Automatic Tool Probe Systems

March 7, 2012

Tool probes on machines are popular option to allow quick setting of the tool offsets to reduce setup time. If the machine is equipped with an automatic style tool probe there are additional features that can often be utilized. For example if an application calls for redundant tools for use with the tool life management feature, once all the tool lives have been expended though the course of the machining cycle, the operator would change all the tools and using a prewritten program use the automatic tool probe to automatically reconfirm all the tool offsets by cycling the program using the automatic mode. This could reduce the time from manually using the tool touch probe. Another often overlooked area for possible use is for broken tool detection. The automatic tool probe can very easily be written into a machining program to determine whether a cutting tool has been damaged, such as a drill or tap, and the machine cycle would then stop if the tool is found to be outside its preset limits.


Triple presence for Hardinge at MACH 2012

January 31, 2012

Hardinge Group is maximising its presence at the forthcoming MACH 2012 exhibition with two stands of its own and a further machine demonstrating workholding equipment on a suppliers stand.

In total there will be eleven Hardinge Group machines in fully operational mode at the exhibition with the main stand – 5438 in Hall 5 – featuring four Hardinge machine tools and four grinding centres from Kellenberger and Jones & Shipman.  In addition this stand will also showcase a Biglia multi-axis turning machine and a Quaser 5-axis milling centre, Hardinge UK Ltd being the main distributor for these brands in the UK.


Biglia Smartturn

A second stand – 4021 in Hall 4 – is dedicated to Hardinge workholding products and promoting the recently launched ‘ShopHardinge’ concept.
The Hardinge machine tools being featured are an XR1000 5 axis machining centre, a T42 Super Precision T series turning centre, a Bridgeport GX600 VMC and a GS150 CNC lathe.  In addition, there is a Biglia Smart Turn ‘S’ multi-axis turning machine and for the first time in the UK the Quaser MF400C, a 5 axis multi-face machine which features both tilting and rotary axes. READ MORE


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.

Hardinge Delivers new series of Quaser MV154 vertical machining centres to Greenway Pepper

July 26, 2011

The machine order was prompted by the production demands of a new contract that will involve between 80 and 90 components per month, with cycle times up to an hour each.

The MV154 proved ideal for this application, with table loading of 500 kg and dimensions of 900 by 500 mm, coupled with axis strokes of 700 mm in X, 530 mm in Y and 560 mm in Z. The machine also has X, Y and Z traverse rates of 40, 40 and 36 m/min and acceleration of 7, 6 and 5 m/sec² respectively.

Accuracy is high, at 0.008 mm helped by hand scraped slideways, however, the machine specification can be improved to 4 microns by incorporating the linear encoder option.

Bridgeport is well known to Greenway Pepper’s production team as they already have five Bridgeport VMCs and a GX600. 

Diversification has brought increased revenue to the subcontractor over the last couple of years, with a move from general subcontract work to being more focused in supplying the medical, defence, food and healthcare industries. As a result, turnover has grown by some 20 per cent to over £1 million, helped by a £250,000 investment in new equipment.

Set up in 1998 Greenway has progressively grown from 10 to 25 people, producing parts from materials as diverse as copper, aluminium, stainless steel, brass and PTFE. With the new contract, which will provide long term gains, the company has confidence to invest and has already changed from single to double shift working to improve machine utilisation.

Rotamic Engineering invests in a Hardinge Bridgeport GX 1000 3-axis vertical machining centre

July 21, 2011

Rotamic specialises in high precision manufacturing with a predominance in aerospace after the company secured AS 9100 accreditation. Its reputation has also spread across a range of specialist manufacturing from motorsport components to specialist medical to one-off and prototype machining.

It was with this diversity in mind that Rotamic purchased the Bridgeport mill with its ‘all-rounder’ capabilities, coupled with higher end specification.

Rotamic’s machine has a 10,000 rpm spindle motor and is equipped with the through spindle coolant option which enhances the machine’s versatility. Through coolant supplies coolant to the cutting edge at 20 bar and allows for faster speeds, enhanced deep hole drilling and blind pocket milling.

The swing arm tool change offers cycles as low as four seconds and Rotamic’s machine was supplied with a Bridgeport tooling package comprising 40 tools. The CNC control is a the latest Fanuc i-Series GX control which offers advanced features such as rigid tapping, tool life management, run time and parts counter as standard.

Gary Squires, production manager at Rotamic, comments: “The team at Rotamic prides itself with a passion for problem solving and efficiency, whatever the size and complexity of a project. The mix that turns average into outstanding is not just a mixture of skill, experience and a passion for engineering but one we support with investment.

“It’s early days yet so we have not been able to put the Bridgeport machine through all of its paces. But we have bought for the future; with our mix of work we have to be able to respond often at very short notice and when you have a machine of this capability with the ease and speed of programming, it’s not difficult to see it is going to be an invaluable investment.”