Modern machine tool technology tends to be multifunctional, and whilst the Mazak and Heller initiatives focus on what can be clearly identified as machining centres, developments in mill turning continue apace, and include a new compact machine from DMG MORI for turning and milling large diameter components. The NTX 3000 2nd Generation multitasking centre is capable of simultaneous five-axis CNC machining of complex workpieces within a footprint of only 16.5m2. Experience gained from installing more than 1,000 of the smallest, 65mm bar NTX 2000 model, drove design of the new machine. It has a robust machine bed with roller guideways and offers high process stability and flexibility. Comprehensive water cooling of the spindles, ball screws and ball nuts ensures thermal stability in continuous operation. Magnetic scale feedback of linear position to a resolution of 0.01 micron is a further option, as is a range of automated workpiece handling systems.
The value of multi-axis machine tools is being demonstrated throughout the manufacturing supply chain, encouraging forward-looking SMEs and subcontractors to sustain investment levels and exploit the latest technology. Worthing-based Roscomac invested around £3m-£4m with Citizen Machinery UK in the first six months of 2017, and is now enjoying the benefits. The investment programme started with a Miyano BNE-51MSY multi-axis turn-mill centre and two Cincom sliding head turn-mill centres, M16-V, and L20-VIII LFV. Such was the impact, in terms of productivity and problem-solving, of using low-frequency vibration (LFV) technology on the L20, that managing director Joe Martello ordered another L20 and a smaller-capacity L12-VII.