Medical specialist prefers Tornos

The Switzerland-based Azurea Group specialises in the production of components and sub-assemblies for the medical equipment industry. In 2009, Azurea Holding SA acquired the Bévilard Company with the primary aim of strengthening and evolving its medical device offer.

According to Samuel Geiser, Azurea’s Bévilard site manager: “It’s now about providing a service – assembly. We have decided to stand out as a supplier of finished products. This is undeniably a pledge of added value that makes us real specialists, not only in the field of assembly, but in terms of specific functions. We can develop innovative solutions from materials that are sometimes very exotic.”

On the subject of exotic materials, Geiser is first and foremost is thinking of specific stainless steels and different grades of titanium. Thanks to its vast inventory of Tornos machines that comprises 13 Deco 10 and two Deco 13 machines, some of them equipped with gear-cutting function, Azurea can also machine materials such as PEEK, a thermostable plastic material. There is no material and no challenge that frightens Azurea, and the company prides itself on versatility and a pioneering and visionary spirit.

“We recently opened a grey room for assembly where we put the finishing touches to our products,” Geiser says. “This investment is intended to limit potential process contamination by users. We make the experience and expertise of our technicians available to customers in the medical, dental and micro-technology sectors, for them to achieve impeccable quality.”

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Vertical turning centre for shafts

Shaft manufacturing is a core function in automotive production. While in recent years drive and transmission shafts were the main focus of production planners, the success of e-mobility today also increases the demand for productive rotor shaft manufacturing. Therefore, there is a need for a manufacturing solution that is able to machine a great variety of components. All these parts have one thing in common: large unit volumes and very high quality requirements. After all, the efficiency of the entire drive train depends on the quality and functionality of the shafts.

Emag says that its VT series of vertical four-axis shaft turning machines are ideal for shafts with a maximum length of 630 mm and a maximum diameter of 200 mm. The machining process is performed with four axes, in other words simultaneously from two sides. This concept is why the machine is equipped with two tool turrets featuring 12 posts each, of which 11 can be loaded with turning tools or driven tools: a workpiece gripper occupies one post on each turret.

The workpiece grippers handle the parallel loading and unloading of the machine. While one gripper brings a new raw part into the clamping position, the other transports the finished component out on to the workpiece conveyor. To achieve this task, the VT series is equipped with circulating storage units from which raw parts can be picked up and into which finished components can be deposited. The TrackMotion automation system allows for several VT machines to be interlinked easily and cost-efficiently.

While four-axis machining already offers performance resources for conventional turning of shaft parts, machining throughput can be further increased by implementing scroll-free turning technology (for longitudinal turning, for example).

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Universal turning with CLX 450 TC

In order to meet increasing production requirements with smaller quantities and greater part diversity, DMG Mori is establishing a new series with the CLX TC, in which a B axis with CompactMaster turning and milling spindle replaces the traditional tool turret. On board are an automatic tool changer with tool magazine, the usual main spindle, and the tailstock or optional counter spindle.

The central element of the new CLX 450 TC is the B axis with the CompactMaster turning and milling spindle. A Y axis allows eccentric machining even in the standard version, while the tool magazine with up to 60 places – the standard is 30 – enables the production of several different components without intermediate tool set-ups. Tools can, of course, be loaded and unloaded in parallel with machining time, again reducing set-up times.

DMG Mori’s concept with a B axis requires only one tool for the main and counter spindles. In addition, the use of multitools and sister tools is possible, so that nothing stands in the way of flexible automation for unmanned shifts. The CompactMaster spindle offers similar advantages in CNC milling: there is only one tool for radial and axial milling, no special angle heads are required, and complex machining is possible with standard tools.

According to DMG Mori, the B axis also benefits process stability as it enables comprehensive measurement of the workpiece on the machine tool. In addition, there is an integrated tool measuring device above the main spindle outside the working area. The CLX 450 TC is equipped with a Siemens 840D Solutionline and a 19” multi-touch panel.

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Third machining plant for CMZ

CMZ is building its third machining plant ready for full operations by the second half of 2021. At an investment of €17m, the new 8000 sq m Neoprec facility will give CMZ the capabilities it requires to achieve its desired goal of manufacturing 800 CNC lathes per year. The works are already at a very advanced stage and, once final commissioning is complete, CMZ will see a massive advancement in the company’s production capacity.

Neoprec, situated in Mallabia, in the Basque region of northern Spain, will focus on machining the small and medium-sized parts used in CMZ’s CNC lathes. Of the €17m invested, €10m has gone towards purchasing new machines and intelligent factory automation.

In terms of equipment, the plant will have an automated warehouse with capacity to handle 1752 pallets. Moreover, Neoprec will have eight horizontal machining centres aligned in two FMS set-ups, while the metrology room will feature three 3D measuring machines and temperature control to within 0.1°. The maximum variation in the temperature inside the building over any given 24 hour period will be less than 1°C

CMZ’s investment strategy follows its route map focused on finishing 2023 with an annual turnover of €100m. Neoprec is the latest in a series of milestones reached so far: Seuner, the second lathe assembly plant, established in 2016 and already at 70% capacity, and the recent move and expansion of Cafisur, the group’s industrial sheet metal plant, are examples of that.

In line with this trend for working towards sustained growth through strategic investments, work will soon begin on the expansion of Precitor which, alongside Mecaninor and Neoprec, make up the company’s three machining plants.

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First Citizen with auto tool change

Citizen Machinery has added a fourth variant to the Cincom L20 sliding-head CNC turning centre range. The top model, L20-XII, which has a 135° swivelling B axis mounted on the gang tool post for working at either of the opposed spindles, is now available with an automatic tool changer (ATC) for swapping up to 30 mm diameter cutters in a chip-to-chip time of four seconds. Both the tool carrier and magazine move in the Y1 axis to effect tool change.

Believed to be a first in a Swiss-type turning machine, the ability to exchange 12 different cutters in the lower position of the B-axis carrier greatly extends the machine’s versatility when executing angled cross-working or end-facing operations. A 13th tool can fix in the carrier’s upper position. While the cutters are normally live for performing drilling, slitting, hobbing or multi-axis milling, turning tools can fill the positions if expedient.

The total number of tools that may be mounted in the working area of the Cincom L20-XIIATC is 34, providing flexibility to ensure that components are machined in as few set-ups as possible, often one. A 2.2 kW motor at up to 12,000 rpm drives the cutters, so even small diameter mills are capable of productive metal removal rates.

As its designation implies, the lathe turns components from 20 mm diameter bar, although oversized options allow up to 25 mm diameter material to be accepted. Another feature contributing to the lathe’s versatility is the ability to switch quickly between Swiss-type operation and non-guide bush turning for more economical production of shorter components.

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