Talking about innovation at METAV

METAV organiser, the VDW, is inviting all those interested to take part in its METAV Web Sessions – entitled ‘Let’s talk about innovation’ – from 15 to 19 June.

“METAV 2020 has had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and so now we want to offer visitors and exhibitors an alternative in the form of the METAV Web Sessions,” says VDW executive director Dr Wilfried Schäfer. In good time before the rescheduled METAV in March next year, the METAV Web Sessions will provide a platform which allows users from the metalworking industry to keep abreast of the latest innovations in production technology.
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Mazak grows presence in Portugal

Mazak is to reinforce its presence in Portugal with the creation of a new direct sales channel.

The new sales operation, which is based in Porto and became operational on 4 May, is intended to support and enhance the work of Mazak’s current distributor, Normil. Armando Gonçalves, who has more than 17 years’ experience in the machine tool industry, will lead the new operation. Kevin Jackson, general manager – national distributor sales department at Yamazaki Mazak, says: “Our intention is to work closely with Normil to strengthen our offering in the territory and get closer to Mazak users in Portugal.”
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Haas releases auto parts loader

Newly introduced to the market is the Haas Mill APL (Automatic Parts Loader), a simple way to automate part production on the company’s small VF-series vertical machining centres.

The unit integrates seamlessly with the Haas control, and features a simple set-up interface that will have users fully automated in minutes, loading and unloading parts for unattended machining. According to Haas, running the APL for just four extra hours per day could generate enough output to pay for the investment in as few as six months.
Designed for use on Haas VF-1, VF-2, VF-2SS, VF-2YT, VF-2SSYT and VM-2 vertical machining centres, an easy-to-use interface in the Haas control guides users through a simple, step-by-step set-up process that ‘teaches’ the APL arm its positions. Parts measuring up to 152 by 152 mm in length and width can be handled by the APL grippers, while table load capacity is 454 kg. A light curtain is included for safe operation.
Workpiece management on the APL table is achieved by creating a grid pattern template of equally spaced rows and columns. Various part shapes, such as round, hexagonal and square, can be loaded, and grippers can be adjusted or modified to best-fit specific customer components.
Programming is achieved directly through the Haas control, and set up using the Haas APL interface, which guides the operator through the steps necessary for quick programming. Answering simple questions, the operator enters basic information by positioning the grippers and pushing a single button to record position, or by entering basic numeric values. All values are calculated automatically by the control, and the APL is ready to go.
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Controlling vibration and accuracy

Troisdorf-based Mannstaedt, a specialist in the production of hot-rolled special profiles, recently sought a high-quality clamping device for its heavy-duty machining operations, duly finding the solution from gripping and clamping technology expert Röhm.

At Röhm, customer-specific developments comprise around 40% of business. In this case, the special HZS-798×180 high-pressure vice includes an integrated measuring system, while the active pull-down is controllable, reaching up to 60 kN per clamping jaw. These high-pressure clamps have been used in duplicate for around three years on a machine with a working space of around 1 m.
“We are now able to master vibrations safely and achieve the high dimensional accuracy that we want,” confirms Björn Wieschendorf, operations manager for processing.
Due to this experience, Röhm was again the first choice as a clamping device supplier when an older system was replaced in 2019 on a Matec milling machine. This has 3 m of work space, is suitable for automated processes and is equipped with a total of four HZS-798×180 vices. For heavy workpieces, the machine can be loaded from above using a crane, while lateral feed is also possible for automated processes, for example.
The main advantages of this clamping technology compared with the previous product include better repeat accuracy, greater clamping forces and higher rigidity within the clamp. Discussions are currently underway to replace a manual clamping technology solution with an automated system.
HZS-798×180 clamping devices work centrically and achieve an accuracy of 0.03 mm. Active lowering of workpieces can be controlled up to 150 bar hydraulic actuation pressure, while the 170 kg clamps for precision and blank clamping can be moved on the machine and are suitable for workpiece automation.
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Major investment at Inishowen

Fabrication and CNC machining subcontractor Inishowen Engineering has increased the size of its production facility in County Donegal. The move follows an €11m investment in a new 160,000 sq ft factory that opened on a 7-acre site in Drumfries, in early 2019. As part of the expansion programme, which started in April 2017, an extra €19m has been spent on machine tools.

As well as a number of Bystronic laser cutters, also on site from the same source are seven press brakes, including two Bystronic Xpert 6 m, 650 tonne capacity machines that arrived in 2019.
The increasing size of components going through the factory necessitated a press braking cell to bend up to 12 m lengths, hence the installation of two Bystronic Xperts. These machines are positioned side by side so that they can be used individually or in tandem, mirroring the earlier purchase of a pair of 400 tonne, 4 m press brakes.
Half of all profiled sheet that is folded in the factory is less than 1 m in length. This factor proved to be the reason for the purchase in 2015 of an Xpert 40 (1 m, 40 tonne capacity) press brake that owner and managing director Michael McKinney says is at least one-third faster at bending smaller components than larger machines.
The extra speed translates into higher productivity and, in addition, the machine does not draw as much power, just 7.5 kW instead of typically 30 kW for a large press brake, so electricity bills are lower. Inishowen’s acquisition was so successful in raising the profitability of smaller component production that, two years later, the folding department added the next larger model in the Xpert range with 1.5 m/80 tonne capacity.
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