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First sliding head turning centre at WLR

First sliding head turning centre at WLR

Added to MTDCNC by Star Micronics GB Limited on 05 January 2015

A little over two years ago, Nottingham-based WLR Precision Engineering invested in its first sliding head turning centre, a Star SR-32J. We wanted to find out why....

Formed in 1969 as a family owned aerospace subcontractor, the company now supplies the petrochemical, medical and metrology sectors with a diverse range of machined components. As the company's first foray into sliding head technology, WLR purposely opted for a less sophisticated solution in terms of axes and tools. Commenting upon the acquisition,  WLR's Managing Director, Mr Kevin Callon says: ' We bought our first Star machine two years ago, so sliding heads weren't something we previously considered. We always looked at CNC lathes with collet chucks, driven tools and barfeeds, but we realised we produce a lot of parts under 32mm diameter. This work is often better suited to a sliding head machine. By investing in Star, I feel we have added to our capability rather than take the company in a different direction.'

What attracted WLR Precision to Star was initially the locality and the friendly service of the machine tool vendor. However, taking a closer look at what the Star machines could do, it was the ability to complete complex parts in one operation and improve precision over existing machines that won the day.

As Mr Callon continues: 'We were previously having jobs centerless ground to hold tolerances of 0.1mm, but that can now be done on the Star. This has reduced operations and lead-times and we now effectively do two milling and two turning operations in one set-up. So, our shop floor time has reduced massively and this is a major factor in our reduced lead-times.'

WLR has witnessed huge productivity benefits for parts it manufactures in small and larger batches alike. Added to this, the quality and consistency of the parts has improved due to the ability of the Star to machine parts in one-hit. However, there is more to the package than just the productivity benefits, as Mr Callon continues: 'The service has been excellent, Star has always supported us with machine and technical queries and training as well as support with tooling and collets.'

Looking toward the next step for the expanding subcontract business, Mr Callon concludes: 'Now that I have seen the benefits that can be achieved with a Star machine, I wouldn't rule out a more advanced machine in the future.'

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