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The DCX32 installed at Preston aerospace subcontractor, TGM is the largest vertical machining centre that Hurco builds

Largest Hurco machining centre goes to UK aerospace subcontractor

The first of Hurco's largest vertical-spindle machining centres, a DCX32 with travels of (X) 3,200 x (Y) 2,200 x (Z) 920 mm and an installed weight of 39 tonnes, was delivered in June 2009 to TGM, an aerospace subcontractor in Preston serving both the civil and military sectors.  

The £200,000 machine more than doubles the Y-axis capacity on the shop floor, allowing larger airframe components to be machined or multiple parts to be fixtured for more efficient production.  Around half of components are produced from titanium, such as wing and fuselage parts including longerons for BAE Systems' Eurofighter Typhoon.  The remainder of throughput is aluminium.  

A lot of Airbus wing work in both materials is undertaken, such as leading and trailing edges as well as main details for delivery to the OEM's Broughton factory via tier 1 suppliers.  Airbus A350 XWB work is currently being quoted.  

Another active project is the manufacture of parts for the backswept wing tip on Boeing aircraft.  The latest 737-600 has such a wing, whose superior aerodynamics lead to improved fuel efficiency, so much so that Boeing has decided to retrofit similar wing tips to its entire fleet of 767s currently in service.  TGM machines 12 aircraft sets of these details per month.  

Steve Holmes, a director of the subcontractor who joined shortly after its formation in 1998, commented, "We see a bright future for the aerospace sector despite the downturn over the past 18 months.  

"Having the large-capacity DCX allows us the opportunity to pitch for a lot of new business up to 3.2 x 2.1 metres that we could not have undertaken previously."  

Optimism has translated into significant investment recently at the Preston facility, which has been doubled in size to 16,000 sq ft.  A new factory unit houses the DCX32, which is of twin-column, bridge-type construction that allows the large Y-axis travel without loss of rigidity.  

A 60 kW spindle mounted in a vertical ram gives ample cutting power and torque for machining titanium.  A 40-station, swing-arm toolchanger keeps the carousel clear of swarf and maximises the working envelope.  

The machine has been joined by a second Hurco VMX84 vertical machining centre at Preston, installed in October 2009.  Until recently, this model with its 2,134 x 864 x 762 mm travels was the largest in the manufacturer's range.  A total of 10 Hurco's now constitute a majority of TGM's machining centre capacity.  

When TGM was asked about its choice of Hurco for its largest machining centre to date, bearing in mind the supplier is new to the manufacture of very big machines, Mr Holmes pointed to a decade of reliable production using smaller Hurco equipment as well as prompt service back-up.  

Particularly, he mentioned the proprietary, twin-screen Ultimax control system running the latest WinMax Windows-based software.  It has a 40GB hard-drive with 2GB RAM and high-speed contouring capability.  

Forty per cent of programs, even complex 2D jobs, are written quickly and easily on the shop floor at Preston using the conversational, menu-driven system.  Time savings can be made compared with using a CADCAM system, allowing TGM to respond promptly to urgent jobs, particularly AOG (aircraft on ground) requests.   

The remaining 60 per cent of the time, programs are prepared off-line using the subcontractor's MasterCam system.  Whether it is a digital file or a drawing of an older component that is received from the customer, a 3D IGES file or a 2D DXF file can be prepared quickly and downloaded directly to the control on any of the Hurco machines for immediate use.  

Press release issued by Hurco Europe Ltd on October 26, 2009


 Contact details from our directory:
Hurco Europe Ltd Machining Systems


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