August 26, 2011
5 Axis "Ticket to the Top"
Visit our site: or View Business Profile
NORCOT Engineering, the English manufacturing specialist for aerospace parts,lowers its costs per unit by using 5-axis complete machining on two ready-to-use, configured CHIRON MILL 2000 high speed plus machines.
In close cooperation with the turnkey partner CHIRON, NORCOT qualified itself as the supplier of three structural components, which are as complex as they are delicate, for the American company Eclipse Aviation. Based on these reference parts, Norcot has already been able to secure additional orders for the two MILL 2000s, from manufacturers such as Bombardier.
All around the world, more manufacturing companies are trying to gain, admission into the growing aerospace market.
Competition stimulates business. Besides design, material,and production solutions, absolute quality,flexibility and dependable delivery times,aerospace firms expect the lowest possible unit prices from their suppliers.
This is something Steve Fogg, production manager for the English Aerospace parts manufacturer NORCOT Engineering Ltd.also feels: “Problem solving" qualities are naturally indispensable in our business.
However, our customers are thinking internationally when buying parts and
There are several production places in the world with much lower costs
and other advantages.
The population would naturally also want their slice of prosperity pie. And they learn fast,the global competition drives down prices. If we want to continue to survive in this market, we must not only convince our customers of our expertise and organisational abilities but also develop better manufacturing concepts and consistently put them into practice.”
At this point, CHIRON and the topic of turnkey solutions enters the game. Their Technical Director, David Broomfield, “loves such challenges.” It seems everyone has mastered simple cutting tasks so that it is hardly possible to make money with standard solutions.
It is especially so because England has suffered an unparalleled loss of industry.
“Countries without their own value-adding key technologies, such as cutting techniques,make themselves dependent and lose their innovative power.
Companies such as NORCOT are extremely important for us.”and they have put themselves in a strong position for the demanding jobs from the
NORCOT is currently manufacturing at least 600 different parts for about a dozen aerospace companies. Upon request, these can be galvanically coated, painted and,increasingly more often, assembled in the
company’s own facilities.
They are especially proud of their three structural components for the twin-engined small jet: Eclipse 500. These consist of a base
plate, as well as, two mirror-imaged designs for the production of 3-D shaped fuselage parts.
What these parts have in common is that the workpieces start as unmachined parts,weighing up to 80 kilograms and then have a high cutting proportion of up to 95%. Besides the roughing, a large number of processing steps are carried out with close tolerances on all sides, such as finishing, drilling, threadcutting, chamfering, rounding, and deburring.
To make things more difficult, the aluminium parts have the unpleasant property of becoming ever more difficult to securely clamp as the machining processes goes on.
In addition,there is the demand for just-in-time deliveries of 40 to 60 pieces a month. Automation is not an option. Therefore fast set-up times become an absolute must.
Steve Fogg: “Along with our plant in Bedford,we have 40 CNC machining centres in use,but, we could not have met the technical and scheduling requirements, or our cost goals with these alone.
The main thing for us is the customer and their workpieces. In
order to make a bid, we had to develop a manufacturing process and we looked for the right solution partner to help us with this.
After many talks with different machine suppliers, we accepted the offer from David Broomfield of CHIRON UK.”The basis of the offer was two “CHIRON
MILL 2000 high speed plus” centres. Ex-works CHIRON, Tuttlingen, each was
equipped with an NC swivel head (+/- 100°,20,000 rpm spindle, 75 Nm), a rotary table(400 mm x 2,000 mm), a very fast chain magazine for 24 HSK-63 tools, solid stainless steel covers, as well as a Fanuc 18i MB5 as CNC. As a special feature, CHIRON delivered the two 5-Axis precision machining centres with a table lowered by 100 mm.
David Broomfield: “One after the other", we integrated the machines as a part of a turnkey solution, installed them in January and May 2007,accompanied them into operation and trained the employees.” There were a number of customer-specific adaptations,including a zero-point clamping system and various part-specific clamping devices.
Among these devices is one that is equipped with a vacuum to immobilise the aircraft base plate for machining as well as several holders which were 3D milled on the MILL 2000 for warp-free set-up of the cabin structural components, which are shaped like snowshoes.
For setting up the workpieces, a Renishaw OMP probe was integrated into
the CNC control software, It has a protected place in the tool magazine and can be automatically exchanged into the spindle (like a tool) when needed.
Furthermore each machine was given a 30-bar coolant supply with a 900-litre reservoir, as well as work area exhaust and filter systems.
Last but not least, some praise from Steve Fogg: “CHIRON was also a very helpful and reliable turnkey partner for NC programming and optimization.
We are very satisfied with both MILL 2000 units. The machines work very precisely.
They are reliable. And the customers are happy.” Steve Fogg: “We are using the MILL in up to 15 shifts a week. Besides the large-formatted structural components for the Eclipse, we also use it to machine much
smaller workpieces with the five axes.
The large work table is perfect for multiple set-ups. Here, we achieve automated machining times of up to 3 hours.
|The views and opinions expressed in this article those of the author and are not necessarily those of Machines4u.com.au Pty Ltd or it's subsidiary companies.|