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RDL invests in 40mm sliding head lathe from Star GB
RDL invests in 40mm sliding head lathe from Star GB

RDL invests in 40mm sliding head lathe from Star GB

Added to MTDCNC by Star Micronics GB Limited on 05 June 2017

When RDL Technologies LTD was formed in 2000, the Leicester Company had a vision of supplying high quality subcontract manufactured components. Seventeen years later, is a recognised as one of the UK’s leading turned parts subcontractors, something that is largely supported by sliding head turning centres from Star Micronics GB.

In June 2003 RDL began its relationship with Star GB by purchasing its first Star sliding head machine, an SB-16C. This was followed in 2007 by the installation of a new Star SR-20RII increasing their capacity from 16mm to 20mm. In 2010, two more Star machines entered the machine shop, a second SR-20RII and a 9 axis Star SV-20 sliding head. In 2011, machine capacity was again increased from 20mm to 32mm with a Star SR-32JN and this was followed in 2014 by another Star SR-32JN together with SV-32. This gradual increase in dimensional capacity has now taken another step forward with RDL buying a new Star ST38 machine. 

Commenting on the new arrival, Lewis Lockwood, the Production Control Manager at RDL says: “With 14 Star machines, this acquisition was the next natural step for us as it now gives us capacity up to 40mm diameter. We can do multi-axis milling and balanced turning and it’s a lot more powerful than anything else we’ve got in the machine shop.”

Looking at the turret configuration as an alternative to platen tooling stations, Mr Brian Chamberlain, Senior Programmer at RDL Technologies says: “This configuration gives extra flexibility. There are so many different tools and tool holders available for the turret and this allows us to do so many different things. We can do gear hobbing, gun drilling, polygon turning. The machine is something between a sliding head and a fixed head machine. Primarily it’s a sliding head centre with a 350mm stroke on Z1, but it also has a secondary Z3 axis that allows you to use it as a fixed head. We also have a JBS system on the machine, so we can clamp the JBS, clamping the bar and turning with Z3 and this improves the concentricity of the parts you are turning.”

“With a sliding head sometimes, you turn the part and it’s very difficult to go back as the material falls out the guide bush and you don’t have the traditional support. However, when you have another Z-axis you don’t have that problem. You can turn with Z1 and machine in a conventional manner.”

Referring to the milling capacity of the powerful new Star ST-38, RDL is machining rectangular support blocks from round bar on the ST-38. As Mr Lockwood continues: “Most people would think that the part was machined on a machining centre, but we can do it on the Star ST-38. Machined from EN16T, which is quite heavy duty, it shows the capability of the machine when machining this high tensile material. By doing it on the ST-38, we could machine the job through the night, which makes it more profitable for the company.”

“We have another job that used to be machined on our Star SR-20II and then finished machined on a machining centre. We can now machine this type of part in a single set-up on the ST-38, saving us considerable set-up and machining time as well as enhancing precision.”

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