Mills CNC’s Training Academy becomes first official Heidenhain Training Partner in the UK

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Following an extensive and intensive auditing and training process, the CNC Training Academy, the training division of Mills CNC, has announced that it has recently become an official Training Partner for leading German machine tool CNC control manufacturer, Heidenhain GmbH.

Although there are a number of Heidenhain Training Partners, globally, the CNC Training Academy is the first, and only, training organisation in the UK to have achieved the accreditation.

The process for becoming a Heidenhain Training Partner began in earnest for the CNC Training Academy back in October 2023, and involved, in the first instance, two members of staff – Karen Earley (training academy manager) and Darren Clarke (trainer) - visiting Heidenhain’s operation in Traunreut, Germany to undertake an intensive, week-long advanced training programme.

This was followed, a couple of weeks later, by both Karen and Darren returning to Heidenhain’s facility to take three exams (i.e., theory and practical etc.), culminating in both having to run specific and separate live training courses for Heidenhain training personnel.

Having successfully passed their exams and the live training practice element, the official Heidenhain Training Partner standard was awarded to the Training Academy in March 2024.

The accreditation means that the CNC Training Academy is now an approved Heidenhain Training Centre, enabling it to teach milling courses to Heidenhain’s rigorous standards. In short teaching Heidenhain courses - the Heidenhain way.

Karen Earley said: “We have always delivered Heidenhain CNC operator and Programmer Training Courses to UK and Irish customers ever since the CNC Training Academy was first created back in 2010, but these courses, up until now, did not carry the official Heidenhain kitemark.

“The newly-acquired Heidenhain accreditation means that anyone (now and in the future) in the UK and Ireland, for example, with a Heidenhain-controlled machining centre (i.e., iTNC 530, iTNC 640 and moving forwards, the soon to be released TNC7), no longer need to travel to Germany to become trained to Heidenhain standards.”

There are a number of key elements relating to the Academy’s Heidenhain accreditation that are worth highlighting:

Heidenhain TNC7

The Academy now has two fully-trained instructors able to teach the new Heidenhain TNC7 CNC control system to customers, and as a consequence, is able to access and employ the latest Heidenhain software upgrades and updates within the courses it offers.

The new TNC7 control, which will be launched by Heidenhain UK at MACH 2024, is touchscreen based and features a number of improvements over the, older, iTNC 530 and iTNC 640 CNC control systems.

These include a) graphical programming capabilities that enable NC programs to be created quickly and easily; b) advanced collision protection (Dynamic Collision Monitoring – DCM) that prevent collisions between tools and machine components and work-holding equipment from occurring; c) on-board component and process monitoring for improved reliability; d) optimised contour milling for greater productivity and process efficiencies.

Digital Twin – DVF 5000

As part of its new relationship with Heidenhain, the CNC Training Academy (and future course attendees) now have access to a ‘digital twin’ of a DN Solutions’ DVF 5000 simultaneous 5-axis machining centre – one of Mills’ best-selling 5-axis models.

The digital twin facility, built by Heidenhain in close collaboration with Mills CNC, enables Academy 5-axis course attendees to create and run programmes on a digital DVF 5000, as if the machine was there in the classroom.

Earley added: “We haven’t got a dedicated DVF 5000 for training purposes at the Academy – so the digital twin, which is a computer-generated replica of the machine, gives us the next best option.

“Through using the new Heidenhain keyboard, course attendees can create programmes for the DVF 5000 and see the part on the table (before and during machining operations), and understand and avoid, in real time, potential collisions, and potential spindle interference with the machine’s table, tools, fixtures etc.”

The CNC Training Academy is a successful training organisation committed to continuous improvement, and has recently completed a move to larger, modern and more sophisticated premises on Mills CNC’s Technology Campus facility in Leamington.

By becoming a Training Partner for Heidenhain, the Academy has added yet another ‘string to its bow’ - one that will, according to Academy representatives, deliver new business opportunities and growth.