Unison tube bender makes light work of SST’s life-saving Halo system and other titanium structures

February 5th, 2021 3:10 pm | by admin

Investing in a Unison Breeze all-electric CNC tube bending machine has not only assisted Oxfordshire-based SST Technology in becoming the only British-based precision fabricator authorised to produce the life-saving Halo titanium driver protection system, as used in Formula 1, it has also equipped the business to complete numerous complex structural projects involving titanium tube including roll-cage structures for military vehicles and aerospace components.

The machine, a Unison Breeze 130 mm ‘large diameter’ multi-stack tube bender, was purchased to help SST produce high-performance optimal-flow exhaust systems for Formula 1, IndyCar and other motorsport sectors. With a pedigree in motorsport components and a powerful new tube bending machine to hand, however, SST’s thoughts quickly turned to driver safety. The exceptionally tight material control, production parameters and dimensional tolerances provided by the all-electric Unison Breeze tube bender, combined with SST’s considerable experience in the development and manufacture of ultra-precise fabrications, led to the company’s Halo design securing FIA conformity for use in Formula 1, Formula 2 and Formula E motorsport and being adopted by several race teams. SST’s Halo design requires the precise bending of titanium tube of 4 mm wall thickness.

Notoriously difficult to bend

Titanium, however, is notoriously difficult to bend. With low uniform elongation typically requiring a much greater bend radii than other metals, titanium does not readily lend itself to being formed; a characteristic that makes creating tubular structures for aerospace and motorsport applications particularly challenging. For successful tube forming, the material must be compressed on the inside of the bend and stretched on the outside, while wall thinning and ovality of the tube have to be kept to very tight tolerances. Traditionally, ‘hot bending’, a process involving the use of super-heated tooling, has been used to overcome the challenges of bending titanium. However, the very process of hot bending presents a number of issues. For example, the use of super-heated tooling requires considerable care and can present a hazard to operators; complex modifications must be made to bending machinery, and tooling heat-up times are lengthy. By contrast, Unison’s infinitely controllable and robust all-electric machines enable the safe, precise cold bending of titanium. With advice and application support from the technical team at Unison Ltd, SST were therefore able to develop a cold-bending process for their Halo design that allowed for the low elongation of the metal and delivered precise results.

“To successfully cold-bend titanium, factors such as material quality, tooling configuration, machine design and flexibility of control need to be considered,” comments Unison key account manager, Steve Haddrell. “This is because any variation in material quality, any lack of rigidity in the mechanics of the bending machine and any failure to achieve repeatability time after time will invariably lead to failure. With exceptional power, optimal rigidity, precise mechanical motion and all-electric control for accurate, effortless repeatability, we knew the 130 mm Breeze was the ideal machine for precision-bending SST’s Halo design. With material quality assured, it really came down to working with SST to establish the correct tooling configuration and programming of the Unison Unibend machine operating system.”

Delivering significant benefits

“Investing in the 130 mm Unison Breeze machine has clearly paid dividends,” says SST Technology’s group business development director, Daniel Chilcott. “Tool changes are rapid, programming is incredibly user friendly, while the automatic setup ensures uncompromising levels of accuracy and repeatability. Sufficiently impressed with the capabilities of our 130 mm machine, we have also purchased a smaller 65 mm Breeze model for the production of more intricate pipework and parts for aerospace and gas turbine applications. Combining this capability with our AS9100REVD accreditation means we are perfectly set up to support leading aerospace propulsion, fluid and air system OEMs.”

Intelligent tube manipulation

The Unison Breeze 130 mm tube bender purchased by SST is well suited to manipulating exotic alloys such as titanium and Inconel, as well as Super-Duplex stainless steels and provides high-quality thin wall bending. Multi-stack tooling allows the most complex of parts to be formed in one uninterrupted manufacturing cycle, while Unison’s bar code scanning system ensures that only the correct tooling is installed. The standard-fit rise and fall pressure die can result in significant savings in tooling costs and allows tools of very different radii to be used on a part within a cycle. The tube bender can be programmed manually or from CAD data using industry-standard IGES or STEP files.

“At Unison, we are often invited to advise customers on particularly challenging tube bending projects,” concludes Steve Haddrell. “That’s partly because of the immense capabilities offered by our tube bending machines. Assisting SST on establishing the optimal tooling configuration of their Unison Breeze machine for the production of the life-saving Halo device, however, is one of the most rewarding projects we have been involved in.”


Unison Ltd
Tel: 01723 582 868
Email: sales@unisonltd.com


February 1st, 2021 2:29 pm | by admin

ESPRIT announces new on-demand Learning Center for programmers

January 18th, 2021 12:12 pm | by admin

ESPRIT, the industry’s trusted CAM software for CNC programming, optimisation and simulation, has announced the debut release of its on-demand training platform, ESPRIT Learning Center, to the general public.

Traditionally, ESPRIT’s applications engineers lead in-person trainings in ESPRIT offices as well as on-site at customer facilities around the world. While application engineers offer some of the best CAM courses in the industry, the ESPRIT team understands that not everyone who needs software training has the resources to travel to an ESPRIT office.

To support customers throughout the pandemic, ESPRIT began conducting instructor-led, online training sessions in early 2020. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. To further satisfy users’ growing appetite for high-quality online training, ESPRIT now introduces the ESPRIT Learning Center to the general public.

The ESPRIT Learning Center is an online training platform with on-demand, self-paced training courses created specifically for ESPRIT CAM programmers. ESPRIT’s top engineers and instructors have poured a huge amount of effort and energy into creating these courses. The first learning paths to be released are “New User Milling,” “New User Turning,” and “New User Mill-Turn.” Each learning path includes five to seven training courses that guide users through several different machine models and part models to introduce different machining processes in ESPRIT.

The main purpose for creating discrete online learning paths is to replicate what a student can learn from an on-site training class. Users may take the course anywhere, and at any time. ESPRIT customers can learn at their own pace while saving the time and cost associated with traveling. Each learning path also comes with one ESPRIT student license for each learner, so users can take the courses at home or in their free time, without interrupting their daily programming or production work.

“ESPRIT Learning Center gives us the exact learning experience that we’ve been looking for. The courses are very thorough, wasting no time getting to the point. Having all the supplied files and models within the course window makes access quick and convenient.” says Scott Hornbeak, programmer at Cassavant Machining. “This online training will not only make it easier for existing ESPRIT users to transition to the new ESPRIT, it will also help our new programmers rapidly get familiar with ESPRIT, without the need to travel to a training site.”

“ESPRIT Learning Center is a game-changer for our customers who want to learn ESPRIT,” says Yijun Fan, director of product mat DP Technology, the maker of ESPRIT. “Our end goal is to make high-quality ESPRIT training courses more accessible to our global customers. We want to share our best practices with users so they can optimise their machine programming to reduce the cycle time, machine setup time, and machine downtime. We want our users’ machines to start running as soon as possible and keep running at the highest efficiency, and that’s always going to be our priority at DP Technology.”

To learn more about the ESPRIT Learning Center, visit: https://www.espritcam.com/learningcenter

ESPRIT and DP Technology Corp

DP Technology Corp. is a leading developer and supplier of computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software. ESPRIT®, DP Technology’s flagship product, is a powerful CAM system for CNC programming, optimisation, and simulation, supporting the entire manufacturing process. With factory-certified post processors delivering machine-optimized G-code and ESPRIT’s ability to solve unique challenges with automation solutions, ESPRIT is the smart manufacturing solution for any machining application. With world-class technical support, ESPRIT empowers you to get started quickly and keep running at top efficiency. ESPRIT is the only CAM system you’ll ever need.

DP Technology reinforces its commitment to technical excellence by dedicating nearly 20 percent of its annual revenue to ongoing research and product development. This long-term focus has produced powerful technological innovations that have placed ESPRIT in an industry-leading position since its market launch in 1985.

DP Technology
Tel: 001 805 388 6000
Email esprit@dptechnology.com


ITC Celebrates 30 years of UK manufacturing

January 18th, 2021 11:16 am | by admin

30 Years on and the company founders get together again


All businesses will be glad to draw a line under 2020 and move into 2021, but for Industrial Tooling Corporation (ITC) 2021 will be a landmark year as the UK cutting tool manufacturer celebrates 30 years of business. Here, we take a look back at 30 years of ITC and how this prestigious UK manufacturer has grown over the last three decades, a brand that will be celebrating its anniversary with several 2021 special offers for manufacturers to look out for.

The history of ITC dates back to the late 1980s where the three founders of ITC, Peter Graves, Roy Talbot and Bob Unsworth all worked together at Insley Industrial, the UK agent for US-based Metal Removal Company, one of the first suppliers of carbide tooling in the UK and the world. Following several late 80’s mergers and acquisitions, the Metal Removal brand that was the preferred choice of several prominent airspace and aero-engine manufacturers was looking for a new UK distributor and the three entrepreneurs spotted their opportunity.

