Five-axis UK first

07 Nov 2018

Engineering capacity news posted by Andy Sandford

Norjon Precision Engineering has installed a 5-axis Makino machining centre designed with automation in mind as part of a turnkey package.

The high-speed DA300 vertical machining centre is the first of its kind in the UK and was supplied by sole agent NCMT complete with an Erowa storage and handling system for 24 pallets.

It is the subcontractor's ninth trunnion-type, 5-axis machine. It is intended primarily for highly productive milling and drilling of aluminium components but is equally capable of machining stainless steel for long periods.

Kevin Fox, Norjon's managing director said, "We only buy high quality machines, which we have always needed as most of our customers demand a high-quality finish. Makino has a reputation for being at the top end of machine tool suppliers in terms of accuracy and reliability and this particular model is very fast, with 60 m/min rapids and 20,000 rpm spindle.

He went on to explain that the DA300 is built with automation in mind as it is prepared with pneumatic ports in the table, so interfacing the Erowa Robot Compact 80 was seamless. It provides quick, efficient component exchange, maximising machine utilisation.

If production work is involved, Norjon would in future not consider installing a machine tool that does not have automation, as in Mr Fox's opinion it is essential to achieve the required output. Without it, and the extra 60 hours unmanned production every weekend, the subcontractor would not be able to keep pace with customer requirements.

The alternative would be to install additional machine tools, which would be added expense and in any case there is little spare room on the shop floor. Moreover, as operators are free to attend to other jobs, automated pallet handling is important for minimising the labour cost content of component production.

A typical example is on a family of aluminium prismatic components.

Mr Fox explained; "We set the job up initially on a Friday evening and inspected the first-off component. The cell ran continuously over the weekend and the following Monday we measured the first component produced that morning. The dimensions were exactly the same, so the accuracy we are achieving in the cell is excellent."




Photo: Machining area of the DA300 showing the trunnion and rotary table that provide the rotary 4th and 5th CNC axes.