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New XYZ compact turning centre is family firms pride and joy
New XYZ compact turning centre is family firms pride and joy

New XYZ compact turning centre is family firms pride and joy

Added to MTDCNC by XYZ Machine Tools on 04 July 2012

Specialising in milling and turning, Bedford-based Wickham Engineering Ltd was set up in 1998 by husband and wife team Craig and Heather Wickham. Since then not only has the business bought an adjacent unit to double its floor space to 2500 sq. ft., it has become a second home to sons Gavin, 29, and Daniel, 27.

A former toolmaker with Vauxhall Motors in nearby Luton, Craig Wickham, Managing Director, defines the subcontract company's key strengths as its flexibility and focus on prototype and batch work for a diverse range of industry sectors. Our expertise extends to light assembly work and we can also source welding, fabrication and custom finishes such as plating, anodising or spray painting, he says. This enables us to offer a complete service to our customers.&rdquo

The latest investment by the nine-strong company centres on a 20 hp/5000 rev/min XYZ Compact Turn 52 turning centre equipped with Siemens 828D ShopTurn CNC. A host of canned cycles such as residual material recognition makes shopfloor programming fast and simple, with the minimum of keystrokes and maximum reassurance to the operator. Once written, completed programs can be checked using graphical simulation, with the finished component displayed on-screen as a 2D or 3D image.

The Compact Turn 52 is the fourth full-CNC machine to be supplied by Burlescombe, Devon-based XYZ Machine Tools Ltd. It has a maximum turning diameter of 220 mm and a bar capacity of 52 mm and, as the name suggests, occupies a very compact 2.53 m (W) by 1.45 m (D) footprint. In fact, the purchase of the company&rsquos first XYZ CNC machine back in June 2006 and a 9 hp/8000 rev/min Mini Mill 450 compact vertical machining centre with a 1.6 m by 1.8 m footprint &ndash was also influenced by the need to make the best possible use of available floor space.

All four XYZ machines, the other two being a larger 15 hp/8000 rev/min Mini Mill 560 and a 20 hp/8000 rev/min 710 VMC with 12 and 24 tool magazine capacity respectively, are routinely programmed on the shopfloor by Gavin and Daniel, both of whom completed their engineering apprenticeships with Wickham Engineering. Craig Wickham, too, is still very much hands on as far as machining is concerned, and the company's combined expertise covers both manual and CNC machining of a wide variety of materials, from brass, aluminium and plastics to stainless steels and titanium. As well as working from conventional drawings or even sketches, Wickham Engineering can accept various data inputs, including PDF, DWG and TIF formatted files.

We are happy with the current size of the company, says Heather Wickham, because Craig likes to keep on top of things and really enjoys contributing to a customer development process. Providing high quality work and good service at a competitive price means customers keep coming back to us. Similarly we have kept faith with XYZ because they show the same commitment to their customers. Our investment programme is to a large extent driven by the volume and mix of work coming in, but our choice of machine reflects the fact that we have not experienced any problems with any of our four XYZ CNC machines.

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