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NC Precision closed 2012 with a record turnover after ordering an M32-V sliding-head turn-mill centre from Citizen Machinery at Mach 2012. Having decided to take a stand at the same trade event, the company experienced significant interest in its small turned parts business and wanted to ensure it could continue to meet demand.

NC Precision supplies to more than 40 customers in locations including the UK, Europe and the US in industries such as oil and gas, fasteners, automotive, aerospace, rail, hydraulics and fibre optics. Most parts are produced from stainless steel, as well as mild steel, brass, nylon and aluminium. Exotic alloys and titanium are also machined.

Material sizes vary between 0.5mm and 32mm in diameter and batch sizes mainly involve component runs up to 10,000. However, prototype parts ready for customer trials and samples are often required. Here, the quick changeover of the Citizen machines is important.

The subcontract machining specialist’s order book has continued to rise through 2013 helped by the flexibility of the Citizen M32 and the ability to enable work loading to be quickly rescheduled. A recent case was the switching of parts from an installed Citizen L20 to the M32, which helped win an order for 6,000 each of two types of complex fibre-optic connector.

Citizen has added the 2,000lb/in2 programmable Coolblaster to the coolant system in the specification. The latest M32 is demonstrating an enhanced level of consistency and performance compared with the older machine, particularly on deep holes in difficult material.

Key benefits of product application

  • NC Precision praised the fully servo-controlled M32-V and, in particular, the two Y-axis cross feeds. One Y axis is set on the 10-station turret and the other on the vertical tool slide, which has five stations for turning tools and four driven tools for front machining.
  • The use of each Y-axis feature enables the simple optimisation of cycles to become a real benefit, especially when using overlapping techniques involving the simultaneous use of three tools in cut between the two spindles and three individual tool posts.
  • The Y axis helps in tool setting for centre height, which can be of particular importance on small-diameter bar work.
  • NC Precision has such high levels of flexibility with the machine that it can use mainly standard tooling and, due to the enormous tool-carrying capability, can leave a common set permanently in the machine.
  • The M32-V offers NC Precision an additional 32mm capacity, as well as the option to load it with larger, very complex parts that often involve a considerable amount of milling.

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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