GFMS opens headquarters in Biel

GF Machining Solutions’ newly constructed headquarters has opened for business in Biel, Switzerland.

The CHF100m building, which will manufacture 65 machine tools a month, is set to house 450 employees from 29 nationalities, bringing together (under one roof) the nearby facilities of Ipsach (former Competence Centre), Nidau (former milling production site) and Luterbach (a Step-Tec site). Hosted by Swiss sports TV journalist Annette Fetscherin, the opening ceremony was attended by over 300 guests and, in addition to a tour of the facility, included various keynote addresses.
“It’s by far the biggest machine-tool plant in Switzerland,” states Pascal Boillat, president of GF Machining Solutions. “With our new headquarters, we not only have a fantastic, state-of-the-art facility, but one that will help us achieve our long-term growth plans and objectives. From this new site we will be able to consolidate our position as a global powerhouse and offer best-in-class solutions to our customers worldwide, while at the same time underlining our Swiss heritage.”
For further information

Compact and ergonomic machining centre

German machine-tool builder Spinner has introduced a new, vertical-spindle, three-axis machining centre with a generous working volume of 850 x 510 x 510 mm and a small footprint of 1.8 x 1.85 m. This ratio is achieved by adopting a patented method for protecting the saddle’s Y-axis guideway from swarf and coolant ingress using a single wiper system, eliminating the need for a telescopic cover. The depth of the machine is consequently shorter, leading to a 30% reduction in the area needed for installation.

The machine is available in the UK through sole sales and service agent Whitehouse Machine Tools, which points out three other notable attributes of the Spinner VC850. One is that the height with the spindle when raised to its maximum is just over 2.4 m, catering to users that have restricted headroom in their factory. A transport height of 2.3 m without significant disassembly helps access to buildings.
The second feature is that the X-axis guideway also has a single wiper for protection, allowing the table to move to the extremes, so automated loading and unloading from the sides is simplified. Thirdly, a short distance of 160 mm from table to operator leads to ergonomic use that is assisted further by a height-adjustable, swivelling control panel. The latest generation Siemens 840D sl CNC with 24” touchscreen is fitted, while availability of the Heidenhain TNC640 control is imminent.
Rapid traverse and maximum cutting feed rate are 40 m/min, contributing to high productivity, while table load is up to half a tonne.
There are two variants of spindle, a high-torque 12,000 rpm/18.2 kW SK40 or BT40 version as standard, or, optionally, an HSK63 alternative offering 18,000 rpm/18 kW.
For further information

Milling machine for large turbine blades

GF Machining Solutions is introducing the Liechti Turbomill 1400 g, which offers a solution for roughing and finishing turbine blades up to 1.4 m long.

Crucial aerospace engine turbine fan blades and high-bypass turbines produce much of an aircraft’s forward thrust. In the past, precision-forged blades needed only light finishing operations to achieve the tolerances required. Today, with growing demand for greater fuel efficiency, tighter tolerances are needed, and many manufacturers have responded by machining oversize forgings to final net shape.
Most often machined from titanium alloys, newer blade materials include aluminium and carbon-fibre composites. Carbon-fibre blades attach titanium leading edges to the relatively brittle composite material – a design element that minimises damage should an engine ingest foreign objects.
The titanium aluminide used for blades in the low-pressure sections of some new engines is brittle, but provides high heat resistance. Futuristic materials and the complex shapes required to securely unite them into a single turbine blade need equally futuristic machining processes, particularly when it comes to machine movement.
To meet the standards of aerospace manufacturers, the machine must also be able to produce a high-quality finished blade that requires minimal polishing and less bench work than a blade processed on a general application machine. GF Machining Solutions’ Liechti Turbomill 1400 g aerofoil machining platform has been designed to handle these challenges. The machine’s configuration means that blades are clamped at each end and rotated between centres, while a milling tool performs cutting operations. This motion facilitates the creation of complex aerofoil contours, allowing the machine to perform heavy-duty roughing and dynamic finishing for the aerofoil, root form and shroud.
Intricate profiles can be rapidly created on the leading and trailing edges of the blades that control airflow into the engine, while maintaining the tight tolerances that maximise fuel efficiency.
For further information

ONA EDM installed at Concours Mold

Concours Mold, which claims to be one of the leading manufacturers of large automotive moulds in North America, is relying on recently installed ONA EDM technology to help it meet the demands of customers that include General Motors, Ford, Nissan, Chrysler, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. ONA EDM technology can be acquired in the UK from CNC International.

To provide a reliable response and the best possible service to such important companies, Windsor, Canada-based Concours Mold has acquired a double-head ONA TQX10 die-sink EDM machine, which is said to be the biggest in the market, with travel distances available up to 3000, 1500 and 1000 mm in the three linear axes.
By combining the machine’s two heads simultaneously and independently it is possible to save 50% of the erosion time and increase productivity by 200%. The TQX10 package purchased by Concours Mold also includes two Erowa robots for changing electrodes.
At Concours Mold, lead time times for moulds are currently between 8 and 24 weeks, depending on size and technical complexity. The company manufactures between 300 and 350 moulds per year.
Sales manager at Concours Mold, Ed Ergun, says: “We are always looking for the latest breakthroughs in machinery and equipment; anything that results in better quality parts and shorter lead times for our clients.”
For further information

FANUC EDMs displayed at EMO 2019

Developed for high-precision cutting tasks mandated by the medical, as well as the tool and mouldmaking industries, two models from the Robocut range of wire EDM machines from FANUC were fully operational on the company’s stand at the recent EMO 2019 exhibition.

The smaller α-C400iB model was supported by a collaborative robot, complete with iRVision to identify components that need to be machined, while the larger α-C800iB machine was cutting aerospace parts.
Elsewhere on the stand, FANUC gave a full European debut to the company’s IIoT platform, which is called FIELD (FANUC Intelligent Edge Link and Drive). The FIELD system connects a broad range of FANUC and third-party production technologies – including both new and legacy models – to provide fast, centralised access to all production data within a factory; helping end users take a decisive step towards smart factory status.
Unlike other IIoT solutions, FIELD is ‘edge-heavy’, which allows data to be collected and processed at source on the shop floor, rather than in the cloud, thus giving the operators access to far more accurate real-time data and analytics, explains the company. FIELD is fully scalable across multiple cells within a factory, to allow manufacturers to make informed and intelligent decisions that can drive tangible improvements in productivity.
The FIELD system is compatible with a number of different applications, including those designed by third parties, such as software houses, system integrators and even end users. FANUC’s FIELD system app store will launch in Q4 2019.
For further information