Video shows Tornos Gamma 20/6, see Citizen M32 VIII video here In addition, the Welwyn Garden City precision turned parts subcontractor has laid down budgets to install an additional fully programmable component cleaning centre and a soluble coolant recycling facility. In fact, with its latest acquisitions, Unicut has invested a staggering £1 million in seven months. Employing 34 people - three skilled machine setters and two semi-skilled employees were taken on in the last six months, Unicut is now seeking up to three additional people with high levels of CNC setting ability to help produce the influx of new work. The installation of a second, high specification Miyano ABX-64SYY, fixed-head turning centre this month (January) with 64 mm bar capacity, two opposed 15 kW and 7.5 KW spindles, two 12 station all-driven 4.5 kW high torque driven turrets with + 40 mm Y-axis crossfeed will form a new dedicated production cell with an existing Citizen M32 CNC sliding-head turn-mill centre. The around-the-clock production cell will be managed by two setters able to fully exploit production of the seven initial component types. In addition, electronic links to production schedules, gauging, the quality department and preset tooling will be installed. FURTHER TORNOS MACHINES Two further Tornos Gamma 20/6 combination 'bush' and 'bushless' sliding-head machines are also to be installed at the Welwyn Garden City facility. One machine is installed to meet long running contracts requiring continuous production and the second will provide back-up to accommodate any unscheduled demand peaks, while helping to provide a general machining capability, due to the fast changeover between the bush and bushless spindle assembly, which can be achieved within half-an-hour. Unicut sets its machine shop up such that it has one machine shop tailored to turned parts up to 20 mm diameter, another unit for parts up to 32 mm and another department for machining complex parts beyond 32 mm diameter. The acquisition of the Tornos Gamma's has enabled Unicut to move work from its alternate sliding-head machines in the 20 mm component department to deliver increased capacity. "For the type of component being put through, from both these machines we will gain the advantage of not having to always use ground bar stock, while the arrangement of the end working tools with the bonus of a Y-axis cross feed will give us additional tooling flexibility," said Jason Nicholson, managing director. Tornos machines have been a more recent addition to the company's arsenal of machines, where Citizen and Miyano feature heavily. As Mr Nicholson explains: "This business is modelled on 'logic of brand' and we didn't previously feel that Tornos machines were the best fit solution for our business. However, the new turning centres the company has developed have really opened our eyes to what they have available. When we were looking for new turning centres, Tornos offered the Gamma, and it immediately struck me as a high capability machine that was a cost-effective package." The company's first 6-axis 20 mm diameter Gamma was delivered in July 2011 and created such an impact that a second machine was installed in October. The machine produce batches of 500 to 1,000 parts from a host of materials that include steel, aluminium and aerospace alloys. HOMEWORK DOWN "The latest Tornos machines show the company has done its homework," offers Mr Nicholson. "The Gamma has all the best elements that are available in competitor machines and has taken it a step further by offering features only available in competitor machines that are way beyond the Gamma's price bracket. The Gamma is installed as a package that includes a Y-axis for rear end working, high pressure coolant (HPC) and a high number of fixed and driven tool positions. One example of the machine being a 'complete package' is the high pressure coolant system. On competitor machines a HPC system would be an additional extra at a cost of £9,000, on the Gamma it is integrated into the machine and included in the price. "The Tornos Gamma's have slotted into our business very well and we are delighted with the machines. The Gamma 20/6 machines have a pulse generator for scrolling through complex programs, which aids the machine operator. Additionally, they fit into our structure of running simple or relatively complex parts 24 hours a day, which includes lights-out machining. The flexibility and capability versus cost was a major factor in the purchase of the Tornos machines. The machines have ease of access for the setters and the tool positions are close to the workpiece for maximum productivity levels. We have been extremely impressed with the amount of tool positions, the live tooling positions and the overall integration of elements that are optional extras on alternate machines. Tornos will no doubt be seriously considered in our machine tool acquisition plans in the future," he concludes. First published online