UK firms benefit from European Extremely Large Telescope contract

Posted on 7 Jun 2012 by Chris Flynn

Machine protection firm Beakbane will supply a range of bespoke covers and bellows to technology company Zeeko for their manufacturing machines.

The equipment will protect axis drives across Zeeko’s range of multi-axis, ultra-precision CNC polishing machines.

Kidderminster-based Beakbane will provide a full set of covers and bellows that will operate very smoothly allowing the axis drives to perform to micron accuracy.

Beakbane have worked with Zeeko, also based in the UK, since 2001 and its equipment is already in use across a range of Zeeko Intelligent Robotic Polishers (IRP). The two companies will work closely together on all new machines.

Zeeko’s IRPs are used to polish and to control the shape of many products including optics, moulds and replacement hip joints for a wide variety of industries worldwide and received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2011 in the innovation category in recognition of its unique machines.

One of its machines is currently being used to polish and form-correct the hexagonal mirror segments that will make up the 42m primary mirror of the European Extremely Large Telescope.

Zeeko’s design engineer Yohann Tessier said: “When the diamond slurry dries it sets like cement and this can cause the covers to stick. Beakbane designed a special strengthened mechanism for the telescopic covers that overcomes this problem.”