The 3 Directors – Peter Graves, Roy Talbot and Bob Unsworth

Taking up the story, managing director Peter Graves says: “Bob, Roy and myself spoke with Metal Removal and we became the new UK agents, all leaving our jobs simultaneously to set up ITC. We had a business plan, spoke with accountants and got a bank loan to start the company with backing from Metal Removal, which included a bonded warehouse in Northamptonshire. In the early days, we provided the orders to Metal Removal and they dispatched products from the bonded warehouse, so we only paid for the products we sold.”

“The reason we ended up renting a small office in Tamworth is that Bob lived in Bolton, and covered the North, Roy was from the Midlands and I lived near Watford, and covered the South. It was geographically central and it was close to Rolls-Royce in Derby. It all started in January 1991 and there were the three of us, plus two other team members answering the phones. In the early days, our previous employer was trying to disrupt our business and it was a challenging period, but Metal Removal supported us throughout, and after a difficult start, the business started to grow. We bought some stock that crammed our small office before we moved to a larger unit.”

“After two to three years, the business grew and Therese and Lisa joined (they are still here today), we recruited our first technical salesmen, and gradually set upon our growth trajectory. We then added another brand, Vallorbe Swiss HSS end mills, and around 1995 we heard that Hanita was also looking for a UK agent. We got in touch with them and they invited us to Israel. We were taken back by the energy and R&D investment in the company. By the late 1990s, we had these independent brands on board, but Metal Removal was then bought by Kennametal and within another year or two, Hanita was also acquired by Kennametal. Naturally, the relationship evolved from dealing with smaller independent companies to a multinational group, but it was probably a stroke of luck for us that the same group bought both companies.”

A change in the market
“These companies were both supplying solid carbide cutting tools, while at the time solid carbide was still building its reputation, as in the early days before its quantum leap forward, it was often thought of as a brittle material, easy to chip or break. The changes to solid carbide over 50 years have been unbelievable. Back when I started selling solid carbide Metal Removal products, they were very expensive and there was no discount. At the time, there were very few companies actively selling solid carbide. So, for companies acknowledging the benefits, it was a relatively captive market. The Metal Removal range always remained a standard product offering of two, three and four flute end mills and drills whereas Hanita pushed the boundaries of product development and performance. With the Vallorbe range primarily HSS, this eventually died off. At this point during the late ’90s, we also bought our first machine.”

Making the Transition to Manufacturing
“After being in business for eight or nine years, we were spending a lot of money on modifications and regrinds, sending tools to an external grinding company. For a relatively small business, this was a significant expense for us. We ‘chewed the fat’ on whether we should buy a grinding machine and subsequently visited MACH. We ended up on the Walter stand, but at that point, we hadn’t made any concrete decisions. A while later, we were in the office discussing the Walter machines and quite spookily the Walter rep was knocking the door following up the MACH leads. It felt like fate, and for Keith Villiers, the Walter sales rep, the timing was perfect.

We eventually bought a Helitronic MiniPower, which was our first machine, along with two Deckel S11 manual machines and an S5 for necking. These were soon followed by a Schneeberger Gemini CNC. We had a small lock-up, the size of a triple garage, with three skilled men running the machines. All of these machines were bought for modifications and re-grinds with a lot of work being radiusing, reducing diameters and step drills. Even at that early point, Metal Removal supported us by adding the radius to a lot of the tools to help us win business. Nowadays, we do all of the modifications and radii on tools in-house.”

“Coming up to 2000, we were busy running the business and selling tools so we employed Paul Marriott as our first production manager and he’s still with us more than 20 years later, albeit in a different role. It was at this time we realised we were running out of space and we then moved to our existing site, which used to be a pet food storage facility. We needed more office space, more storage space and the capacity to add more machine tools. Having a larger facility allowed us to run a centralised cooling system for all the machines.”

The birth of ITC Tools
“Manufacturing our tools probably started in the 90s with our subcontract supplier manufacturing products for us as well as undertaking the re-grinding and modification of existing tools. However, it was when we moved to our current facility that we started to introduce our own product lines. We are currently on issue 15 of our product catalogue and this annual catalogue has grown year on year. We realised we needed our product catalogue and the need to publish this was expedited by Metal Removal deciding to stop publishing their product catalogue. We started publishing a catalogue full of Metal Removal products and we started adding our product lines into the catalogue. Over the years, the catalogue has grown and nearly all of the products are our own with Metal Removal products playing an ever-decreasing role.”

The evolution of a leading UK manufacturer
“Since we started, we have changed from being an importer and distributor to being one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of cutting tools. We now have a huge range of tools for all applications. You only have to look at the sign-making industry and the huge variety of tools we make there. We are the largest manufacturer of cutting tools to the sign-making industry by a considerable margin and we are forever developing new tools. To do this we have invested in a routing machine to do research and development of tools for this industry.

“As we have evolved, we have continually outgrown our facility. We managed to buy an adjacent facility about six or seven years ago, so we could move our stores and add more machines. This gave us a couple more years before we had to decide on a location. For more than 10 years, we had been waiting for the right opportunity to buy the unit next door. We eventually obtained the premises next door and by adding the two facilities, we have now more than doubled our floor area. We now have more than 25 CNC grinding machines for producing cutting tools, but we also have three Helicheck inspection machines and various other production machines for blanking. We have even invested in new machines to manufacture cutting tools from 0.1mm up to 40mm diameter and beyond. The investment in our ‘micro’ setup has cost us more than £1 million but it is paying dividends as the micro grinding machine is always busy and predominantly manufacturing tools below 1 mm diameter.”

Extending the portfolio
Over the last 20 years, ITC has continually evolved its product lines with the sign-making tools and the micro-cutting tools being perfect examples. Boasting one of the most diverse and high-quality product offerings in the industry is something that ITC has worked tirelessly to achieve and this has seen the addition of WIDIA and BIG KAISER to the ITC portfolio.

Peter Graves continues: “Kennametal also bought the WIDIA brand, and WIDIA is one of the world’s first manufacturers and longest established brands in the carbide cutting tool industry. Following the acquisition, Kennametal recognised the strength of the WIDIA brand and resurrected it and added the Hanita portfolio to WIDIA and this is where our connection with WIDIA started almost 15 years ago. As the Hanita agent, we became the WIDIA agent by default, or essentially the WIDIA/Hanita agent in the UK.”

“We had always been recognised as a solid carbide cutting tool specialist and the opportunity to supply indexable tools was something we had long considered, and that opportunity arrived via WIDIA over six years ago. The skill and mindset of selling indexable products compared to solid carbide is somewhat different and we recognised that we needed additional staff. WIDIA was very keen for us to sell the products in the UK, and we now have five sales and applications engineers dedicated to indexable product lines.”

Soon after commencing with indexable tooling sales for WIDIA, the company started to work with BIG KAISER. Recalling the conversation with Peter Poulson from BIG KAISER, Peter Graves recalls: “Out of the blue, I got a call from Peter at BIG KAISER, and while I didn’t know him, I certainly knew the name BIG KAISER, as most engineers do. Peter wanted to come to the UK and discuss the opportunity for ITC to be the new UK distributor for BIG KAISER, but I was a little sceptical whether BIG KAISER sales would take off as, despite the products having exemplary quality and innovation, they had the reputation of being a bit on the pricey side. But I have been proven wrong! Customers are prepared to pay for the innovation and quality and, like the WIDIA indexable range, it has opened new doors for our business. It also makes ITC a complete solution integrator for manufacturing businesses.”

Industry evolution
Following an industrial career that spans almost 40 years, Peter Graves has seen more change than most. Giving his overview of industry evolution in the cutting tool industry, he says: “The global purchasing of products has come to the fore in recent times. When we started, we were supplying all end users directly, but with the arrival of integrators, many cutting tool manufacturers like ITC have had to work with third-party companies. Somebody once said that in the future there will only be five or six cutting tool companies; what they actually meant was that large companies will continually buy the smaller businesses and integrators will continually play a larger role as OEMs look towards the ‘single source’ model.

ITC has also had several approaches down the years from some very large companies. Another thing that has changed down the years is competition from outside the UK, and even more so from outside Europe. Years ago, the majority of cutting tool companies supplying UK manufacturers were either from the UK, Europe or the US, but now there are increasingly more competitors from the Far East.”

“We have always dealt directly with end-users rather than go via distributors, as we can offer better service and expertise. Inevitably there will always be customers that will adopt the integrated model, and we happily work with that, but we are first and foremost a solution provider.  We are loyal to our customers and our suppliers and that is something we will never relinquish. We undertake an annual customer survey and the one thing the results always return is that we have a really good team of people and we give brilliant solutions and products.

“We may not always be the cheapest, but most people realise they are paying for the engineer to arrive and solve their problems. There will always be companies that will just buy on price, and we realise we always have to be competitive, but our quality, service and reputation are the fundamental cornerstones of what has made ITC a successful business for 30 years,” concludes Peter Graves.

