ShopHardinge expands after successful launch

August 25, 2011

Just weeks after its launch in the UK, the inventory of the extensive Hardinge Machine Tools’ ShopHardinge on-line store has been considerably expanded with a range of branded products added.

Launched in early July with 65,000 products in its online inventory, the  e-commerce web site offers purchasers the opportunity to browse, select and purchase a vast range of products ranging from a simple collet to a sophisticated rotary table.

ShopHardinge has been highly successful in the USA over the past 2 years and early signs are that customers in the UK are equally enthusiastic, making use of its many features,” explains Rob Beckett, Hardinge UK’s Workholding Product Manager.

“As well as purchasing, on-line visitors to the site can check on stock levels and access technical data and already the scope of the site has been expanded,” he adds.

Added since the launch have been tool and workshop storage cabinets and trolleys from Bott, coolants from Q8, a choice of barfeeds from Hydrafeed, Iemca, LNS and Samsys and rotary tables from Nikken.

Most recently, Europa Manual Turret Mills have also been added.  Two versions are offered – the 5000VS with an ISO40 taper and the 2000VS with an R8 taper.  Although budget priced – both at under £10,000 – the machines have a range of features that make them invaluable additions to any small or medium size workshop where the can undertake simple milling operations without the need to disrupt the automated machines.

Rob Beckett explains.  “In adding these and other reputable branded products to the ShopHardinge  portfolio we are extending the ‘one stop shop’ ShopHardinge concept and these new names are expected to be the first of a range of additions,” he concludes.

Kit car manufacturer aims to be self sufficient

August 23, 2011

The acquisition of a Hardinge GS 200 multi-axis turning centre by kit car designer and  manufacturer Great British Sports Cars has been a major milestone towards its goal of being self sufficient for the supply of many small turned components.

Based in Boughton near Newark in Nottinghamshire, GBS has been in business for some 4 years and is well known among enthusiasts for its ‘Zero’ kit car.  As with all kits it is based on what is known as a donor vehicle – in the Zero’s case it is currently a Ford Sierra – but the tubular space frame chassis and a great many of the components that make up the final kit are traditionally sourced from a wide cross section of suppliers.

This in itself can create supply problems as company director Keith Bird explains.

“There is nothing worse than shipping an order to a customer with a number of key components missing and therefore potentially causing a delay in assembling the kit.  We recognised this from an early stage – it appears to be a common cause of complaint throughout the kit car industry – so we set about remedying the situation.”

As a consequence GBS has now bought ‘in house’ a very high percentage of its manufacturing and fabricating operations and with the arrival of the Hardinge machine in early Spring 2011, production of turned parts will be increasingly under their control.

“We offer a very flexible service to our customers and this reflects on the way we supply key components.  For example we might previously have had to purchase simple items such as bushes in quite large batch quantities.  Now with our own machine tool on the premises, we have total control of the manufacturing and can produce quite small quantities in a very short time span if necessary.”

The GBS Zero offers exceptional value for money and GBS has recently introduced a new wide bodied version that is proving very popular. Every aspect of the kit is available from the company with all the key components from the donor car (such as brakes) completely re-conditioned to ‘as new’ standards.  If necessary, GBS can part or completely assemble a car to a customer’s specific requirements.

Manufacturing on the GS200 is under the control of Jonathon Hunter who, on his own admission, is learning as he goes along.  That said he had produced the first component from the GS200 within a week of it being commissioned.

The machine tool is equipped with the very latest Siemens 828D machine control which, among its many features, offers simpler set up and very powerful CAD functions.  The machine is fed via a Hydrafeed bar feeder.

“It’s not an understatement to say the Hardinge machine will play a major role in our future progression as a business,” states Keith Bird. There is a significant market for these types of cars in the leisure and sports market and more and more cars are being shipped overseas.  Therefore we have to offer the most professional back up possible and that necessitates investment in top rate production equipment and processes.  We believe we have a winner with Hardinge.”

‘Perfect combination’ with Biglia multi axis turn-mill

August 19, 2011

The latest Biglia Smart Turn ‘S’ multi-axis turn-mill centre offers a ‘best of both worlds’ integrated  machining solution combining turning and milling to create a perfect lathe / machining centre combination supplemented by a sub spindle to enable the completion of all operations in a single cycle.

Italian manufactured Biglia machine tools are now available in the UK through its distributor Hardinge Machine Tools of Leicester.  These high end Biglia machines offer an enticing combination of the highest specification and build quality at an investment significantly less than competitive integrated mill turn centres offering similar multi tasking capabilities.

At the heart of the Smart Turn’s performance is the extremely rigid, cast iron machine bed, a crucial factor in eliminating vibration and so enhancing machining speeds and allowing the very highest precision.

On the latest ‘S’ version of the Smart Turn, the main spindle and the integrated 210° rotation turn/mill B axis module configuration are supplemented by a powerful (24kW) sub spindle to allow genuine all around machining of the work piece.  This enables the Smart Turn to achieve turning, milling, drilling, tapping and boring operations within the machining envelope and in a single set up. 

