Product Details Supplier Info More products

Precision aerospace contractor Rodford Engineering has installed a second Miyano turn-mill centre – this time a 51mm-capacity BNE-51SY5 machine.

The company has also been using a seven-axis Miyano BNJ-42SY fixed-head turn-mill centre for the past four years; this has provided almost continuous production and has delivered productivity increases between 30 and 50 per cent.

The original BNJ-42SY was added to the plant list to enable Rodford to meet a growing order book of challenging, complex and demanding aerospace parts.

According to Rod Dallyn, managing director, the company had been progressively building a production strategy of combining as many operations as possible on existing components into a single machine setting.

He said: ‘We have applied these methods to four- and five-axis vertical machining centres and our five multi-axis lathes.

‘However, when it comes to making significant savings, the methods being used have really reached a plateau.

‘It [the BNJ-42SY] completely altered our way of thinking, seriously upgraded our machining capability and dramatically reduced our lead times on the 42 different parts we have produced from up to 42mm bar,’ added Dallyn.

Through the back-end of 2009 and into 2010, the engineering company was again facing a growing order book.

Dallyn decided to expand the company’s machining capacity, but he wanted to be able to achieve the same advantages by applying the Miyano technology to larger parts from bar and to machine billets of material up to 125mm in diameter.

Dallyn said: ‘Talking to Miyano Machinery UK, we agreed that the BNE-51SY5 would fit the bill and, indeed, the moment it was installed and set on existing work it had an immediate effect.

‘Within just a month, we were combining two and three previous operations into one cycle and immediately cut both our machining and lead times,’ he added.

‘It’s the overlapping capability of machining cycles at both spindles that is saving us 30-50 per cent on floor-to-floor times and, with combined operations, we immediately cut at least two weeks from our lead times,’ said Neil Dallyn, works manager.

Rodford specialises in the subcontract turning and milling of components measuring up to 150mm cube in aluminium, stainless steel, inconel, titanium and plastics.

Operating from a 9,000ft2 (836m2) office and machine shop in Wimborne, the company provides a full service, from material supply to subassembly and pressure testing.

As with the BNJ, the new BNE-51SY5 features the same configuration of spindles and turrets, but each of the 12 positions is now driven as against six before.

It also has the advantage of a Y-axis cross feed.

However, for Rodford’s setters, the ability to hold billets of material in the 6in (15cm) chuck, as well as accommodating bar up to 51mm in diameter, made it ideal for producing larger components in one cycle that previously required turning and milling as separate operations.

Rod Dallyn is already benefiting from the additional power of 15kW at the spindle and the added flexibility of the driven tooling at each turret position.

Some components produced require up to 16 tools and, with +40mm of Y-axis cross-feed travel to the top turret that services the main spindle, this feature has improved flexibility, providing more options for the tool layout.

As part of the new machine specification, Rodford also ordered an angled driven tool head for use in conjunction with the Y axis.

This tool holder is able to accommodate the drilling of angle holes that would normally have to be produced as an additional operation on a drill spindle.

Component quantities vary from a few orders for spares to batch sizes of 500, with cycle times tending to be between three and six minutes.

The company runs a long day shift between 6:00 and 22:00; then, providing the right component is ready to run, the facility will often be left in unmanned production mode through the night.

According to Dallyn, the Miyano can produce simple parts as well as more complex ones.

‘We can program a simple part with a deburring sequence as part of the cycle, run overnight and the whole batch is ready for dispatch in the morning,’ he said.

Billet work, however, is machined with an operator to load and unload.

‘The job comes off the machine complete so we are still cost effective in our methods,’ added Dallyn.

He describes a jet adaptor component produced on the BNJ from 1.5in aluminium bar that involves turning, drilling, grooving, screw cutting, boring and the production of a seal groove, a slot and a scallop milled in the end.

Two cross holes are also drilled into the bore before it is parted off and automatically transferred to the second spindle.

The component is then faced, a 25mm A/F hexagon milled and two 2mm-diameter holes produced off centre, prior to the main bore being finished to size.

This part is now produced on the new machine, which can also incorporate two 1.6mm-diameter angle holes through the milled hexagon by combining the Y, X and C axes.

The inclusion of these holes avoids the previous need to separately produce the holes on a drill spindle.

Another fuel system body produced from an aluminium billet is initially milled to produce four 60mm square flats.

It is then drilled, bored and counter bored, an M56 thread is screw cut and four holes are drilled and countersunk in each corner.

Transferred to the second spindle, the part is faced and grooved, eight holes of 10mm diameter are drilled on a 30mm PCD and then chamfered and four further holes are drilled and tapped.

Again, the angle head is used to produce four holes of 1mm diameter on each flat to provide a wire locking facility.

Previously, this part was produced in four separate operations involving turning followed by the milling, drilling/tapping and drilling of the wire holes.

View full profile