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Speeding Plastics Production

A versatile new turn-mill centre allows Colpa Precision to slash lead times and material costs on plastic components.

The ability to change its recently installed Citizen Cincom A20-VII sliding head turn-mill centre into a non-guidebush variant for applications on plastic components and shorter length parts while retaining the guidebush assembly for longer parts, has enabled Colpa Precision Engineering to slash weeks from its lead time with significantly reduced material costs plus the ability to obtain greater number of parts from a bar.

Said General Manager Martin Branch: “The removable guide bush feature on the Cincom A20 has increased our competitiveness in a tight market as we no longer have to order pre-ground bar for plastics components which has not only reduced material cost, but also saved four weeks on our lead time to customers and has enabled us to pick-up new business.”

He also confirmed that by replacing an aging Citizen Cincom C16 with the new A20, Colpa is slightly reducing cycle times, but more important to customers, improving productivity, consistency, uptime and machining accuracy, which is again helping to lower delivery lead times.

Colpa Precision Engineering was set up in 1946 and has had the current directors / proprietors Dave Fry and Steve Low running the firm for the last 25 years.  Investment has been consistent with some £560,000 spent over the last three years and in addition to machining centres and fixed head lathes, some six Citizen sliding head machines are installed. 

On the Watford site, 10 people are employed and production batches vary between prototype and customer development parts to continuous production runs such as involving the supply of 32,000 parts a month.

The recent Cincom A20-VII installation is now mainly used for plastic parts and some aluminium to which Mr Branch said: “We run our first production batch with the guidebush installed and then removed it in less than 45 minutes. So far we have never used it again due to the advantages we have gained without it on smaller parts.”  He also added that a Cincom A32-VII installed two years ago has now been dedicated to mild steel and stainless steel part production which uses a permanent guidebush.

Colpa’s customer base covers a wide field including optical, electronic, audio, music, pneumatics, commercial air conditioning and certain aircraft industry companies producing parts from brass, mild and stainless steel, aluminium, titanium and a wide range of plastics including PEEK and acetal.  Cycle times tend to generally vary between 45 secs and 2 mins.

Mr Branch describes two typical parts produced on the new A20-VII, one a micro cable clamp produced in 1,000 batches in white acetal to +/-0.05 tolerances and a black acetal intricate, multi-featured anti-skate dial which is machined in cycle times of under 2 minutes in batch quantities of 500.

The cable clamp is 9.5 mm in diameter by 6 mm long and is turned on the outside diameter, spot drilled, drilled and tapped followed by use of a slitting saw to cut a slot along the length of the OD into the drilled hole. It is then picked-up by the sub-spindle which has a pre-set tension so as not to collapse the part, to produce a cross hole dimple, the bore chamfered and the part deburred in cycle.

Meanwhile, the anti-skate dial has a cycle time of under 2 minutes and was transferred to the new machine from the existing A32 in order to free up its capacity for larger work and maximise the use of unground bar.

The component is 14 mm diameter by 14.75 mm long with key features that include the head of the part with 12 milled slots each having 1 mm radius at the bottom of the slot set on a 15 mm tool PCD.  A spigot diameter has a waist, the head undercut with a cross hole 1 mm diameter which breaks into the 2 mm through bore.

www.colpa.co.uk

www.citizenmachinery.co.uk

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Investment leads to more profitable work

Enter The ability to change its recently installed Citizen Cincom A20-VII sliding-head turn-mill centre into a non-guide-bush variant for machining plastic components and short parts, while retaining the guide-bush assembly for longer parts, has allowed Colpa Precision Engineering to dramatically cut its lead times, significantly reduce material costs and obtain a greater number of parts from each bar.

General manager Martin Branch said: “The removable guide-bush feature on the Cincom A20 has increased our cost-effectiveness in what is a highly competitive market, as we no longer have to order pre-ground bar for plastics components; this has not only reduced material cost but also saved four weeks on our lead time — and enabled us to pick up new business.”

