The three ETG supplied machines take in: an entry-level Hardinge GX480 vertical machining centre (VMC) equipped with a Nikken CNC180ZA rotary table and Nikken BT 40 NC tooling; a 40-taper Bridgeport XR1000 VMC with a Nikken 5AX-350ZA table equipped with and able to demonstrate Nikken’s range of IT40 (DIN 69871) NC Tool Solutions; and, for high volume applications, a full production HSK63A spindle connection Chiron DZ15W high speed, twin-spindle, twin-pallet VMC equipped with a Nikken multi-spindle rotary table, enabling two identical components (such as turbine blades) to be machined side by side. Again, Nikken’s NC Tooling solutions feature on this last machine, along with a link to Nikken’s range of tool presetting machines that allow direct communication of tool data into the numerical control. (The majority of the machines at NICe have and can demonstrate this capability).

Explains Stephen Eckersall, group engineering manager at Nikken Kosakusho Europe: “The interaction with our customers is all important. Our aim is to demonstrate to metalcutting specialists how Nikken can contribute significantly to improving a manufacturing environment. To that end, we have designed the NICe Centre in such a way to replicate a range of metalcutting conditions, from fully simultaneous 5 axis environments to a smaller manufacturer wanting to improve the productivity and capability of a single spindle VMC.

“We are looking to engage with the whole spectrum of manufacturing, highlighting where Nikken equipment can improve performance and demonstrate our technologies on the formats of machine tool they operate.”

Speaking about Nikken equipment specifically, he adds: “Nikken equipment can be OEM specified or as a retrofit to achieve a considerable upgrade to an existing machine. More importantly, in the case of the larger tables, they can be removed to accommodate other projects directly on the machine trunnion then re-fitted if a multi-axis machining project is required.

“And on the smaller machines, the compact size of the rotary table means it can often be left on the machine without interrupting machining activity.”

Richard Hughes, technical director at ETG, is enthusiastic about the installations: “Nikken and ETG are old friends. Basically, Nikken manufacture add-on axis devices that further improve the productivity of the 3-axis machines we sell to customers. So if we sell a 3-axis VMC, the customer can add a Nikken 2-axis rotary table and achieve 5-axis capability. Importantly, if he then has a project that requires the 3-axis machine in its original form, the table is rapidly removed ready for the next project. In effect, the best of both worlds.”

The NICe facility boasts four other machining centres that can demonstrate Nikken technology: a Mazak Integrex i300 supplied by Yamazaki Mazak; a Doosan NHM6300 horizontal machining centre from Mills CNC; a Brother Speedio RX460 X1 from Whitehouse Machine Tools; and a Fanuc Robodrill D21 from Fanuc UK.