Forward looking precision engineer invests in Quaser technology
A Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire based engineering company, is re-inventing itself from being a general sub-contractor to a company specialising in prototyping, bespoke component manufacture and project design engineering with a particular expertise in the medical and aerospace sectors.
Having overhauled its premises and production layout Colt Precision Ltd has also invested in the first of a number of versatile machine tools – an Engineering Technology Group supplied Quaser MV154EH 3 axis VMC with a Nikken 4th axis rotary table giving it an on-demand additional capability.
Colt Precision and its predecessor have a long history of component supply to the medical industries as well as being a well-respected general subcontractor serving the West Midlands and South West.
However, new owners Nick Corson and Simon Tarrant have moved the company forward into more specialist areas and, with their respective experiences with larger companies in the engineering sector, have highlighted the need for appropriate accreditation to enable Colt to become an approved aerospace and medical component supplier. ISO9001@ 2009 is achieved, and BS en ISO 13485 is the next objective.
In the past few months, Colt has been extensively involved in developing complex, high precision instruments used in joint replacement surgery, components for aviation and a range of prototyping projects.
Investment has also commenced in the manufacturing plant and with the Quaser MV Series machine acquisition it has an added 50% capacity in its milling capability and a machining flexibility that has produced a payback from day one.
“We have had to be canny in our purchases, and we have found the Quaser to be an excellent cornerstone” explains Simon Tarrant.
“Our plans are progressing well but we have to sustain the business from our traditional markets, and the Quaser has been instrumental in this. It has comfortably accommodated our component batch work and proved itself adept in the prototyping and development work that we aspire to.
Along with their highly experienced shop floor supervisor Glenn Richmond, the owners attended ETG’s Permanent Trade Show demonstration facility in Southam and had a number of machinery demonstrations, but it was the Quaser that caught their eye
“Glenn’s input was vital as he is the primary user and is overseeing the training of other operators and our apprentice on the machine. He also has extensive programming experience on the Heidenhain control which was the preferred option,” Nick Corson explains.
Among the criteria for the new purchase was the size of the machine footprint.
“We cleared out the workshop, produced a new layout, refurbished the complete area and re-installed the machines we needed knowing the Quaser was the corner stone,” Mr Corson adds. “Now, with limited disruption, we have the facility to add another machine as and when.”
Glenn Richmond concentrated on the machining specification.
“The standard machine spec is good, but I felt we needed a few changes in order to give ourselves the maximum capability,” he explains.
The 900 x 500mm table is more than adequate for our work but I wanted the best Z axis clearance possible, and the MV154EH offers 710mm clearance under the spindle and a 560mm travel. Also, we found the higher 12,000rpm spindle speed attractive along with the high pressure (20 bar) through coolant.
“And of course the Nikken 4th axis. The company is ambitious and looking to the future we will be needing the capability the 4th axis rotary table gives us.
“We opted for a Nikken CNC Z180 with an 180mm diameter table, pneumatic clamping and a high-speed motor. As we increase our bespoke and prototype work, the fourth axis will permit more complex machining with the facility to get access to the workpiece from various angles in a single set up. This might take several setups using just the Quaser’s 3 axes so the setup time is reduced, giving us a better customer response.”
Finally, the machine control. As an option, the Quaser MV “E” Series is equipped with a TNC 620 Control. “I am very comfortable with the Heidenhain, and as we now have an apprentice under my guidance, he has found this a very straight forward CNC control as have the other operators in the workshop,” Glenn Richmond adds.
“Predominantly we receive machining projects as solid models that we convert for NC part programming using OneCNC CAD/CAM software which works very well with the control.”
For further information on the extensive Quaser range and other machine tools and services available from ETG visit www.engtechgroup.com