Subcontractor expands 5-axis machining capability

Editor: Barbara Schulz

Great Britain – A UK precision engineering company, which specialises in components in difficult-to-machine materials, has purchased a DMU 50 vertical machining centre from DMG Mori to strengthen its 5-axis machining capability.

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An anode for a cooling system in X-ray machines being machined on the DMU 50 from Glidcop, a temperature- and radiation-resistant copper / aluminium oxide alloy.
An anode for a cooling system in X-ray machines being machined on the DMU 50 from Glidcop, a temperature- and radiation-resistant copper / aluminium oxide alloy.
(Source: DMG Mori)

The machine is the first on site capable of interpolative machining in all five axes simultaneously, although to date it has been used exclusively for 3-axis work with the rotary CNC axes positioned and clamped. A move to full 5-axis machining is planned for 2015.

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Until the DMU 50 was installed, Reading-based firm Duckworth & Kent relied for its multi-axis prismatic metal cutting on a number of 4-axis vertical-spindle machines and a 3-axis machine that was retrofitted in 2010 with a 2-axis table capable of performing 3+2-axis work.

Saving set-up time wins work, saves fixture costs

Managing director Terry Gleeson said, “As soon as we started using the 5-axis machine, it began to attract work and was quickly operating at full capacity. We tried to put on as many jobs as possible, and were able to save on fixture costs, which for smaller batches could be the same as the cost of producing the parts. Now we use generic workholding systems like Lang vices and System 3R pallet chucks, without the need for any bespoke fixtures.

“Components were machined in a single cycle that previously needed to be repositioned once or twice, saving set-up time and increasing productivity. These two economies - on fixtures and the number of operations - allowed us to quote more competitive prices and win more work.”

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