With the sub spindle fitted the work piece is automatically transferred from the main spindle allowing genuine all around heavy duty machining with high precision.  To ensure the complete safety of the operation the sub spindle is equipped with a load detection system with a pneumatic ejector to check the presence of the workpiece.

The main spindle is powered by a 25kW motor and has a large bar capacity – 94mm as standard that increases to 102mm on the belt transmission version.  It features a large 8” spindle nose and has a maximum rotation speed of 3000rpm.

The sub spindle has a maximum 4000rpm rotation speed, a 6” spindle nose and a 65mm maximum bar capacity.  The 24kW motor complements the all around power of the complete unit – 20kW on the B axis and 25kW on the main spindle – features which also optimise swarf removal. The significant specification of the sub spindle also makes it particularly adept at machining hard materials.

The integrated turn-mill operations are achieved with a B axis module operating in tandem with the Y axis – making full use of the latter’s large 128cm travel. Such a capability meets the ever growing demand for the production of small and medium size components in varying batch quantities and machined in a single cycle.


As standard the Smart Turn ‘S’ is equipped with a programmable tailstock which is automatically positioned by the Z-axis slide.  It is also equipped with a swarf conveyor and coolant filtration and chilling. Coolant is delivered with low and high pressure options – high pressure being 25 bar.

 The machine is supplied with an HSK – A63 B-axis tooling package and features a 40 capacity tool store.  Tool setting is facilitated by an in-built tool setter and there is tool load monitoring on the most heavily used tools. The servo operated tool changer has a 2 second cycle and a 5 second chip-to-chip change over.

As standard the Smart Turn ‘S’ is fitted with a Fanuc CNC and Biglia’s ‘Manual Guide’ software.

The machine is constructed on a sturdy cast iron machine bed with hardened and ground box section guide ways to assure rigidity and vibration damping.

What is the advantage of using a DIRECT-DRIVE rotary table?

August 17, 2011

Direct-drive technology can advance your company to the next level…high-speed, super-precision parts positioning.  ±3 arc-sec accuracy, ±2 arc-sec repeatability and ±.077 arc-sec resolution is achievable! Hardinge direct-drive rotary table indexers have no mechanical gearing. This means ZERO backlash which permits rapid bidirectional movement. Hardinge has three sizes to fit your machining application. The smaller DD100 is ideal for drill and tap and laser processing. The larger DD200 and DD300 include a spindle clamp and slotted face plate. The A2-5 spindle will accept collets, expanding collets, step chucks, FlexC quick-change collets and power chucks.

Hardinge Bridgeport 5 axis milling capability reduces costs while improving cutting performance

August 4, 2011

Minimising time spent on non profitable set up operations and reducing cycle times while improving overall machine performance are some of the benefits offered by the latest generation of Hardinge Bridgeport 5-axis XR vertical machining centres.

Developed to work across the spectrum from complex one-off parts through to small batch or high volume production environments, the machines are finding favour with manufacturers ranging from die and mould to aerospace, motor sport and medical.

The 600 designation refers to the maximum work piece diameter that can be accommodated on the worktable (600mm) with a height maximum of 450mm.  On this machine the rapid traverse rates for the X, Y and Z axes is 36m/min with the A axis operating at 25rpm, the C at 33.3 rpm.

The standard spindle on this machine operates at 12,000rpm but there is a 15,000rpm option with a belt and gear box free WEISS directly coupled unit.  This reduces spindle inertia and offers increased acceleration/deceleration times for greater productivity. Other features include low vibration and high power density which produce even greater radial stability.  And the absence of the drive traverse forces permits extremely high accuracy at the work piece due to the smooth, accurate spindle motion, even at very low speeds.

Standard spindle performance is enhanced by a unique grease replenishment system that keeps grease quality at a consistently high level. As a result the machine can run with higher bearing pre-loads, creating enhanced rigidity, higher metal removal rates and the ability to run at faster spindle speeds for longer durations.

As standard the XR 600 AX is supplied with a 48 tool No. 40 carousel but a 60 tool option is available. Tools are swing arm replaced with a chip-to-chip change time of 4.9 seconds.

A quick-change range of high accuracy, permanently bonded, sealed collet heads is available from Hardinge

August 2, 2011

They have capacity options of up to 42 mm or 65 mm and features versions that will provide an accuracy within 0.010 mm TIR, while across the range have a wider than normal gripping capability of + 0.5 mm. 

The precision-engineered Hardinge FlexCTM collet system can be exchanged within 20 secs and is industry compatible for mounting on lathes with A2-5, A2-6, A2-8 and 170 mm spindles.

The system is available in three styles: ‘A’ pull-back dead-length(R) and ‘D’ pull-back thru-hole, both with accuracies of 0.010 m, TIR; and ‘DL’ push-to-close dead-length(R), which has an accuracy of 0.20 mm TIR.

Collets are suitable for main- and sub-spindle applications and stock items include round-smooth, round-serrated and hexagon forms. Shapes such as square, stepped hole, off-centre and between size increments can be custom supplied.