Renishaw Invests in Anca for Cutting Tool Production
MTDCNC recently visited the Renishaw PLC site in Miskin, South Wales to take a ‘behind the scenes’ look at this state of the art manufacturing plant and the Anca machines the metrology specialist has acquired.
Located between Cardiff and Bridgend at what was previously the Bosch alternator manufacturing site, Renishaw has become a major employer in the area since opening its doors for business in 2012.
Developing and producing additive manufacturing machines at the facility, the company has invested heavily in developing the site. MTD spoke with Darren Lingard, Production Engineer at Renishaw PLC to discuss the application of Anca grinding centres at the facility. Darren told us: “The Anca machines are very reliable, very productive and easy to use. The machines are very flexible, easy to program and the operators and maintenance staff all really like the machines. The machines are used purely to manufacture our own products. So, we manufacture end mills, slot drills, spot drills and other cutting tools that are generally tailored for our own use.”
“We now have two Anca machines, one arrived on site in 2016 to increase our capacity and another is installed at our headquarters in Stonehouse, which was purchased over five years ago. Regarding the recent installation of the Anca MX7 Linear, the operators like the CNC control unit, which is very easy to use. It is menu led, intuitive and it has lots of graphical illustrations for user friendliness.”
“When it came to buying the Anca machines, we did look at the other big names in the industry but we found it was the Anca that really did best suit our needs. The machine is fully automated with a FANUC robot loader and we have in-cycle probing as well as the wheel measurement probing system. All these features allow us to grind tools for up to 10 hours lights-out.”
When asked why the company manufactures its own cutting tools, Mr. Lingard says: “The reason for producing our own tools is two-fold. Firstly, the cost is a big issue. We probably save 40-50% on the cost of our tooling. The other thing is that we can tailor the tools in-house to our exact applications. We design tools that work best for our manufacturing facility and for lights-out production. Some of our machines run 24 hours a day and we need to trust the tooling that is installed, to meet that demanding run-time.”
“If there was to be the third machine, it would likely be another Anca. I am personally based at Stonehouse, some 60 miles away and I can access and support the Miskin machine remotely with the aid of a laptop and a phone. With this situation that works so well, it wouldn’t be worthwhile buying anything other than Anca. I develop the tools and the programs off-line. I also have the information on a laptop, so if I need to visit Miskin to prove-out tools, fine tune programs, collision check or make any alterations to optimise programs and cycle times, which can all be done very easily.”
With the new MX7 Linear at Miskin being a newer version than the machine at Stonehouse, the latest version in Wales has an upgraded control unit. Commenting upon this, Mr. Lingard continues: “The controls look completely different but the software is virtually identical, which we needed to maintain a synergy.”