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Empire strikes back with a new CMZ Machine
Empire strikes back with a new CMZ Machine
Empire strikes back with a new CMZ Machine

Empire strikes back with a new CMZ Machine

Added to MTDCNC by CMZ UK Ltd on 03 July 2015

To maintain its growth levels that have been impressive since the company opened its doors for business just eight years ago, Empire Manufacturing Ltd has just invested in a new TA20 YS gantry loaded CNC turning centre from CMZ machinery. The company opened its doors for business with just three sliding head turning centres from Star, however the ongoing growth and the addition of the CMZ machine has now enabled the Hertfordshire company to enter new markets.

With a broad customer base that includes clients in the aerospace, electronics, automotive and horological industry through to the perfume, cosmetic, leisure and entertainment sector, Hoddesdon based Empire was continually faced with demands for parts beyond the capacity limits of its sliding head machines.

As Mr Stuart Wade, Director at Empire Manufacturing Ltd says: 'We already had customers that were enquiring with regards to larger work than what we could handle on our sliding head lathes. Until the purchase of the CMZ, we had to subcontract that work out to external suppliers. Once the enquiries became regular enough, we decided we wanted to do the work in-house to cut out potential problems with quality or lead time.'

To bring this work in-house, Empire has just purchased a TA20 YS gantry loaded turning centre from CMZ. As Mr Wade says: 'It's a new market for us producing parts with a fixed head machine and there was obviously a learning curve that was a little daunting, but the type of work we do on the CMZ is similar to the work on the Star machines. We do a lot of high volume lights-out machining of parts that frequently require complex turning and milling processes.'
Giving the reasoning as to why Empire invested in the CMZ, Mr Wade says: 'We were looking for a flexible and highly productive solution that matched the philosophy of our business. With the bar feeder and gantry loading system, the CMZ clearly fills that demand. Additionally, the  fully integrated machine utilises a Fanuc control system like our sliding head lathes, so training and setting-up the machine is easy.'

'The programming is very similar to our sliders as the G-codes are pretty much the same. So, the transition from the sliding head machines to the CMZ was simplified, which wouldn't have been the case if we opted for a machine with a different control unit.'

As well as having the gantry loading facility, the CMZ TA20 YS also has an FMB Turbo 5-55  bar feeding unit at the opposite end of the machine. As Mr Wade says: 'For us, it was a natural decision as all our sliding head machines have bar feeders. So, our barfeed can feed bars into the CMZ whilst the gantry system will load billets. The machine has a 65mm bore capacity, so anything below that will be barfed and anything up to a maximum of 180mm diameter will be gantry loaded. This gives us incredible flexibility.'

For high production runs, the CMZ TA20-YS integrates a high capacity barfeed and at the other end, the machine has a stacker with 14 pallets to accept a plentiful supply of billets. Whilst running, the CMZ has in-cycle tool monitoring, coolant monitoring and the machine is eco-friendly as it will shut down when the production run is completed.

For Empire, this astounding flexibility enables the company to run the CMZ lights out and when staff arrive in the morning there will either be a full pallet or bin of parts whilst the machine is still running. As the machine has an integrated spindle motor with 22kW and 15kW on the sub-spindle, the subcontractor can conduct heavy machining of its component list that will include anything from plastic, stainless steel , inconel, brass, mild steel, hardened steels and much more.

To support the heavy duty cutting of parts, the CMZ has a tool turret with 12 stations that can be driven with the powerful 12kW motor whilst the Y-axis is particularly generous with a travel of -50 to 60mm. The high speed and power of the driven tooling has been a revelation for manufacturers like Empire that conduct high speed machining of light alloys whilst the torque is also suitable for heavier and more robust metal cutting.   

Discussing the flexibility of the CMZ, Mr Wade says: 'The gantry loaded CMZ is a different beast to anything we've had previously, but it's very flexible. We've had parts loaded with the barfeed and unloaded with the gantry system and in a short period of having the machine, we've done pretty much everything possible with the machine. The CMZ has enabled us to do more types of work in larger diameters than before, as we used to be limited to 35mm and now we can do 180mm diameter. This has really expanded our scope of work and flexibility. Furthermore, we have recently invested in our first VMC, so we will be looking at entering the milling arena also. We are extremely pleased with the machine and the support that has been provided by CMZ.'


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