Toolmaker diversifies into five-axis machining

Located in the centre of Birmingham, press toolmaker Tooling 2000 began trading more than 50 years ago. Since 1996 it has focused mainly on the design, production and try-out of tools for the automotive industry, notably for Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan and Rolls-Royce/Bentley.

With a view to strengthening its position in the industry and breaking into the provision of subcontract machining services to other sectors, such as power generation and renewables, the company has invested £1.8m in the past two years in new plant and hiring extra people.

A significant proportion of the spend has gone on acquiring new machine tools from Hurco, including the toolmaker’s first two five-axis machining centres, VMX60SRTi and VMX42SRTi models.The SRTi configuration is rapidly becoming Hurco’s most popular five-axis model. The torque motor-driven, swivelling B-axis spindle head and 600 mm diameter Caxis set flush into a fixed machine table create a compact, high-capacity platform that can serve as a large-capacity three/four-axis machine whenever required.

Tooling 2000’s manufacturing director Brian Abbott says: “In recent yearswe’ve seen growing demand from customers for the supply of more complex components that require five-axis machines to produce them cost effectively.The technology was a step into the unknown for us, so the availability of support from the machine supplier was paramount. As an existing Hurco user, we were comfortable with sourcing our first five-axis machines from them, particularly in view of the user-friendly, twin-screen controls.”

Machine operator Dean Henning adds: “Hurco machines are best suited to our type of work because the conversational control with WinMax software is easy to use and we can program most jobs on the shop floor. Even on the 5-axis models we can use the Hurco control to program 3+2-axis cycles.For more complex work, the option of inputting a DXF file from CAD into the Hurco control and using the drawing as the basis for creating the part program is especially useful and fast.”
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