Mills CNC, the exclusive distributor of DN Solutions (formerly Doosan) and Zayer machine tools in the UK and Ireland has supplied HepcoMotion, a manufacturer of linear motion systems and automation components, with six new high-performance CNC machine tools since 2019.The machines acquired comprise five DNM vertical machining centres, four DNM 6700 models (include two extra-long bed variants) and a DNM 5700, as well as a VT 1100M vertical turning lathe with driven tooling.

All six are in situ at the company’s headquarters in Tiverton, which has an extensive 4800sq m production facility and a well-resourced machine shop with approximately 40 CNC machinesorganised into discrete machining and production areas and cells. The Tiverton site also boasts a sizeable assembly operation and other specialisms that include a heat treatment facility, a dedicated ring cell and a linear slide processing line where cutting, straightening, chemical blacking and grinding operations take place.

“We’re a vertically-integrated, self-sufficient company,” states Ryan Berry, HepcoMotion’s engineering manager.“Controlling the methods and means of production in-house helps make us more agile, cost-competitive, productive and better able to meet the needs of our domestic and overseas customers directly, or through our extensive, global distributor network.”

HepcoMotion is a specialist in linear motion technology, with its linear and rotary guide systems, featuring the company’s V-Guide technology, used by specialist process machine builders, systems integrators and end users across a range of sectors. HepcoMotion is committed to continuous improvement with a focus on improving quality, achieving quick turnarounds and reducing costs.As such, the company regularly invests in its people, plant,equipment and processes as a route to increasing productivity levels, improving process efficiencies and maintaining its competitive edge.HepcoMotionadopts a progressive and proactive approach when it comes to investing in new technologies, which includes the acquisition of new machine tools.

“We’re always looking to improve and, as such, regularly monitor and benchmark our performance against KPIs to identify areas within our manufacturing processes that need to be strengthened,” explains Berry. “When and where issues are identified we act quickly and decisively to address them, making investments in new technology as required.”

In 2019, to help meet the growing worldwide demand for its linear motion technology solutions,HepcoMotion made its first investment in Doosan machine tools from Mills CNC.

“We needed to increase our in-house milling capacity and capabilities, primarily to machine high-accuracy aluminium components used within and across our linear motion system and solution ranges,” says Berry. “We also needed to upgrade our ring cell, where we machine large diameter circular rings made from steel and stainless steel plate and forgings, for our PR2 curved rail and track systems.”

He continues: “Although we had not previously invested in Doosan machine tools from Mills CNC, we knew that both the machines and the supplier had a good reputation in the market.As part of our decision-making process we approached Mills with our requirements and were introduced to key staff within their organisation. We then had technical presentations on the machine tool solutions they recommended; in this instance, a DNM 6700XL for our milling department and a VT 1100M vertical turning lathe for the ring cell.”

Following the meeting, both parties agreed upon an attractive proposal comprising a two-machine-tool investment package.

The DNM 6700XL is a rigidly-designed and built, large-capacity three-axis vertical machining centre equipped with a directly-driven BT40 spindle (18.5kW/12,000rpm), a large worktable (2200x 670 mm with 1300kg maximum load), 30m/min rapids, roller LM guideways, integrated thermal compensation and a generous-sized tool changer.To meet HepcoMotion’s specific production requirements, the machine was supplied with through-spindle-coolant capability, a 4th-axis interface, Renishaw tool and workpiece probing systems and a swarf conveyor.

Says Berry:“The DNM 6700XL is a reliable machining centre that delivers the high accuracy, repeatability and fast processing speeds we require.The machine has a good-sized worktable with an extended X-axis stroke that enables us to machine large and/or multiple smaller parts in one set-up. The integration of a 4th-axis rotary table, managed by Mills’ service engineers, has increased the machine’s flexibility and, as a consequence, improved our efficiencies and productivity.”

Such has been the reliability and high performance of its first DNM machine, acquired back in 2019, that the company has subsequently invested in another four, high-specification DNM machines over the last three years.These include models with 4th/5th-axis units and a model equipped with linear scales.Primarily application-specific in nature, the DNM machines, individually and collectively, have significantly boosted HepcoMotion’s in-house milling capacity and capabilities.

The VT 1100M is a large-capacity 32” chuck vertical turning lathe equipped with a high-torque 55kW/850rpm spindle, a 12-station indexable turret and 11kW/3000rpm driven tooling capability. This machine also boasts 20m/min rapids (X and Z axes) and was supplied to HepcoMotion with a 32” Samchully chuck, a HPRA removable tool setter for improved flexibility and process reliability, and an auto-door facility for potential automation in the future.

“The VT 1100M is a powerful and productive machine that has helped improve part accuracies and increase our process reliability,” says Berry. “Its driven-tool capability means we can mill ID and OD features and details quickly, in one set up, without having to transfer parts between machines.”

The six Doosan/DN Solutions machines installed at HepcoMotion’s are operating 24/7, machining high-precision components in a range of batch sizes up to 500-off, as well as machining prototypes and pre-production parts.To ensure the machines deliver the high performance expected of them day-in, day-out, they are all covered by Mills CNC’sannual Service Agreements which, running in tandem with the machines’ warranties, ensure up-time, rapid-response servicing intervention and peace of mind.

As a point of note, Mills has also suppliedHepcoMotion’s sister company, Braintree Precision Components (BPC) in Essex, with three turning centres over the past nine years, further cementing its preferred partner status with the group.

Concludes Berry:“We like Mills CNC, their business approach and the machine tools they sell, service and support.With demand for our systems and solutions growing year-on-year, we rely on high-performance machine tools to produce high-quality components in time, on time, every time.This is what we get from our Doosan and DN Solutions machines.”
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