Steed Webzell previews Southern Manufacturing 2012, which has grown to become the UK's largest regional manufacturing technology and subcontracting exhibition (with video links)
Taking place from 15-16 February at the FIVE venue in Farnborough, Southern Manufacturing will play host to more than 400 exhibitors, all hoping to catch the eye of discerning visitors.
So what's on show? Well, starting with machine tools, Yamazaki Mazak UK (01905 755755) is displaying its new Integrex i-200S multi-tasking machine, the main spindle of which is equipped with 22 kW of power and a maximum rotating speed of 5,000 rpm (see video
On the Haas Automation stand (01603 760539), the latest ST-30 turning centre will be put through its paces. The ST-30 has been designed to provide heavy cutting ability, along with high rigidity and thermal stability. It will be joined on the stand by a selection of other models, including a new 5-axis vertical machining centre.
Image: Haas' ST-30 offers heavy cutting ability, along with high rigidity and thermal stability
XYZ Machine Tools (01823 674 200) will also have several machines on display, including: a variable speed (40-5,000 rpm) ProtoTrak SMX 3500 bed mill; a 25-2,500 rpm ProTurn SLX 425 lathe; a 5,000 rpm Compact Turn 52 turning centre; and a 5-8,000 rpm 710 VMC vertical machining centre.
Image: XYZ's 5-8,000 rpm 710 VMC vertical machining centre
Southern Manufacturing represents a vital dialogue opportunity for exhibitors and visitors alike, and this can be maximised, if there are new products ready for launch. Rofin-Baasel UK (01327 701100), for example, will introduce its EasyMark IV laser marking system, a new system that incorporates a programmable Z-axis as standard and can be optionally equipped with various optics, external or through-the-lens camera solutions, and/or a rotary axis for circumferential marking of cylindrical components.
Laser marking will also be the focus for Trumpf (0844 482 0188), which will show two models: the TruMark 5020 with diode-pumped fibre laser that combines high power, high repetition rates and variably definable pulse duration; and a TruMark Station 1000 desktop laser system, with TruMark 3130 marking laser.
Trumpf is arguably best known for its sheet metal processing machinery and, with this in mind, the company will also demonstrate its prowess in precision bending, using a TruBend 7036.
Image: TruBend 7036
Bystronic UK (0844 848 5850) is another exhibitor making bending operations a major focus of its stand by presenting a new press brake, the Xcel. This 50 tonne, 1,650 mm capacity machine is both fast in operation and small in footprint. It comes complete with laser front guards, a Cybelec CNC 60 control, quick-change single-vee lower dies and Euro upper tools.
Image: Bystronic's Xcel
Tooling is vital to any manufacturing operation. Amongst the exhibitors showing their latest innovations in tooling for metal cutting is WNT UK (0800 073 2073), which will present its SCR Monstermill solid carbide end mills (see video
). These are said to produce typical productivity gains in the order of 25% on steel and cast iron components with hardness values up to 70 HRc, due to the combination of a recently developed carbide substrate and a Ti1200-based AltiN coating.
Another tooling specialist, Industrial Tooling Corporation (01827 304500), will be introducing its 5021 Cyber Series of 5-flute harmonic end mills. The solid carbide 5021 is Cupro coated to enhance tool life and machining stability, while stability is enhanced, thanks to the unequal flute spacing that reduces machining noise and vibration.
Elsewhere at the show, visitors to the Dormer Tools stand (0114 2933800) will be able to see a range of carbide milling cutters shown to the UK market for the first time. Designed for all milling operations from slotting to finishing in a multitude of materials, the cutters feature a special aluminium chromium nitride coating proven to increase performance, it is said.
Amongst the many other innovations on show that will be of interest to machine shops is the Hilma KC100 5-axis vice from Roemheld UK (0121 453 1414), which combines all the features of the SCS vice range with the added advantage of round carbide inserts that enable concentric components to be gripped in the same vice.
Image: Hilma KC100 5-axis vice from Roemheld
Over on the stand of 1st MTA (0800 783 0510), the Darex XPS-16 drill sharpener will be on show for the first time in the UK (see video
). This 4-axis CNC drill sharpener is said to cost the equivalent of 100 radial split point carbide drills, yet even unskilled operators can sharpen more than 400 of them in a day.
Moving from hardware to software, a new 'Waveform Roughing Strategy' offering even greater stability, more precise machining and faster metal removal, is a major enhancement in the latest release of Edgecam being shown by Planit Software (01225 721330), while those seeking new options in production control software should visit the stand of Tricorn Systems (01252 821889). Working in co-operation with Seiki Systems, Tricorn has implemented its integrated manufacturing system at two UK engineering sites in the past six months.
Letting technology take the strain is very much the aim of RNA Automation (0121 749 2566), which will be demonstrating an RNA bowl feeder served by a Fanuc M-1iA handling robot with integrated iRVision system. The system will be demonstrating the handling of two variants of poker chips at rates of up to 120 cycles per minute.
On Renishaw's (01453 524524) stand, visitors will be introduced to the company's SLM systems, which utilise an additive manufacturing process capable of producing fully dense metal parts direct from 3D CAD, using a high power fibre laser. Also on display will be Renishaw's newest gauging product, Equator, as well as the company's PH20 5-axis touch-trigger system (online videos Equator
and PH20 head 5-axis touch-trigger probe
Another innovative probe at Southern Manufacturing will be presented by Blum Novotest (01543 257111), which will give its UK debut to the TC76-DIGILOG – said to be the world's first touch probe for robust use in machine tools that combines digital and analogue technology.
Retaining the measurement theme, Metrology Direct (01452 725241) will show a number of recently introduced innovations, including the Micro-Vu Vertex 251 vision measuring centre for small components, such as pressed parts, and the Opticline C302 optical non-contact shaft measuring system from Hommel-Etamic (see video
Heidenhain GB (01444 247711) will also offer visitors representative examples of the array of technologies it offers, including: the new ACANTO absolute digital length gauge; digital readouts for retrofit applications – including the Positip 880; and a TNC machine tool control programming station, complemented by spindle and table probes.
Finally, HepcoMotion (01884 257000) says that Southern Manufacturing will be the launch platform for its new LMI Linear Measuring Indicator, which will be teamed on the stand with the company's GV3 linear slide system to guide the sensor head in parallel to coded magnetic tape.
Box item (with videos)
Aside from manufacturing technology suppliers, subcontractors will also be high in number at Southern Manufacturing. Among them will be Burgess Hill-based Cirrus Laser (01444 870386), which will be promoting its new Trumpf 5030 Fiber laser machining centre (see video
), while on the stand of Wimborne-based Lipco Engineering (01202 828416), the company will be promoting the fact that it invested around £1.5 million in new machines during 2011, including a 32-pallet Matsuura MAM72-35V and four new Mazak machining centres.
New turning centres will be the focus on the stand of Luton-based DRN Engineering (01582 451111). The company has just taken delivery of two turn-mill centres: a Miyano BNJ 42SY3 7-axis model and a Star SR20 R111 sliding head.
Among other subcontractors at the show will be: Reading-based Rodmatic, which houses 50 CNC sliding-headstock and sliding-head turn-mill centres, multi-axis fixed head turn-mill centres and 38 multi-spindle automatic lathes; WEC Machining, a new division of Darwen-based WEC Group (01254 700222) which will be officially unveiled at Southern Manufacturing; and Canterbury-based Inca Geometic, which invested around £500,000 in new production equipment and CADCAM software in 2011.
First published in Machinery, January 2012