Vulcan Fits the Bill for Micron

To support continued growth ambitions, workholding specialist Micron Workholding Ltd has recently installed a new 3-axis machining centre from the Engineering Technology Group (ETG).

The arrival of the Vulcan VMC610L machining centre from ETG was the machine of choice due to its spacious work envelope in a very compact floor area; something that was a crucial factor in the selection process made by Micron Managing Director, Matt Jenness. As Jon Mannion from ETG says: “When I first spoke to Matt, one of the key criteria was that he was looking for a small footprint machine. When he came to our facility in Wellesbourne, the Vulcan VMC610L really fitted the bill. To demonstrate the work envelope of the machine, one of our applications engineers put a really large block of material on the machine. We cut all around the outside of the part to demonstrate the working envelope and then we machined a very deep pocket in the middle, this really impressed both Matt and me.”

What impressed at the demo was not just the large working area for such a small footprint machine but also the machining performance, cutting capability and surface finish of the machine. Alluding to the size of this machine, Jon Mannion says: “This machine has got an X-axis of 610mm, but the table is 650mm so it really suited the needs of Micron. We also do an 850mm and a 1m machine, but they are both considerably larger than this compact Vulcan VMC610L.”

Acknowledged to be an entry-level machining centre, the Cambridgeshire workholding experts and developers of the Microloc technology selected a couple of optional extras to suit their specific needs. “The standard machine has a really high specification. It has a 10,000rpm spindle, 20bar through spindle coolant, 24 tool station and swarf management, making it a fantastic machine with great value for money. At ETG, all our applications engineering teams are really impressed with the build quality of this machine, especially considering the cost-effective price point. It’s a fantastic buy in my opinion.”

Looking at the new Vulcan Series that has only recently been introduced to the UK, the VMC610L is the smallest of the linear guide series of VMC’s from ETG. Within the compact work envelope is an axis travel of 610 by 400 by 450mm in X, Y and Z with a 650 by 400mm table. The BT40 machine has 36m/min rapids and a 10,000rpm spindle as standard. However, customers can select from a direct, belt or built-in spindle derivative with varying torque ranges and spindle speeds from 8,000rpm all the way through to 30,000rpm, depending upon the model selected.

From a build quality and design perspective, the Vulcan VMC610L has been designed using a Finite Element Analysis to ensure the machine can handle high cutting forces and loads. Adding to this, all axes use an extra-wide 45mm roller type linear guideway, which further contributes to the Vulcan VMC’s ability to accommodate heavy loads with fast acceleration rates and low friction. This is all achieved whilst maintaining accurate positioning that optimises the performance of the cost-effective machine. The Vulcan base and saddle also utilise a wide design to prevent issues with sagging and overhang when loading heavy components, this is supported by a Z-axis casting that uses a reinforced rib design to achieve high structural strength through the entire casting length.

With regards to the CNC control system on the machine, Micron had a preference for the FANUC control system, but the machine in stock and ready for the fast delivery at the time of the Micron enquiry had a Siemens CNC system. As Jon continues: “Our applications team gave Micron a demonstration of the new Siemens touchscreen system and they liked it, so they decided to go with the Siemens control system.”

The Kimbolton company already has a Nakamura-Tome AS-200 turning centre and a Bridgeport XR760 machining centre, both supplied from the Engineering Technology Group. So, why is this industry-leading manufacturer of workholding technology opting for technology from ETG? Answering this question, Jon Mannion states: “Micron initially came to us and bought the Bridgeport machine and subsequently the Nakamura machine and now the Vulcan. This repeat business is primarily down to our level of backup and support, especially on the application front. Added to this, the compact Vulcan machine demonstrates that we always have the right machine for the job. I would say it is a combination of these factors that has once again seen Matt buying his machine tools from ETG.”