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CTL Engineering’s investment in Mazak machine tools has helped the company to win orders from the aerospace sector.

Stockport-based subcontractor CTL Engineering has been manufacturing components across a wide range of industry sectors for more than 50 years.

The company is now in a strong position to expand into areas of manufacture as diverse as oil and gas, power generation and aerospace.

CTL has backed this expertise with an ongoing investment programme involving the latest in machine tool technology, IT systems and a highly skilled team.

Most recently, this has resulted in three Mazak machines being installed in the business, including two Integrex e-650H-II multi-tasking machine tools.

These two Integrex machines are now fulfilling a contract for the supply of landing gear components for a military aircraft project.

‘The added flexibility of the Integrex machines is allowing us to quote for work that would previously have been uneconomical for us due to the complexity of components requiring multiple setups,’ said Ian Booth, managing director, CTL Engineering.

‘With the capability to machine components in a single setup, we are proving to be highly competitive,’ he added.

Once the first Integrex had been installed, CTL began discussions with a major customer in the aerospace/defence sector and this generated an order for the first operation machining of raw forgings for undercarriage parts for the military aircraft project.

The major advantage of the Mazak Integrex e-650H-II for these particular components is that it can toolchange boring bars over 1m in length, which is suitable for a component with a requirement to drill, from solid, a hole 130mm diameter by 1m depth.

This hole is then bored and flat bottomed.

‘The new cycle time for this component is one that we would not have believed possible,’ said Booth.

‘We also have excellent process security and reliability, and the machine is handling the whole process very nicely,’ he added.

As a result of this, the customer requested that CTL investigate the possibility of taking on the second machining operation, which was being completed in-house at the time.

To ensure capacity and continuity of production this required the purchase of a second Integrex machine.

‘The second operation requires the finish turning of the hardened component, something that the new Integrex is handling with ease,’ said Booth.

‘Although we are competing for work against other companies with similar capacity, we have the benefit of our experience across a much wider range of manufacturing sectors and of working in different materials that others may not have,’ adds Craig Booth, sales director, CTL Engineering.

CTL is finding other ways to make use of the Integrex e-650H-II’s 920mm maximum machining diameter and 3m machining length.

Despite their size, these machines are extremely agile, with rapid traverse rates of 40m/min in the X, Y and Z axes combined with a B-axis movement of 240deg and C-axis rotation of 360deg.

The metal removal capability is provided by a 45kW, 1,600rev/min turning spindle together with a 37kW, 10,000rev/min, BT50, CAT50 or Capto C8 milling spindle.

Performance, particularly for the deep, downhole work performed at CTL, is further enhanced by the optional high-pressure coolant system.

‘For example, we have just been awarded the contract by a customer that specialises in the restoration of Rolls-Royce Merlin engines,’ said Craig Booth.

‘As part of the work, the customer has to replace or renew the propellers and hubs, which previously involved a high level of manual finishing.

‘We are now in discussions with Yamazaki Mazak to evaluate how these components can be fully machined on the Mazak Integrex machines,’ he added.

The successful application of the two Integrex machines has now prompted the purchase of a third Mazak, an 800mm twin-pallet, horizontal machining centre.

Due to the type of work undertaken by CTL Engineering, the Mazak horizontal centre Nexus 8800-II is equipped with a D’Andrea U-180 contouring head.

‘This is the first Mazak HCN 8800-II machine in the UK to be fitted with a head like this,’ said Ian Booth.

‘Virtually all of our machining centre work requires contouring, and the addition of this head effectively makes the machine a five-axis machining centre,’ he added.

The HCN 8800-II will be machining a variety of components and has enabled CTL to address an imbalance in capacity that had been affecting the delivery times it was able to quote customers.

The latest machine in the Nexus range, the horizontal centre Nexus 8800-II, is equipped with an optional 37kW, 50 taper, 8,000rev/min spindle with up to 1218Nm of torque.

It is capable of achieving metal removal rates of up to 1371cm3/min in S45C medium carbon steel.

‘The HCN 8800-II will create additional capacity and allow CTL to approach new and existing customers to quote for work that would otherwise have been beyond our capabilities,’ said Ian Booth.

Yamazaki Mazak Ltd

Yamazaki Mazak is the world’s largest manufacturer of computer controlled (CNC) metal-cutting machines. With over 260 different models, the Mazak product range includes CNC lathes, machining centres, multi-tasking machines and flexible manufacturing systems as well as laser processing machines.

Machine tools are called “Mother Machine” because they relate to the manufacturing of almost every product around us and are very important in supporting the base of “world manufacturing.” Our mission as a machine tool maker is to enrich people’s lives and contribute to society by developing and providing high performance machine tools that can produce high accuracy work in a short time.

We were among the first to start foreign production as a Japanese machine tool maker. Following the establishment of Mazak Corporation in the USA, we expanded our production base worldwide to include the UK, Singapore and China, as well as further expanding our Japanese manufacturing operations. We are the only machine tool maker to have established a global production system. With these local plants, we have been able to provide high quality service and have built strong relationships based on mutual trust with customers from all over the world.

True to the Yamazaki principle of supporting the customer locally, Mazak’s European Manufacturing plant, in Worcester UK, opened in June 1987 and was immediately recognised as the most advanced machine tool manufacturing plant in Europe. The factory has expanded three times since then and now offers over 29,000m2

This is a complete machine tool manufacturing plant. Mazak machines the components that go to make its spindles, turrets, tool magazines and Mazak even manufactures its own sheet metal covers. As with all Mazak manufacturing plants, the most rigorous practices and Kaizen programmes ensure continuous improvement.

Serving all of Europe’s markets, more than 80% of the machine tools built in Worcester are exported from the UK into Europe. More than 17,000 Mazak machines have been manufactured here so far and this number continues to grow every day.

Mazak European Manufacturing Plant is recognised for its factory automation, technology and overall management practices. Selected as one of the “Top Ten Companies in the World” by the Swedish Royal Academy of Science and Technology underscores this worldwide reputation.

As with all Mazak factories, this facility comprises a variety of flexible manufacturing systems, consisting of machining centres, multi-tasking CNC lathes, and a sheet metal FMS – all designed for unmanned operation.

The plant benefits from highly skilled employees who are committed to continuous improvement through the 25 “Kaizen” teams in operation.

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