ETG machines create precise environment at Nikken NICe Centre

Pursuing its objective of replicating manufacturing conditions based on machine tools, CNC axis tables, toolholding installations and the controls likely to be found in a range of ‘typical’ machine shops, the Nikken NICe Centre has installed three machining centres supplied by the Engineering Technology Group (ETG).

Located on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Catcliffe, Rotherham there are six machining centres of contrasting specifications in operation at the Centre.

“Our aim is to demonstrate to metal cutting specialists how Nikken can contribute significantly to improving a manufacturing environment,” explains Stephen Eckersall, Group Engineering Manager at Nikken Kosakusho Europe Ltd.

“To that end we have designed the NICe Centre in such a way to replicate a range of metal cutting conditions from fully simultaneous 5 axis environments to a smaller manufacturer wanting to improve the productivity and capability of a single spindle VMC,” he adds.

“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.”

The three ETG supplied machines range from an entry level Hardinge GX480 VMC equipped with a Nikken CNC180ZA rotary table and Nikken BT 40 NC Tooling to a Bridgeport XR1000 VMC with a Nikken 5AX-350ZA table.  This machine is also 40 taper and equipped with and able to demonstrate Nikken’s range of IT40 (DIN 69871) NC Tool Solutions.

For high volume applications a full production Chiron DZ15W high speed, twin HSK63A spindle VMC with twin pallet loading is equipped with a Nikken multi-spindle rotary table enabling two identical components (such as turbine blades) to be machined side by side; in effect doubling machining capacity.


Again, Nikken’s NC Tooling solutions feature along with a link to Nikken’s range of tool presetting machines which allows direct communication of tool data into the numerical control. (The majority of the machines at NICe have and can demonstrate this capability).


The DZ15W is one of the family of new generation Chiron machines that combine the performance benefits of high end German machine tools within the budget of the subcontracting sector.


“The interaction with our customers is all important,” Steve Eckersall adds.


“Nikken equipment can be OEM specified or as a retro-fit 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,” he concludes


Richard Hughes, Technical Director at ETG is also enthusiastic about the installations.


“Nikken and ETG are old friends.  Basically Nikken manufacture add-on axis devices that further improve the productivity of single or three axis machines we sell to a customer.  So if we sell a three axis VMC, the customer can add a Nikken twin 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!”