A Malvern based high precision machining specialist is reaping the rewards of investing in a new Quaser MV 184P vertical machining centre having used its acquisition to secure a long term pharmaceutical component manufacturing contract.
Since its start up in 1992, InLine Engineering has grown in mechanical and technical ability to produce high precision components, dies and tools, CMM fixtures, re-formers and hydraulic manifolds for use in the MOD, pharmaceutical, aerospace, automotive and mining industries.
However, the opportunity to win the long term contract led them to review their manufacturing capacity. 'It was a great opportunity for us but of course we needed to be competitive in our pricing and meet the quality criteria,' explains managing director Dave Bayliss.
With mostly Bridgeport or Hardinge machines in their factory, InLine approached the Engineering Technology Group with specific details of the components and the levels of quality and productivity required from any machine purchased.
The component – a wet cell used in particle analysis machines - is manufactured from challenging 316 grade stainless steel material which contains molybdenum and is much favoured for pharmaceutical use. ETG suggested the MV 184P which is one of their most popular compact VMC’s and importantly in this application, features a powerful 22kW motor, 12,000rpm spindle, Heidenhain controller option and combined coolant and air swarf evacuation. For a project that is essentially on-going, the repeatable accuracy of 0.004 was vital.
Optimising the machine with the cutters and inserts was also important, Dave Bayliss adds. 'The machining cycle basically has three ops – roughing with an HSS cutter, finishing with carbide and some U drilling. We then turn it over and machine the reverse using two sizes and grades of carbide cutter; there is also some 3D machining on this side.
'However, we experienced thermal shock through the cutters on the reverse so opted – with great success - for air cooling and chip evacuation for this side with conventional coolant used on the first. The flexibility of the machine with its cooling options and the power through the spindle have enabled us to fine tune the cycle while keeping insert replacements costs under control.'
The MV 184P offers a high specification and is supplied with Quaser’s unique grease replenishment system fitted as standard. InLine’s machine has a BT40, 30 tool capacity ATC and is equipped with a Heidenhain ITNC530 control. This option was important to InLine as their other Hardinge and Bridgeport machines are likewise Heidenhain controlled so continuity was guaranteed.
Other key features are the Quaser 7 point thermal management system, the generous 1200 x 600 work table and the 20 bar through coolant at the spindle.
'It was a gamble to purchase a machine effectively dedicated to one component but it all worked out well and the Quaser has not missed a beat since day one,' Dave Bayliss explains.
'The advice and service we received from ETG was excellent and they have always been on hand to assist if we have ever had any queries,' he adds.