Rotec puts the lights out

11 Feb 2019

Engineering capacity news posted by Andy Sandford

Five-axis turning and new CADCAM software have reduced setup times and allow ‘lights-out’ production at Evesham-based Rotec.

The company, which supplies components to the aerospace, automotive and oil and gas sectors using advanced fixed and sliding head turning, has just installed a new Nakamura NTRX 300 supplied by the Engineering Technology Group (ETG), building on a long-term relationship with the machine tool supplier.

Paul Butler, Managing Director and owner of Rotec said: “It is a great machine. We’ve been involved with Nakamura for some time and its technology is extremely reliable, very fast and very accurate,” explained

“In our endeavour to move forward and expand, we wanted a machine with all of these attributes that we could also programme directly from our CAM programme with full 5-axis turning.

“We found that just focusing on cycle time wasn’t the right way forward for our business. There is often a lot of downtime between jobs, so the whole idea of this investment is to apply the CAM system and the machine flexibility to reduce our set-up times.

“Now, we can set-up complex jobs very quickly and, with a bar feed and auxiliary loader, we can run these challenging parts unmanned and they come off the machine complete.”

ETG, which is the UK’s exclusive supplier of Nakamura technology, worked with Rotec to source a machine that matched its exact requirements. The NTRX 300 has a milling head combined with twin opposed spindles which made it a very attractive proposition for the work involved.

The challenge was to get all the technology to work seamlessly for the company so that it trusts the machines to run when employees aren’t there. This meant that during the day staff can set-up complex, automotive and F1 parts, whilst during the night they can look at processing parts that, historically, would be milled components.

Mr Butler added: “ETG put forward CIMCO as a possible solution. This software system is networked and can work across multiple machine tool brands, which suits us perfectly. It gives us a very good view of our efficiency and we have it in a pictorial view so we can instantly see how efficient we have been over the last 12 hours, 3 days, 1 month or 2 months. We can also generate reports for our meetings, so we can analyse performance.”