ITC Industrial Tooling ITC delivers seismic change for earthquake subcontractor

Author / Editor: Rhys Williams / Barbara Schulz

UK - The story for any subcontract business is evolve or dissolve. For Surrey-based GPR, its progression from 3 to 5-axis machine tools initially evolved with a bolt-on fourth axis for its Haas VF2 machines and now a full simultaneous high-end 5-axis machining centre from Matsuura.

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ITC Widia ball nose tools with shrink fit holders profiling flange.
ITC Widia ball nose tools with shrink fit holders profiling flange.
(Source: ITC)

The investment in a full 5-axis machine was instigated by the Camberley company winning a two-year contract to manufacture aluminium housings for electronic assemblies. Long term tooling supplier Industrial Tooling Corporation (ITC) was on hand to support the subcontractor in providing a complete solution for the project.

Like any subcontractor with enhanced capabilities and additional capacity, GPR was on the lookout for more challenging work once the Matsuura MX-520 arrived in May along with Edgecam CAM software from Vero. The new work arrived in the guise of a “Hookes Joint Flange”, a critical component in an assembly for earthquake simulation and measuring equipment used in China.

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The EN24T alloy steel flange joint is manufactured in a range of variants that demand numerous machining strategies and tooling set-ups. Supplying GPR for over a decade, ITC had engineer Dave Cleeve on hand along with Neil Franklin from Widia. Commenting on the machining strategy for the flange, GPR's machine shop programmer, Stuart Reynell said that "The key objective was to ensure that we could attack all faces of the job with adequate clearance, tool rigidity and machining tool performance”.

The flange starts life as a 300 mm diameter by 225 mm deep 125 kg billet and the finished item weighs in at just 28 kg. For heavy duty rough machining of the flange, ITC recommended the Widia M200 52 mm diameter shell mill that ran at a 1.5 mm depth of cut with a 35 mm radial cutting width. For this process, ITC applied the BIG KAISER BBT40 toolholder with a face mill adaptor for maximum rigidity. With a spindle speed of 920 rpm and a cutting speed of 150 m/min, the M200 with 5 indexable button inserts removed the majority of material at a rate of 84.34 cm3/min. With 12 indexes per insert, the M200 optimised material removal rates and performance while reducing tooling costs for the subcontractor.

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