When Newburgh Precision was having difficulty achieving the cycle time demands of a project that required the machining of small aluminium parts, the Rotherham based manufacturer decided that the FANUC ROBODRILL was the machine to fulfil the order.
As part of the Newburgh Group, Newburgh Precision Ltd recently invested in a FANUC ROBODRILL D21LiA5 because its existing and somewhat ageing 12,000rpm machining centre wasn’t up to speed. Commenting upon the acquisition of the high powered version of the FANUC ROBODRILL D21LiA5 and the contract, Managing Director at Newburgh Precision, Mr David Greenan says: “With this particular project, we needed to prove to our customer that we could machine the parts in the time frame and cycle times that they stipulated to hit the cost targets.”
“The only way we could do that was by investing in a new machine before we had even won the contract. We came to an agreement with our customer that if they won orders, they would pass business down the supply chain to us. This gave us the confidence to buy the machine before the contract and work had arrived.”
“The ROBODRILL proved the ideal machine. It is more agile and suitable for working at higher speeds and feeds and it’s completely different from anything we’ve ever had before. With a 24,000rpm spindle, the ROBODRILL is twice as fast as our previous machine and this makes a huge difference to productivity when cutting aluminium parts.”
The machine has been specified with a 21 tool position automatic tool change and a BBT30 spindle configuration. The BBT taper tool configuration delivers a significantly higher level of stability, precision and rigidity to the cutting tool when compared to alternate systems. As Mr Greenan comments: “The system is really good. We don’t necessarily do heavy machining as we are only cutting aluminium, but from a metal removal perspective it’s really impressive. Furthermore, it’s the first BBT spindle machine we have had and we are certainly impressed with the stability, precision and performance of the BBT configuration.”
The South Yorkshire subcontract company conducted its due diligence with regard to selecting a suitable machine for the project. Alluding to the purchase and turnaround period with FANUC, Mr Greenan recalls: “We went to our customer on the Friday and agreed upon the project. We knew the machine we wanted, so we placed the order for the FANUC ROBODRILL D21LiA5 in the same afternoon and it was delivered a week later. Following the commissioning and training, we were producing our first parts for the new contract in less than 4 weeks.”
As soon as the machine was installed, Newburgh installed a 4th axis rotary unit and vacuum clamping system on the FANUC ROBODRILL D21LiA5. The clamping system and rotary table were both taken from another machine at Newburgh, demonstrating the versatility and flexibility of the ROBODRILL. The Rotherham company specified the ROBODRILL with an extended bed length, which gives the customer sufficient machining envelope regardless of the rotary axis configuration. The ‘long-bed’ machining centre demonstrates the drill and tap centres that FANUC is renowned for, have evolved into a flexible machining solution.
“This is what attracted us to this machine,” says Mr Greenan when referring to the bed dimensions. “Because we are purely a subcontract business, we never know what our net job is going to be. The FANUC gives us that bit more versatility and complete work that a standard ROBODRILL may not be able to do.” Well recognised as a subcontract manufacturer in large component production for the oil & gas and power generation sectors, the company recognised the need to diversify during the downturn in the oil & gas industry. As Mr Greenan continues: “Faced with the oil & gas industry downturn; we knew we needed to diversify. One of the things we looked at was doing something completely different from what we have done historically. This project and the FANUC machine are the ideal driver for this diversification. It brings us into a whole new marketplace.”
Commenting upon having the confidence to buy the company’s first FANUC machine tool, Mr Greenan concludes: “We’ve dealt with FANUC for a long time as their CNC controls are on many of our machines, particularly our lathes. The ROBODRILL just appeared to be the machine to go for if you are machining small aluminium parts, especially if you want to machine them extremely fast.”