Product Details Supplier Info More products

Automotive engineering company Ricardo UK has invested in two advanced CNC machine tools from GF Agiecharmilles to manufacture a range of transmission and driveline components.

The two machines are a Mikron HSM 600U Prodmod (five-axis machining centre) and an FI 440CC (wire EDM machine with Cleancut generator).

They have been installed at Ricardo’s Midland Technical Centre in Leamington Spa and are being used to manufacture a range of high-precision, complex automotive and motorsport transmission and driveline components.

Ricardo UK was responsible for the design and development of the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission system of the Bugatti Veyron – the 16-cylinder, four-wheel drive, sports car.

The company’s decision to invest in the HSM 600U Prodmod was a direct consequence to being awarded the contract to manufacture the Bugatti Veyron’s gearbox.

Pieter Roos, manufacturing engineer at Ricardo, said: ‘Due to the complexity of the Bugatti Veyron’s gearbox we knew that from a technical, quality and commercial perspective that five-axis machining would deliver the best results.

‘We also recognised that five-axis machine tool technology would be a positive addition to our manufacturing facility, and that this could also be used to machine a range of high-precision, complex motorsport parts, over and above the requirement for the Bugatti Veyron project,’ he added.

The decision to invest in the Mikron HSM 600U Prodmod was made for a number of reasons.

Roos said: ‘The decision to go with the Mikron machine followed an extensive trial period where we invited a number of five-axis machine tool manufacturers/suppliers to help us with the project.

‘In these trials accuracy and repeatability were the most important factors but we were also keen to explore the potential of automation and how it could improve/increase our productivity and manufacturing flexibility in the future.

‘The HSM 600U Prodmod with its high-speed and high-torque spindle technology (32kW/36,000rev/min/20Nm); integrated workpiece pallet changer (seven-station), and large-capacity tool changer (220-position) provided us with the best immediate and long-term solution,’ he added.

The decision by Ricardo to invest in a FI 440CC (Cleancut) machine was made to increase the company’s wire EDM capabilities and capacity.

The machine operates 24/7 and is being used to manufacture a range of complex motorsport parts (for example, splines and gears) from a variety of materials that includes carburised steel, aluminium, titanium and inconel.

Because the machine is equipped with a Cleancut generator, which does not leave a re-cast layer on machined parts, the FI 440CC is also being used to machine specific aerospace components manufactured at Ricardo’s high-performance transmission product facility.

View full profile