The domain of manufacturing innovation

AMMar18Features - MACH
AMMar18Features - MACH

MACH 2018 is the UK’s largest manufacturing and engineering exhibition. Ed Hill takes a look at what visitors can expect to see at this year’s show and features some of the exhibitors of interest to aerospace manufacturing practitioners.

Scheduled this year to run from April 9-13th at the NEC Birmingham, MACH 2018 is the biennial event that brings together the latest developments and best innovations found in the engineering industry.

It also provides manufacturers of all sizes and sectors the chance to network with key clients and prospects as well as gain insight into their needs and future vision for supply chain manufacturing.

Established more than 100 years ago by the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA). It attracts in the region of 600 exhibitors and more than 25,000 visitors. MACH 2016, saw more than £150 million worth of business attributed to it.

Areas of manufacturing found in the show aisles include: all forms of metalworking and machine tool technology, CADCAM and other manufacturing and production software; metrology and inspection; robotics and automation; materials, manufacturing support services, ancillary equipment suppliers, additive manufacturing technologies; and much more.

This year the show has been moved to Halls 17, 18, 19, 20, 6 and 7 of the NEC. This is the first move of the show since it started being held at the exhibition centre in 1976 and reflects the changing technologies the show covers. The new layout of the show is all on one level, enhancing both the visitor and exhibitor experience.

Hot topics for discussion at the show will include Industry 4.0 and the interconnectivity of machines, additive manufacturing and cyber security, to name but a few.

This year the show is being opened by Olympic gold medallist sailor Sir Ben Ainslie. Sir Ben has a keen interest in manufacturing and the technology behind it, with his British America’s Cup team, Land Rover BAR employing the latest manufacturing processes in the creation of a foiling race boat for the America's Cup.

He comments: “At Land Rover BAR we bring together huge resources of technical, design and engineering knowledge to create something truly British and unique. I’m very much looking forward to opening the MACH 2018 exhibition and seeing the latest innovations coming out of the UK’s manufacturing technologies sector.”

The MTA’s head of events James Fudge, adds: “We’re really excited by the developments at MACH 2018. We’ve seen a lot of returning exhibitors increase the size of their stands and commit to attending the show. MACH is the only place to see a fully integrated picture of the UK manufacturing.”

Exhibitor preview

As a major showcase in the latest in manufacturing technology MACH 2018 will offer a great deal of interest to those involved in the aerospace sector. At its stand (hall 20, stand 960) Advanced Grinding Solutions (AGS) will be exhibiting six machines including fine grinding, lapping and polishing machines from FLP. The broad range of FLP models include both twin wheel, double sided CNC lapping machines and also single sided lapping variants. Visitors will see a relevant single sided machine from the latest FLP range with engineers invited to attend to discuss their requirements for the face machining of components. FLP double disc or twin wheel machines have seven models in the range offering a working disc diameter of between 540 and 1,300mm. These are fitted with Siemens PLC controls and can all be offered with full automation via linear or robotic solutions. FLP machines are in used in many branches of engineering including automotive, aerospace, bearings, optics and ceramics.

At Yamazaki Mazak (hall 20, stand 760/790) the company will be featuring a number of machine tools suited to the aerospace sector. The UK-made VTC-800/30SR is a vertical travelling column machining centre capable of full 5-axis contouring, perfectly suited to both aerospace applications and general subcontract manufacturing. The machine has been designed specifically for the machining of extremely long workpieces or can be converted into two separate work areas, enabling pendulum loading and batch manufacturing. It is equipped with an 18,000rpm, 35kW (50% ED) milling spindle; while a swivelling B-axis spindle head, in conjunction with the NC rotary table, offers full 5-axis simultaneous machining. Alongside will be another aerospace specific machine, the HCR-5000S, a 5-axis horizontal machining centre specifically developed for high-speed 5-axis aluminium cutting. Equipped with a 6,300mm diameter table offering a large 700mm diameter and 500kg workpiece capacity, this agile machine has ultra-fast acceleration and a high jerk rate, allied to an optional 30,000rpm 80kW high-performance milling spindle for ultra-high productivity. The final Mazak machine suited to aerospace applications is the Integrex i-800V/8 which combines full 5-axis milling, powerful turning operations and pallet-changing capabilities. The machine has the ability to quickly process large, highly complex workpieces on a vertical platform.

Biesse Group UK (hall 18, stand 240) will launch a range of CNC machine tools tailored for machining composite materials. First up is its Materia CL – a self-contained machining centre offering the ability to machine components with larger Z-axis requirements. Materia CL has been developed for processing composites, acrylics, foams, plastics and advanced materials, including carbon fibre and alloy coated materials.

