As a leading manufacturer specialising in aerospace flight control component manufacture and sub-assemblies, West Yorkshire based Produmax Limited has focussed heavily on its manufacturing operations resulting in several significant investments in machine tools in the past five years.
Among its newest acquisitions is a Jones & Shipman Ultramat 1000 CNC B universal grinder that has been acquired to replace three older J&S machines, giving Produmax a range of new grinding options while significantly reducing manufacturing cycle times on a number of components.
Due to the high quality ethos running throughout the company supported by a robust QMS system, Produmax Limited has become the first company outside of the USA to achieve the latest AS 9100 revision D quality standard and the first company globally to be accredited to prEN 9100:2016.
One of larger contracts that Produmax undertakes is the manufacture and assembly of wing flap actuators for Bombardier – which have been produced successfully for over 20 years. The actuator assembly contains a number of components where concentricity and a good seal between surfaces is essential for unblemished operation. The new Ultramat CNC has proved highly adept in this grinding operation while reducing the cycle times from 25 minutes to around 5.
Produmax is also producing significant numbers of components destined for installation on the latest C series aircraft which is being assembled by Bombardier factories around the world; quite a few of these components are hard chromed and ground using the new Jones & Shipman Ultramat.
As Produmax Operations Director Paul Birtles explains “having a machine with such capability and capacity means the technical team are continually finding new projects for it in addition to those we had initially allocated on its installation. This has given us greater flexibility when reviewing methods of manufacture.
“Also, while the 1000mm grinding length capacity is more than adequate, with new applications coming in all the time, having a ‘future proofed’ machine is a real bonus.”
The machine at Produmax is a highly specified grinder with a variable rotating B axis, Renishaw probing, Heidenhain ‘Absolute’ linear scales, a full Fanuc 0i CNC and J&S’s own software to minimise set up times and maximise output.
“We are a highly regulated business,” adds Mr Birtles “and as validation processes on component manufacturer became ever stricter, we feel that keeping our grinding operations in house gives us 100% control of every process.”
Workpiece materials vary but are comfortably accommodated within the grinder’s capabilities as he explains; “Our expertise in high precision engineering and knowledge of machining processes embraces hardened and PH steels, titanium, Inconel and aircraft grade aluminium alloys as well as heat treated and hard chromed materials and this enables us to manufacture difficult to make components with volumes ranging from small batch work to large multiples.”
As with all its production machines, Produmax has the Ultramat networked with all programming undertaken off-line. Verification is undertaken prior to every new or repeat process and the company is proposing using EdgeCam and Vericut simulation software moving forwards as this is successfully used on all other machining processes.
Integral to the design and rigidity of the Ultramat is the one piece ‘Tee Bed’ design with fully supported table to produce high geometric accuracy. Available in two grinding length capacities (650mm and 1000mm) with four wheel head options, the Ultramat CNC offers faster set-ups and operating efficiency achieved by the incorporation of a Fanuc® 0i-TD with touchscreen control.
Easy to follow set-up pages with graphical images allow the operator to digitise diamond and wheel positions by means of the touchscreen with graphical programming removing the requirement for operators to input complex codes, subsequently reducing set-up and operator training costs. ISO programming is fully supported and codes can also be easily viewed and used at any time as each method of modification updates the other seamlessly within the programme.
There is a choice of plain, angled or universal wheel heads with the optional ‘B’ axis wheel head (as on the Produmax machine) being infinitely variable.
Jones & Shipman Hardinge is a Hardinge Grinding Group company. For UK enquiries please contact Jones & Shipman Hardinge on +44 (0) 116 201 3000 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org