Full 5 axis capability while preserving the integrity and original characteristics of a highly versatile 3 axis VMC has been achieved at the manufacturing facility of Euroscot Engineering Ltd thanks to the combination of a Quaser MV184 VMC equipped with a Nikken 5AX201 4+1 tilting rotary table and a Heidenhain ITNC530 control. The machine and table were supplied by the Engineering Technology Group based in Southam, Warwickshire.
Euroscot is a precision engineering company based in the Hillington Industrial Estate, Glasgow. The company has been delivering high precision manufacturing services to a worldwide customer base since its incorporation in 1969.
Like many specialist engineering companies Euroscot were looking to acquire a ‘best of both worlds’ solution when investing in a new machining centre, needing a combination of power and precision from the core three axis machine but the single process machining capability achievable with five axis processing.
Euroscot opted for the Quaser / Nikken combination to further enhance the company’s 5 axis machining capabilities on its Hardinge 5AX 500XP3. Euroscot already operate a large capacity Hardinge XR1000 VMC equipped with a Nikken table which is predominantly assigned to larger workpieces, making use of the enhanced 5 axis capacity for complex single process machining.
To facilitate lower batch runs the Quaser accommodates the necessities for frequent setups and optimisation of machining times without interruptions whilst minimising costly down times between batches.
Euroscot has an extensive inventory of high precision components that it manufactures as a ‘tier 1’ supplier for a number of major defence equipment contractors. Batches rarely exceed the low hundreds and therefore the need to expedite the downtime when changing programmes, setups and tooling from one component to another is highlighted in such a fast moving environment.
“The Quaser with the rotary table gives us a highly effective 5 axis capability which has streamlined many aspects of our operation,” explains Euroscot’s Managing Director Ian Rorison. “Other VMC’s in the shop are perfectly capable but each operation requires the workpiece to be manually re-set in the vice and that adds setting time to the operation as well as putting pressure on the machine scheduling.
“With the Quaser we are achieving high precision, repeatable machining to +/- 0.01 mm without having to remove the component. We start with a pre-cut billet and conclude with a completed workpiece machined in a single process.”
Senior Engineer John McMillan adds, “In effect we are benefiting in five ways from the machine – productivity, flexibility, precision, processing and operator efficiency.”
The Quaser MV1 series is a very popular range of machines offering high speed X/Y/Z movement and acceleration along with a 12,000rpm, 40 taper spindle. It also features large X and Y travels (1020 and 610mm respectively) and benefits from the Big-Plus spindle technology with its face and taper contact and unique grease replenishing system.
Euroscot’s machine is equipped with a Blum Laser Control NT tool setting system and a Blum TC50 touch probe. It has a standard BT40, 30 tool capacity ATC and high pressure 20 bar through coolant. The machine also has linear slides and scales as standard.
The Nikken 5AX-201 compact rotary table has a 200mm diameter table, hydraulic clamping and offers a tilting range of 0º-105º. Should Euroscot wish to revert to just using the machine trunnion the table is easily removable but such has been the success of the combination this is considered unlikely, given the range of 3 axis machines available elsewhere in the machine shop.
“The defence components are subject to a lot of change and modification,” John McMillan adds; “all our programmes are centrally archived on a network to which the machines are connected. If a revised drawing or model is issued by a customer it is soon downloaded into the Heidenhain control and we are rapidly manufacturing,” he explains.
Euroscot already machines a wide range materials including stainless, aluminium, titanium, Inconel, bronze, various exotic alloys and composites which are all well within the capabilities of the MV184.