On the second day of the MACH 2018 machine tool exhibition in Birmingham, a local firm, Summit Patternmaking, placed an order on the Hurco stand for a 5-axis machining centre. When the VMX42SRTi B-axis machine is delivered at the end of May, it will double the pattern and tool maker's 5-axis machining capacity, although the firm also operates four 3-axis VMCs.
Production of models and patterns for vehicle interiors are a particular specialism, accounting for two-thirds of turnover. Gauges, jigs, fixtures and tools for the automotive and aerospace supply chains are also to be found regularly on the shop floor.
Summit Patternmaking director Duncan Willetts said, "We carry out a lot of 5-axis machining of automotive replication gauges and also of Formula One race car parts.
"Apart from needing more capacity, we were looking for a bigger working volume to cope with larger parts and a more robust machine to process denser model boards as well as alloys."
He believes that the 7.5 tonne Hurco machining centre with its 35 kW / 119 Nm spindle he has chosen is ideal for these applications. Provision of the fifth CNC axis via a ± 90 degree swivelling spindle head rather than a trunnion was favoured, as it provides a larger working volume, right up to 1,067 x 610 X 610 mm for 3-axis work.
Tolerances held at the Birmingham factory are typically ± 0.05 mm. These are easily achieved on Hurco 5-axis machines, which are considerably less expensive than many models on the market that Mr Willetts researched before placing the order.