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Model engineering company Markits uses an M16 CNC sliding-head turn-mill centre supplied by Citizen Machinery to produce very accurate and authentic model train parts in a range of sizes.

The Watford-based business — set up by railway enthusiast Mark Arscott in his extended tandem garage — makes full use of the flexibility of the 14-axis machine to create parts for customers worldwide, including some high-profile celebrities.

Arscott has also been called in as a consultant by international model manufacturers to advise on engine and carriage design thanks to his knowledge, historic records and strict attention to detail.

In 2005, the one-man business purchased a Citizen K16 CNC sliding-head turn-mill centre, which Arscott said was fast and lively but lacked the capability to deal with creativity and to produce the complex components he needed. As a result, he decided to upgrade to the M16 in 2009.

Key benefits of product application

  • According to Arscott, the Citizen machine runs unmanned throughout most nights and is very quiet, apart from the occasional rattle of protest from a bent bar; as a result, it does not disturb neighbours.
  • The machine produces hundreds of train and rolling-stock parts, assorted bearings of different shapes and sizes, buffer housings, axels and crankpins in batches up to 100,000 or so.
  • The M16 transformed Arscott’s capability to make parts and productivity was increasing without any greater input or effort.
  • The flexibility of the control, and the different ways he can apply the tooling, has meant Arscott can produce pretty much anything he can think of.
  • Machine setting times are far shorter, taking around a couple of hours, and Arscott can build very intricate part detail into the machining cycle.

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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