MACH’s march of manufacturing technology

MACH’s march of manufacturing technology
MACH’s march of manufacturing technology

The UK's premier manufacturing technologies event, MACH 2016, takes place at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham from April 11-15.

With over 600 exhibitors expected at MACH 2016, of which 130 will be completely new to the event, there will be much to attract the interest of those involved in aerospace manufacturing.

MACH showcases live working machinery and brings together the industry's finest manufacturers across a range of technologies. With live demonstrations and a packed seminar programme, MACH 2016 is an ideal place to see some of the latest manufacturing technology as well as discovering some of the major developments affecting industry.

The seminar programme will be supported by two dedicated theatres and will feature talks by some of the industry's best known OEMs and institutions, including Airbus, Messier-Dowty, McLaren, Cranfield University and HS2.

On Wednesday April 13th the exhibition seminar programme will take an in-depth look at Industry 4.0 while on Thursday it will be turning its attention to additive manufacturing.

James Selka, CEO of the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) which organises the event comments: “MACH 2016 has all the hallmarks of being a fantastic showcase for the UK's advanced manufacturing technologies sectors. With working demonstrations of machinery, a compelling seminar programme and some of the finest names in manufacturing all under one roof, visitors to this edition of the exhibition will need more than one day to experience everything it has to offer.” Exhibitor preview

We begin our round-up with Fenn (stand 5261) who will showcase several key product ranges across its portfolio, including the new trochoidal end mill ‘Speedtwister'. The all-new Maykestag ‘Speedtwister' has been specially developed for hi-speed trochoidal cutting. The cutting tool is suitable for conventional and dynamic milling strategies. With large cutting depths of up to 5xD, high-tech coating technology and optimised tool geometry for perfect chip control, the Speedtwister provides increased productivity and profitability. Fenn will also demonstrate the benefits of Ezset tooling presetting machines. Ezset consists of four models offering the very latest in image processing software.

In the adjoining hall, Wallwork Group (stand 4685b) return to MACH with a greater breadth and depth of heat treatment and coating services. In addition to expanding capacity through investing in buildings, plant, new processes and accreditations, the company has increased load size capability both in individual component size and batch quantity. Vacuum brazing has been expanded substantially with a new workshop in Manchester and a doubling in the size of the Cambridge unit. With additional Nitride hardening facilities the company is one of only a few in the UK able to offer salt, gas and plasma processes to provide the best technical result for each situation. Aerospace processing of aluminium and magnesium components has also been greatly expanded.

GF Machining Solutions (stand 5043) the EDM, milling and laser ablation machine tools specialist and automation solutions provider, is showcasing a range of its technologies at its stand. Four machine tools are being exhibited including the AgieCharmilles CUT E 600 Wire EDM, a large-capacity wire EDM machine that combines advanced and proven EDM technology with GF Machining Solutions' expertise to deliver a wire machine that helps customers improve their performance and productivity. The machine features the proven and popular IPG digital generator, integrated collision protection on X-, Y- and Z-axes, and the intuitive AC CUT HMI control.

The latest version of VERICUT CNC machine simulation, verification and optimisation software will be featured at CGTech (stand 4021). VERICUT 7.4 includes many enhancements to simplify the process of simulating a CNC machine. Changes to how users interact with the software further improve workflow and simplify day-to-day NC programming and simulation. With the latest release VERICUT's desktop is enhanced with a new docking method enabling it to be configured in the most efficient manner. Additionally, the status window is completely redesigned for better viewing, customisation and size. The popular Favourites feature has been enhanced to automatically read all sub-folders in a directory. There is also a new welcome screen allowing access to popular features, samples and help. A new Tool Bar provides easy access to all features needed to create and maintain tool libraries, create/modify tool assemblies, import tool assemblies and create or import OptiPath records.

Yamazaki Mazak (stand 5410) will feature a total of 13 machines at the exhibition. From entry-level machines, through to 5-axis, horizontal machining centres and lasers. Many of the machine tools will be equipped with SMOOTH Technology, claimed to be the world's fastest CNC. Among the highlights will be the Integrex i-400AM which combines additive and subtractive manufacturing technology, and the new 5-axis Variaxis i-1050T, specifically designed for the heavy duty machining of large workpieces. In addition, the stand will also host the latest version of the popular UK-built VTC 800 series, the 800/30 SLR, and Mazak's newest horizontal machining centre, the HCN 5000/50. Laser cutting will be represented by the new 6kW version of the Optiplex 3015 Fiber. All of the machines will be live cutting for the duration of the show.

