Patternmaker buys second five-axis machine

Birmingham-based Summit Patternmaking has acquired a Hurco VMX42SRTi B-axis machining centre that will double the pattern and tool maker’s five-axis machining capacity, although the firm also operates four three-axis VMCs.

The production of models and patterns for vehicle interiors is a particular specialism, accounting for two-thirds of turnover. Gauges, jigs, fixtures and tools for the automotive and aerospace supply chains are also found regularly on the shop floor.
Summit Patternmaking director Duncan Willetts says: “We carry out a lot of five-axis machining of automotive replication gauges, and of Formula One race car parts. Apart from needing more capacity, we were looking for a bigger working volume to cope with larger parts and a more robust machine to process denser model boards, as well as alloys.”
He believes that the 7.5 tonne Hurco machining centre with its 35 kW/119 Nm spindle is ideal for these applications. Provision of the fifth CNC axis via a ±90° swivelling spindle head rather than a trunnion was favoured, as it provides a larger working volume, right up to 1,067 x 610 x 610 mm for three-axis work.
Tolerances held at the Birmingham factory are typically ±0.05 mm. These are easily achieved on Hurco five-axis machines, which the company says are considerably less expensive than many models on the market that Willetts researched before placing the order.
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