Smaller F-series HMC released by Heller

Following the launch by Heller of the F 6000 travelling-column five-axis horizontal machining
centre (HMC) at the EMO trade show in Hanover last September, the German manufacturer
is introducing another new model. The F 5000, with its smaller working volume of 800 x 850
x 1100 mm, has 1000 x 1000 x 1400 mm axis travels and comes with many different types of
in-house developed, integrated motor spindles.
A speed cutting unit in combination with the HSK-A 100 tool shank (HSK-A 63 optional)

reaches speeds of 15,000 rpm. As an alternative, a dynamic cutting unit is suitable for
universal use at up to 400 Nm and 12,000 rpm. For heavy-duty machining, a power cutting
unit with a gear spindle and 1146 Nm of torque output is available.
The redesigned spindle head is of compact design and high rigidity thanks to the robust 45°,
backlash-free kinematics and short distance between the bearing and tool shank. Swivel
range is 350° for flexible five-sided machining. Customers can specify either a chain-type
magazine for up to 150 cutters or a rack-type magazine with 425 positions for HSK-A 100
tools (489 for HSK-A 63).
Featuring a cast-iron structure, modular design and narrow width at 3.7 m, the machining
centre is configurable to various small-to-medium batch production applications, ranging
from general mechanical engineering through powertrain component machining to
aerospace. The production platform is just as efficient for the manufacture of single parts as
it is for series runs, reports Heller.
As with the F 6000, the F 5000’s capabilities are expandable to include turning at up to 700
rpm, interpolation turning, gear cutting, grinding, power skiving and even friction stir
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Big Investment Proves Ideal for KeraJet

KeraJet, an international digital printing machinery manufacturer has recently invested in a
new large-capacity gantry-type mill from Zayer. The machine, an Altea 8000, with its large X-
, Y- and Z-axis travels of 8000mm x 4350 x 1500 mm and 8000 x 3000 mm fixed table, is
producing machine frames, engine bridges and other performance-critical parts that go into
its digital printing machines. Zayer machines are available in the UK exclusively from Mills
Says Jose Luis Granell, head of the machining workshop at KeraJet: “Our digital printing
machines are accurate, but such precision is only possible as long as the components that go
into them are machined to tight tolerances and exacting surface finishes. It’s worth bearing
in mind that when it comes to our print-head technology, our machines are working day-in,
day-out for customers achieving accuracies in the micrometre and even nanometre range.”
The Altea 8000 works an eight-hour shift but, if there is call for repeat components and the
process is secure and repeatable, it runs unattended through the night to improve KeraJet’s
productivity significantly. Flexibility is another major benefit of the Zayer machine.
“We can use the machine in pendulum mode machining workpieces up to 4000 mm in
length in both work zones, as well as machining longer parts using the full stroke of the
machine,” explains Granell. “In addition, the Altea 8000 features 30° and 45° heads. When
machining aluminium, for example, we use the 30° head with electro-spindle at 18,000 rpm.
We use the 45° head when machining steel and select the electro-spindle if and when
superior surface finishes are necessary.”
The Altea 8000 also has several onboard software apps that help improve the machine’s
performance and process reliability.
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Innovative front axle machining made easy

Bharat Forge Kilsta is one of the world’s largest forging companies, specialising in heavy crankshafts, front axle beams, steering arms and other chassis components. The company is based in Karlskoga, a Swedish city renowned for its centuries-old forging tradition. Here, Bharat Forge Kilsta mainly produces front axles for trucks and buses. It first forges beams from steel and machines them to make full front axles. To do this, the company previously used CNC machines of the older Unisign Univers model. However, the company invested in a trio of Unitwin6000 machines in 2022/2023.

Prior to expanding with the new models, Bharat Forge Kilsta needed to outsource part of its manufacturing process. “We didn’t have the capacity to machine all the front axles that our customers requested,” explains production development engineer Thomas Forsling. “To be less reliant on subcontractors we wanted to do more of our machining in-house. That’s why we started to explore options for extra machines.”

According to Forsling, the Unitwin6000 provides even greater speed, reliability and precision, although two of the older machines are also still in use. The Unitwin6000 enables Bharat Forge Kilsta to manufacture almost all of its front axles in-house. Another major benefit is speed.

“The old machines have one spindle that does the machining, which means we can do one side of the beam at a time,” explains Forsling. “In contrast, the Unitwin6000 machines both sides simultaneously. The handling is also quicker, because we don’t have to change the beams manually in the machine. As a result, our production speed is now a little over double what it was previously.”

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FANUC RoboDrill offers mill-turn capability

FANUC UK now offers what it describes as an affordable muti-axis turning and machining solution aimed at helping manufacturers in aerospace, automotive, utilities and energy supply chains reduce cycle times, cut costs, save space and boost production efficiency.

The FANUC RoboDrill D21LiB5ADV Plus vertical machining centre has a 24,000 rpm spindle and a Nikken two-axis high speed rotary table featuring a built-in direct drive motor that achieves 1500 rpm. Visitors to the MACH exhibition in Birmingham earlier this year could see the machine in action producing scroll compressor aluminium housings. The demonstration showcased the cost-saving and performance benefits available from combining milling and turning processes.

“FANUC and Nikken worked together to create a combined machining/turning cell with an extended range of functionality, offered at a fraction of the cost of machines with similar capabilities,” says Oliver Selby, head of UK sales at FANUC UK.

He continues: “At the heart of the solution is our D21LiB5ADV Plus RoboDrill, which is a three-axis machine in its core configuration. The Nikken table adds a further two axes, allowing users to turn and machine components on the same unit. This is a real breakthrough, bringing the functionality of million-pound machines within reach of SMEs at a significantly lower cost. It helps them become more competitive and to consider undertaking work that was previously beyond reach.”

Less than 3 m long and a little over 2 m wide, the RoboDrill/Nikken solution is a lean machine with a compact footprint. The Nikken 5AX-201 tilting-rotary table features pneumatic clamping to allow the rapid mounting and changing of difficult-to-hold components.

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Quaser from ETG offers the right solution

It is often the impulsive decisions in life that create an impact, which was certainly the case for Chris Smedley of Malvern Engineering. When he was made redundant over 15 years ago, he walked out of his employment and 45 minutes later signed a contract for an industrial unit and started Malvern Engineering. This entrepreneurial spirit and level of determination have served the company well since its inception and are still imbued in the ethos of the small business to this very day. So, when Smedley’s regular machine tool dealer could not offer the solution required, he approached the Engineering Technology Group (ETG) and bought his first 4th-axis machining centre: a Quaser MV184 EV. It arrived in autumn 2023.

“We looked at a couple of machines, but when we visited the ETG technical centre and demonstration facility in Wellesbourne, we were flabbergasted by the quality, service and the set-up of the company,” says Smedley. “The Quaser MV184 EV offers us greater flexibility than our existing machine tools and we can reduce the number of required set-ups on complex parts. This capability is subsequently improving our quality, our throughput and creating greater efficiencies throughout the business.”

As a subcontract manufacturer with four three-axis machining centres and two turning centres, the latest Quaser addition opens the door to new types of work previously out of reach.

“The Quaser has a much more compact footprint than our existing machines, which is invaluable to a small business where space is at a premium,” explains Smedley. “Like our existing machines, the Quaser was supplied with a Heidenhain CNC system that creates familiarity for our team to interchange between machines.”

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