Mills CNC adds business manager

Mills CNC, the exclusive distributor of Doosan machine tools in the UK and Ireland, has appointed Martyn Jones as business manager for the Birmingham and West Midlands region. Jones is a seasoned CNC machine-tool sales professional who has acquired over 20 years’ experience in the sector at companies that include Gardner Aerospace, Arrowsmith Engineering and, more recently, as an applications engineer at a machine-tool distributor and area sales manager for a well-known machine-tool manufacturer.

“Mills CNC has an unrivalled reputation in the market for the quality and technical excellence of the Doosan machine tools it sells, and for its well-resourced and industry-leading after-sales and support services,” says Jones. “I’m delighted to have joined such a customer-focused and progressive company, and believe I have the experience, business approach and skill set to make a positive and telling contribution to Mills’ continued growth and success.”

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On-demand learning centre for Esprit

Esprit is unveiling its on-demand CAM training platform, Esprit Learning Center, to the general public. The new portal is an online training platform with on-demand, self-paced training courses created specifically for Esprit CAM programmers. Among the first learning paths available are: ‘New User Milling’, ‘New User Turning’ and ‘New User Mill-Turn’. Each learning path includes five to seven training courses that guide users through several different machine models and part models.

The main purpose for creating discrete online learning paths is to replicate what a student can learn from an on-site training class. Users can learn at their own pace by taking the course anywhere, and at any time. Each learning path also comes with one Esprit student licence for each learner, so users can take the courses at home or in their free time, without interrupting their daily programming or production work.

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Muffett gearing-up for precision

Based in Tunbridge Wells, Muffett Gears makes regular investments in cutting-edge quality-control equipment. The company’s most recent addition is a case in point: a Crysta-Apex S9106 CNC CMM from Mitutoyo UK.

Director Mark Jagelman says: “The production of precision gears and associated components requires exceptional precision and the application of exacting quality standards through all stages of production and assembly. We recently decided to replace our existing CMM for a range of reasons. For instance, the machine needed an upgrade that was due to cost £50,000. In addition, we thought that our old CMM’s running costs, including training, services and calibration, were becoming exorbitant.

“After investigating various CMM brands and models, a successful demonstration of a Crysta-Apex S9106 CNC CMM at Mitutoyo UK’s showroom convinced us that this high-specification machine was ideal for our needs,” he adds. “In addition to providing the necessary levels of precision it also had the speed of operation that could keep pace with the high volumes of work passing through our busy quality-control department.”

The Crysta-Apex S9106 has a measuring volume of 900 x 1000 x 600 mm. As well as measuring large, one-off parts, the CMM’s generous capacity also makes it possible to inspect multiple smaller components in automated, CNC, mass-measurement routines.

“Our new Mitutoyo CMM’s ability to accurately and rapidly inspect a large batch of components has further improved our quality-control department’s efficiency levels,” says Jagelman. “Notably, our inspection staff are now able to load the CMM’s bed with multiple components, quickly recall the relevant part program and instigate a fully automated inspection procedure. On completion, we can generate a detailed inspection report relating to each component.”

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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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