software incorporates graphical images that guide operators through the process. For further information

Citizen machine helps TAS rebalance business

Around 20 years ago, Gareth Davies started Burton-on-Trent company TAS Engineering as a steel, stainless steel and aluminium fabrication shop.In 2014, he established a machine shop to add extra value to the products the company was forming and welding. Today, there is a pair of three-axis vertical machining centres on-site and a trio CNC lathes, the latest of which is a pre-owned Cincom L20 sliding-head turning centre from Citizen Machinery.

What prompted the purchase in October 2023 of this 20-year-old lathe, the company’s first sliding-head model, was a desire for more efficient turningof components in various materials from bar up to 20 mm in diameter. A case in point is the ongoing production of a 16 mm diameter, 316 stainless steel magnet holder, which is welded to a small, laser-cut and bent plate to form part of a safety unit for industrial switchgear. The turned component, of which 200 are required per month, was previously produced complete on one of two fixed-head, twin-spindle lathesin a 2.5-minute cycle.

It was apparent that the steel magnet holder could be produced more quickly on a modern Citizen L20 twin-spindle sliding-head turning centre due to the faster axis motions of the gang tool carriers on the former compared with the turret movements of fixed-head lathes. However, Davies was surprised to find it was possible to machine the part more than three times faster on the Cincom: the cycle now takes just 48 seconds.

He says that although the purchase price of the lathe was only about 24% of the investment needed for a modern 20 mm capacity L-series Cincom, he was treated by all Citizen Machinery UK staff as though he were purchasing a new L20.

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Bharat Forge Daun relies on Emag machines

Unusually sophisticated components and high-strength materials for high-tech applications, like stator housings for electromobility with tolerances in micron range, are among the machining challenges tackled by the specialists at Bharat Forge Daun in Germany. At the centre of this activity areseveral vertical turning lathes (VTLs) from Emag, which operate around the clock, five days a week.

The vertical design of thesemachines played an important role in the investment decision, asa horizontal machine from another manufacturer had caused difficulties in the past. Annoying chip clusters would form, requiring manual removal two or three times a shift.

“It was therefore obvious to us that we should carry out these processes in machines with a vertical design, because their unhindered chip flow prevents disruptions,” explainsChristoph Steffens, head of mechanical engineering at Bharat Forge Daun. “Our objective was to achieve maximum process reliability.”

Another factor in the decision in favour of Emag was existing knowledge: the machine tool manufacturer used examples from other customers toshow how its machines optimise stator machining – with low non-productive times and high-precision handling processes. Integrated automation, including a pick-up spindle and lateral conveyor belt, ensures fast processes, while the stable base body is made of Mineralit polymer concrete.

Last but not least, the response time and the expertise of Emag’s service department play an important role for Bharat Forge Daun. A regional service technician is always on site within a few hours and solves any problems directly.

“So far we have always been helped with minor faults in record time,” says Steffens.

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