Medical Manufacturing turns to Hardinge SUPER-PRECISION® Gang-Tool Turning Center

March 5, 2013

Medical part manufacturing continues to be a rapidly growing market due to the large population of aging baby boomers who are looking for “improved quality of life”. Demand is high for high-precision components for neurological, orthopeadic, spinal/bone fixation, dental implants, drug infusion, catheter connectors, optical, maxillofacial, micro/minimally invasive, surgical instruments and other medical devices, most of which can be manufactured on the Hardinge QUEST® SUPER-PRECISION® GT27 gang-tool turning center.
The Hardinge QUEST® SUPER-PRECISION® GT27 gang-tool turning center is designed for machining small diameters, complex and tight tolerance parts, and other challenging requirements. The GT27 offers a continuous machining accuracy of .0002” on diameter, part roundness variation of .000015” and part surface finish of 8 micro-inch, and has proven to be indispensible to some of the best medical manufacturing companies in the world. Bar work up to 1-1/16”/27mm and chucked parts up to 4” in diameter (using a step chuck) can be machined on the GT27 today, with the ability to hold the same accuracy ten years down the road.

The Hardinge GT27 is unlike all competitive gang-tool machines in that it includes their patented interchangeable top plate and their world-renowned, quick-change collet-ready spindle. The top plate secures to the dovetailed cross slide and is interchangeable for quick and accurate tooling changes that can be performed in under a minute. Pre-tooled top plates can be quickly interchanged within .0002” repeatability to produce a new part or family of parts. Hardinge’s patented collet-ready spindle provides maximum rigidity and gripping power because the collet seats directly in the spindle with minimum overhang from the spindle bearings. In this design the spindle accuracy is transferred directly to the workpiece. Additionally, the patented HARCRETE® machine base is 10% stiffer than cast iron, resulting in improved dynamic stability with one-third less vibration at the spindle and a 30% increase in tool life. This provides significantly better part surface finishes than cast iron. Size repeatability, surface finish quality and thermal stability are hallmarks for Hardinge lathes.


The Hardinge GT27 can be used as a stand-alone unit, a higher capacity system with a bar feed, or as a fully automated system with a robot. This machine is an excellent complement to a Swiss machine shop to handle parts that require higher precision. Bar whip or chatter that may be found to some degree in Swiss turning, is not an issue with the GT27 because the bar or chucked part is gripped close to the spindle bearings. For more information call 0116 2869900 or visit


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.

Lathes & Sub Spindles – Options To Be Considered

March 1, 2012

Today’s mid and high performance cnc lathes are often times ordered with a second or sub spindle option to help increase productivity by eliminating secondary machining operations. In order to get the most productivity from this type of machine option there are a number of additional options that should be considered. These options will increase production uptime, while minimizing the potential for machine damage.

Key options to consider:

  1. Parts Ejection
  2. Part Present Detection
  3. Thru Sub Spindle Coolant
  4. Sub Spindle Air blast
  5. Barfeeder

Sub spindle options are becoming more prevalent in today’s marketplace for lathes. All the above features should be considered when investigating a sub spindle option for a particular project. Additionally whenever the thru spindle coolant or air blast features are used, it may be beneficial to rotate the spindle at a slow (50rpm) speed while activating the option, to help allow the chips to evacuate better.

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


‘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.

High hopes as Hardinge and Biglia conclude partnership agreement

July 11, 2011

Leicester based Hardinge Machine Tools Limited has announced it has concluded an agreement with E. Biglia & C. S.p.a. for the sales, marketing, distribution and service support interests in the UK and China of the Italian company’s extensive range of CNC lathes and multi axis turning centres.

Biglia is the leading Italian manufacturer of multi axis turning centres and the sixth largest CNC lathe producer in Europe, with over 10,000 units actively in operation around the world.  Now, as part of its ambitions to make a significant impact not just in the UK but also in China, it has agreed that Hardinge will in future represent its interests in these markets.

“The arrangement we have agreed with Biglia means that in future Hardinge has sales, service and technical support responsibility for their machines in the UK and in China,” explains Martin Doyle, Sales and Marketing Manager for Hardinge Machine Tools Limited.

“Both parties are agreed that the potential benefits will be significant,” he adds.
“In many ways this is the completion of the jigsaw with Hardinge taking the opportunity to offer manufacturers in the UK and China an even wider range of products.  In these markets Hardinge now offers machine tools in its own specialised product ranges of Turning, Milling and Grinding with its capability of offering entry level solutions up to and including integrated cells now complemented by the high end multi-tasking Biglia products.”
Mauro Biglia, commercial sales manager of E. Biglia & C. S.p.a. is equally enthusiastic;
“Hardinge is the one of the world’s leading machine tool builders with a great reputation in the market and a significant global presence.  Biglia expects to increase its sales in these two key markets and bring to its customers better support and greater productivity,” he explains.
For a number of years Biglia’s interests in the UK have been looked after by Kenilworth based Whitehouse Machine Tools and Hardinge has embarked on a programme to manage the transition period with existing customers to ensure absolute continuity in sales, service and spares supply.  To this end, Steve Brown, one of Hardinge’s Leicester based Applications Engineers, will assume a special responsibility for the Biglia project – both existing and new business – and he has already been working in Italy to familiarise himself with the products and the Biglia operations.
“For customers looking to machine complex work pieces turned from bar or billets, the Biglia machines offer a superb solution,” adds Martin Doyle.  “For some time Hardinge has been looking for a partner with this expertise in the UK and China to complement its already strong presence in these countries.  We believe the skills, engineering and quality of manufacture that Biglia has within its operation perfectly complement the Hardinge operation. 
“Hardinge offers Biglia a superb opportunity for growth in these two strategic markets and with our sales teams representation, will now bring Biglia to a much wider market, offering customers looking for ‘one hit’ machining solutions a new range of options.
“This is a very exciting development and we look forward to it contributing significantly to both organisations’ sales performance in these key markets,” he concludes.