Also in hall 5, shopfloor productivity software specialist, Forcam (stand 5060) will show how the interconnection of machines to gather production information and provide real-time data boosts production performance. Forcam Force, the software that provides the crucial information flows and analysis for Industry 4.0, is the foundation of the Smart Factory and regularly delivers productivity gains of 20% or more during the first year, providing the basis for ongoing performance tracking and continuous improvement. Forcam will have a live model manufacturing cell on the stand to record work in progress as components pass from one workstation to another. To speed the transition to Industry 4.0 the company offers its Smart Factory in a Box starter kit for a low cost trial.

In a UK debut, Asquith Butler (stand 5395) will unveil the Sahos BRAM full 5-axis, gantry-type machining centre. It is designed for high-speed milling of complex components from aluminium as well as from plastics reinforced with carbon fibre or glass fibre, plus honeycomb and multi-layer structures. A manufacturer can easily machine a complex mould in aluminium and then on the same platform trim the composite components produced. Access to the working area of the BRAM is excellent due to the twin folding door design, allowing easy loading of workpieces by lift truck or overhead crane. With cutting of composites in mind, the guarding includes the option of a roller shutter covering the whole of the ceiling.

Among the new cutting tools at WNT (stand 5641) will be a recently introduced range for machining aluminium. The Type W solid carbide aluminium cutters have already been well received and WNT has recently extended the range, adding additional flute length and radii options. They are ideal for cutting a variety of light alloy/non-ferrous materials and are available in a variety of geometries, with two styles of ripper cutters among the range. In addition to the ripper cutters the tools features a variety of cutter styles including two, three, four, and multi-flute cutters all with geometries developed for cutting light alloy and non-ferrous materials. These Type W cutters also benefit from new specialist coatings, including DLC, a diamond-like coating.

In the same aisle XYZ Machine Tools (stand 5661) will be filling its floor space with a total of 18 machine tools. These include ProtoTRAK controlled mills and lathes, machining and turning centres and the innovative Lean Production Machine and 2-OP machines. The wide cross-section of machines on display should have something of appeal to anyone involved in metal cutting. All of the displayed machines will be under power and on-hand will be the team of sales and applications engineers, who will be happy to look at individual requirements and explain how the XYZ range can simplify machining processes and add value to manufacturing. The company will also displaying machines on its Education stand in hall 4.

Elsewhere, Delcam (stand 4011) will be promoting a new method for machining blisks that offers substantial savings in both cycle time and cost. The new process, which has been developed in association with tooling supplier Technicut, covers the machining of the blisk from start to finish and combines new tooling concepts from Technicut with advanced machining strategies in Delcam's PowerMILL CAM software for the rough, semi-finish and finish machining of integrally bladed rotors. In the example to be displayed at the show, the cycle time was reduced to 35 hours, less than half the time that would have been needed using conventional methods, while the costs for milling were reduced by 45%. The initial billet was 804mm diameter Ti6-4 titanium, while the completed blisk has 31 blades, each 84mm in length with a root radius of 4mm and scallop height of 10µm. In addition to the specific toolpaths for blisk machining in PowerMILL, the key to the new method is the use of barrel cutters from Technicut for both semi-finishing and finishing.

NCMT (stand 5320) will feature its Italian-built Mecof range of travelling-column, horizontal-spindle milling machines and gantry-type, vertical-spindle machining centres. Mecof is the first non-Japanese range of metalcutting machine tools to be sold by NCMT and dovetails well with its existing ranges. Also on show will be a photo-activated adhesive workholding system supplied by NCMT under a sole agency agreement. Called Blue Photon, the process involves applying an adhesive that is cured by ultraviolet light via fibre optic cables. The adhesive can subsequently be melted and the machined workpiece removed by immersion in hot water or by application of another heat source. Alternatively, the adhesive contact points can be sheared to free the workpiece by rotating the gripper pins in the fixture plate with a spanner. Use of the technique has grown rapidly in the aerospace industry in the US due to its ability to hold components securely with an average shear resistance of 136kg, yet allow cutters excellent all-round access for machining on five sides.

