Metaltech doubles sliding-head lathe capacity

Located in Chard, Somerset, subcontract machining firm Metaltech Precision has increased the number of sliding-head turning centres on its shop floor from 6 to 13, of which 10 are Cincom models from Citizen Machinery UK. It follows the purchase by the company’s owner, Expromet Technologies Group, of another subcontractor nearby, NC Precision, which specialised in this area of production.

The latest sliding-head lathe arrived in September 2022 having originally been ordered by NC Precision. It is a Cincom L32XIILFV capable of turning parts from bar up to 35 mm diameter. Notably, the machine features LFV (low-frequency vibration) functionality, which automatically breaks swarf into chips of manageable size that fall away from the machining area for easy extraction.

Steven Ward, operations manager at Metaltech, says: “We were already familiar with and impressed by LFV, having installed a smaller CincomL20XIILFV four years ago to simplify the production of a particularly difficult component.The ongoing job involves machining a tough, malleable iron that has a high tendency to cause bird’s-nesting when turned, but LFV completely solves the problem by allowing the control of chipping.

“It means that we are able to leave the lathe running unattended for long periods, whereas before an operator needed to be in attendance virtually all the time to constantly clear away the swarf,” he adds. “This labour cost element, which has now been removed, was contrary to the whole concept of bar turning, yet was necessary to maintain consistency of production and minimise scrap.”

The purchase of the second LFV lathe last autumn, with its chip-breaking function, facilitates more options for fulfilling contracts that may come along involving titanium, nickel alloys or other metals that tend to result in stringy swarf.
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