Titanium parts produced 25% faster

Heller Machine Tools has supplied a large, heavy-duty machine to GKN Aerospace Filton, near Bristol, to rough titanium aircraft components. The machine was installed on budget and ahead of schedule, and has started producing a family of five structural components from titanium forgings, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Six years ago, there was a possibility of the Integrated Machining Facility at Filton also being contracted to finish-machine the components. This work has not materialised, but it meant that a large, five-axis machining centre (from a different supplier) had to be installed at the outset so that both roughing and finishing operations could be completed.
During 2017, the customer doubled the lot sizes to be manufactured, mirroring a similar increase in 2016. A second machining centre was therefore needed to cope with demand, but as the contract remains for roughing only, leaving a 3 mm stock allowance ± 0.127 mm over the entire surface of each part, a more cost effective four-axis CNC machine was deemed sufficient for the task.
Six potential HMC suppliers were considered, half of which were shortlisted. John Hendry, project improvement engineer, and Mike Davis, engineering group leader, opted for a Heller H 1600 with a high-torque spindle. Additionally, despite the machine’s size and rigidity, its installed weight at less than 50 tonnes allowed it to be positioned in the Filton facility (where there is a solid 300 mm thick floor) without the need for any special foundations.
“The Heller machine was the best value solution for us at the quality end of the market,” states Hendry.
For further information www.heller.biz

Cell makes airbus engine pylons

A tier-one aerospace supplier in the UK has been awarded the contract to produce the pylon box assembly that attaches the engine to each wing of an Airbus A319, A320 and A321 neo (new engine option) single-aisle jetliner.

After extensively researching the market, the subcontractor installed a new, dedicated machining and assembly cell at one of its production facilities. The process is now fully developed for manufacturing the left- and right-hand pylons at a rate destined to rise to 50 pairs per month by 2019 to meet current aircraft production rates.
The cell includes a German-built Hermle C42UP twin-pallet, vertical-spindle, five-axis machining centre for finish-milling a titanium rib that forms part of the pylon’s construction. A pair of three-axis vertical machining centres for initially roughing material from the titanium billets, along with a large pylon assembly area, complete the equipment devoted to this project.
Choice of the five-axis machining centre was key, as it was a significant tranche of the investment. The Hermle option was selected based on suitability for purpose, value for money and an established, successful association with the UK sales and service agent, Geo Kingsbury.
Other factors in favour of the supplier’s equipment were the Heidenhain control, the high-torque spindle necessary for machining titanium 24-7 and Hermle’s database of machining knowledge at its production plant in Gosheim, which included information directly relevant to the application.
While all other ribs in an Airbus neo jetliner are made from aluminium, the pylon rib must be machined from titanium to withstand the higher temperatures generated by the new engine – either Pratt & Whitney’s PW1000G or the LEAP-1A from CFM International.
For further information www.geokingsbury.com

Five-axis HMC is built in the UK

Heller has introduced a new model to its five-axis, horizontal-spindle machining centre range. The HF 3500 is one of the models being built in the new manufacturing flow line at its Redditch factory, along with the larger HF 5500 and numerous sizes of four-axis machine for global markets.

Intended for five-sided or simultaneous five-axis machining of medium to large batches of complex prismatic parts, the HF 3500 can process small workpieces to heavier components up to the 550 kg maximum table load. An optional ‘Speed Package’ enables 10 m/s2 acceleration and rapids of 90 m/min to be achieved, reducing chip-to-chip time by approximately 10% compared with the standard machine.
Working volume is defined by X, Y and Z travels of 710, 750 and 710 mm. Feedback of axis position to the control is via linear scales for maximum precision. The machine can be equipped with a lift-and-rotate pallet changer for series five-sided production, while pallet automation solutions are also available.
With regard to configuration, the fourth and fifth axes are provided by a rotary table on a +30 to -120° swivelling trunnion, both with direct drive, which moves towards the spindle rather than vice versa. According to Heller Machine Tools’ managing director Matthias Meyer, this configuration minimises vibration of the spindle and hence of the cutter for better component accuracy and increased tool life.
Four motor spindle options are available with speeds up to 18,000 rpm and torques up to 354 Nm. Heller says that the lift-and-swivel tool changer has two NC axes for short idle times and consistent operation. Chain-type tool magazine capacities are: HSK-A63 with 54, 80 and 160 pockets; or HSK-A100 with 50, 100 and 150 pockets.
For further information www.heller.biz

Fabricator opts for heavy-duty machine

CSI Aluminium has chosen a Tekna TKE 944-7 four-axis heavy-duty machining centre for its Hull factory, supplied and installed by Emmegi (UK).

Having been a satisfied Emmegi customer for nearly 20 years, the company had no hesitation in approaching Emmegi again when it needed a new large-capacity machine with a 7-m bed.
As a specialist glazing and cladding fabricator, CSI Aluminium has developed its own bespoke unitised curtain walling system for installing on sites with limited access. This system, which uses large 7-m sections of Aluprof profile, has advantages for city centre sites because it can be installed using a tower crane.
The team at Emmegi proposed the Tekna TKE 944 machine as the perfect solution for CSI because it has the large machining capacity required at the right price point and can link easily to the rest of the Emmegi machines in the factory.
Emmegi’s Tekna TKE 944 is a four-axis machining centre with a mobile gantry and 8 kW high-torque electro-spindle suitable for the heavy-duty machining of large sections of aluminium. The spindle moves along the A axis, allowing machining through a full 180° around each section. A clamp unit ensures correct positioning of the sections. Also featured is a 12-piece tool magazine mounted on the gantry.
Steve Bird, production manager at CSI, is pleased with the company’s investment in new Tekna 944: “The machine is doing all that Emmegi promised and is already helping us to deliver on a new £3.5m contract for our unitised curtain walling system in central Manchester.”
For further information www.emmegi.com

Trio of machines installed at subcontractor

Mills CNC, the exclusive distributor of Doosan machine tools in the UK and Ireland, has supplied three new Doosan vertical machining centres to Portsmouth-based precision subcontract specialist, Penta Precision Engineering Ltd. The three machines are all Doosan DNM 4500 models.

Says Edward Moss, Penta Precision’s technical account manager: “We constantly audit and review our operational efficiency and effectiveness as part of a company-wide continuous improvement programme. As a result, we identified that some of our older machine tools were experiencing reliability issues and causing production bottlenecks. It became clear that, to help alleviate these problems, we needed to invest in new high-performance machines.
“Doosan’s DNM series of vertical machining centres are popular, proven and have a good reputation in the market,” he adds. “Having contacted Mills, we visited their facility in Leamington to see the DNM machines, and to discuss our requirements in more detail. We were impressed with their approach and by the aftersales service and support they provide to customers.”
The three Doosan DNM 4500 machines supplied to Penta Precision are all equipped with a 10.4” console, Fanuc 0iMF control (with 200 block look-ahead function), BT40 direct-coupled 18.5 kW/12,000 rpm spindle (117.8 Nm), 30-position ATC and linear guides on all axes.
In addition to the standard specification, Penta Precision also requested Renishaw spindle probes and Filtermist oil/mist extraction units on all three machines, and a Nikken rotary table on one.
“Since being installed the three DNM 4500 machines have been working flat out,” says Moss. “Our investment in Doosan machine tools from Mills CNC is having a positive impact on our productivity, performance and profitability.”
For further information www.millscnc.co.uk