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Quaser UX 600 5 axis helps achieve 'one hit' machining
Quaser UX 600 5 axis helps achieve 'one hit' machining
Quaser UX 600 5 axis helps achieve 'one hit' machining
Quaser UX 600 5 axis helps achieve 'one hit' machining

Quaser UX 600 5 axis helps achieve 'one hit' machining

Added to MTDCNC by ETG on 27 June 2014

Adding a Quaser UX 600 swivelling rotary table 5 axis CNC machining centre to its impressive machine roster has increased Swindon based precision machining specialist Metalite’s capacity and efficiency while adding the capability for ‘one hit’ component manufacture.

Supplied by the Southam, Warwickshire based Engineering Technology Group the Quaser UX 600 is currently the largest Quaser fully simultaneous vertical 5 axis machine operating in the UK.  The machining envelope offers a ø600mm x ø400 capacity with a workpiece weight up to 300kg making it a welcome addition to Metalite’s largely Hardinge milling machine inventory and an ideal machine for its high proportion of injection mould tool manufacturing.

'We have established a niche in the UK market for our mould tool design and manufacture, the majority of which are used in the medical and food packaging industries.  However, when capacity allows, we are also happy to undertake more general purpose high precision sub contract machining,' explains managing director Lee James.

Operations manager Michael Watts highlights a typical scenario; 'The five Hardinge XR 1000 3 axis VMC machines are the work horses of our operations but if you take an injection mould tool it can require multiple ops across a number of different machines – typically starting on the three axis VMC, then onto a five axis and finally horizontal boring on another machine.

'Given our heavy workload this can cause problems with machine scheduling and create delays which customers find unacceptable,' he adds.

'The full five axis capacity of the UX 600 is helping overcome these bottlenecks as we can now genuinely manufacture tools to an advanced stage in a single set up.'

Metalite’s operator’s have found the Quaser machine very user friendly as it is equipped with a Heidenhain ITNC530 control (compatible with the Hardinge VMC’s).  

Once Metalite’s programmers have accepted the customer’s solid model the lead time in programming is kept to a minimum.  The operator’s also describe the transition to five axis as ‘seamless’.

Although already a high specification machine, for their UX 600 Metalite opted for a higher speed (15,000rpm) spindle and the larger capacity (60 tool) ATC. Other standard features include 20 bar through coolant, unique clean grease spindle lubrication every 70 hours and very high thermal stability in the head stock and ball screws to maintain 4µm repeatability on X, Y and Z axes.

'Virtually everything we do is classed as a one off so flexibility, capability and capacity are all equally important,' explains Michael Watts. 'The efficiency over moving multiple projects around the machine shop is vital; we need efficiency without compromise and this new Quaser is already becoming a cornerstone of our operations.'

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