SW improves user experience

Machine-tool builder Schwäbische Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH (SW) has incorporated multi-touch capabilities into its recently released CNC HMI: the C|one control panel.

The main display of C|one, in addition to its multi-touch capabilities, is 24” in size and features increased haptic feedback. This feedback imitates the feel of real hardware buttons to prevent incorrect operation, while enabling the blind operation of functions. An intelligent touch-sensor additionally prevents accidental input due to water and dirt, while a multi-functional rotary dial provides precision for feed and spindle override, and can also serve as a hand-wheel.

When a fuse blows (a problem with a simple enough solution) it can quickly get buried in a traditional NC by the subsequent alarms it triggers. Instead of spending time digging for the root cause, C|one makes the problem clear, ultimately cutting downtime. The panel will indicate initial alarms, even when they cause a domino effect.

Among the tasks improved by C|one is managing programs, where program history and programs saved in the NC are viewable. The most recently selected programs are saved as history and up to five programs can be saved as favourites per table. Time stamps for file changes are tracked, while sub-program files and main program files are easily switched on the display, as well as the workpiece folders (depending on the needs of the operator). Table-dependent programs are selectable and de-selectable, and the system tracks these actions for straightforward review.
SW is exploring additional features for C|one implementation in the near future, such as advanced tool management.

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CAM helps Multax hit £3m turnover

Buying its first machine in December 2016, Multax Engineered Precision Ltd has already hit the turnover landmark of £3m. This growth is a credit to a core philosophy of automated production and reduced man-hours, and of course investment in the latest manufacturing technologies.

Like any small business start-up, nothing would have been possible without the dedication and determination shown by company founders John McNab and Ashley Mizen, two ex-work colleagues who were working around the clock in their respective posts while setting up the new enterprise. To achieve automated production utopia, the first machine installation was a 10-pallet, five-axis Mikron HSM600U machining centre supported by CAM software from Open Mind Technologies.

The Andover Company now has 17 staff, and has invested close to £3m on 10 machine tools and supporting equipment since its inception.
Director Ashley Mizen says: “Five of our six five-axis machines are automated, and we try to maximise our automation as much as possible. We have skeleton staff working overnight and offer night-shift programming, so that jobs can be delivered ‘next-day’, if required.”

Taking a closer look at why this rapidly-growing automotive, motorsport, aerospace, medical and scientific subcontract manufacturing business places such glowing plaudits upon hyperMILL, Mizen adds: “I was an Open Mind user before we decided to start the company. It is a ‘game-changer’ for our business and we now have seven seats of hyperMILL. It allows staff to check the datum of the part, produce the tooling sheet, put the NC code into the machine and run the verification cycle to prevent collisions.”

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Large contract for Glacier Energy

Glacier Energy, a provider of specialist products, services and engineering solutions for energy infrastructure, has won a contract worth circa £1m. The order, from PBS, is for the provision of export gas coolers that will see service on Total Exploration and Production UK’s (TEPUK) North Alwyn Platform in the North Sea.PBS is a new organisation based in Aberdeen which consists of three separate companies: Ponticelli UK Ltd, Brand UK Ltd and Semco Maritime Ltd.

The scope of work includes the design, fabrication, assembly, inspection, testing and supply of four shell and tube heat exchangers. This work will take place at Glacier Energy’s heat transfer solutions division, based in Aberdeen. Work has already commenced on the units with four heat exchangers due for delivery before the end of this month.

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3D waterjet cutting of hard materials

ProdOpti AB in Jordbro, Sweden, has invested in a new machine from Water Jet Sweden. With its new FiveX waterjet machine, ProdOpti is today the only company in Scandinavia that can offer abrasive waterjet cutting in full 3D.

“ProdOpti should always be a company at the forefront of machining; to live up to this we invest in modern equipment to meet market demands,” says Gabriel Öfverberg, CEO of ProdOpti. “Our choice fell on Water Jet Sweden’s FiveX machine thanks to its flexibility in producing components in both small and large series. The FiveX machine gives us great opportunities to deliver a final product that exceeds customer expectations.”

Water Jet Sweden’s FiveX has an extra-stable frame design to manufacture 3D components in hard materials with high precision and positioning accuracy of ±0.050 mm/m. The model ProdOpti ordered is 4.2 m wide and 6.7 m long, giving a work table of 28 sq m. That size is not unique in itself, but with a Z-axis movement of 1.2 m, users receive a cutting space of 33.7 cu m. These dimensions make it one of the largest FiveX machines manufactured to date.

FiveX is said to have the only cutting head in the world with a ±120° movement, enabling the machine to process 3D parts with abrasive waterjet technology. This capability is also the reason why the FiveX model is equipped with solid safety walls around the perimeter of the cutting space. The front wall opens and closes automatically from the operator panel. Around the machine there are small windows made of safety glass so the operator can monitor cutting.

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Automated welding deal

The Esab Group Inc and robot specialist Yaskawa have signed a global co-operation agreement to jointly develop and market a line of pre-engineered robotic welding systems called XCellerator. Yaskawa will engineer and build XCellerator, with Esab providing the marketing through its global sales channels. The cells target small and medium-sized manufacturers and fabricators seeking easy installation, set-up and operation, enabling them to take a confident step toward automating their welding operations.

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