Nuclear AMRC builds giant machine with one-off capability

Posted on 22 Jan 2013

A StarragHeckert HEC1800 with a unique ‘planetary’ head is being commissioned at the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham.

The HEC 1800 – one of the largest machines of its type in the UK – will be the first machine outside StarragHeckert ‘s own facilities in Switzerland and Germany to be equipped with the new planetary turning and milling (PTM) technology.

The PTM device combines an extendable boring spindle with two radial turning tools, adding milling and turning capabilities to a horizontal boring machine. Together, the HEC 1800 and PTM provide seven axes of movement.

The HEC 1800, which at about 15 metres long is similar in size to a small house, is capable of receiving components up to 20 tonnes. It will include other advanced features such as a 200 bar through-spindle coolant delivery system. The efficient cooling system is essential for machining of size vast components.

The machine is especially suited to making components for nuclear energy and offshore renewable applications, as well as other power generation parts.

Stuart Dawson, head of machining at Nuclear AMRC, said: “It is a unique machine, the first of its kind outside Starrag’s own facilities. This machine is the absolute exemplar of multi-functional machine tools – it’s a mill-turn machine with a planetary turning head and high pressure drilling capability.

“It really exemplifies our philosophy of single set-up machining,” he added. The Nuclear AMRC is conducting research on other ‘one-touch’ machining processes, especially very deep hole drilling.

The machine is being constructed and tested by StarragHeckert UK engineers with the help of AMRC staff.