Yamazaki Mazak has joined the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) as a Tier One member and is providing an ORBITEC 20 machine tool for the Centre’s state-of-the-art research centre.
The membership, which includes representation on the Board, will enable Mazak to make a major contribution to the Nuclear AMRC’s machining research and development capabilities, in particular the development of new machining practices and processes for the production of large and complex components, typically used in the power generation and oil and gas sectors.
The Nuclear AMRC is led by the University of Sheffield with support from the University of Manchester, and has partnerships with a number of leading suppliers to the power generation sector including Rolls-Royce, Areva, Westinghouse, Sheffield Forgemasters and Tata Steel.
The ORBITEC 20 will be housed in the Nuclear AMRC’s state-of-the-art research factory in South Yorkshire. The machine has been specifically developed for machine tool users supplying the power generation sector, in particular those machining eccentric features on large diameter shafts or complex large turned features in an irregular shape, which are not conducive to normal turning operations.
The ORBITEC 20 moves the cutting tool while the turned part remains in a fixed position. The key component of the machine is the virtual X-axis created by the facing head which uses a ‘circle within a circle’ design that is naturally balanced. This allows the machine to undertake operations which are both difficult and expensive with traditional turning methods.
The machine is capable of completing a variety of complex features, including the facing of flange surfaces, conical boring of taper holes, face milling, end milling, threading, internal grooving, concave machining and phonographic finishing, all in a single set-up. As a result, the ORBITEC 20 has the capability to greatly reduce set-up times and improve productivity for manufacturers supplying the power generation sector. It provides a cost-effective, innovative component production centre that can complete more than 75 per cent of valve applications, for example, in one set-up, while maintaining high tolerances.
Alan Mucklow, Group Product Manager Europe at Yamazaki Mazak, commented: “Our membership of the Nuclear AMRC offers us the opportunity to make a real contribution to helping UK manufacturers solve the machining problems associated with the power generation sector.”
He continued: “Typically, the sector is machining large complex parts, many of which are not ideally suited to traditional machining methods. For example, a riser pipe for an oil and gas platform is a very large component which is not easily turned in a safe and productive manner.
“Modern machining technology, such as the ORBITEC 20, enables a much safer and more efficient process. We look forward to working closely with the Nuclear AMRC and the power generation sector to help solve the manufacturing challenges the sector faces.”
Stuart Dawson, Head of Machining at the Nuclear AMRC, said: "We're delighted to welcome Mazak to the Nuclear AMRC partnership. The ORBITEC 20 is a fantastic addition to our workshop and we expect strong demand from our manufacturing partners, particularly for oil and gas applications. The ORBITEC gives us a unique capability to produce parts with circular features which would be too long or heavy or out-of-balance to be machined on a conventional horizontal lathe."