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New Nakamuras for mill-turning efficiency at Reading Precision Engineering
New Nakamuras for mill-turning efficiency at Reading Precision Engineering
New Nakamuras for mill-turning efficiency at Reading Precision Engineering

New Nakamuras for mill-turning efficiency at Reading Precision Engineering

Added to MTDCNC by Engineering Technology Group on 14 March 2014

Abingdon-based Reading Precision Engineering is investing in powerful Nakamura Tome mill-turning machines to allow it to produce parts in one from bar and billet.

The company has just taken delivery of a WT300 twin-spindle, twin-turret turning centre with 10' chuck and 80mm through-spindle bar capacity and a Nakamura SC-200 single chuck mill-turning machine with 65mm bar capacity and a 1500mm multi-load bar feed.

On order, for delivery in April, is a Nakamura Super NTJX twin-turning-spindle, mill-turning machine with swivel-head 5-axis machining capability, 1500mm multi-load bar feed and 65mm bar capacity. All are being supplied by Turning Technologies, a member of the Engineering Technology Group (ETG) and the sole UK representative for Nakamura-Tome turning centres.

Reading Engineering, which was acquired by sister company Ashby Precision Engineering in 2010, has seen significant investment by Ashby since then. As well as five Nakamura machines, and two Hurco VMX60SR five-axis machining centres, it has also moved to new premises adjacent to Ashby in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Both sites are accredited individually to BS ISO 9001.

Ashby Precision Engineering, which was set up around 35 years ago, is focused on large-scale machining and assembly for high-tech industries such as cryogenics and scientific equipment, and Reading complements this with a batch-work turning and machining capability.

Sales Manager Mike Leonard says that typical work for Reading includes lock components, subsea equipment, sensor and instrument housings and surveying equipment – as well as cryogenic gas syphon components as stock items for Ashby.

'We can offer turning capacity from 5mm up to 1m diameter and can be making anything from batches of 10 to batches of 5,000. There is quite a lot of milling involved. Most of the parts we make are turned and milled, which is why we want the machines that can do this in one hit.'

He adds: 'We don’t want to be moving parts around the workshop. We want to be able to put the billet or the bar on the machine and get the finished component off.

'Some of our work currently needs four operations, two on a lathe and two on a milling machine – with the Nakamura’s we will be able to do that in one hit. It is obviously more cost-effective and it makes you more competitive. It also removes the possibility of components getting damaged when they are handled between operations.'

As an example of the efficiency gains, a stainless steel connector for a sensor housing which previously had to be turned on a lathe then machined on a milling machine, is now made on the WT300 in one operation, including engraving, in a cycle time of around 3 minutes.

Mr Leonard says that Reading’s customers have high expectations on quality and accuracy, particularly in the instrumentation industry, and that has influenced the investment decision too.

'One of the reasons we made this investment is to be able to meet these very high demands. The machines we have bought have probing on them so we can actually check the job before it comes off the machine. And the machines can work to the high technical requirements and tolerances called for by customers in areas such as instrumentation.'

The decision to opt for Nakamura machines was an easy one, as Reading was already a satisfied user of two smaller Nakamura twin-turret, twin-spindle machines – a WT 100 and aWT150 – with 42mm and 51mm bar capacity respectively.

Mike Leonard says: 'They have been very good machines and we have been very happy with them, so we went with Nakamura for the new machines too. Now we can cover the full size range from 12mm up to whatever size you want.'

The new Nakamura WT 300 is a highly rigid, multi-tasking machine with box slides to all axes. It has 12 driven tool positions on each turret with milling power up to 5.5kw, and with synchronised left and right spindles can offer up to 30kW of cutting power on shaft work.

ETG was able to deliver the WT300 almost immediately as it was a stock machine and also loaned the company a Hardinge lathe to provide extra capacity until the other new machines are delivered.

Mike Leonard concludes: 'We are increasing our capacity and making that capacity quicker and more efficient.

'Moving from turning and milling on separate machines to getting finished parts off in one will have a major impact. I would say it would reduce the job by half – lead times and deliveries will be twice as fast.

'We have made a big investment in the future and are trying to keep one step ahead of our competitors. We are looking to invest in new machinery to reduce cycle times and lead times, while holding the tight tolerances and highest levels of quality our customers require.'

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