North Bucks Machining recently bought a Quaser 5-axis machining centre from the Engineering Technology Group (ETG), so MTD popped along to Newport Pagnell near Milton Keynes to find out why the subby opted for the Quaser machine...
Operating a series of 3, 4 and 5-axis machine tools, North Bucks Machining Ltd manufactures everything from mould tools, 3D machining, prototypes and reverse engineering through to large batch production for a host of industry sectors. So why the Quaser MF630 from ETG? As Company Director, Mr Stuart Palmer tells MTD: 'We bought the machine to fulfil a contract that we had been chasing for quite a while to produce a mould tool that we have now taken from a mould company overseas. To compete on the international stage we needed a high end 5-axis machine to reduce set-up times and man hours when producing the tools.'
By quoting for the work on a 3-axis machining basis, North Bucks was in no uncertain terms going to lose out on the business, so it took its dilemma to ETG. In acquiring about the Quaser MF630, North Bucks could instantly quote a time reduction of 30% on the set-ups by using the 5-axis machine compared to the previous 3-axis set-up. In addition, the lightening fast productivity of the Quaser MF630 reduced the machining time by an additional 30%.
Highlighting features of the machine, Mr Palmer continues: 'We like the Heidenhain 530 control on the machine, its a no-brainer for 5-axis machining. That's because its so easy to use and very intuitive. The user interface is almost fool-proof and it works in perfect synergy with our OPEN MIND hyperMILL CAM software. Furthermore, we needed to hit the ground running with this machine, so to learn how to use a new control system wouldn't have been feasible.'
'As for the machine, the benefit is the size of the 500mm table that allows us to get a large workpiece on the machine. Additionally, the machine has 48 tools, so we can run complete jobs in a single set-up and this is all monitored by spindle and table probing. When selecting the machine we were tied by the demands of the first project, which was the reason for the investment in the first place. However, now we have the large machine we're really pleased as we've machined parts up to 630mm that wouldn't have been feasible had we selected a smaller machine.'
By installing the 5-axis Quaser from ETG, North Bucks Machining has slashed its cycle times considerably. As Mr Palmer continues: 'We have one commonly produced part that has gone from multiple set-ups to just two set-ups. This has improved the precision and consistency, the surface finish and most importantly cut the labour requirement and lead times. On a bottle mould component, we have completed the part from a single billet of aluminium because of our 5-axis capability. Previously, the job was made from three individual elements that were eventually brought together to complete the pattern. This is because the mould had so much detail and demanded such intricate machining, the use of a 3-axis machine to do the work would have been impossible. Overall, we are delighted with the ETG machine and it is reaping huge rewards for our business.'