Adnet Precision Engineering, based in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, has invested in a Nakamura-Tome WT150 twin-spindle, twin-turret turning centre that will complement its existing sliding head capacity and allow it to produce complex milled and turned components in a single operation.
The centre has been supplied by the Engineering Technology Group (ETG) based in Southam who are the UK distributor for Nakamura-Tome.
Founded in 1990 by Managing Director Adrian Day, Adnet specialises in the manufacture of ultra-high-quality components for industries demanding a high standard of precision and finish. Customers include major companies in the fields of metrology, scientific instruments, aerospace, pharmaceuticals and food manufacture.
The company first moved into CNC machining around 18 years ago, investing in a number of Cincinnati turning and machining centres and built on this with the addition of a Maier sliding head machine with a capacity from 5 to 32mm.
In the last couple of years it became clear to Adrian Day that he needed to complement this sliding head capacity with a machine that could work on larger components and offer more milling and drilling power for materials such as stainless steels.
This led to the decision to invest in the WT150 machine, which has a 65mm through-spindle bar capacity and can hold 12 driven tools in each of its dodecahedral turrets, with a driven tool machining power of up to 5.5kW.
Mr Day said; 'We had sliding head capacity up to 32mm, but that didn’t really give us the power to drill large holes in stainless. The Nakamura can take bar work up to 65mm and so it gives us a much larger capacity and is a much more powerful machine that will let us get turned and milled parts off in one operation.'
One component that is destined for the new machine is a disk-shaped component that is part of a piece of seismology equipment. At present this is made using two turning operations and three milling operations, and is also engraved on the milling machines.
Another recent example is a turned and milled handle that is finish machined from bar in under 3 minutes. Previously this would have to be scheduled across three machines.
'We bought the machine with an 8' chuck on the main spindle and a 6' chuck on the second spindle so we have the option of doing these disk-type components. We will turn, mill, face off and then do the other side – wrapping five operations in one. We can also be much more flexible on the twin-turret Nakamura, and the Y-axis allows us to machine off-centre holes,' says Mr Day.
'By doing that all in one go it will be much quicker. It will also allow us to take work off our ageing milling machines.'
He adds that the machine will bring other benefits too.
'It is always difficult to get staff. We have taken on two apprentices over the past 18 months, but this is another way of tackling the problem. Putting multiple operations together on one machine means we don’t have to find the staff to carry out all those other operations.
'We also get better accuracy and quality by avoiding multiple setups. This not only applies to dimensional accuracy, but also aesthetic quality. A lot of our work is for laboratories and the pharmaceutical sector and they want components without a blemish, and if you are working in aluminium you only need to scratch it with your fingernail and you can put a mark on it.'
One of the first jobs done on the new machine was a knurled nut with a drilled and tapped hole through the side that is destined for the pharmaceutical industry. This is now being made in one from bar.
Adrian Day explains the benefits that have come from putting this on the WT150: 'The hole in the side was always a problem in the past as we had to put in a deburring operation and a polishing operation to remove the burrs on the internal bore. Now it is all done on the same machine we can simply re-machine the bore so there are no burrs – and we have eliminated an extra operation.
'With this new capacity we are now looking to take on more medium-volume, high-complexity work in demanding markets. With this new machine we are stepping up in size and stepping up in quality and precision,' he adds.