Machining links with lasers

12 Feb 2019

Engineering capacity news posted by Andy Sandford

Laser drilling and marking specialist ES Precision is now offering a subcontract service that also includes machining.

Alongside its laser systems it also has a mix of manual lathes and two XYZ ProtoTRAK controlled mills.

“The machining side of the business was originally in place to provide in-house support for ES Technology’s production of bespoke laser processing systems,” says Andrew May, Director, ES Precision. “The continuation of this in-house machining is there to support the manufacture of fixtures, mandrels, etc. for our laser marking jobshop, but we saw a great opportunity to address the need for a local, personal service for low volume machining to the same industries the lasers address: motorsport, medical and general industrial.

The business provides medium to high volume laser marking and drilling to a wide range of industries, including Formula One, automotive, aerospace, electronics and the medical device sectors. The latter linking the laser and machining sides of the business perfectly, where ES Precision is working with its customer Blatchford, a leading manufacturer of prosthetic limbs to laser drill its Silicare Breathe liners to allow perspiration to escape and make the life of amputee athletes more comfortable.

These liners come in a range of sizes and require fixturing in order to laser drill precisely. The fixtures are machined on the XYZ ProtoTRAK mills. “In using the XYZ machines to produce fixtures for our in-house requirements we recognised the potential to add low-volume sub-contract machining to our list of services,” says Tim Millard, Managing Director, ES Precision. “For us the XYZ ProtoTRAK mills are ideal for R&D and small batch production and we are targeting the machining of one-offs and two-offs that are of no interest to more conventional sub-contract machine shops. We can justify that type of work due to the efficiency of the ProtoTRAK control when it comes to generating programs and the fact the machines are not fully utilised for our in-house requirements.”

The two XYZ mills include the most recent acquisition, an XYZ SMX SLV which with 1000 mm of X-axis travel makes this one of the largest turret mills on the market.

The ProtoTRAK control with its conversational programming along with canned cycles for a wide array of machining processes, makes for fast and accurate programming. “The ProtoTRAK control is key to our ability to provide the machining service that we do. The speed and ease that we can create programs at the machine control means that producing complex shapes and forms is straightforward,” says Tim Millard.  “Our laser capacity makes use of modern laser sources including fibre, YAG and CO2, meaning we can mark, etch and drill a wide range of materials, by combining that with a low-volume machining capacity we feel we have a complete business that can provide customers with an all-round professional partnership.”



Photo: ES Precision’s laser sub-contract services cover marking and drilling, including perforating liners for prosthetic limbs for its customer Blatchford.