Further Quaser investment for precision machining specialistMember News
When Newport Pagnell based high precision component development and machining specialist North Bucks Machining Limited invested in their first 5-axis machine the objective was to move the business into new areas not associated with their established mould making expertise.
And being situated in the heartland the UKs burgeoning F1 industry, they recognised there was a pool of work on their doorstep.
That was early in 2014 and the machining centre they invested in was a Quaser MF 630U simultaneous 5-axis unit supplied by the Wellesbourne based Engineering Technology Group (ETG).
Such was the success of the investment and the volume of work it attracted that in October 2016 a second 630U was installed with its purchase being testimony to the progress the company has made in the subsequent 2.1/2 years.
The first Quaser was a landmark investment for the business, and it gave us the ability to become competitive and technically more proficient, explains director Stewart Palmer.
My parents had established North Bucks Machining as a specialist toolmaking and blow mould tool specialist, and those skills acted as a cornerstone to moving the business into new areas of high precision machining work.
The first Quaser enabled us to win a mould tool contract that had previously gone overseas. And of course it opened the door for us to compete for different work.
We had the skills but not the machining capability, explains Stewart. I had extensive experience with 5-axis machining from my days in F1 and when I joined the family business my first objective was to move towards more 5-axis work.
And it was a motorsport related contract that triggered the second Quaser purchase.
We have a contract to make suspension components for a Formula E electric race car and for several months of the year it nearly takes the capacity of the first 630 machine, Stewart explains.
Obviously that leaves us vulnerable for supplying all our other customers so an identical 5-axis was a logical next move. FI related work is high intensity for about four months during the close season so we consciously cast the net further afield to offset the peaks and troughs. Our customer base is now very diverse from making stands for bespoke globes to developing a design for our own mountain bike. Whatever, the 5-axis capability gives us another dimension and the Quasers have proved highly capable.
Prior to their first Quaser investment the North Bucks team did extensive research but Stewarts previous experience with Bridgeport CNCs brought them to ETG who identified the Quaser 5 axis as the most suitable machine.
ETG took onboard our toolroom like environment while being aware of our long term aims so we opted for a machine that gave us ample scope, explains Stewart. The 5-axis aside and the contouring capability in particular it has a really good table size of ø500 and we opted for a 48 BT40 tool capacity ATC mindful of the complexity of many of the components requiring multiple tooling set ups.
The new Quaser MF630U is virtually identical to its predecessor with the exception of the updated Heidenhain control it features the latest 640i version and both have Blum touch probing on the spindle and table.
The 630U is a fully simultaneous 5 axis VMC with rapid movement across its X, Y, and Z axes of 32/32/16 m/min respectively. As standard it is equipped with a coolant chiller and through coolant capability and features positional accuracy of 0.008/0.004 and a 12,000rpm NC40 coupling spindle.
Predominantly Stewarts team at North Bucks Machining concentrate on billet work with aluminium and stainless steel the primary workpiece materials so they continue to put their mould making skills to good use; We opt for high spindle speeds with light cuts, he explains.
Having a near identical second 5 axis gives an enormous amount of flexibility when work scheduling while greatly reducing both on and off line programming and set up times, he adds.