Tees invests £0.5m in new borer

Tees Components has invested £500,000 in a new CNC horizontal boring mill, a Hyundai Wia KBN 135CL from TW Ward CNC Machinery.

The machine will enable the company to double capacity of this type at its CNC machining facility in Skelton.

Used for CNC boring and milling, the technology is capable of machining extremely large parts to very small tolerances due to the extent of its axes (4 x 2 x 2 m) and rotary table-loading capability. The machine’s table accommodates 20 tonnes while the X axis is 4 m and the W axis is 700 mm, making it suitable for precision components needed by the defence, power, and oil and gas sectors. Even at this size, it is not the largest capacity on site at Tees by any means, and joins a suite of CNC horizontal borers following decades of heavy investment.

Sharon Lane, managing director, says: “This significant investment is an essential element in supporting the delivery of our increasing project pipeline, and we’re ready to push ahead with our growth plans.”

Ward CNC’s managing director Simon Whitworth adds: “We have a proud and long-standing relationship with Tees Components which began with the supply of a Webster & Bennett vertical boring machine four decades ago. Ever since that time they have continuously showcased their capability and commitment to their customers, and it is a privilege to support such an esteemed organisation.

“Now that the machine has been commissioned, we look forward to continuing this relationship by supporting Sharon and the Tees Components team with any technical or applications support required on their new projects,”
he concludes.

For further information www.wardcnc.com

Larger capacity five-axis mill-turn

Manufacturers wishing to carry out prismatic and rotational metal cutting in one hit within a 300 x 440 x 305 mm working volume can now take advantage of a new high-productivity Brother 30-taper, five-axis mill-turn centre.

The machine follows Brother’s introduction of the Speedio M300X3, which joins the smaller M200X3 that offers 200 mm of X-axis travel. Sole agent for sales and service in the UK and Ireland is Whitehouse Machine Tools.

Both multi-tasking machines are characterised by an 18.9 kW/40 Nm tool carousel deploying 22 cutters at up to 10,000 rpm, or 16,000 rpm with the Big Plus dual-contact spindle option. Below the carousel is an A-axis trunnion carrying a high output, direct-drive, C-axis turning table. Rated at 4.6 kW/1500 rpm in the new machine, it is over 25% more powerful than the table in the smaller model and generates up to 102 Nm of turning torque. When milling, a 30 m/min cutting feed rate maintains a high level of productivity while 400 Nm of C-axis clamping force ensures accuracy is maintained.

A-axis rotation from +120 to -30° allows the machining of features at the rear of components and facilitates the loading and unloading of parts at the front of the machine. The axis is tilted by a backlash-free roller drive to promote accurate metal cutting. A holding force of 500 Nm, without the need for mechanical clamping, delivers high-speed indexing combined with rigidity when milling parts at an angle or turning them in the horizontal plane.

Non-productive time is minimised by repositioning the X, Y, Z, A and C axes simultaneously during tool change, which takes place in 1.5 seconds chip-to-chip. Linear rapids are 50 m/min and the A and C axes move at up to 50 and 200 rpm respectively.

For further information www.wmtcnc.com

Out with the old, in with the new

Ayrshire-based NPI Solutions has recently invested in two new Doosan vertical machining centres and a Doosan M1013 cobot – all supplied by Mills CNC.

The machines – a Doosan DNM 4000 and a DNM 6700 – were installed at the company’s 46,000 sq ft facility in the first week of July 2020 and replace two older machining centres that had served the company well but which had seen better days.

NPI’s decision to invest in new machine tool and automation technologies was made during the height of the pandemic in April. At a time when many manufacturers may have understandably been ‘battening down the hatches’, NPI selected a different route; one entirely in keeping with the company’s business ethos and approach.

Says Kevin Priestley, NPI’s managing director: “We’d become aware earlier in the year that two of our older machining centres were creating a ‘pinch point’ in our operations and were affecting productivity and efficiency. We decided that we wanted to replace the two older machines and approached Mills CNC to discuss a way forward.”
NPI is no stranger to Mills CNC. The company, since 2011, has made a number of strategic investments in Doosan machine tools and, prior to the addition of the two latest machines, had acquired three Doosan lathes and three Doosan machining centres.