Industrial Tooling Corporation Ltd
Tel: 01827 304500
Email: sales@itc-ltd.co.uk

EuroBLECH 2021 postponed

January 18th, 2021 11:00 am | by admin

EuroBLECH 2021 postponed: 26th International Sheet Metal Working Technology Exhibition will take place from 25 – 28 October 2022 in Hannover, Germany

Mack Brooks Exhibitions has today announced the postponement of EuroBLECH, which was scheduled to take place at the Hannover Exhibition Grounds in Germany from 9 to 12 March 2021. The next EuroBLECH, 26th International Sheet Metal Working Technology Exhibition, will return to its normal event cycle and run from 25 – 28 October 2022. This decision was taken in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and following conversations with all exhibitors and partners that have taken place over the past weeks and months. Uncertainties around continued travel restrictions were also a contributing factor to this decision due to the truly international character of the EuroBLECH show.

Speaking about the announcement, Nicola Hamann, Managing Director of Mack-Brooks Exhibitions said: “Following extensive conversations with all participants we have come to the decision to return to our normal event cycle and hold the next show in its original event slot. Based on the current international developments due to the Covid-19 pandemic, covering further lockdown and travel restrictions, we believe that it is the most responsible decision at this stage to postpone. This early announcement will hopefully allow time for the impact of COVID-19 across the world to stabilise and when safe to do so, ensure that the event can continue its critical role in bringing the global sheet metal working industry together again. By making this decision now we allow for planning security, EuroBLECH will return to its initial event schedule and will therefore be back strong in 2022”.

“With the recent launch of the EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit we have laid the foundation stone for a hybrid approach to our EuroBLECH Event, which will enable us to run a series of digital events in 2021 for the sheet metal working industry. As a result, EuroBLECH as we know it will be back for all participants in 2022, but as the industry slowly recovers in the coming year, we will offer opportunities to regularly meet, network and conduct business in a safe online format in the meantime. It was very apparent at EuroBLECH DIGITAL, that there currently is a need for the industry to get together and also discover latest innovations to kick-start their business efforts”, continued Nicola Hamann. Further information on the schedule of the digital event series will be announced in due course.

The EuroBLECH Team will communicate closely with customers and partners over the coming weeks and months and thank their exhibitors, partners, suppliers and visitors for their support during this challenging time.

Every two years, the world’s largest sheet metal working technology exhibition attracts top industry professionals from all over the world. The show targets specialists at all management levels in small and medium-sized companies as well as large enterprises from all key industry sectors. Featuring an enormous amount of live machine demonstrations, EuroBLECH is renowned with international sheet metal working professionals as the most important event to find smart solutions and the right machines, equipment and materials for their companies.

The recent launch of the first EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit attracted 5,500 international participants from 91 countries and featured meeting options, webinars on recent industry trends and exhibitor presentations as well as hundreds of exhibitor product showcases.

For updates and further information, please visit the event website:


Vintage aeroplane restorer soars with Mazak machine investment

January 18th, 2021 10:56 am | by admin

Kennet Aviation, a leading restorer of vintage aeroplanes, has increased its capacity and ability to produce challenging bespoke parts by investing in a new turning centre from Yamazaki Mazak


A leading restorer of vintage aeroplanes has increased its capacity and ability to produce challenging bespoke parts by investing in a new turning centre from Yamazaki Mazak.

Kennet Aviation specialises in the renovation and servicing of historic aeroplanes, including Supermarine Seafires used in World War II, to the stringent standards required by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK’s specialist aviation regulator.

With the aim of enhancing in-house manufacturing capacity and growing its existing business, the company has invested in a state-of-the-art Mazak QUICK TURN 250MSY CNC turning centre. The new machine, which was built in the UK at the company’s Worcester-based European Manufacturing Plant, has enabled Kennet Aviation to quickly produce high-accuracy, bespoke aircraft components, and significantly reduced the time taken to restore the aircraft.

The investment has also opened up new business opportunities for Kennet Aviation by enabling the company to subcontract its capability to manufacture rare parts for vintage aircraft restorers and collectors worldwide.

Tim Manna, director at Kennet Aviation, comments: “Existing components for these older aeroplanes can be very rare, hard to find, and often not available anywhere.  As we may only require very small batches, requesting parts from general subcontractors can be expensive and result in long lead times. We therefore decided to invest in a high-quality CNC machine tools to manufacture parts at Kennet, so we could bring selection, quality control, and timing in-house.

“Mazak provided a brilliant service, and we have been very impressed with how quickly and accurately the QUICK TURN has been able to produce parts. In fact, it has been so successful that we have since invested in a second machine, a VCN530C vertical milling machine with an additional rotary axis, which arrived in December. Now it is up and running, we have 100 percent capability to produce any parts we need for aeroplanes and even classic cars, which is a market we’re now making great strides in.”

Alan Mucklow, managing director UK & Ireland Sales & Service Division at Yamazaki Mazak, adds: “A nation’s history can be found in its vehicles, so it is fantastic

organisations such as Kennet Aviation exist to preserve and protect our aviation heritage. “We are thrilled to have played our part in helping the company expand its machining capacity and generate new business in its highly specialist field. We are also excited to see how they have used Mazak machinery to expand into general subcontracting and renovating vintage cars.”

Yamazaki Mazak UK Ltd
Tel: 01905 755755
Email: sales@mazak.co.uk                        


ESAB and YASKAWA sign collaborative agreement for pre-engineered robotic welding cells

January 18th, 2021 10:51 am | by admin

ESAB and YASKAWA have signed a global cooperation agreement to jointly develop and market a line of pre-engineered robotic welding systems called XCellerator


The ESAB Group Inc. and leading robot and robot system company YASKAWA have announced the signing of a global cooperation agreement to jointly develop and market a line of pre-engineered robotic welding systems called XCellerator. The XCellerator systems will be engineered and built by Yaskawa and marketed by ESAB through its global sales channels.

Each company will contribute their special expertise to create a product which is greater than the sum of their individual contributions. In creating the XCellerator line of pre-engineered robotic welding cells, YASKAWA brings more than 30 years of experience producing leading-edge robots, robotic controllers and robot cells to this effort. For its part, ESAB brings its deep expertise in welding processes, filler metals, equipment and automation together with their proprietary WeldCloud weld operations management infrastructure. Together they have produced an integrated robotic welding solution that truly exemplifies these two great companies.

Pre-engineered cells like XCellerator are the fastest, simplest path toward automation. They improve productivity per worker by three to five times and offer a compelling return on investment. Factory-built and tested, they take the risk out of robotic system investments. The cells especially appeal to small and medium-sized manufacturers and fabricators that value easy installation, setup and operation, enabling them to take a confident step toward automating their welding operations.

YASKAWA is a world-leading manufacturer of inverter drives, servo drives, machine controllers, and industrial robots. For more than 100 years, the company philosophy has been based on the principle of highest quality. This philosophy has helped YASKAWA to become one of the top global companies in the field of electrical drive technology. Inventor of the word Mechatronics and its strong focus on research and development has yielded innovations that have contributed significantly to the success of many industries, among them machine construction, mining, machine tooling, automotive construction, packaging and semiconductors. As supplier of MOTOMAN industrial robots, YASKAWA is also one of the world’s biggest robot manufacturer.

YASKAWA operates manufacturing and development facilities in Asia, Europe and North America. For further information visit www.yaskawa.eu.com

ESAB exists to shape the future of welding and cutting. It connect fabricators with the widest range of products under its industry-leading brand portfolio with the latest technologies to solve virtually any industry challenge and then backs it up with unrivalled knowledge, experience and passion to help them be more productive than ever before. To learn more, contact:

ESAB Group
Tel: 01992 768515
Email: service@esab.co.uk


Quickgrind now offers ordering on Amazon

January 18th, 2021 10:46 am | by admin

Purchasing cutting tools from Tewkesbury cutting tool manufacturer Quickgrind has now been simplified with the company’s product lines available to purchase on Amazon. Recognised for its ‘Infinite Possibilities’ approach to customer requirements in the arena of cutting tools, Quickgrind is now making ‘next day’ delivery of standard product lines a certainty.

Quickgrind has built an established position in the industry for its level of innovation and technology that has rightly earned the company the reputation for delivering on its ‘Infinite Possibilities’ slogan. By making a range of standard products available on the Amazon platform, customers can now order cutting tools as late as 10pm in most areas with guaranteed next day UK delivery. Furthermore, customers can get free One-Day Delivery on eligible items, consolidated shipping and Amazon Day with predictable and convenient weekly deliveries.

While the ‘Infinite Possibilities’ service of technologically advanced bespoke engineered solutions will continue to be provided through the Quickgrind engineering team, the company will introduce a standard series of high-quality innovative products through the Amazon logistics platform. When Quickgrind’s commercial manager Tim Darch was asked what the benefits of using the Amazon platform are, he replied: “Amazon is the world’s most successful online consumer retailer and something that every household is familiar with. Amazon Business is now growing faster than Amazon itself.

“Logistically, using the proven Amazon platform for selling cutting tools will open new doors for Quickgrind while guaranteeing customers that they can order next day delivery as late as 10 pm. No cutting tool manufacturer with established logistical platforms can provide a service that offers such a responsive service. Additionally, this move not only opens Quickgrind up to the whole UK market but also further afield as well, such as the US, Europe and Australia in the future.

