Two-jaw module from Hainbuch

No matter what shape or size – round, cubic, small or large – machine shops can clamp any kind of workpiece with the Hainbuch modular system. Of particular note, machine operators are able to change over the various clamping devices very quickly.

Hainbuch is constantly adding to its modular system so that users can always find the optimum solution for every clamping application. However, one thing was still missing, a concept for clamping cubic parts, which is why Hainbuch has introduced the two-jaw module.

Classic clamping heads ensure the external gripping of round workpieces. However, when these devices reach their limits due to the requirement for machining larger diameter workpieces, then the three-jaw module is used. And now, for cubic parts, the new Hainbuch two-jaw module is the solution of choice for centric clamping in machining centres and milling machines. In just two minutes, it is possible to change from external clamping to centric clamping.

The two-jaw module is suitable for use at speeds of up to 1500 rpm. Due to its small, lightweight design, the solution is a good alternative to large and heavy centric clamping devices. The basic unit, into which the jaw module inserts, is a Hainbuch chuck or vice. Notably, the exchange of modules takes place without changing the clamping device and, thanks to the integrated Centrex quick-change interface, without any need for alignment.

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Hexagon acquires DP Technology

Hexagon AB has signed an agreement to acquire DP Technology Corp, a developer and supplier of CAM software that offers Esprit as its flagship solution. Well known for its machine-optimised, edit-free G-code (toolpath), Esprit leverages a digital-twin simulation platform to model the finished part, tools and CNC machine. AI-based algorithms eliminate manual data input and provide machine operators with greater assurance of what will happen on the shop floor.

Founded in 1982 and headquartered in Camarillo, California, DP Technology employs around 260 people in 27 locations worldwide. The company also operates a network of 130 resellers across 44 countries, giving Esprit a global footprint and install base. DP Technology will function as part of Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division. Sales in 2019 amounted to €35m.

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More automated storage at Alpha

Following Alpha Manufacturing’s investment in a STOPA four-bay automated material handling and storage system from Trumpf in 2016, the company has extended to a 10-bay system that now runs 62m down the centre of its factory near Stafford. The STOPA – which serves Trumpf machines such as a TruLaser 3030 Fiber, TruMatic 6000 laser/punch combination, TruPunch 5000 and TruBend Cell 7000 – houses more than 600 tonnes of raw material and part-processed items in a total of 207 available pallet spaces.

Plans for the large-scale installation were first set out in 2015. The aim was to make Alpha Manufacturing the UK’s foremost precision sheet-metal fabricator in just five years, doubling turnover in the process. With the completion of the STOPA system extension in July 2020, the total investment is close to £4m, securing what Alpha describes as one of the most technically advanced factories in the industry.

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Superior Levels installs XYZ bed mill

Faced with a need for additional machining capacity, Minehead-based Superior Levels opted to install an XYZ SMX 5000 bed mill (now the RMX 5000) from XYZ Machine Tools.

“All of our machining is CNC and the design of the levels is inspired in part by my aerospace background, with the cut-outs – which are both for weight saving and practical reasons – resembling wing ribs,” states Bill Parfitt, who founded the company five years ago. “Calling the company Superior Levels meant we had a lot to live up to, but we concentrate on delivering the highest standards, not wanting to compete with the low-end plastic products found in DIY stores.”

As part of the quality drive, Superior Levels developed its own I-beam extrusion for the body of the level, which is then machined on the SMX 5000. The SMX 5000 gives Superior Levels the capacity to machine the longest products in its range at 2.4 m in length. Accuracy is key for the pockets that house the bubble vials, along with the weight-saving pockets. The latter will enable Superior Levels to access other product opportunities that will be advantageous to its customers around the world. The company currently exports to 21 countries as far afield as Australia, all of which has been achieved through word-of-mouth recommendations and customer reviews on social media.

“We chose XYZ Machine Tools for this latest machine for a number of reasons, but mainly for the ProtoTRAK control, which was a step-up from our existing control system,” explains Parfitt. “The control allows us to do exactly what we want and deliver the accuracy that we need, while the overall package was also excellent value for money. In addition, the training and support we can call on made it easy to deal with XYZ. The consistency and accuracy with which we can machine pockets has led to us developing a new accessory range that we will be launching soon.”

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£3.8m smart factory opens

Harwin has started production at its new manufacturing facilities in Portsmouth. Providing an additional 1200 sq m of factory floor, the new plant is enabling the company to quickly and significantly scale-up the production of its high reliability (Hi-Rel) connectors to meet market requirements. The total investment is £3.8m, £1m of which brings in state-of-the-art equipment, with the last few Industry 4.0-ready machines arriving over the coming 12 months.

Harwin has a policy of replacing production equipment every five years to keep up with the latest developments in machinery, thus maintaining reliability and operational effectiveness. In 2016, a new-build 3000 sq m factory was opened, while an R&D centre and apprentice training hub was set up in 2019. The latest round of investment also includes a new training area to support staff with ongoing professional development, encouraging advances in skills and job flexibility.

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