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Shepherd Engineering has installed an A32-VII CNC sliding-head turn-mill centre from Citizen Machinery. The system has enabled the high-precision subcontract machinist to reduce sliding-head cycle times by an average of 20 per cent.

Second operation work was crippling Shepherd Engineering in costs, low efficiency and extended lead times for the delivery of parts to customers. The business was losing out to the single-operation competition on turned and milled parts and so it was decided that an investment would be made into a flexible small turned part machine at the Mach show.

The company selected the M32 — the predecessor of the A32 — and within a year of installation the effect on the business was significant, providing a new working capability and filling the order books.

After running out of spindle capacity, Shepherd Engineering installed the Citizen K16 to accommodate smaller work and to free up capacity for higher-value, larger components on the M32.

The added capability of the A32 has enabled the company’s pace of growth to be further increased.

Key benefits of product application

  • As a result of investing in the A32, Shepherd Engineering has secured new contracts for 2013 worth £250,000 from one customer and has been able to break into the Formula One and aerospace sectors.
  • The company has seen an improvement in margins and profitability that will facilitate future investment.
  • The high rigidity of the seven-axis, 23-tool-capacity A32 brought in work from the US, including two deep-sea valve parts made from MP35N.

Citizen Machinery

Citizen is the world leader in CNC sliding head ‘one-hit’ turn-milling technology. It has a range of machines having a maximum bar capacity between 4 mm on the compact micro-machining capable Citizen R04 to 32 mm on the top of the range Citizen M32-VII which has the added capability of two Y-axis cross-feeds.   

The M32 can carry up to 80 tools, of which 20 can be driven, and can cut with three tools simultaneously giving low cycle times and high levels of productivity.  Also, fully automated unmanned cycles can be utilised through an integrated gantry option and conveyor system that helps ensure damage free parts during uninterrupted batch production.  A high pressure 2,000 psi CoolBlaster coolant system is a further option to optimise swarf control, tool life and machining difficult materials.

Following the acquisition in Japan in 2008 of 65 per cent shares in Miyano, the fixed head turning centre specialist, the two companies are maintaining their separate high profile brand names utilising a single sales operation.  However, turn-milling solutions from bar up to 64 mm diameter can now be provided.  In addition, with the Miyano range of turning and turn-milling machines for chucking operations, cell-type applications can now be accommodated with a wide range of automation options.   

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