“From a business perspective, it will give Quickgrind exposure to enthusiasts, job shops and small manufacturers while simultaneously providing new and existing customers with the facility for ordering standard tools for next day delivery, even during the afternoon or night shift. Add the fact that 50 percent of the FTSE 100 companies use Amazon business, the service is equally applicable to larger manufacturers as well. This opens up access to our tooling for a wide variety of companies. At Quickgrind, we don’t see why people should have to compromise on their tooling quality or prices paid just because they are ordering small volumes.”

The Amazon online store is familiar to most households and businesses alike. This familiarity reduces the complexity of purchasing for work purposes and can also reduce the time spent on administration of orders. The ability to automate approval processes (all part of Amazon Business) can help dramatically reduce this administrative burden.

Additionally, customers control and consolidation of spend can be achieved through a single ‘multi-user’ account with built-in features to control how and what users buy. This eradicates what procurement staff call “long-tail spending” and rogue spending.

Customers can track all their orders with ease and transparency, utilising the expansive Amazon Business store produces lower costs with quantity pricing available and reduced shipping costs. For example, customers can spend just £80 for unlimited deliveries per year. This provides manufacturers with the traceability and confidence that staff can order cutting tools for the urgent jobs that may come in at short notice. Following this, reconciliation against company accounts and tracking is simplified with PO numbers matching the receipt or the commercial credit card statement on your organisation’s accounts.

As a global logistics leader, Amazon provides enhanced visibility and control for business with line-item detail for simple reconciliation through detailed invoices or enhanced transaction data on eligible commercial credit cards. Reconciliation reports can be downloaded through Amazon Business Analytics with customisable reconciliation reports seamlessly integrated through users existing procurement systems such as Coupa, JAGGAER and SAP Ariba.

Tim Darch concludes: “This really is an exciting opportunity for Quickgrind and we can see huge opportunities for both our business and our customers. Amazon will stock a complete line of standardised Quickgrind tools in bonded warehousing held at Amazon fulfilment centres and this will be available for enthusiasts and manufacturers to order in any quantity size that is required. Amazon will automatically update Quickgrind on purchase orders and stock levels and we will replenish and even adjust the Amazon stock levels to meet the requirements of the industry.”

Quickgrind Ltd
Tel: 01684 294090
Email: sales@quickgrind.com

RK International celebrates 70 years in 2021

January 15th, 2021 9:59 am | by admin

Managing director John Schwarz looks back with pride

I am sure I can speak for many with us at these difficult times, when I say that we can all do with some positivity in our working lives and it is with great pleasure and pride that I look forward to sharing a few memories with you over the course of 2021, as RK celebrates its 70th year.

Back in 1951, my grandfather and former World War 2 Spitfire pilot Ray Schwarz, identified a void in the manufacturing sector for supplying tools and equipment. Based in South London, he approached his mother and my great grandmother, Kath, with a business proposal to start a company supplying this type of equipment, and with that RK began its business.

In the coming weeks and months, via the News section on our website and our social media channels, I hope you join me as we reminisce on earlier machine tool developments and changes in technology, along with stories from our industry and including a visit to RK’s facility by the Prime Minister.

If you or any of your colleagues have any memories or stories that you would like to share, of your dealings with RK, Ray Schwarz or my father, Mike Schwarz, please feel free to get in contact with me.

RK International Machine Tools Ltd
Tel: 01322 447611
Email: johnschwarz@rk-int.com


January 4th, 2021 9:24 am | by admin

KUKA posts record robot sales despite challenging year

December 8th, 2020 8:48 am | by admin

KUKA Robotics in the UK and Ireland has posted the strongest annual sales figures in the company’s history, despite the challenges of the Covid-19 crisis and the consequential recession. The group attributes the success to its proven sales strategies and to four main strategic factors that combined to make 2020 a record year.

With the rise of e-mobility, driven by customer demand for green modes of transportation, the automotive sector has undergone big changes in vehicle design and propulsion. KUKA has been at the forefront of automation for e-mobility production and a big cause for celebration was a large order from commercial electric vehicle manufacturer Arrival, a new company with a unique production model.

Every Arrival vehicle is produced in a relatively small and low cost “microfactory”, each of which can produce 10,000 vans or 1,000 buses per year. The company has already announced an order of 10,000 electric vans from logistics company UPS, with the option for a further 10,000; production in the UK is now supported by Arrival’s first US microfactory, in York County, South Carolina.

KUKA UK is supplying the robots for Arrival’s rising demand, across the world. CNBC reported in November 2020 that Arrival was aiming to build three to four of these factories a year, each serving a city and its community, linked in a global framework. The potential for future use of robotics and automation from KUKA is very promising.

“The UK automotive sector faces big challenges, but electrification is coming fast and, with winning the Arrival contract, I am confident that KUKA is very well placed to capitalise on this growth market,” says Paul Williams.

KUKA UK appointed a specialist automotive account manager, Paul Williams, in late 2019. With a strong track record in automotive robot applications, he has already made big in-roads into the sector. “KUKA is embedded in the big car plants in Germany but we are not as well established in automotive in the UK, for legacy reasons,” says Bernard Bagley, head of robot sales, KUKA UK. “Paul and the Arrival contract are helping to change that.”

KUKA has restructured its sales teams under general industry, in order to cover sectors and regions simultaneously and efficiently. Now, every sales manager targets an industry sector as well as a geographic footprint. Along with KUKA’s System Partner model of partnering with specialist integrators, the approach is much more customer-facing. KUKA brings projects to its System Partners and vice-versa; KUKA sales engineers and System Partners always “walk the floor” to help advise on optimum automation strategies and act as a trusted advisor.

“This change has generated a lot more interaction with end-customers, which has always been our goal,” says Bernard Bagley. “Our System Partners provide this customer focus and our restructured sales team is now doing the same.”

Thirdly, KUKA has crystallised its strategy for education and research and development. The company has always believed in the fundamental need for appropriately skilled operators, technicians and engineers, in order to extract the best out of automated machines, assembly lines and research projects. KUKA UK and Ireland have invested heavily in supporting the education and research sectors and have developed dedicated educational robot cells and training material, alongside bespoke research cells focused on emerging technologies.

KUKA Ireland recently won a significant tender to supply the Louth & Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) with a range of educational and collaborative robots for its new state-of-the-art Advanced Manufacturing Technology and Training Centre of Excellence (AMTCE) in Dundalk, Co. Louth. The training facility at the centre, which is set to be the largest vocational training facility of its kind in Europe, includes tailored educational industrial 6-axis robots with vision systems, robotic welding cells, robotic milling/machining cells and collaborative robot, cobot, cells.

Brian Cooney, managing director of KUKA Ireland, says “Manufacturing is experiencing a serious skills gap and shortage of resources in advanced manufacturing technologies at vocational level, which is not being addressed by the third level colleges and universities. The investment by the LMETB in this visionary AMTCE training centre is not only addressing this skills gap in Ireland but is also setting the standard by which other European centres may be measured.”

The AMTCE provides tailored training courses to upskill and reskill operators and technicians and forms a critical component of the Irish Government’s Industry 4.0 Strategy 2020-2025 program and Covid-19 recovery plan.

KUKA Robotics is the only robot manufacturer with a dedicated presence in Ireland with local sales, customer service, application engineering and training. “This recent success is testament to our focus on providing the best possible products and service to our customers. This is never more important than starting with the operators and technicians who will be responsible for the continued success of our manufacturing sectors,” says Brian Cooney.

KUKA UK and Ireland enters 2021 with a very strong team, with experts in sectors, applications, and regions across the board, together with a network of independent Platinum, Gold and Silver level System Partners, who deliver first class solutions and consultancy centred on their core competencies.

Looking to 2021, KUKA believes the robotics and automation sectors are set for significant growth in response to increased demand to offset the heavy reliance on ever scarcer resources, to reshoring, and to escalate efficiencies and competitiveness in manufacturing. New social distancing requirements in factories and workplaces increase the need for automation to create safe working environments within a limited floorspace.

The life-science sector, including medical device, pharmaceutical and biotech, is a notable growth market. Laboratories are presenting new applications for robots and cobots, especially in labs and clean rooms, that require precise, repetitive processes where a robot can provide the consistency, reliability and traceability that such a highly validated process demands.

Brian Cooney says that, while 2020 has been a difficult year for many manufacturing sectors suffering under the double impact of Covid-19 and the uncertainty around Brexit, it is widely expected that there will be a strong bounce back in the UK and Irish economies in 2021 and beyond. With the benefits of Industry 4.0 and digitisation, together with incredible advances in manufacturing technologies, KUKA expects to take its record 2020 success into 2021 and deliver continued growth, despite the economic challenges.


KUKA Robotics UK Ltd
Tel: 0121 505 9970
Email: sales@kuka-robotics.co.uk


Battery Ventures acquires Cimatron and GibbsCAM from 3D Systems

November 24th, 2020 1:40 pm | by admin

Businesses to join Battery-owned SigmaTEK under new corporate umbrella: combination to spur growth and continue product investment

Battery Ventures, a global, technology-focused investment firm, has agreed to acquire the combined Cimatron and GibbsCAM software businesses from global additive manufacturing solutions company 3D Systems Corporation. The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2020, subject to customary closing conditions.

