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Hardinge VMCs add capability and capacity at EDS

Hardinge VMCs add capability and capacity at EDS

Added to MTDCNC by Engineering Technology Group on 04 February 2013

The purchase of three Hardinge/Bridgeport XR 760 vertical machining centres is the latest phase in an on-going programme of machine tool investment by Chelmsford based EDS Engineering Ltd.

Two of the three machines - all high specification models with the addition of tool and component probing and a 4th axis - are operating in ‘one man, two machine’ cells while the third is a stand alone unit offering maximum flexibility in low run manufacture.
 
EDS is a long established, highly regarded supplier of components to tier one manufacturers, increasingly in the USA defence and aerospace industries. 
 
Typically it supplies small batch quantities of precision components - predominantly in aerospace grade aluminium’s and stainless steels - that end up in demanding componentry such as head up display systems and similar. 
 
However its roots are in jigs and fixtures and mould and die manufacture - the latter being an area in which it is still very active but which market forces have seen reduce in recent years in favour of its aerospace and defence capability.
 
'As a business we’ve always adapted well to changes in the manufacturing climate and have continued to invest in our capacity and capability to ensure we stay in the forefront,' explains EDS managing director Stuart Clarke.
 
'The three newest machines continue a long standing relationship we have with Hardinge/Bridgeport and after considerable research, we opted for them again because of the high standard specification of the machines and the value they offered.  They have quickly become an integral part of our operations,' he adds.
 
Hardinge XR 760 VMC’s are high performance machines featuring Weiss 40 taper spindle technology which produces exceptional radial and axial rigidity and offers a unique grease replenishment system.  
 
The construction of the machines is based on an engineered double ribbed machine base and this heavy duty approach is also evident in the low friction linear guide ways, oversize 45mm double-nut ball screws and rugged axis drives. The tool changer has a 30 tool capacity and the machining envelope has a ‘best in class’ working cube with a 610mm (24”) Y-axis travel. The spindle offers a maximum speed of 12,000rpm giving it a high precision contouring capability.
 
However, mindful of its reputation for meeting the very highest tolerances, EDS has added further to its machines’ capabilities.
 
Its three machines are equipped with Heidenhain iTNC530 3 axis controls which have integral probe cycle software as standard.  Therefore fitting inspection/calibration probes to the machines was a relatively straight forward option, taking approximately two days per machine to install, set up and fully calibrate.
 
On Hardinge’s recommendation, Renishaw wireless OMP40-2 spindle inspection probes were fitted along with an OTS table mounted tool measurement/calibration touch probe, both linked to the control via an infra-red receiver that is hard wired into the control.
 
The 4th axis interface added to all three machines was configured to suit a Kitagawa MR200 rotary table, the interface comprising an additional axis drive added to the Heidenhain to change it into a 4 axis control.
 
This enables the rotary tables, motor and pneumatics to be connected to the machine and, with additional software options, adapts the control to function in 4 axes simultaneously.  The control parameters were also amended and tuned to ensure that when the rotary table was connected it functioned in harmony with the rest of the machine operations.
 
After installation of the 4th axis interface, it is possible to operate the machines either as 4 axis machines with the rotary table connected or as a standard 3 axis machines if the rotary table is removed or isolated.
 
Concludes Stuart Clarke; 'With the combination of the standard features of the VMC’s coupled with the additions we have specified we believe we have significantly added to both our capabilities and capacity.  We are in a high response business and need to be able to respond to customer demands. In turn, they are aware we have invested in some exceptional machinery and hopefully this stands us in good stead for many years to come.
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