Nakamura’s the key to growthPosted on January 27, 2016
Investment in two advanced Nakamura-Tome mill turn centres by the leading high precision components manufacturer Thomas Brown Engineering has positioned the company for its next stage of growth by significantly enhancing its single hit machining capability when supplying diverse end user markets.
The Huddersfield based sub-contractor has acquired a 71mm bar capacity Nakamura WY-250 twin turret, twin spindle turn/mill and a high speed Nakumura NTJ 100 turn/mill centre with a 52mm bar capacity. Both machines have been supplied by the Southam based Engineering Technology Group.
The Nakamura’s are capable of very high precision, highly productive parts machining in a single process from bar to finished component and, if required, can accommodate requirements for large volume machined parts batches during lights out sessions if necessary.
Founded by current managing director Tom Brown in 1981, the company has over 30 years’ experience of supplying the wide and varied demands of the UK sub contract component market giving its owners a first-hand insight into industry trends and future demands. Today it employs 20 personnel across all disciplines.
“The one thing we have learnt is you cannot stand still in this business and we have a strong track record of investment in machine tools, our property and our people,” Tom Brown explains.
“In subcontracting you never know what’s around the corner and as such, we have invested in machines that are hopefully ‘future proof’ and give us a response in every eventuality.”
“This belief was behind the purchase of the Nakamura machines – they give us a highly competitive edge in terms of productivity and piece part costs plus a real advantage on precision and overall machining quality.”
Also workpiece material. “We can be tasked with anything from tough stainless such as SS99 to quite light machining materials. But we need the power and flexibility and with these units the components come off the machine finished, de-burred and engraved.”
The production management team at Thomas Brown opted to purchase the machines bare (without tooling), preferring to specify and prove out their own set up on each machine. This ensures – with the exception of the odd drill or tap – that they have optimised the tooling set up for the most regular and re-occuring projects.
“That in itself has saved a lot of time in set up costs” Tom Brown explains.
The WY 250 machine is a multi-purpose machining centre with the capability for productively machining a wide range of components in small and large batches.
It offers up to 33.5kW cutting power through the spindle enabling shaft-work turning with synchronized spindles, the left spindle motor being 18.5kW, the right hand 15kW.
It has a driven-tool motor power of 5.5kW for heavy cutting with small tools and the upper/lower turret construction permits 4-axis machining as well as various other machining combinations on either spindle.
In Thomas Brown’s environment it offers a highly flexible range of options and in terms of productivity alone, by eliminating multi machine set up’s with delays for programming and scheduling, it is already a major contributor.
Proving equally versatile is the Nakamura NTJ 100 twin-turret, twin-spindle turning centre with its swivelling B-axis top turret and high-powered milling motor. It can offer some very impressive cycle times with 54 tool stations – up to 24 stations for milling – and driven tool speeds of up to 6000rpm on both turrets.
Thomas Brown’s NTJ 100 features opposed twin spindle 2 turret construction and has a bar capacity of 52mm diameter and a maximum turning length of 678mm. Y-axes on both the upper and lower turrets offer 80mm and 65mm travel respectively.
The machine is fitted with the latest NTIPS interactive programming system with 19” touch screen for simple and effective programming of complex mill-turned parts.
“With the throughput we have, week on week, even day to day, it’s difficult to be specific but an overview of the impact these machines have had on our operations can only be summed up as impressive,” says Tom Brown.
We use Edgecam for the component model interrogation and programming and have recently purchased another post to enable us to connect all the machines into a central network,” he concludes.