The company will also showcase the Rover Plast A FT, which features exceptional acceleration and deceleration and a spindle speed of 36,000rpm. Meanwhile, its Brema Plast Eko 2.1 is a compact vertical machining centre with reduced footprint, said to be the ideal solution for the just-in-time production of finished parts, simultaneously machined on all six faces. Visitors can also see the Primus 402 Waterjet Cutting System.

On the Stratasys stand (hall 6, stand 840) the additive manufacturing specialist will be highlighting a new composite material with increased strength properties. FDM Nylon 12CF is a high-performance composite material able to replace a range of metal applications. It is ideal for rapid prototyping, strong, lightweight tooling and end use parts. Containing 35% chopped carbon fibre by weight, FDM Nylon 12CF offers the best stiffness-to-weight ratio among Stratasys FDM thermoplastics, meeting functional performance testing demands in automotive, aerospace, recreational goods, and industrial manufacturing sectors. FDM Nylon 12CF is of special interest to: design engineers that need to rapidly produce strong, lightweight and rigid components for prototyping; engineers that produce manufacturing aids, such as jigs and fixtures; and design engineers making low volume production parts with unique structural requirements. FDM Nylon 12CF is available for the Stratasys Fortus 450mc Production 3D printer. The material can produce parts in a layer thickness of 0.254mm.

Part marking specialist, Pryor (hall 18, stand 410) will be exhibiting systems designed to track components through the production process. Its advanced solutions can mark every component on a production line with a unique ID – for example, a barcode. Using Pryor’s traceability software, users can then track each component and capture valuable data throughout the manufacturing process. In addition, Pryor will showcase some of the marking technologies that underpin these systems, including on-the-fly laser marking and robotic dot peen marking. Pryor’s precision, low stress Dot Peen marking – which is widely used to meet aerospace specifications – will be shown with the BenchDot machine. Alongside these will be an innovative, battery powered system that can be mounted in a CNC tool changer for in-process identification of parts. Suitable for marking all shapes and sizes of components it is ideal for marking alphanumeric identification and Data Matrix codes. Pryor will also exhibit an aerospace marking station, suitable for precision dot peen marking of large aerospace parts.

NCMT, (hall 19, stand 640) sole sales and service agent in the UK for the Italian-built Mecof range of travelling-column, horizontal-spindle milling machines and gantry-type, vertical-spindle machining centres, will launch the UMill 1500 at MACH. This versatile portal, 5-axis vertical machining centre has a 1,500mm x 1,500mm x 1,100mm working envelope that does not require special foundations. It is suitable for 5-axis and five-sided metalcutting applications in many industries.

There is a choice of spindles, either an HSK 100-A/T, 58kW, 12,000rpm version delivering up to 372Nm of torque, an HSK 63-A, 63kW, 20,000rpm, 125Nm alternative, or an ISO 50, 48kW, 6,000rpm, 750Nm mechanical spindle. A-axis head positioning is in a plane at an angle to the table, allowing deployment of the spindle from horizontal to vertical as well as undercutting at up to 15°. There is a choice of two torque motor-driven rotary tables. The 1,400mm x 1,200mm milling table has a 20rpm drive, a maximum torque of 3,000Nm and accepts workpieces weighing up to 4.5 tonnes, while a 1,400mm diameter mill-turn table offers 260rpm, the same torque and supports 3.5 tonnes. The machine is highly productive, with up to 60m/min feed rate in the linear axes. The tool magazine can have 80, 120 or 200 pockets. Control is via either Heidenhain 640HSCI or Siemens 840D sl.

At Ellesco (hall 20, stand 740) deburring and surface finishing technology will be on show, including machines designed to carry out weld dressing and polishing. One machine featured will be an Autopulit CNC polishing cell. This 5-axis CNC-controlled polishing machine features a flexible working head for satin finishing and gloss polishing which can be equipped with rotary abrasive brushes and mops to suit specific applications. Under full CNC control the consumable is fed over the workpiece at preset speeds and pressures to deliver either a polished, ground, or satin finish. With appropriate brushes the machine can also be used for deburring. Application areas are varied from aerospace and automotive to household goods and appliances.

Lastly, TW Ward CNC Machinery (hall 19, stand 560) will be demonstrating the Axile 5-axis overhead gantry-type vertical machining centre that has a proven track record in aerospace, where it efficiently machines turbine blades. With an 800mm diameter table for workpieces weighing 1,300kg and X-, Y- and Z-axis capacities of 670mm x 820mm x 600mm, the machine has a positioning capability of 0.008mm and a repeatability of 0.004mm. Feed rate in X, Y and Z is 60m/min. Two HSK A63 motor spindles options are available: 39kW, 15,000rpm, 187Nm and 35kW, 20,000rpm, 130Nm. The spindle has 20 bar through-spindle coolant as standard, with options of 70 bar and higher. Twin automatic tool exchange carousels with 32/64, 48/96 or 60/120 tools are available.

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