Endeavor on the front foot

Didcot-based Endeavor Engineering is a subcontract supplier of precision parts to sectors that include motorsport, semiconductor, oil and gas, aerospace, and scientific instrumentation.

From the outset in 2012 the company has invested in new Doosan machine tools from Mills CNC. In fact, Endeavor Engineering now has eight Doosan machines at its disposal: three Puma lathes and five DNM-series machining centres.

Says company director Martin Bell: “We did our homework: we spoke to customers and we attended trade shows. From our research we found that Doosan machines were popular. They had a good reputation in the market and were renowned for their quality, performance, reliability and value.

“When we first approached Mills to discuss our machining requirements, they understood what we were trying to achieve and were on-board immediately,” he adds.

The Doosan machines at Endeavor Engineering are being used to produce a range of components made from materials including steel, stainless steel, titanium, aluminium, plastics and composites, to exacting accuracies and finishes.
“We have a good relationship with Mills CNC based on mutual integrity and trust,” says Bell. “In addition to investing in Doosan machines we use Mills’ independently-operated machine-tool finance arm to help fund our investments, and its CNC Training Academy to help train our programmers and operators.”

Adds fellow director Andy Strong: “Continuous improvement is a journey, not a destination. We’re constantly looking to move forward and be the best we possibly can.”

Endeavor has a rolling five-year plan that is flexible, and reviewed and updated regularly to ensure its relevancy. As part of the plan, the company is shortly hoping to increase its current 4500 sq ft of floor space by acquiring premises adjacent to its existing facility.

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£1.2m CNC investment at TGM

Targeting opportunities with the major aerospace primes has seen a Lancashire manufacturing specialist invest £1.2m in state-of-the-art CNC technologies. TGM, which is part of the £43m Aero Services Global (AS.G) Group, has just completed its first parts for a MoD contract on its recently installed Zimmermann FZ33 milling machine.

The long-bed capabilities, machine dynamics, 30,000 rpm spindle speed and fast cycle times will provide the company with additional capability to take on more than £2m of new work annually, as well as allowing it to tender for contracts on larger structural assemblies.

Sarah Stephens, director at TGM, says: “Traditionally we have provided three, four and five-axis machined components to aerospace tier-ones and this is still a core market, but we now have the technology, processes and skills in place to work directly with the primes.

“The Zimmermann is a fantastic machine and is the largest of all of the 18-strong CNC machine tools we currently have at our Preston facility,” she adds. “An initial package of work is already in production on the Zimmermann and there are plenty of opportunities we’re currently exploring that could fill up capacity. With this additional technology, we’re hoping to double sales to £6m over the next two years.”

TGM, which became part of AS.G in 2016, specialises in the machining of both hard and soft metals, producing components and sub-assemblies for customers supplying Airbus and BAE Systems.

“The first package of work for the Zimmermann is worth £1.4m to our business over two years and is the type of contract we are now looking to secure,” concludes Stephens.

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Australia’s largest ever mill

A Starrag Group-supplied Droop+Rein gantry milling machine with X, Y and Z-axis traverses of 14,000 x 13,000 x 3500 mm, plus an 11 m rotary table to permit turning operations in the same set-up, will be the largest machine tool to ever enter operations in Australia.

Being supplied to the Naval Group in Osborne, South Australia, the five-axis giant will be used to machine hull elements and other high-precision components for the Royal Australian Navy’s Attack-class submarines.

The order for the machine comes after the Australian Government selected French company Naval Group to deliver a fleet of 12 submarines that are to be built in a modern construction yard in Osborne.

Starrag Group is collaborating with Australian machine-tool manufacturer, H&H Machine Tools, to deliver the Droop+Rein G 110TT HR100C vertical gantry machine. H&H will manufacture key components, supply qualified personnel to help install the gantry and provide technical support for the entire life cycle of the machine. Starrag will provide H&H with the necessary expertise through on-site training and quality control.

The size and efficiency of the machine being supplied, which is also capable of turning thanks to the integrated rotary table, was of fundamental importance to the purchase decision. Starrag Group’s Droop+Rein G 110 TT HR100C owes its high-precision to features such as the hydrostatic guides in all linear axes, as well as the thermo-symmetrical design of the milling unit with integrated C axis.
Milling heads can be changed automatically via a head change interface. The team responsible selected five different machining heads to use in this project: the high-performance fork milling head possesses the ability to not only apply tools at any angle, but has the necessary prerequisites for heavy-duty machining in five axes simultaneously.

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Heller to host virtual event

German-owned machine-tool manufacturer Heller, which also operates a manufacturing facility at its UK and Ireland subsidiary’s headquarters in Redditch, will stage an international, interactive online event on 10-12 November. Anyone wishing to register for V-CON 2020 should visit https://v-con2020.com/login

Matthias Meyer, managing director of the Redditch operation, says: “This will give visitors a unique exhibition experience with the opportunity to meet our experts and partners, while exploring our virtual world of production solutions.”

The programme is already available online and, following registration, it will be possible for participants to put together a personal agenda. Several times each day, a ‘TalkPodium’ will provide an opportunity for virtual visitors to attend live discussions and play an active role with a chat function. Additionally, round tables will enable an exchange with Heller experts and machine users in order to benefit from their real-life experiences.

Included in the event will be a virtual 360° tour of Heller’s Nürtingen factory. There will also be an overview of the full range of products and services provided by the manufacturer, including its Industry 4.0 offering, which is known as Heller4Industry. Representation by a wide range of well-known, third-party supplier companies will round off the event.

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Machines for aerostructures enhanced

Starrag UK has announced a host of improvements to its Ecospeed and Ecoforce machines – for aluminium and titanium aerostructure component machining respectively – to improve cutting performance in terms of both reduced cycle times and the consistent production of high-quality components.

The developments include: a more powerful spindle – 150 kW for the Ecospeeds – for even higher productivity; enhanced software routines such as optimised chatter control and adaptive jerk feed control on both Ecospeeds and Ecoforces; and new pallet options – on the Ecoforce Ti 9 and Ti 13 models – to accommodate ever-increasing workpieces sizes, particularly in structural aerospace components.

Starrag is also promoting cost benefits through the use of MQL as opposed to conventional flood coolant, with users obtaining at least three-fold savings, primarily through eliminating the need for coolant-related maintenance and recovery systems.

The use of MQL rather than conventional cutting fluid (on any machine in Starrag’s comprehensive range) is heavily promoted for aluminium machining, and it is suggested that if MQL is used at 100 ml/hour, 16 hours/day for six days a week and 50 weeks of a year, the total operating costs of €10,000 are far less than the €30,000 spent on conventional coolant. In addition, the difference in capital investment for the different systems is even greater.

The machines’ continual evolution is the result of constant investigations by Starrag’s expert product specialists and engineering teams into improvements that will enhance machine performance in the most cost-effective manner.

For further information www.starrag.com