Machine tools

Robot lasers cut out old processes

Robots linked to lasers are the latest form of versatile production unit capable of cutting and welding.

Trumpf’s Robocell has a six-axis capability and is suitable for welding deep, narrow geometries or cutting and trimming 3D parts, notably after forming operations. The Robocell is seen as a replacement for more expensive mechanical processes in prototype and small batch work.


Birmingham-based Robson Precision is producing complex fuel injection parts in one hit, rather than on six separate machines, using a modified Biglia machine.

Modifications to the 6-axis CNC turning centre allow gun drilling on both turrets and have cut machining time eightfold.

Robson Precision needs to produce 1,700 parts a year from a steel forging. Operations include turning, milling and gun drilling, the latter to produce a 75.25mm blind bore with a depth-to-diameter ratio of more than 5 to 1.

Concentricity of the bore to external features had to be held to within 30 microns, which would have been impossible with multiple setups.

Whitehouse Machine Tools supplied and modified the machine.


Sawing not the most accurate cutting process is entering a new league with Swiss company Kurt Mueller’s automatic circular sawing machine. It has a cutting accuracy along the length of the part of 20 microns.

The pneumatically actuated Bimax TA 91 cuts bar, tube and profile in any material up to 65mm diameter and equivalent square or rectangular section.

Burr is said to be negligible and offcut material small, minimising waste.

The machine is fast: in trials it cut 22 bundled and clamped steel bars, each 6mm in diameter, to a length of 42mm in a cycle time of 17 seconds with a blade speed of 50m/min. That equals a production rate of 4,650 parts per hour.


Cleveland Guest Engineering in Colne has installed a shopfloor gauging machine from LK.

The company supplies parts in a wide range of sizes, in tolerances that can be less than one micron, direct to production lines

The LK G90C 6.5.4 computer controlled CMM is pre-programmed as an automatic gauge for most of the parts produced at Colne.

Most parts are structural, with 20% of output being engine parts.