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Steady progression wins the day at CS Products
Steady progression wins the day at CS Products
Steady progression wins the day at CS Products

Steady progression wins the day at CS Products

Added to MTDCNC by XYZ Machine Tools on 04 June 2014

The latest investment by CS Products in a high speed, five-axis, machining centre from XYZ Machine Tools is part of a steady, but consistent, investment programme by the Telford-based sub-contractor. This latest machine, an XYZ 1060HS five-axis, is helping the business expand into new markets.

CS Products was formed as a result of the redundancy of Robin Chisnall in 2000, who grabbed the opportunity to create a specialist business for the design and manufacture of prototypes, mould tooling and small batch production. Initially he had a pair of manual mills at his disposal, but after a couple of years he took the plunge and bought his first CNC machine, an XYZ Mini Mill 560. This machine was used for small batch manufacture, but also opened up other opportunities, with Robin using the machine to reverse engineer parts for customers by linking it to a Renishaw digitiser. The confidence gained by the arrival of this Mini Mill resulted in the addition of a second XYZ machining centre, this time a larger XYZ 710 VMC, that allowed the production of larger components.

After a period of consolidation a second XYZ Mini Mill 560 was ordered, quickly followed by the much larger XYZ 1020 VMC, with the addition of a fourth axis unit. This larger machine gave much greater scope in the development work that Robin was undertaking for major companies such as Perkins Engines, Valco Melton, Maxell, and GKN. Under the watchful eye of Robin’s wife Mandy, who is the company administrator, these machines were put to work and thoughts of further investment were put on the back burner as the company set about filling this existing capacity.  'We manage quite a tight ship here and whenever we can we buy new equipment from company funds, rather than borrowing, so after investing in four machines in a relatively short space of time we were looking to consolidate again,' says Mandy.

As always, though, the best laid plans need adjusting at times and, when an opportunity arose to take on more batch orientated work in the aerospace sector, Robin and Mandy began the search for a suitable machine to fill their needs. This particular customer had been let down by a previous sub-contractor and CS Products was aware that they would have to be on top of their game to maintain and build a relationship with them. So, while their existing XYZ machines could handle the initial work, they also recognised that the addition of a fifth axis capability would be a major advantage and the larger XYZ 1060 HS was a prime candidate.

The machine that they ordered and took delivery of in April is an XYZ 1060 HS with the optional fourth and fifth axis fitted. This high speed VMC features a 20 hp,12,000 revs/min spindle as standard, which is partnered with axis feedrates of up to 43 m/min. A big advantage for CS Products is the versatility of the machine, due to the fact that the five axis unit can be quickly removed to create a much larger machining envelope when needed. 'We looked at dedicated five axis machines, but they were very restrictive and we would have been limiting how we can use the machine capacity. With the XYZ 1060 HS we can load multiple jobs, making maximum use of the 1200 by 600 mm table, with the control taking care of all the offsets and also having the ability to merge programs so that optimum use of tools and cycle time is achieved,' says Robin.       

Having had the machine for relatively short period of time Robin is still discovering its potential, particularly when it comes to the powerful Siemens 840D high speed Shopmill control. The initial training provided by XYZ Machine Tools got the machine producing parts very quickly, but the step change between this control and the previous model is proving to be a revelation. The graphic interface and editing capabilities while the machine is running are proving to be popular and, the ease of which the control can be used to maximise the performance of the machine is something that CS Products is keen to make use of.

'As a relatively small subcontractor we have to be tenacious and grab every advantage that comes our way. Over the years we have developed the business from prototype and one-offs to include more production work and the help and support that XYZ has given us along the way has been superb. We know that if we have a question there will be someone available to answer it for us. Now as we move into this world of five-axis machining we will be developing our business further, entering new markets and facing new challenges which, with our existing XYZ machines, we feel we are well equipped to meet,' says Robin Chisnall.

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