As part of the acquisition, Cimatron and GibbsCAM will join Battery-backed SigmaTEK Systems*, a CAD/CAM software provider serving professional fabricators, in a new holding company called CAMBRIO. Headed by Robbie Payne, current SigmaTEK Systems CEO and a veteran tech executive, CAMBRIO will leverage Cimatron and GibbsCAM to offer a diverse set of design and machining software solutions, and firmly position itself as a CAD/CAM innovator in the fabrication, toolmaking, and production machining industries.

Current SigmaTEK Chairman Richard Smith, previously CEO of Vero Software, a UK-based CAD/CAM software maker acquired by Hexagon AB in 2014, will join CAMBRIO’s board, along with Steve Sivitter, another former Vero executive who is currently the CEO of 1WorldSync, a product-content solutions company whose software helps large brands share product data with retailers, operators and distributors.

“We are extremely pleased for the companies to be combining forces. It is a great strategic match,” says Richard Smith. “The teams have proven track records and we can leverage our extensive domain expertise in manufacturing software to drive product development and benefit our customers like never before.”

Commenting on the acquisition, Robbie Payne says: “We are often serving the same customer profile and trying to solve similar industry issues with innovative software technology. As a combined entity, we will continue to invest in each of the individual products, make our customers more productive, and enlarge our distribution capability. Finally, we are excited about working with the existing Cimatron and GibbsCAM employees and partners and look forward to further expanding our presence in the global market.”

Battery Ventures

Battery partners with exceptional founders and management teams developing category-defining businesses in markets including software and services, enterprise infrastructure, online marketplaces, healthcare IT and industrial technology. Founded in 1983, the firm backs companies at all stages, ranging from seed and early to growth and buyout, and invests globally from offices in Boston, San Francisco, Menlo Park, Israel, London and New York.

3D Systems

More than 30 years ago, 3D Systems brought the innovation of 3D printing to the manufacturing industry. Today, as the leading additive manufacturing solutions partner, it brings innovation, performance, and reliability to every interaction, empowering our customers to create products and business models never before possible. 3D Systems’ solutions address a variety of advanced applications in healthcare and Industrial markets such as medical and dental, aerospace & defence, automotive and durable goods. More information on the company is available at www.3dsystems.com

Rebecca Buckman                                                        Marc Freebrey
Batter Ventures                                                             SigmaTEK Systems LLC
Tel: 001 650 703 0364                                                Tel: 07887 542720
Email: becky@battery.com                                       Email: marc.freebrey@sigmanest.com

Hexagon enhances its Smart Manufacturing solutions portfolio with the acquisition of D.P.Technology Corp

November 24th, 2020 1:16 pm | by admin

Hexagon AB, a global leader in sensor, software and autonomous solutions, has announced the signing of an agreement to acquire D.P.Technology Corp., a leading developer and supplier of computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) technology.

The ESPRIT CAM System, its flagship solution, is the smart manufacturing solution for any machining application. Supporting any class of CNC machine via a common interface and workflow, it provides high-performance CNC machine programming, optimisation, and simulation for a broad range of precision manufacturing applications.

Well known for its machine-optimised, edit-free G-code (toolpath), ESPRIT leverages a digital twin simulation platform to model the finished part, tools, and CNC machine. AI-based algorithms eliminate manual data input and provide machine operators with greater assurance of what will happen on the shop floor. The result – simplified programming, increased tool life and utilisation, reduced cycle times and improved productivity.

“D.P.Technology is an innovator with a strong focus on building smarter, data-driven manufacturing solutions. When combined with our production software portfolio, it cements our market-leading position in CAM, particularly around CNC manufacturing processes, and accelerates the development of our Smart Manufacturing portfolio,” says Hexagon president and CEO Ola Rollén. “Additionally, the D.P.Technology team has built excellent working relationships with leading machine tool providers and other manufacturing technology experts, which will prove invaluable in our open and interoperable manufacturing ecosystem approach.”

Founded in 1982 and headquartered in Camarillo, California, D.P.Technology employs around 260 people in 27 locations worldwide. The company is also represented by a network of 130 resellers across 44 countries, giving ESPRIT a global footprint and install base. D.P.Technology will operate as part of Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division. Completion of the transaction (closing) is subject to regulatory approvals. 2019 sales amounted to 35M EUR.

Hexagon is a global leader in sensor, software and autonomous solutions. It puts data to work to boost efficiency, productivity, and quality across industrial, manufacturing, infrastructure, safety, and mobility applications. Hexagon technologies are shaping urban and production ecosystems to become increasingly connected and autonomous, ensuring a scalable, sustainable future. The group has approximately 20,000 employees in 50 countries and net sales of approximately 3.9bn EUR.

Hexagon AB
Tel: 0046 8601 2627
Email: ir@hexagon.com


Fronius opens a new prototyping centre

November 17th, 2020 2:17 pm | by admin

From the beginning of December, Fronius will be offering car manufacturers, their suppliers and integrators the option to outsource prototype construction. In the new prototyping centre in Wels, Upper Austria, Fronius welding technology specialists will work with customers to develop the ideal solution for joining their components, starting with the design phase, feasibility studies using simulations, welding process evaluation and welding trials, through to various quality checks and project support. In addition to prototype production with all its various phases, Fronius also manufactures smaller quantities of customer components for pre-series production if required. Fronius therefore offers a complete solution for prototype construction.

As a result, car manufacturers can benefit from considerable savings potential, increased efficiency, and minimisation of risks. By outsourcing the production of prototypes, development costs, time-intensive labour and investments in dedicated prototyping centres are eliminated. What’s more, customers benefit from Fronius’ extensive welding expertise and the associated state-of-the-art technologies.

Premium welding technology for prototype construction

Covering more than 900 sq metres, the prototyping centre provides sophisticated simulation, welding, and measuring technology. This makes it possible to manufacture components measuring up to 3×2 meters and weighing up to 1,500 kgs. The facilities are sealed off from other areas and guarantee absolute discretion.

One of the two robot welding cells used is equipped with Fronius CMT technology. The heat-reduced welding process is suitable for almost any parent material, especially light-gage sheet metal and reduces spattering and distortion. The flexible TPS/i welding system platform used for this purpose also allows other welding processes to be employed if required. In addition, the robot cell uses an Acerios surface cleaning system that pre-treats the edges of the components using hot plasma technology. This creates the perfect conditions for high-quality welding seams.

The second robot welding cell features both a laser and a powerful GMAW welding system. In conjunction, the LaserHybrid process combines the advantages of both worlds and thus offers excellent gap-bridging ability and high welding speeds. Deep penetration, low heat input and thus minimal component distortion also go hand in hand here.

Both welding cells are equipped with sophisticated robot assistance and control systems

A laser monitoring system mounted on the welding torch ensures that the robot welds in exactly the right location. In case of misalignment, distortion, or tolerances that are common in production, the robot can automatically correct the pre-programmed weld seam path and welding is performed reliably at the correct position.

Fronius SeamTracking provides another option. This function reliably detects the component edge through welding torch pendulum movements for fillet and prepared butt welds. In addition, the ArcView camera system provides a direct view of the arc, enabling the welding process to be monitored precisely. If necessary, the welder can immediately take corrective action.

What’s more, an automated weld seam inspection system scans the seam after the welding process and immediately performs a visual quality inspection. At the same time, the WeldCube data documentation software monitors and stores all relevant data from the welding process and enables clear traceability of each seam.

In addition to highly developed welding processes and the monitoring of these processes, the component is measured three-dimensionally in a dedicated robot cell after welding, which allows any deviations such as tolerances or distortion to be accurately detected. This precise monitoring of the exact dimensions thus takes place from an early stage in the prototype construction, enabling a quick response and adjustment of various parameters, e.g., welding sequence, welding parameters, and clamping technology, saving time and costs both during development and in the subsequent production ramp-up. Fronius also offers its customers the option of subjecting the prototypes to metallurgical testing in the laboratory.

Fronius UK Ltd
Tel: 01908 512340
Email: info-uk@fronius.com

World’s fastest brass wire launched by Erodex UK

November 17th, 2020 1:36 pm | by admin

World’s fastest brass wire launched by Erodex UK

Betterbrass, the world’s fastest brass wire launched by Erodex UK, has helped users increase cutting speed by up to 10 percent in early trials since its launch.

Launched into the UK this summer, betterbrass is a next generation special alloy brass wire from bedra (Berkenhoff) Germany.

Thanks to innovative alloy and casting technology, along with a specially developed annealing process, bedra engineers created a brass wire electrode comprised of a completely new alloy that is plug-and-play on all machine types, The new product delivers performance never before seen in a traditional brass wire, with up to 10 percent faster cutting speeds reported.

“Since its launch earlier in the summer, the new betterbrass wire range has received a positive response from customer trials, meaning that we can now provide EDM subcontractors with a cost-effective step up from standard brass wire” comments Josh Bye, sales engineer at Erodex UK.

