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Reacting to customers requesting more complex components, Qualiturn added another Miyano ABX-51SY fixed-head turning centre with a 51mm bar capacity and a 32mm sliding head machine to his plant list.

Nick Groom, managing director of Qualiturn Products, sees his business as a true precision subcontract machinist where his 20 turn-mill lathes are used as single-cycle production centres.

Until October 2010, Qualiturn had 16 CNC sliding-head and two Miyano BNJ fixed-head turn mill centres that gave a maximum capacity of 42mm bar size.

As well as adding another Miyano ABX-51SY fixed-head turning centre and 32mm sliding-head machine to the plant, Groom also took over the next-door unit and split his operation into separate dedicated sliding-head and fixed-head production shops.

Due to the twin-turret configuration of the Miyano ABX, with each position having driven tools, Qualiturn’s setters have the flexibility to set up jobs without any restrictions using standard tooling – thus avoiding delays on urgent jobs.

As a result, the focus is on application on the small batches, rather than out-and-out cycle time.

Qualiturn is still a family-run company set up by Groom’s father some 37 years ago and it trades across almost all sectors of industry, exporting about five per cent of sales.

Groom maintains a policy of not more than 10 per cent of turnover being generated from one customer and although most materials pass from brass and plastic through to stainless steels through the shop, the company tends to avoid machining exotic and potentially troublesome materials.

Typical of the small-batch challenges that the Miyano ABX-51SY supported was a 10-part order for a US aerospace customer requiring instrument housings.

The part was made from HE30 aluminium and was basically a high-precision fine-wall tube 50mm diameter by 56mm long, but with just a 0.6mm wall thickness.

At one end of the tube were a series of very fine grooves requiring a delicate touch from the machine and there were four holes equally spaced around the OD.

According to Groom, it was a very straightforward task on the Miyano, using the main and sub-spindle to produce each part in a single cycle.

He also described unusual projects already run on the ABX, such as replicas of a World War 1 hand grenade that was produced as a reverse-engineering exercise.

Once again, single cycles were used to machine the hand grip with six longitudinal milled vee slots crossed by 10 radial grooves, the machining of external lugs, broached internal slots and profile turning of the outer hand grip.

With the same project, Qualiturn had to produce an open-bladed brass impeller some 30mm in diameter with a scroll cam form on an end face, involving interpolated milling cycles.

Weighing more than nine tonnes, the Miyano ABX-51SY is heavily built, enabling it to withstand the demands of simultaneous machining using both 12-station, all-driven position turrets.

One turret is mounted under the main 15kW spindle, the other above the 7.5kW secondary spindle that also incorporates the flexibility of a Y-axis crossfeed of +40mm.

The maximum spindle speed is 5,000revs/min and driven tools on each turret position are powered by a 2.2kW motor giving 40 to 4,000revs/min range.

The Qualiturn specification also included an FMB 5-55 barfeed and an outfeed conveyor leading to a finished parts magazine.

Two special-angle drilling and tapping units, able to be set to produce compound angled features, were included and have been used to produce features such as a cluster of multiple small holes in a hemispherically shaped spray nozzle.

Groom added that installing the larger-capacity Miyano ABX-51SY has allowed Qualiturn to bring in-house the production of larger parts that it used to have to subcontract for processes such as milling operations.

Now these are fully turned and milled under Qualiturn’s control in a single 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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