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Mazak Horizontal Machine - Thame Review
Mazak Horizontal Machine - Thame Review

Mazak Horizontal Machine - Thame Review

Added to MTDCNC by Thame Workholding on 07 February 2009
Thame Workholding's remit extends from design through to the manufacture, assembly, supply and maintenance of virtually every type of workholding device or system.

The ISO 9001:2000-accredited Thame's factory is kept busy machining a wide range of components, ranging from soft and hard chuck and vice jaws to modular fixturing systems for co-ordinate measuring machines.

Special chucks, fixtures and 'cubes' for vertical or horizontal machining centres are also machined at the factory.

Clamping of workpieces may be mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic or vacuum to suit the application, and Thame can even supply 'ice chucks' to hold components that are too porous, small or irregularly shaped to be secured in any other way.

'We are constantly modifying our designs and improving our manufacturing processes and are able to test most of our designs in a working environment,' said David Handley, director.

That working environment is a four-bay building on the industrial estate in Long Crendon, near Aylesbury, housing five horizontal and six vertical machining centres.

Thame has just placed an order for a second Mazak horizontal centre Nexus 5000-II machining centre that will be sited alongside the existing HCN 5000-II installed in April 2007, with both machines dedicated to the machining of standard catalogue items.

What this means in terms of the variety of work can be seen in the company's latest catalogue, which lists more than a thousand items.

Specials are usually allocated to the vertical machining centres (VMCs) equipped with Thame's Zero Point system, because setups are quick, flexible and better suited to one-offs and small batch runs.

According to David Handley, the decision to purchase the two Nexus horizontal machining centres was primarily to do with pallet load capacity and drum size, although the reliability of an earlier 15hp, 10,000rev/min Mazak HTC 400 horizontal machining centre played its part.

'That machine has run night and day for 10 years and has done a fantastic job for us,' said Handley.

The philosophy behind the Nexus range is the application of the latest technology, such as Mazak's Active Vibration Control and its Intelligent Thermal Shield heat displacement compensation system.

By applying these technologies to its Nexus machines, Mazak delivers a new level of lowest cost-per-part.

Equipped with the sixth-generation Mazatrol Matrix CNC system, the HCN 5000-II twin-pallet horizontal machining centre accommodates up to 750kg on its 500m2 pallet, and has a very wide machining area (X, Y and Z axis travels are 730mm, 730mm and 740mm, respectively).

It is ideally suited to the machining of multiple workpieces held on dedicated fixturing.

This 30kW/40hp machine with its 18,000rev/min spindle and 60m/min rapid traverses takes up 2330mm x 5530mm of factory floor space.

'Companies buying machine tools don't always think it through in terms of the tooling and workholding needed to get the best from their investment,' said Handley.

'Before ordering the second HCN 5000-II I knew exactly how it was going to be set up and exactly what I intended to do with it.

'I accept that it is slightly different for us because we actually design workholding equipment to get the maximum from any machine's capacity.

'Customers regularly send in component details for our design team to suggest the most cost-effective and productive workholding solutions.

'Thame also factors certain items, such as the gravity-powered Lang Ecotower that puts automatic pallet loading and unloading within reach of every machinist, along with other products to complement our range.

'This means we provide what is required for a specific application rather than always specifying our own manufactured or factored products, and whatever the workholding mix we take full responsibility for every project.'.
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