He continues: “As UK industry starts to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, we were keen to be able to introduce a new, cost-effective wire to the market that also enables increased performance. Users will save money by using the wire, as any increase in wire speed ultimately means less wire usage”

Erodex UK are leaders in the provision of EDM wire, wear parts and other EDM consumables and have cemented their position as a leading authority in the UK for all things EDM. In addition to its vast experience within the EDM industry, this is also due to its strong working relationship with bedra (Berkenhoff) Germany.

During August 2019, Erodex UK announced the launch of the world’s fastest EDM speed wire, gapstar ONE. Building on the strengths of their cobracut, broncocut and topas ranges, bedra developed a new coating technology called TRIMPAC. gapstar ONE quickly became the wire of choice for those looking for premium performance, but it is a different segment of the market that Erodex UK believe will continue to see the benefit from the betterbrass range.

“Being the fastest EDM speed wire available in the world, our gapstar ONE range is a very high-end wire, which we do advise if people are looking for a significant step up in speeds. However, we know that there is a segment of the market that does not demand premium performance, but still would like to achieve greater performance and reliability than they get from using a standard brass wire. It is these users which are now appreciating the benefit of the new betterbrass range of wire.

“During customer trials since launch, betterbrass has proved to perform up to 10 percent faster than standard brass wire. Being a stronger wire than standard brass also means improved reliability when auto wire threading. Users have reported less breakages when applying increased power through the wire and better surface finishes too” adds Josh Bye.

Luke Hobbs, director of HLP Engineering Solutions in Halesowen, West Midlands has experienced firsthand the benefits of using both the gapstar and betterbrass ranges.

He states: “We’ve used both gapstar and betterbrass wires from Erodex. Simply put, gapstar is the best wire we have ever used from a performance and speed perspective on our Sodick machines. We found it ideal for cutting punches and other long-running jobs. We will have no hesitation in using gapstar for this type of work in the future. We found that betterbrass is excellent on threading and for the small increase in the cost of the wire, offers decent speed improvement of around 10-12 percent over standard brass wire using the same settings. When the job dictates, we will certainly use this wire again.”

Tel: 01384 892011

New FMS double loader for machine tools without automatic pallet changers

November 17th, 2020 12:50 pm | by admin

Now, even higher payload machine tools that do not feature automatic pallet changers can be configured into an Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS) via a new, multi-pallet loader from Fastems that accommodates payloads up to 1,000 kg.

Fastems, a leader in manufacturing automation equipment and software, has developed a new load handler that can both load machine tools directly and act as an automatic pallet changer. The load handler is the device on the FMS stacker crane that moves pallets between storage, machines and the loading/material stations in a Fastems FMS. Fastems calls this new loader DMC-APC, which means Double Mast Crane-Automatic Pallet Changer. Using the new DMC-APC, manufacturers do not need to purchase and integrate costly APCs to their machine tools in order to configure an FMS in their facilities.

In operation, the new Fastems DMC-APC can accommodate two pallets rather than the typical single pallet. Controlled by the Fastems cell management software, the DMC-APC selects the next workpiece-loaded pallet from the storage system, moves it to an open machine tool, then picks up the previously machined workpiece/pallet from that same machine tool, spins 180-degrees and places the new workpiece/pallet into the same machine tool. This scenario takes about 30-40 seconds. In comparison, the cases where the non DMC-APC or classic stacker crane accommodates one pallet instead of two the loader first takes the finished part/pallet from the machine tool, delivers it to the storage stacker, moves to pick up the next workpiece/pallet to be machined and delivers it to the machine tool ready for machining. This scenario with one pallet takes about 100-120 seconds.

According to Fastems, there are several notable benefits now that non-APC machine tools with higher payloads can be used in an FMS, namely surrounding speed, machine tool utilisation and cost reduction. For instance, if the machining cycles are short, the necessity to make several pallet changes within one hour decreases machine tool utilisation significantly. Second, with the DMC-APC’s double pallet capability, the pallet change time is about half a minute compared to two minutes with a single pallet changer. Third, the DMC-APC saves floor space because machines without APCs have a smaller footprint generally. Fourth, customers do not have to invest in machine tool APCs and finally the new generation DMC-APC can accommodate higher weights up to 1,000 kg.

Fastems LTD
Email: info.fastems@fastems.com 


Support from MSC leads to Next Gen Makers expansion into North Staffordshire

November 12th, 2020 10:47 am | by admin

MSC Industrial Supply Co. UK is helping to address the engineering skills shortage by supporting Next Gen Makers with its expansion into North Staffordshire.

Next Gen Makers is an innovative initiative which launched in the West Midlands two years ago, with the aim of making it easier for engineering and manufacturing businesses to recruit engineering apprentices.

It does this by proactively inspiring the next generation of engineers in local colleges and secondary schools and by helping manufacturing businesses, in particular SMEs, to compete and make their apprenticeships attractive to relevant students.

MSC is a principal partner to Next Gen Makers. Since the partnership was formed, Next Gen Makers activity promoting local engineering careers, has reached over 10,000 students across 40 High Schools and seven Further Education Colleges. So far, over 50 SME manufacturing and engineering firms in the West Midlands have reaped the benefits.

The Next Gen Makers Staffordshire operation will be headed up by Alec Proctor, a former managing director of a Cannock based SME manufacturer and now director of Stoke based HR, health and safety, recruitment and consultancy business Novelus Ltd. Alec Procter and his business partners, including recruitment specialist Anita Gratton and HR specialists, are forming partnerships with manufacturing and engineering businesses in Staffordshire who can benefit from recruiting apprentices. Stoke on Trent College is one of its first college partners to be established.

Adam Tipper, owner and director of Next Gen Makers, says: “The engineering skills shortage is one of the biggest challenges facing UK manufacturing today, however, Next Gen Makers has proved that it is a problem that can be solved by a coordinated industry-led approach.

“By inspiring more young people to pursue a career in engineering, bringing manufacturing businesses and relevant students together and raising awareness of the opportunities in the local area, we can place genuine engineering talent where it is needed the most.

“We are delighted to work with MSC who share our ambition of solving the engineering skills shortage and supporting UK manufacturing.”

According to a government study, for the UK engineering sector to gain enough candidates to reduce the skills shortage, it would need around 186,000 new skilled recruits each year until 2024.

Howard Rothwell, sales director at MSC, comments: “At MSC, we work with many engineering businesses and are acutely aware of the challenges they are facing in relation to the skills gap.

“Alongside the significant and ongoing growth of the MSC engineering team, we are proud to partner with Next Gen Makers as this helps our customers directly inspire and recruit the next generation of engineers.

“Our partnership with Next Gen Makers continues to be very successful in the West Midlands and we look forward to supporting its rollout into North Staffordshire, which is another area where many manufacturing businesses are experiencing the impact of the skills shortage.”

Next Gen Makers takes a strategic and long-term approach to solving the skills gap. The company realises that most SME manufacturers are too busy to be promoting themselves in local schools and colleges, so has created a platform to do this for them, through their engineering careers prospectus and engineering careers webinars.

Next Gen Makers also supports SME manufacturing businesses to raise awareness of its apprenticeship opportunities, so they are on the radar of more potential apprentices, which is currently one of the main barriers SMEs face.

Bringing younger apprentices into manufacturing businesses introduces different skill sets which helps firms adapt in line with technological change and prepares them for future manufacturing requirements.


MSC Industrial Supply 

0121 505 9562

Email: Taylorn@mscdirect.co.uk


Bringing metal forming knowledge to the next level

November 2nd, 2020 10:52 am | by admin

GOM Metal Forming Knowledge Days – November 2020

24th Nov at 10am – Introduction to Sheet Metal Inspection Workflow

25th Nov at 10am – Improving Inspection Through Automation

26th Nov at 10am – Reducing scrap during the stamping process


Throughout 2020, GOM sites across the world have been running Metal Forming Knowledge Days, starting with the live event at GOM HQ in Braunschweig and then virtually through online portals.

GOM shows worldwide how precise industrial 3D metrology helps to ensure quality and identify optimisation potentials in metal forming technology. Metal processing companies provide innovative products for a wide range of different applications. Forming processes are just as indispensable in automotive engineering and commercial vehicle construction as they are in the production of white goods or electronics.

This November, GOM UK is hosting its own Metal Forming Knowledge Days, bringing together all our knowledge and expertise in optical metrology in a series of free online events. The event will take place on 24th, 25th and 26th November and will be held via an online portal. The sessions will cover different areas of metrology within the metal forming industry, showing where GOM have identified potential manufacturing problems and developed the tools to solve them.

For example, there has been fantastic progression in the speed at which sheet metal parts can be produced and therefore GOM has developed ways of batch-processing these parts in order to keep up. It has helped to optimise tool maintenance, allowing users to spot potentially damaging wear and tear early. It can also offer extensive forming analysis solutions to ensure the panels being manufactured are within the forming limits of the material. These solutions and much more will be highlighted  during the events.

The GOM UK Metal Forming Knowledge Days will offer a virtual platform for engineers as well as specialists from production and quality assurance to ask questions and gain knowledge within metal forming technology and optical metrology.

