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Leader CNC Turning Centre is 'Fitting' for Hydraulics Manufacturer
Leader CNC Turning Centre is 'Fitting' for Hydraulics Manufacturer
Leader CNC Turning Centre is 'Fitting' for Hydraulics Manufacturer

Leader CNC Turning Centre is 'Fitting' for Hydraulics Manufacturer

Added to MTDCNC by Leader CNC Technologies Ltd on 30 October 2013

By producing over 20,000 types of component that form part of 5,000+ catalogue products, Burnett & Hillman Hydraulic Adaptors manufacture hydraulic components for just about any application. Producing over 10,000,000 parts per annum and in response to a 300% growth in its special/bespoke turning section over the last few years, the company has acquired three Unamuno turning centres from Leader CNC to support the capacity demand and assist in the manufacture of small batches of specialist components.

Small and medium batches at the Bristol based company range from 10 up to 3,000, with large batch manufacture of upwards of 250,000 pieces being produced on the company’s 24 Wickman multispindle turning centres. Since 1965, Burnett and Hillman has dedicated itself to the hydraulic adaptors market, now producing plugs, caps, crimp nuts, ferrules and adaptors to virtually all industry sectors worldwide.  Since moving to its 32,000sq/ft facility ten years ago, the business has been considerably developed by the partners. Primarily cutting bright drawn steel, 10 to 15% of the company’s order book consists of specials – it is here that the Unamuno machines have contributed to the growth.

As company partner Mr Colin Burnett comments: “We manufacture 36,000 parts daily and our smaller orders and specials aren’t suited to the multi-spindle machines. We also have a number of single spindle CNC turning centres and this section is often under pressure to produce parts on a rapid turn-around basis in order to meet next day delivery. Just over two years ago we bought an Unamuno 9-65 to replace a single spindle / single turret machine and the benefits, reliability and support soon led to the purchase of more machines.”

The first Unamuno 9-65 reduced secondary operations and, with three tools simultaneously in contact with the work piece, it allowed Burnett & Hillman to reduce some cycle times from 4 minutes to 60 seconds. As well as the huge advantage in improving cycle times, it was the ability of the Unamuno to reduce bar remnants that swung the decision in favour of Leader CNC and the Unamuno range as opposed to an alternate supplier.  

As a qualified CNC machinist and the third generation of the family owned business, Mr Daniel Burnett recalls: 'Our bar waste was anything up to 10 inches per bar and none of the leading machine tool companies were interested in developing a solution for this issue. Phil Wilkinson at Unamuno was keen to support us on this issue. The first Unamuno 9-65 and the two subsequent machines feed the bar right up to the transfer point, saving up to 10 inches of waste and enabling us to get an extra 3 parts from each bar.

This level of support and the saving in waste material meant that, when we wanted another machine earlier this year, we opted for another Unamuno, a Maxima 42mm diameter machine. This machine replaced a manually loaded turning centre and, like the 65mm machine, it allows us to increase productivity with lights out machining and improved cycle times.'

Intent on further improving its productivity, the North Somerset company wanted to produce its 'T’s' and elbows in one process as opposed to transferring from a multi-spindle machine to a single spindle turning centre for secondary milling operations.  Mr Daniel Burnett continues: 'To machine these parts we wanted a turning centre with B-axis capability for complex parts. Also, something that was rigid and robust to perform intermittent machining of square or hexagonal bar. The Unamuno 9-65B that arrived in May is the first installation of that model in the UK and we're delighted with the machine and the willingness of Leader CNC to develop a solution to our key issues.'

Since May, the 50 employee company has been running the 9-65B for 20 hours a day to produce batches of parts in quantities of up to 3,000 and the benefits have been remarkable. As Daniel Burnett highlights: 'We were machining parts on a multi-spindle in 60 seconds with a secondary operation of 80 seconds on another machine. The capability of the Unamuno 9-65B enables us to produce these parts complete in 95 seconds. Not only is this a time saving but it reduces handling, improves component consistency and the throughput of our parts. Additionally, the Unamuno machine can be set in less than 2 hours whilst the multi-spindle takes 10 hours to set up.'

As a further example, another fitting that was machined in a total of 6 minutes on two turning centres is now made on the 9-65B in 205 seconds – almost twice as fast. Additionally, the rigidity of the Unamuno 9-65B has improved tool life by 20% whilst also enhancing accuracy and surface finishes.

With its multitude of tooling stations, all easily accessed within the large work envelope, the configuration of the Unamuno 9-65B has also reduced job and tool changeover times. A 12 station turret at the front can support double ended tool holders, increasing the turret tool numbers to 24. The top left tooling station, mounted on a B axis slide, holds 6 fixed tools on one face with a further 4 driven tools and 2 stationary tools at 90 degrees on the other. Furthermore, the sub spindle also has a gang slide with 7 tools on one face and another 6 at 90 degrees - with this configuration, Burnett & Hillman are unlikely to struggle for tool positions.

As Mr Burnett concludes: 'We run a number of Japanese machine tools, but the escalating cost of these machines and an unwilling attitude to develop solutions to our problems resulted in a change of supplier.

 The Spanish built Unamuno range is an extremely robust and capable machine series that offers everything and more than our previous machines. Additionally, the machines are extremely user friendly with a 19 inch touch screen and a Windows interface. Both Unamuno and we can monitor the machine remotely, which is ideal for lights out machining as well as assisting with diagnostics and reports. With its well-lit and spacious work envelope and a slant bed design, we can easily access the tool stations and workpieces whenever necessary. The next phase for our business will be to replace any unproductive old machines and I have little doubt that Unamuno will play a big part in taking our productivity to the next level.'

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