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Sliding Head Lathes Without a Guide Bush Prove Efficient for Mass Production

Sliding Head Lathes Without a Guide Bush Prove Efficient for Mass Production

Added to MTDCNC by Star Micronics GB Limited on 07 August 2012

For a particular customer in the electrical industry, turned parts subcontractor, Wealdpark, machines over one million parts per year from brass bar at its Merseyside facility using Star sliding-headstock lathes. With such large production quantities involved, a couple of years ago director Phil Smith turned his attention to reducing bar end wastage.

As a result, three of the 12 Star multi-axis CNC sliders on site are non-guide-bush models, two 20 mm-capacity SR-20JNs and a larger SR-32JN.

Mr Smith advised, "The bar remnant on normal sliding-head lathes with a guide bush is around 30 cm but with the JN lathes, the length is typically 10 cm.

"For the right type of work, especially when machining shorter parts, the three-fold saving in material wastage translates into a massive reduction in manufacturing cost.

"It allows us to stay competitive, retain existing work and win new contracts."

Wealdpark's latest SR-20JN was ordered in the run-up to the MACH 2012 exhibition and is of the latest design with five driven cross-working tools and a Fanuc 32i-B swing-out control. Then at the show, Mr Smith walked across to the Star stand from his own in the BTMA section and made what he describes as an impulse buy.

He discussed with Star's operations manager, Steve Totty, which of the latest machine models on the stand Wealdpark could use to good effect on some new projects and was pointed toward the latest SB-16EII slider.

The 16 mm capacity model distinguishes itself by having two live cross working tools plus a third position. The latter can accept an additional cross driven tool, or a three-spindle counterface tool for both front and rear driven tool applications, or a four-spindle drilling unit for front and back working. The machine also features XB and ZB movements of the counter spindle and four back working tools.

Mr Smith continued, "This fortuitous purchase has paid dividends, as the lathe can run cycles a full 30 per cent quicker than a similar machine we bought seven years ago.

"It is down to a combination of faster rapids (35m/min) and the Fanuc 0i-TD control, which optimises programs by taking idle times out of the cycles."

The tally of Star machines at the Merseyside factory now comprises two SV-32s both with high-pressure coolant and JBS guide bushing, one SV-32J, two SR-32Js and one JN variant, two SR-20RIIs, two SR-20JNs, an SB-16E and the new EII model.

The first machine was bought in 2001 and by the time the 11th Star had been installed in 2011, Wealdpark had replaced all of its 53 cam-type bar auto's. It means that each slider is as productive as five cam machines. Electricity, cutting oil and tool usage have fallen dramatically in that period and so also has headcount, down from 55 to 19.

The subcontractor uses a PSL Datatrack management system to streamline order processing, purchasing, invoicing and quotations. The latest initiative has been to connect all 12 Stars and other machine tools on the shop floor to an Absolent oil mist filtration system.

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