For more information, email r.watt@gom.com or contact:

Tel: 024 76 639920
Email: info-uk@gom.com


Creaform Connect: 3D Measurement Solutions Summit

November 2nd, 2020 10:45 am | by admin

Virtual tradeshow and conference provides an international opportunity to experience Creaform’s innovations at work

Creaform, a worldwide leader in 3D measurement solutions has announced Creaform Connect: 3D Measurement Solutions Summit, a new virtual tradeshow and conference. Starting with two live days on Nov. 17 and 18, forward-thinking manufacturers, education institutions and businesses can explore Creaform’s latest innovations and engineering services at the event.

Attendees from a wide array of industries, including automotive, aerospace, metalworking and more will learn how Creaform’s solutions address multiple challenges from product lifecycle management and quality control to reverse engineering, Industry 4.0, NDT, MRO and beyond.

Recently launched products like the new 3D scanner MetraSCAN BLACK and new automated quality control solutions of the R-Series lineup will be featured along with educational offerings that prepare engineers and designers for tomorrow’s workplace. Discover the most versatile dimensional metrology solutions and services in the market through this virtual summit:

Recently launched innovations: experience a new standard in portable and automated metrology through videos, technical specifications, best-practices, case-studies and more.

Demonstrations of every solution: dynamic, interactive virtual booths that showcase 3D technology and services as well as provide opportunities to ask questions about customised applications.

A dozen conference presentations: talks on a wide range of applications and industries will provide additional learning opportunities and access to leading experts.

Assistance in multiple languages: Creaform’s global team will offer live support via one-on-one chats, group discussions and video calls in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese and on-demand support in additional languages.

Live and on-demand content: Dual format options let attendees interact and experience information at their own pace and convenience.

“2020 changed the tradeshow landscape, but it did not stop the pace of Creaform’s innovations,” says Creaform president Fanny Truchon. “This year, Creaform launched the fastest, most accurate 3D portable scanner on the market, a versatile line of automated solutions, new and enhanced options for non-destructive testing and more.

“We are always searching for new ways to connect and share our technology and insights with the businesses we can provide the most value and impact to internationally,” adds Marc-Antoine Schneider, head of sales at Creaform. “Through Creaform Connect, we will share our 3D solutions with leaders throughout the manufacturing and transportation industries and beyond.

Following two days of live programming, the virtual tradeshow and conference will continue on demand through December 2020.

Creaform develops, manufactures, and sells 3D portable and automated measurement technologies and specialises in engineering services. The company offers innovative solutions for applications such as 3D scanning, reverse engineering, quality control, non-destructive testing, product development and numerical simulation (FEA/CFD). Its products and services cater to a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, consumer products, heavy industries, healthcare, manufacturing, oil and gas, power generation, research and education.

AMETEK GmbH – Division Creaform
Tel: 0049 711 1856 8064
Email: sales@ametek.com


METAV Web Sessions to focus on automation and handling

November 2nd, 2020 10:39 am | by admin

Automation and handling are increasingly gaining in significance as mega trends in industrial manufacturing. The problem of skilled workers is becoming ever more serious, especially in these difficult times when many companies are under pressure from high costs. At the same time, there are enormously high demands on the quality of products, meaning that businesses are now well advised to consider automation.

“We know from a recent VDMA survey that almost one in four machine manufacturers (23 percent) will have to adjust capacity levels,” says Dr Wilfried Schäfer, executive director of the METAV organiser VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association) in Frankfurt am Main. When business picks up again, many companies will then find it difficult to process orders quickly enough and at the required quality level. In such times, having a consistent automation strategy can be essential for survival. Against this background, the question of automation could soon become even more pressing.

Ten companies will be presenting their solutions as part of the Automation and Handling Theme Days in the third edition of the METAV Web Sessions on 3 and 4 November 2020. These include Allmatic-Jakob clamping systems, Erowa System Technologien/Certa Systems, Gressel, Halter CNC Automation, HandlingTech Automations-Systeme, Industrie Partner, Isra Vision, Müller Maschinentechnik and Zeltwanger Automation. They all specialise in this particular field and are looking to inspire their customers with their solutions and offers.

Jörg Franz, head of project planning at the special-purpose machine builder Industrie-Partner GmbH in Coswig, Germany, will be presenting the company’s newly developed robot automation kit, for example. “It enables robot-supported sorting, assembly, cleaning and measuring of parts weighing up to 5 kg using standardised, individually combinable function modules. It is aimed at producers of serial products in all sectors, from mechanical engineering and battery cell production to automotive and aerospace.”

Also taking part is Halter CNC Automation based in Hoevelaken in the Netherlands: Area sales manager Oliver Löffler will be showcasing a software tool that allows customers to calculate the payback time of their investment on the basis of their own particular parameters. “We use the app when advising our customers about our machine loading systems. The resulting calculation provides on-the-spot answers to any questions concerning the expected returns following an acquisition,” he explains.

The Automation and Handling Theme Days are aimed at users from the entire industry. Each presentation lasts 30 minutes and is followed by a 15-minute chat session in which participants can ask questions and discuss issues. In addition, it is also possible to arrange a video chat with the speaker to discuss specific questions in a one-on-one conversation away from the general audience.

On request, METAV Web Session participants can obtain a certificate of participation as documentation of their further training. There has been strong uptake of this attractive and valuable service feature.

For further information, contact Stephanie Simon, VDW Trade Fairs project officer on 0049 69 7560 8153 email: s.simon@vdw.de. The full programme and registration details can be found at www.metav-websessions.de

 METAV 2020 21st International Trade Fair for Metalworking Technologies has had to be postponed by one year due to the corona pandemic. METAV 2020 reloaded will take place from 23 to 26 March 2021; the PROTaction hygiene system will be deployed at the event. Messe Düsseldorf has developed this in conjunction with the relevant authorities. It has already proven its effectiveness in operation at actual trade fairs. METAV reloaded displays the full spectrum of manufacturing technology. The focus is on machine tools, manufacturing systems, precision tools, automated material flows, computer technology, industrial electronics and accessories. Added to this are new topics such as Moulding, Medical, Additive Manufacturing and Quality. They are firmly established in so-called Areas in the METAV exhibition programme, each with its own nomenclature. The target group of METAV visitors includes all branches of industry that process metals, in particular mechanical and plant engineering, the automotive and supply industry, the aerospace sector, the electrical industry, energy and medical technology, tool and mould making as well as metalworking and trades.


FANUC UK to host virtual injection moulding technology event

November 2nd, 2020 10:33 am | by admin

FANUC UK is hosting a virtual event focusing on automation for the injection moulding industry at the end of November. The online event, which will be hosted between 23rd-27th November, will allow moulding companies to get to grips with emerging automation technology from the comfort of their own desk. Attendees will also be able to experience a virtual tour of FANUC UK’s headquarters, as well as view a number of cutting-edge exhibits.

Front and centre will be a number of machines from FANUC’s ROBOSHOT automated injection moulding series, with attendees able to view demonstrations from FANUC’s UK showroom. Different ROBOSHOT machines will be partnered by a range of ancillary automation equipment, including FANUC industrial and collaborative robots, as well as number of third-party solutions from suppliers such as Hi-Tech Automation.

FANUC UK managing director Tom Bouchier comments: “2020 has been immensely challenging in a number of ways, but the resilience of UK manufacturing and its ability to adapt is unwavering. In this vein, we’ve decided to host this virtual event, to showcase how automation can help moulding companies from both a safety and productivity standpoint. While there are certain aspects of a physical event that cannot be replicated virtually, the fact that circumstances have necessitated this does hold a couple of positives.

“For instance, the number of attendees to physical events are limited by the space available, but the fact that this is virtual means we can open our doors to as many people as possible. Last year, our first ever Open House was a brilliant platform to discuss automation’s role in improving UK manufacturing, and this builds on that by offering application-specific illustrations how to improve manufacturing processes.”

The seven injection moulding exhibits will be as follows:

Exhibit 1 – α-S300iA with M10iD8L 6-axis industrial robot mounted on an automated longitudinal beam from HiTech Automation, to deliver 7-axis operation from within compact footprint.

Exhibit 2 – α-S150iA with a second SI20iA injection unit supported by a LR-Mate 200iD7L industrial robot and QSSR (Quick & Simple Start-up of Robotization). It will be used to manufacturer an ice scraper, which visitors can take home with them.

Exhibit 3 – α-S50iA LSR display for proprietary liquid silicone processing, complete with QSSR and LRMate200iD industrial robot for parts handing.

Exhibit 4 – α-S150iA with compact, modular parts handling solution from HiTech Automation.

Exhibit 5 – A standalone dual servo electric core power pack which can be interfaced with a ROBOSHOT machine or alternative supplier, to enable end-users to utilise electric motor drive core solutions over traditional hydraulic cores.

Exhibit 6 – A high-speed carbon take-out cell developed by HiTech Automation in conjunction with FANUC, which can achieve sub 0.35s take-out times.

The event will also highlight the capabilities of FANUC’s new lightweight collaborative robot, the CRX10iA.

Alongside ROBOSHOT and cobots, there will be the opportunity to see FANUC’s entire portfolio of industrial robots and automation solutions. The IoT Area will display software products such as MT-LINKi, ZDT (zero downtime), and IIoT platform FIELD, allowing visitors to see real-time quality, machine, and order status monitoring of all machines and robot cells.

