AM specialist benefits from funding

NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, managed by Mercia and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, is investing £750,000 into AME Group. The move will support further development of this product design and additive manufacturing (AM) specialist, including the recruitment of new staff and investment in new equipment.

Founder and now finance director of Sheffield-based AME Group, Ian Jones, says: “New technologies such as 3D printing have opened up new possibilities in product development and testing. As a result, the rapid prototyping market is expanding year on year. This new funding enables our team to support UK businesses with longer-term growth and their post-Covid bounce-back plans.”

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£200,000 dye penetrant facility

Delivering a single source manufacturing solution for aluminium castings is helping a Black Country foundry bounce back from the pandemic. Alucast, which employs nearly 100 people at its factory in Wednesbury, has secured a number of new wins with major carmakers thanks to its ability to provide simulation, casting, machining and the latest testing facilities.

The latter is now strengthened further with the company investing more than £200,000 into creating a specialist dye penetrant resource. A form of NDT, dye penetrant is used to assess structural vehicle components and other parts for cracks. This new line has been successfully operating for several months at Alucast, which is part of the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN), where five employees are already fully trained.

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Free software for WorkNC customers

Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division has provided all mould and die shops using its WorkNC CAM software with immediate access to its model preparation software, integrating production workflows from any CAD model format to CAM so they can machine parts more efficiently and avoid costly errors.

The transition from engineering to production can be lengthy without the right tools to efficiently prepare solid models for manufacturing, impacting profitability. By providing WorkNC customers with access to its robust and fully featured CAD application, Designer Companion, Hexagon has made it easier to prepare any mould or die for machining while simplifying the challenge of working with a wide range of file types from different CAD suites.

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Dugard becomes Pinacho distributor

Dugard has strengthened its portfolio of turning centres with the arrival of the Pinacho brand of conventional and CNC flat-bed lathes. Dugard will be aiming to sell the SE series of user-friendly intuitive CNC lathes, the ST series of precision flat-bed lathes and the SH series for heavy-duty roughing.

Dugard sales director Colin Thomson says: “The Pinacho brand has more than 70 years of pedigree in building high-quality machine tools. With the company manufacturing its machines in the Basque region of Spain, an area synonymous with many of the world’s leading machine tool brands, we’re delighted to bring such a prestigious name into the Dugard portfolio. The Pinacho range will complement our existing offering of turning centres, which ranges from the compact Hanwha sliding-head turning centres through to the robust SMEC range.”

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JWA gets a grip on productivity

Leicester-based JWA Tooling has recently invested more than £2.5m in an additional factory, three new FANUC EDM machines, three new automation-ready Mazak machining centres, a Doosan Lynx turning centre and a Colchester Harrison Alpha 1400XC lathe. The link that is increasingly tying these machines together is work holding and clamping technology from Hainbuch.

Says company founder John Wood: “If you analysed our company, you’d see that we have lots of machines and lots of set-up time, which means the machines can be stopped for longer than they are running. We have chosen to address this issue by investing in new work-holding systems.”

For instance, when JWA Tooling invested in a Colchester Harrison Alpha 1400XC manual and semi-CNC turning centre, the decision to invest in a Hainbuch Torok 65 manual chuck was influenced by the ability of the chuck to offer fast and precise changeovers. The flexibility of the Hainbuch Torok 65 also permits fast changeover from ID clamping to the OD jaw clamping of components.

More recently, when the company decided to install a Doosan Lynx 2100LY turning centre, the subcontract manufacturer once again opted for work-holding technology from Hainbuch with the Top Plus 65 combi pull-back collet chuck.

“The reason for picking this particular design of chuck is quite critical, as we have been well established with round collets over the years,” says Wood. “However, if you look at modern machines with live tooling and C-axis configurations, you need to index accurately and know where the component faces and locations are. So, with the Hainbuch system and its hexagonal fitting, you can identify your mark on the chuck and the collet and put the collet back in the identical position.”

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