“Doosan machines are reliable and represent good value,” says Priestly. “We like Mills. They know our business and we believe the company’s aftersales service and support is hard to beat.”

Prior to deciding on the Doosan M1013 cobot, NPI approached other cobot suppliers.

“The Doosan cobot was selected for its build quality, as well as its safety, payload and reach radius characteristics,” he concludes.
For further information www.millscnc.co.uk

Proving priceless in the COVID-19 battle

Like a number of socially responsible and conscious manufacturers, Yorkshire Precision Engineering Ltd (YPEL) was among those that offered to support the Government and its Ventilator Challenge UK consortium.

When the call came from Rolls-Royce plc, YPEL turned the first batch of parts around in just one week.

Founded in 2001 by Michael and Lynda Laybourne, the Keighley company received the call for 8000 turned brass parts at the end of March. Within a week of getting the go-ahead, YPEL had programmed the parts, sourced the materials, identified the tooling, and had the parts machined, inspected, certified and out the door.

The rapid turnaround of high-quality turned components led to a second enquiry from the Ventilator Challenge consortium, a requirement for prismatic parts; and this is where a Bridgeport Hardinge V1000H from the Engineering Technology Group (ETG) stepped up to the mark.

Primarily functioning as a turned-parts business, YPEL has operated a solitary machining centre, an ageing Hardinge VMC600II workhorse, alongside its fleet of turning centres for several years. When the company required additional milling capacity, YPEL once again turned to ETG and its Bridgeport Hardinge range of VMCs, investing in a four-axis Bridgeport Hardinge V1000H machine that proved integral throughout the Ventilator Challenge.

With 4000 complex prismatic components to machine, YPEL created a workflow whereby the plastic housing parts were initially machined on the Bridgeport Hardinge V1000H prior to a second operation on a turning centre and a final operation on a Hardinge VMC600II.

Sales and financial director Lynda Laybourne says: “The capabilities, precision and flexibility of the Bridgeport Hardinge V1000H via its integrated 4th axis meant that that it did the bulk of the work. Our new V1000H conducted face and side milling, pocketing, grooving, drilling and threading in a 20-minute cycle.”

For further information www.engtechgroup.com

Five-axis mill-turn capacity extended

Part of the British Engines Group based in the north of England, BEL Engineering operates two factories at Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Cramlington to provide project-managed manufacturing solutions, some of which involve the heavy-duty subcontract machining of large workpieces weighing up to 40 tonnes.

Much of the metal-cutting activity involves turning on horizontal- and vertical-spindle lathes, but parts often have to be transferred to a prismatic machining platform for milled and drilled features. Around 30 three-axis CNC mills are available at BEL for this purpose. However, for such parts to be produced more economically in one clamping, the subcontractor recently invested in a Hermle C62 UMT five-axis, vertical-spindle machining centre supplied by Kingsbury.

Having a nominal 1 cubic metre working envelope, the machine was duly installed at the Newcastle factory. It was BEL Engineering’s second venture into this technology; an Italian-built, five-axis mill-turn centre with travels in excess of 2 m in X, Y and Z having been installed a few years earlier. There is also a pair of Japanese-built five-axis CNC milling centres on site, one with a 10-pallet storage system.

The Hermle fits neatly between these larger and smaller five-axis models, extending the subcontractor’s capacity. In particular, following the company’s accreditation in October 2019 to AS9100, the machine is proving to be of ideal size to produce aero-engine parts for a nearby customer.

Bel Engineering’s chief production engineer Phil Westgarth says: “We mainly process tough materials, from high-strength steels through titanium, to nickel superalloys like Hastelloy, Waspaloy and Inconel. So we need powerful, rigid machine tools. A pair of similar Hermle mill-turn centres is being used successfully at another of our group companies, Michell Bearings, so this influenced our choice of the German machine.”

For further information www.kingsburyuk.com