Tom Bouchier concludes: “Our hope is that this event will help to demonstrate how automation can help UK manufacturing improve its position in relation to international competitors. With a special focus on injection moulding, it will showcase the latest technology, and ultimately provide a platform for those interested in boosting productivity to explore their potential.”

For more information and to sign up for the event, please visit: https://rstechnologydays.fanuc.eu/

The FANUC Corporation is a world leader in factory automation for CNC control systems, robots and production machinery (ROBODRILL, ROBOCUT and ROBOSHOT). Since 1956, FANUC has pioneered the development of numerically controlled machines in the automation industry. With 263 locations supporting 108 countries worldwide and more than 7,000 employees, FANUC offers a dense network in sales, technical support, research & development, logistics and customer service.

For more information on FANUC, or to see its current product range, visit: www.fanuc.eu/uk/en

Tel: 024 76 053130
Email: uksales@fanuc.eu

JETCAM launches free nesting software savings calculator

November 2nd, 2020 10:22 am | by admin

New calculator works in conjunction with free nesting benchmark comparison

JETCAM has announced a free online tool to estimate possible savings through investment in its nesting software. The figures, provided by a JETCAM nesting benchmark comparison, allow companies to estimate potential savings in three key areas.

Prospective companies interested to improve efficiency in the CADCAM/nesting process can request a free nesting benchmark comparison. By providing DXFs of parts alongside a nest of the same parts customers can see what percentage JETCAM’s high performance nesting could save on material over their existing software. Programming time can be drastically reduced by automating processes such as CAD import, tooling and automatic nesting, while machine runtime can also often be improved, with parts being common cut or for lasers JET-Cut fully automatic fly cutting.

Users enter information via simple sliders, entering their annual material spend, programming hourly rate and machine hourly rate. Next, they select the estimated savings, either provided through a benchmark or their own estimations. Clicking the calculate button immediately displays an annual saving for material, programming time and machine runtime, with a total underneath. Figures can be displayed in dollars, euros or pounds.

General Manager Martin Bailey says: “Many people struggle to estimate a return on investment when it comes to software. With machines it’s simple and visible: speed, throughput, size, etc. all can be used to calculate the benefit of a new machine over old. Our nesting benchmark comparison allow companies to quickly see how much and where they are likely to achieve savings. Many customers have already seen a return on their investment in months or even weeks, and as companies aim to automate and integrate in a post-COVID era it’s software that will quickly allow them to do that.”

The calculator is free to access at https://www.jetcam.com 

JETCAM International has been developing and distributing its JETCAM Expert range of CADCAM software since 1986, serving the sheet metal and aerospace/automotive composite cutting industries. In use in 82 countries worldwide, JETCAM software supports virtually every CNC punching, laser, plasma, routing, waterjet and flatbed cutting machine available today, and provides automation and Industry 4.0 IIoT connectivity. The software has received various accolades and awards due to its high level of automation and fast return on investment.

JETCAM International s.a.r.l.
Tel: 0870 760 6469
Email: info@jetcam.com


Latest version of 123insight MRP/ERP software released

November 2nd, 2020 10:14 am | by admin

Simon Badger, MD of 123 Insight Ltd


Features include login security and improved accounts integration

123 Insight Ltd has released v10.10 of its core 123insight MRP/ERP manufacturing software. This incremental release includes a number of new and requested features across the software.

Enhancements have been made to Accounts Gateway® integration, providing more information from selected accounts systems such as Sage, XERO or Access Dimensions directly within 123insight such as additional aged debt information.

Filtering has been enhanced across various screens within the planning section, allowing more options to distil data down on-screen. This has been achieved either by adding new columns or adding filter fields above data grids.

Within the stores section further enhancements have been made to maximum stock level, future movements of parts and the global shortage issue report.

Security is further increased, as administration staff can also now control the number of failed login attempts before a user is locked. The release also includes numerous other minor enhancements throughout 123insight.

Managing director Simon Badger comments: “This release is all about delivering those little wins that make day-to-day tasks just that bit easier. We’re all presented with so much data throughout the day, so any enhancements that can help to get to the most relevant information quicker are always a benefit.”

All 123insight customers can update to the latest version at no cost under the monthly subscription. A remote update service is available for £300.

The company was founded in 2000 as a response to the fundamental flaws inherent in the traditional ERP/MRP selection and implementation process. 123 Insight has been either nominated or has won dozens of awards, often due to the speed of implementation and the immediate return on investment. The system is suitable for all type, shapes, sizes and industries, with all customers using the same ‘off-the-shelf’ product.

Since 2000 123 Insight has developed and distributed its award-winning MRP/ERP system. It is offered completely without risk. Attend an Evaluation Workshop, then attend the six-day ‘No Obligation’ training on the understanding that if the system does not suit your business you walk away with nothing to pay. After that it is a low monthly subscription, no minimum contract and you can increase/decrease licences every month.

123 Insight Ltd
Tel: 01489 860851
Email: info@123insight.com










Hexagon enhances its smart manufacturing solutions portfolio with the acquisition of D.P. Technology Corp

November 2nd, 2020 10:07 am | by admin

Hexagon AB, a global leader in sensor, software and autonomous solutions, today announced the signing of an agreement to acquire D.P. Technology Corp., a leading developer and supplier of computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) technology.

The ESPRIT CAM System, its flagship solution, is the smart manufacturing solution for any machining application. Supporting any class of CNC machine via a common interface and workflow, it provides high-performance CNC machine programming, optimisation, and simulation for a broad range of precision manufacturing applications.

Well known for its machine-optimised, edit-free G-code (toolpath), ESPRIT leverages a digital twin simulation platform to model the finished part, tools, and CNC machine. AI-based algorithms eliminate manual data input and provide machine operators with greater assurance of what will happen on the shop floor. The result is simplified programming, increased tool life and utilisation, reduced cycle times and improved productivity.

“D.P. Technology is an innovator with a strong focus on building smarter, data-driven manufacturing solutions. When combined with our production software portfolio, it cements our market-leading position in CAM, particularly around CNC manufacturing processes, and accelerates the development of our smart manufacturing portfolio,” says Hexagon president and CEO Ola Rollén. “Additionally, the D.P. Technology team has built excellent working relationships with leading machine tool providers and other manufacturing technology experts, which will prove invaluable in our open and interoperable manufacturing ecosystem approach.”

Founded in 1982 and headquartered in Camarillo, California, D.P. Technology employs around 260 people in 27 locations worldwide. The company is also represented by a network of 130 resellers across 44 countries, giving ESPRIT a global footprint and install base. D.P. Technology will operate as part of Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division. Completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals. 2019 sales amounted to 35m EUR.

Hexagon is a global leader in sensor, software and autonomous solutions. It is putting data to work to boost efficiency, productivity, and quality across industrial, manufacturing, infrastructure, safety, and mobility applications. Hexagon technologies are shaping urban and production ecosystems to become increasingly connected and autonomous,ensuring a scalable, sustainable future.

Hexagon has approximately 20,000 employees in 50 countries and net sales of approximately 3.9bn EUR.

Hexagon AB
Tel: 0046 8601 2627


Automation beyond traditional machine tending

November 2nd, 2020 10:00 am | by admin

Fastems Group will host an online Open House & Conference entitled “Productivity Beyond Machine Tending” on November 4, 2020 at 8:00-13:00 CET. The virtual event will showcase the latest developments in automation and surrounding technologies to all metalworking manufacturers. The company’s aim is to educate machine shops on how to improve their efficiency and quality in a manageable, methodical, and practical manner. The scope of automation includes more than tending machines; it also includes evaluating the surrounding processes such as cutting tool management and other manual work functions to reveal the key bottlenecks that should be addressed first.

The online Open House & Conference will gather people in manufacturing industries across Europe and North America with informative and educational webinars, video demonstrations, and Q&A sessions on several productivity-related topics, such as:

Automation possibilities now that go beyond traditional machine tending

Building optimal cutting tool management practices, step-by-step

Production planning and control software for manual work cells and standalone machines

Inspiring FMS advancements based on real customer success stories and a next-generation load handler for machines without automatic pallet changers

New innovations and flexibility improvements in robot cells and software

Fastems Group CEO Mikko Nyman will open the event live, welcoming the audience. The event is scheduled for European audiences on November 4, 2020, at 8:00 CET. Fastems warmly welcomes everyone to attend the entire event that day or access single presentations based on interest. If registrants cannot participate on the scheduled date and time, they can return to view and download all the free material at a more convenient time.

For more information and to register, visit https://www.fastems.com/event/seminar-productivity-beyond  or contact Leigh Tricklebank, UK sales manager at leigh.tricklebank@fastems.com

Founded in 1901, Fastems delivers intelligent factory automation solutions that help metalworking manufacturers to increase their productivity. Its industry-leading control software and the capability to integrate any industrial machine tools into one entity, combined with its broad service selection and decades of experience is what makes Fastems unique.

Fastems Ltd
Tel: 01322 222211