The continued growth and diversity of the Altec Engineering Group has seen the demand for 5 axis CNC capacity at its Durham facility beginning to overtake that of their traditional 3 & 4 axis machining centres, shifting the balance more towards multi-axis technology within the business.
Altec has invested heavily in new multi-axis machine tool technology for its Durham facility in recent times. The first 5-axis machine to arrive was a Mazak VCT800/30SR 5-axis machining centre. A moving gantry style machine with rotational B-axis and an impressive work envelope of 3000mm x 800mm x 720mm, this machine has proven to be a valuable asset to the business being used to fulfil a number of contracts for both aerospace & defence related components.
The extended tool magazine, wireless Renishaw probe measurement, 70bar coolant to cover gun-drilling applications and a centre partition allows different components to be machined simultaneously.
Installed 3 months ago is Altec’s latest Mazak Vari-axis i-700 featuring the new control system Smooth X. This trunnion style simultaneous 5-axis machining centre has improved surface speed interpolation, seamless corner control to limit vibration and intelligent pocket milling allowing accurate processing of parts with complex profiled surfaces in a single setup.
The machines’ two-pallet changer provides unattended operations and lights out running plus the benefit off-cycle change over / fixturing setup. This simple, efficient form of automation allows operators to load, unload and inspect parts on one pallet while the machine works on the other maintaining the highest levels of productivity at all times.
Altec’s venture into 5-axis machining continues with the announcement, following Farnborough Air Show 2016, that they have placed a repeat order for another 5 axis Mazak VTC800/30SR. The specification for this latest machine is in line with Altec’s other 5 axis systems, which manufacture a comprehensive range of components in aluminium and titanium. Due for delivery at the end of September 2016 with installation during October, the machine will be operational and ready for production in November, giving Altec’s production planners welcome relief to the company’s expanding order book.
Altec business development director Paul Lackenby commented: “The multi-axis capability we have developed at our Durham facility is impressive and ranges in size from large bed machines to multi-pallet systems with in process probing. Our large bed machines incorporate high-pressure coolant for high speed machining and this feature also allows us to bring certain deep hole features in-house, making Altec a very viable and competitive machining partner in the market place. We are committed to expanding our capabilities in multi-axis machining as the recent order to Yamazaki Mazak UK demonstrates.”