A new £3.5m advanced machining facility in Tewkesbury has taken the next step in its development after installing the latest CNC technology.
The Bowmill Group, which provides precision engineering, grinding and surface processing services to the aerospace sector, has installed a Chiron FZ12 FX Magnum Vario single spindle, 5-axis simultaneous vertical machining centre.
The investments are to help the company supply critical landing gear components and KITS to Safran Landing Systems for the Airbus A320/A321.
Supplied by the Engineering Technology Group (ETG), the turnkey package comes with 64 off HSK tool stations, the latest measuring cycle probe system from Renishaw and a Fanuc 6-axis robot with automated pallet system to support ‘lights-out’ manufacturing.
It has now been installed and is producing 1500 units per month, with a 9% improvement in accuracy across all of the ten prismatic parts that have so far been proven out.
Nick Epps, managing director of Bowmill Group, explained: “The creation of the Tewkesbury facility is a resounding success and we are now entering phase 2 as part of our commitment to supporting other strategic clients.
“More than £2.5m has been spent with ETG on supplying a range of Quaser, Nakamura and Chiron technology and this has not only given us significant additional capacity for existing and future work, but also allowed us to meet the aerospace sector’s exceptional demand for quality, delivery, support and commercial objectives.”
Epps continued: “The latest Chiron FZ12 and Fanuc robot is the latest purchase and is already surpassing our expectations in terms of productivity and quality.
“The changeover sequence and single point fixturing and workholding from Hyfore, which has significantly enhanced the tooling we have in our main site in Poole, has contributed to reducing the cycle times and we are now exploring the option of machining additional items over to this machine.
“Seventeen jobs have already been created at our Tewkesbury facility and we are only operating at 40% of the facility’s capacity, which means there are plenty of opportunities for attracting new business.”
Engineering Technology Group put together the turnkey package for the Bowmill Group, working with the planning and production teams to identify the right machine, controls and automation that matched its requirements.
As part of the contract, it had to set up and prove out 10 aerospace components for the Airbus A320 landing gear with the client’s quality department signing the first articles in accordance to its strict drawing tolerance and customer inspection criteria.
Pre-acceptance of the machine took place at Chiron’s headquarters in Germany, with specific components for engineering development used to tailor the robot to create authentic loading and unloading of parts.
Simon Higgs, Regional Sales manager at Engineering Technology Group, continued: “The investment in the new machining centre has given Bowmill a second world class facility to join its headquarters in Poole.
“The company is consistently achieving and exceeding quality and delivery requirements at a rate no lower than 98% OTD on KANBAN logistical control deliveries and, importantly, now has the capacity to go after and secure components with other customers.”
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