Vintage aeroplane restorer soars with Mazak machine investment
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.”
A heroic stride forward for capability as Valiant enters the steel processing arena
In response to the increasing demand for greater control and flexibility in the steel fabrication process, leading machining manufacturer, Ficep has further pushed the boundaries of possibility in CNC drilling lines.
The new Valiant offers over double the number of tool changer positions than its popular predecessor, the Endeavour, while a 300 mm extended auxiliary axis increases the window of operation for scribing, milling and sequential drilling. This significantly increases production gains, because there is less movement of the beam or section when processing.
Developed by a specialist team of 20 technologists, the launch of Valiant represents the increasing capability of Ficep to meet the demand for improved optimisation in the steel fabrication process. This is a sign that the industry continues to look forward despite political uncertainties.
The addition of 14 new tool changer positions on each of the machine’s three spindles takes the total tool availability to 42 tools, while the spindles themselves have been redesigned to be all the same, allowing for a reduction in inventory for spare part replacement. These features offer fabricators productivity gains and simplified maintenance.
Mark Jones, MD of Ficep UK says: “We’re a company known for our commitment to R&D, devoting 5 percent of our annual profits to developing steel fabrication machines that work effectively for the modern fabricator and Valiant is a perfect example of what this research can achieve.
“It takes elements of our leading Endeavour and adds practical, useful improvements that will benefit fabricators in terms of machining potential, productivity and cost efficiencies. We believe that this heralds a new era in drilling equipment for the steel fabrication industry.”
Indeed, the additional features on Valiant are numerous and extensive, right down to a new, more robust gripper carriage and a shorter gripper which reduces the required space in fabricator workshops.
Mark Jones adds: “Valiant is, in all respects, is a drilling machine for forward looking fabricators preparing for smart factories, automation and Industry 4.0.”
Valiant will replace Ficep’s leading Endeavour as the primary drilling machine available from Ficep. R&D on Valiant took place at Ficep’s European headquarters in Italy. Valiant works with Ficep’s partner software Steel Projects and Tekla and is fully BIM ready. Endeavour machine had 6 tooling options, the launch of Valiant sees this increase to 14.
Ficep UK is based in Wakefield and works with fabricators across the UK and Norway.
Ficep (UK) Ltd
Tel: 01924 223530