Subcontractor buys first 5-Axis machining centre

Subcontractor Numac Engineering, more than half of whose business is in the oil and gas sector, has ordered a Hermle 5-axis, trunnion-type, mill-turn centre to strengthen its prismatic machining capability and at the same time add extra turning capacity.

Kingsbury, sole agent for the German machine builder, will install the Hermle C42UMT in the customer’s Stalybridge factory in October 2019. It will additionally allow the contract machinist to take on more complex work in the aerospace and motorsport sectors. A wide variety of metals is already machined on site, encompassing most grades of stainless steel as well as exotic materials including titanium and nickel alloys such as Hastelloy and Incoloy.

Numac’s managing director Andy McLaren commented, “We have 4-axis horizontal-spindle and vertical-spindle machining centres here but are keen to add full 5-axis milling and drilling, both to increase the complexity of parts we can produce and to reduce the number of set-ups needed for 3+2 axis work.

“The torque table on the Hermle will cut the number of separate operations even further on some of our mill-turned components, as we will be able to avoid a separate clamping on a lathe.

“We have a number of oil and gas parts earmarked for such a process improvement and estimate that typically the number of set-ups will be halved, resulting in major efficiency and productivity increases.”

He added that he had spent 18 months researching 5-axis mill-turn centres available on the market and opted for the Hermle primarily due to its superior turning capability, the table having a maximum speed of 800 rpm and the ability to turn components with the trunnion positioned at any angle.

Other attributes of the C42UMT that Mr McLaren values is its 800 x 800 x 550 mm working volume, which fits well with the maximum size of part machined by Numac; its 18,000 rpm HSK-T63 spindle, more than double the speed of other machines on the shop floor at Stalybridge; as well as the tandem trunnion drive, extended tool capacity to 92 pockets and 10 m/s2 acceleration to 60 m/min rapids.