Originally, they were cut three at a time on a six-spindle Droop & Rein vertical machine tool platform. Indexing had to be carried out manually on the bed, a 15-minute job that exposed an operator to a potentially hazardous environment that is contaminated with titanium swarf and coolant.
The new solution sees all six 3.5m components machined at once. One end mounts into one of six Nikken CNC601B rotary tables; the other into one of three sets of back-to-back Nikken TAT320 support tables. Now each indexing operation takes 15 seconds and does not require an operator to enter the machining area. The ultimate result is a significantly reduced cycle for a load of six components, including 10 tool changes, with a saving that is measured in hours.
Integration of the rotary tables with the CNC was carried out by Siemens (0161 446 6400), utilising an 840D control to drive the machine tool, rotary tables and TAT units.