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Nuclear AMRC Expands Starrag Portfolio With Multi-Tasking Heckert Machining Centre
Nuclear AMRC Expands Starrag Portfolio With Multi-Tasking Heckert Machining Centre

Nuclear AMRC Expands Starrag Portfolio With Multi-Tasking Heckert Machining Centre

Added to MTDCNC by Starrag UK Limited on 12 December 2016

The installation of a Heckert HEC machining centre has given the Nuclear AMRC an unprecedented research platform for comparative milling, drilling and turning routines in a single set-up on a wide variety of test workpieces at the Sheffield-based site.

Crucially, the machine has an integrated horizontal/vertical head (mechanically locked by a Hirth coupling) and, according to Nuclear AMRC head of machining & metrology Carl Hitchens, this multi-tasking ability will be put to full use in the centre’s research for improved efficiency and quality in exploratory machining experiments and the manufacture of test components for subsequent electron beam welding/weld preparation.

Supplied by Starrag UK - a Tier 1 partner with both the Nuclear AMRC and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing - the HEC 800 HV MT has a swing of 1,400 mm and axis strokes in X, Y and Z of 1,450 mm, 1,100 mm and 1,300 mm, respectively. It features a 65 m/min feed rate and rapid traverses.

In addition, the main 30 kW spindle motor produces up to 6,000 revs/min, and combined with a table loading capacity of 2,000 kgs on each of its twin pallets – these are balanced for turning operations at up to 500 revs/min and complemented by automatic out-of-balance detection and weight-setting software - the machine will adequately accommodate all experimental test piece needs at the Sheffield-based centre of excellence.

“Importantly,” says Mr Hitchens, “because the HEC 800 HV MT has an integrated multi-use machining head and turning table, our ability to orientate tools from the vertical to horizontal will allow us to investigate swarf management and eliminate swarf clearance problems during manufacture. It will also enable us to fully investigate the true interaction between drill performance and the 80 bar through-tool coolant pressure.

“Another key feature of the machine is tangential turning – which allows the milling spindle, using a turning tool with controlled revs/min in synchronization with X and Y axes circular orbit, to produce turned flange faces and multi-diameter internal/external turned features – thus negating the requirement of a facing head attachment. This will be indispensable when machining valves, for example, in a single operation/set-up.”

(The full capabilities of the cycle are also available on the HEC 1800 horizontal machine for large test piece experimentation.)

He continues: “Knowing that we have one, robust and accurate platform [positional accuracy is quoted as 0.006 mm] for a variety of machining tasks eliminates any positioning concerns about re-locating workpieces, safe in the knowledge that we can instigate a variety of strategies, in any order and in any orientation, from a known and precise location.

“That leaves us to focus on determining the way forward in terms of strategies that are truly in line with Starrag’s mission of ‘Engineering precisely what you value’.”

The machine, he adds, will be used “as a workhorse” on a range of heavy duty machining tasks and, says Mr Hitchens, the 40-strong team of machining engineers and researchers at the Nuclear AMRC, which opened in 2011 with the specific aim of ‘enhancing the capabilities and competitiveness of UK civil nuclear manufacturing industry and helping British companies to compete for nuclear contracts worldwide’.

Mr Hitchens says he fully expects the team – whose work is primarily targeted at one-off, high-value, high-precision and bespoke manufacturing projects such as full-scale reactor internal parts as well as other high-value engineering components - to capitalise on all the HEC 800 HV MT’s features, including the Brankamp tool collision monitoring and Artis tool monitoring and adaptive control functionality designed to optimise tool life and cycle times.

The Heckert HEC 800 HV MT joins a number of other Starrag-supplied machines at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in South Yorkshire – a Heckert HEC 1800 machining centre and Dörries VC 5000 MC V vertical turning lathe with five-axis milling head at the Nuclear AMRC - and a Starrag ZT 1000 machining centre, Scharmann ECOSPEED 2538, Starrag STC1250 machining centre and Starrag LX051 five-axis machining centre at the AMRC with Boeing centre.

The Heckert HEC machining centre has given the Nuclear AMRC an unprecedented research platform for comparative milling, drilling and turning routines in a single set-up - especially thanks to its integrated horiozntal/vertical head

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