Vesconite Bearings is ramping up its 5-axis machining capability in line with future demands for more complex machined parts made from its advanced engineered plastics.
The company already has a Haas VF 11 and a 6-m Marufuku machining centre with a 5-axis head, and is currently investigating the purchase of specialist software that will allow it to produce even more complicated parts.
“We are ready to increase our 5-axis machining,” factory manager Robin Crabb says of the initiative that has training, staffing and technology implications.
Four staff members have already been familiarising themselves with 5-axis technology and have trained themselves in the use of the complex 5-axis machines that allow the cutting tool to move across the X,Y and Z linear axes and the workpiece to tilt and to rotate in any direction.
On purchase of additional specialist 5-axis software, selected staff will also undergo further training, with the intention that all staff will be fully familiar with 5-axis machine use and programming.
The decision on which computer-aided-design and -manufacturing software option to purchase is currently being considered by CEO Dr Jean-Patrick Leger, as this software is regarded as vital for the success of the initiative to place emphasis on 5-axis machining.
“With the additional software, we will be able to undertake continuous cutting on 5 axes,” says Crabb.
“This will result in less machine downtime and reduced set-up times,” he notes of the software, which will allow the company to complete technical drawings and programme machines for uninterrupted manufacturing.
Additional 5-axis machining capability will permit Vesconite Bearings to take on challenging machining projects, including many difficult precision-machined custom wear parts, such as daggerboard casings for high-technology sailing boats that are used as an alternative to fixed keels on catamarans.
Vesconite Bearings has a factory floor space of 20,000 m2, and its factory includes polymer compounding, extrusion and moulding shops in addition to its extensive machine shop, which includes 75 computer numerically controlled lathes and machining centres.
The company makes rods, machined plates and bushings as stock parts, as well as high-quality finished parts for the agriculture, railways, mining, pump, heavy transport, hydro, renewable, earthmoving and marine industries.
The polymer bushings and wear-materials manufacturer prides itself on fast production, turnaround and delivery, with an average global delivery time, using various courier companies with global experience, of three to seven working days.