In the same hall Renishaw (stand 5730) will feature its new RenAM 500M additive manufacturing system. The RenAM 500M will be making its UK trade show debut. Fully designed and engineered in-house to be used for serialised production, the RenAM 500M builds complex metal components directly from CAD using metal powder fusion technology. Highlights of the system include a Renishaw designed and engineered optical system with dynamic focussing, automated powder sieving and recirculation, a 500W ytterbium fibre laser and patented high capacity dual filter SafeChange system.

Meanwhile, Starrett is set to exhibit from two booths at MACH. The company will be exhibiting its range of metrology and force measurement solutions from (stand 5950) in the metrology zone, while also running (stand 4314) to demonstrate its leading band saw blades and machines. Starrett will also be offering a range of show offers for both its band saw range and metrology equipment from stands 5950 in the metrology zone and 4314 in the band saw hall.

The new Doosan DHF 8000, a large-capacity horizontal machining centre with simultaneous 5-axis machining capability, will make its UK debut at Mills CNC (stand 5430). The DHF 8000, one of 20 Doosan machines being showcased by Mills, is designed to machine large, high-precision complex parts (in fewer set-ups and reduced processing times). The Fanuc 31i- 5 controlled machine features a 35kW/6,000rpm (960Nm) 'nodding-head' spindle with +60/-100° A-axis capability, a twin pallet configuration (each pallet is 800mm x 800mm in size accommodating workpieces up to 2,000kg in weight), and a high-capacity automatic tool changer (up to 196 tools). The DHF 8000 is equipped with a HSK spindle, but it can also be supplied with a BT 50 spindle if required. The machine can handle large workpieces (X-axis 1,450mm; Y-axis 1,200mm; Z-axis 1,500mm), and boasts 40m/min rapid rates (X- and Y-axes) and 50m/min (Z-axis). The DHF 8000 is equipped with dual ballscrews (Y- and Z-axes), a rigid and thermally-stable design and build; a high-efficiency chip evacuation system and a sophisticated cooling system for the machine's spindle and ballscrews.

Also in hall 5 Fanuc UK will be exhibiting its wide range of robotics and automation solutions (stand 5210). For the first time in the UK, visitors to the event will see the Fanuc CR35iA: a heavy lifting collaborative robot which enables humans and machines to work together without the need for safety fences. The robot, which can lift up to 35kg, is the first of many collaborative robots to be rolled out by Fanuc across the globe.

Nearby Starrag UK (stand 5271) will be announcing a new range of multi-axis machining centres. The company's machine portfolio will be represented by a Heckert HEC 500 D U5 MT horizontal machining centre. With an NC swivel head providing a fifth axis, the machine will be set up for dry cutting two components to demonstrate its ability for effective and efficient single set-up production embracing turning as well as milling and drilling. One demonstration will involve a relatively small mould and die-type part where the machine's highly dynamic simultaneous 5-axis cutting will be illustrated. The machine's full turn-mill capabilities will be shown on the second component. In addition to reduced cycle times and therefore reduced manufacturing costs, the Heckert HEC 500 D U5 MT provides highly-accurate machining thanks to thermo-symmetrical design as well as minimised operating costs via highly efficient drive, hydraulic, pneumatic, cooling and control systems.

Finally DMG Mori will have 14 metalworking machines (stand 5610) under power including advanced additive manufacturing with the LASERTEC 65 3D and five new apps for the CELOS control, aimed at intelligent Industry 4.0 production; as well as the Porsche 919 Hybrid racing car on its stand. The LASERTEC 65 3D offers a hybrid solution for combined laser deposition welding and 5-axis milling. This process uses a deposition process by means of a powder nozzle, which is up to ten times faster than generation in a powder bed. The machine has a 2.5kW diode laser for laser deposition welding, combined with a fully-fledged 5-axis milling machine in a robust monoBLOCK design. This enables deposition and machining operations to be interspersed, enabling normally inaccessible areas to be accurately machined as the process continues.

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