Southern Manufacturing & Electronics, with its specialist aerospace and automotive engineering area, AutoAero, returns to Farnborough from February 6-8 2018 for its 20th anniversary event. This notable landmark is made even more significant in that it coincides with the show’s move from its purpose-built temporary venue into a new permanent home, currently taking shape on the familiar Farnborough site.
The £30m Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre development is the largest exhibition venue to be built in the UK for 20 years. Southern Manufacturing 2018 will be the first major exhibition to be held in the 20,000m² Hall 1 complex, designed by award-winning architects Terence O’Rourke. Offering world-class facilities, easy access, and in a prime location on the site of the Farnborough Airshow, Hall 1 looks likely to rapidly become one of the key showcases for UK aerospace engineering expertise, much of which is based in the South.
Southern Manufacturing occupies a pivotal position for aerospace manufacturing and its supply chain. Around a quarter of the UK’s £20bn aerospace business is based in the South and many of the world’s leading aerospace firms are either headquartered or have a presence in the region, including the top ten US firms. BAE Systems’ HQ is a mere 2 minutes’ walk from the show. Not surprisingly, the show’s location at the centre of this vital national industry means that it is an event taken very seriously by both major machinery manufacturers and buyers. As the first big machinery show of the New Year, it’s traditionally the place for buyers to weigh-up offerings from the leading manufacturers, and a typical year will see serious seven-figure business done on the showfloor.
The selection of hardware on show for 2018 is as impressive as always, with many leading manufacturers demonstrating their latest offerings. Dugard showcases the smallest of the five models in its popular XP range of VMCs. The 760XP has a 762/435/520mm X/Y/Z axis travel, a powerful 16.5kW, 12,000rpm spindle as well as a 28 station, side mounted toolchanger. The 760XP is compact, with a footprint of just 2,696 x 2,200mm. The XP range is a mid-range selection of machining centres, featuring bigger ballscrews and bigger guideways for a more robust type of working environment. With extensive machine options like 4th axis units, Renishaw probing and toolsetting as well as Fanuc, Siemens or Heidenhain control options, the Dugard XP range of VMCs is, says the firm, ideal for a huge variety of machining environments.
XYZ Machine Tools will highlight its UMC-5X simultaneous 5-axis, gantry-style, machining centre. Features included as standard with the UMC-5X introduce a whole new group of potential customers to the benefits of simultaneous 5-axis machining, such as Traori/Kinematic functions for 5-axis simultaneous machining, as well as integrated Smart Machining Technology and thermal growth compensation. The standard control system is the popular Siemens 840DSL ShopMill Control, with the option of specifying the iTNC 640 HSCI Heidenhain system. Both controls ensure a machine capable of high precision, high speed, simultaneous 5-axis machining. Other key features are the front loading 600mm diameter trunnion rotary table, with a high accuracy, direct drive, high torque motor providing 90rpm rotation of the table.
Matsuura returns with two of its best-selling CNC machine tools; the Matsuura MX-520, an entry-level single table 5-axis machine, and the Muratec Murata MT200, a multi-tasking, twin spindle turning machine with three turrets and Y axis. Matsuura pitches MX-520 as the choice for companies making the transition from 3- to 5-axis machining. The MT200 is suitable for machine shops running complex parts and various part types through one machine. An optional 3-axis CNC gantry loader provides a multitude of options when it comes to automation, and when combined with a bar feeder, the choice of processing part types from bar and billet are endless. Possessing flexible upper and lower turrets, all tool stations are live.
The range of production hardware on show goes beyond machining centres, with welding systems, 3D print and other advanced manufacturing systems also present. IPG Photonics will be demonstrating its Multi-Axis Workstation - a Class 1 laser system that is fully compatible with the full range of welding laser sources at powers from 150 to 8,000W. The system has is well-suited to dissimilar joining applications such as battery, busbar, electronic components and small batches of mechanical parts. GoPrint3D will be exhibiting a range of 3D printers from a number of manufacturers including Formlabs, Markforged, Ultimaker and more. Also on the stand will be metal parts printed on a Markforged Metal X which uses a revolutionary technique to produce functional, pure metal parts at a fraction of the cost of traditional machining methods. This technique also allows for much greater freedom in design, and allows engineers to print geometries that are too complex to be machined in other ways.
Alongside the machinery, there’s also a broad selection of tooling and accessory vendors exhibiting. Toolholding specialist Gewefa debuts four new products; the Gewefa-Plus face and taper toolholder, the Hydropin hydraulic chuck with a fixed stop pin and the EasyFix boring bar toolholder. They will be joined by a new shrink collet system – the Induterm M96 - based on the proven heat shrink clamping technique for securely clamping milling cutters into toolholders. As well as exceptional grip with a very short clamping length, the M96 system offers high flexibility and accuracy with an assured tool run out of less than 3µm. Wilson Tool introduces the new Smart-X Storage 4.0 to its Wilson Xtra Accessories range. Also launching at this year’s show is its new QuickTap tapping tool for thick turret punching machines, claimed to be the fastest and most reliable tapping tool on the market, capable of tapping up to 200 holes per minute. Another new product to be launched at Southern 2018 is its new Express Rail 2000 and Express Air press brake clamping systems, designed to reduce set-up times and increase productivity with quick tool locking and automatic tool alignment.
Southern is also the place to source consumables and production aids. New products on show include Wyse Oil’s new range of cutting fluids which are both Boron and Formaldehyde-Free. The Wysecut EnV5000 series of products have been developed for both high end industries, such as aerospace and automotive machining sectors, but also for general engineering applications where importance is placed on HSE requirements and operator exposure limits.
As well as a marketplace for hardware, Southern is also one of the country’s most important forums for the subcontracting industry. Pretty much every type of subcontract service is represented at the show, from precision engineering through to EMC testing and even intellectual property rights specialists. Finding your way around the 800 or so firms exhibiting could be a challenge. However, the multi-discipline Technology Trails make this very much easier, by linking firms which have particular expertise in areas such as aerospace. Full details are available in the comprehensive show guide, which is available free to pre-registered visitors, who also receive a free 12-page show preview magazine to help plan their visit.
Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2018 opens from February 6-8. Admission to the show is free.