Spinner UK subcontractor adds 5-axis machining with German centre

Editor: Eric Culp

Owners of contract machinists Progress NC are keen on their first 5-axis machining centre. The sometime mould maker selected a German-built Spinner U5-620, which is said to be the first in operation in the UK.

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In-cycle inspection of a yacht mast component using a touch probe.
In-cycle inspection of a yacht mast component using a touch probe.
(Source: Whitehouse Machine Tools)

Comments like “marvellous value” and “all jobbing shop machines should be built this way” are said to indicate that Andrew Russell and Stephen Boocock like their first 5-axis machining centre. The owners of subcontracting shop Progress NC received the Spinner U5-620 in January 2013 through the German company’s recently appointed sales and service agent, Whitehouse Machine Tools.

Set-up of the 3+2 unit provides advantages

The configuration of the 12,000 rpm vertical spindle machine places all the linear slideways above the working area. Rotary axes are provided by a 360-degree, 650 mm diameter table mounted on a -90/+110 degree swivelling trunnion. Unusually, this axis runs from front to back, rather than adopting the more typical side-to-side arrangement. The non-driven side of the trunnion is supported at the front of the machine by a counter bearing to allow heavy milling and to promote accuracy.

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The design allows for a footprint of 2,600 x 2,350 mm, which is small for a machine capable of milling and drilling a half-tonne workpiece in a nominal half-metre-cube working volume, according to the dealer. (Linear travels are actually 620 x 520 x 460 mm.)

If Progress NC had installed a traditionally designed 5-axis machine of equivalent capacity, the subcontractor would have needed to uninstall one of its other machines, as space at the Preston facility is limited.