Mr Branch also says that by replacing an ageing Citizen Cincom C16 with the new A20 machine, Colpa is not only reducing cycle times but also improving productivity, consistency, up-time and machining accuracy.

Colpa Precision Engineering was set up in 1946; for the past 25 years, the company has been run by the current directors/proprietors — Dave Fry and Steve Low.

On-going investment has been consistent, and new machining centres and fixed-head lathes have been installed over the last three years — plus six Citizen sliding-head machines from Bushey-based Citizen Machinery UK Ltd (www.citizenmachinery.co.uk).

No going back

Ten people are employed at Colpa’s Watford site, where production batches vary from prototype and customer development parts to continuous production runs that deliver 32,000 parts a month.

“The recently installed Cincom A20-VII is now used mainly for plastic parts — along with a few aluminium components. Mr Branch said: “We ran our first production batch with the guide bush installed.

“We then removed it to machine a batch of short components, which only took 45min — and we have never used it again, such are the advantages of guide-bush-less operation on short parts.

“As a result, the Cincom A32-VII that we installed two years ago has now been dedicated to the production of mild-steel and stainless-steel components that require the use of a guide bush.”

Machining plasticsColpa’s customer base covers a wide variety of companies, including those in the optical, electronic, audio, music, pneumatics, commercial air -conditioning and aircraft industries, for which it machines parts from brass, mild steel, stainless steel, aluminium and titanium — plus a wide range of plastics (including PEEK and acetal), with cycle times generally varying between 45sec and 2min.

Mr Branch highlights two parts produced on the new A20-VII. One is a micro cable clamp produced in batches of 1,000 in white acetal to a ±0.05mm tolerance, the other is an intricate multi-featured anti-skate dial in black acetal that is machined in less than 2min in batches of 500.

The cable clamp, which is 9.5mm in diameter x 6mm long, is turned on the outside diameter, spot-drilled, drilled and tapped. A slitting saw next cuts a slot along the length of the OD into the drilled hole.

The part is then picked up by the sub-spindle (this has its clamping pressure governed, so as not to collapse the part) to produce a ‘cross-hole dimple’, chamfer the bore and undertake deburring in cycle.

Unground bar

Meanwhile, the anti-skate dial was transferred to the new machine from the existing A32 in order to free up its capacity for larger work and take advantage of using unground bar.

This part, which is 14mm in diameter x 14.75mm long, has features that include the head of the part with 12 milled slots (each with a 1mm radius at the bottom), a waisted spigot diameter, and a head undercut (this also features a 1mm-diameter cross-hole that breaks into the 2mm-diameter through bore).

The other end of the part has a cam lobe that is 5.22mm wide and protrudes by 4.75mm. The part is also drilled and tapped M3 x 6.5mm deep, and the head is counterbored with three diameters (8.5, 10.5 and 12.5mm to respective depths of 3.75, 3.0 and 1.75mm).

The five-axis Cincom A20-VII (its bar capacity can be extended to 25mm) has a 3.7kW 10,000rev/min main spindle, a 1.5kW 8,000rev/min sub-spindle, and a total of 21 tools; driven tools for cross machining have a maximum speed of 6,000rev/min and are powered by a 0.75kW drive.

The positioning speed is 32m/min, and the direct-indexing C axis can decelerate directly to the programmed position.

In conclusion, Mr Branch said: “The purchase of the Cincom M32 two years ago and the recent installation of the new A20 have enabled us to take on more-complex and more-profitable work.

“This has come from both existing and new customers, and it proves that continued investment cements the future of the company. The level of capability that these machines provide also gives us the confidence to continue with improving not only our production capability but also support areas such as inspection and measurement.”

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CITIZEN’S NON-GUIDEBUSH CINCOM A20 SLASHES LEAD TIME

Enter Colpa Precision Engineering has slashed weeks from its lead time with significantly reduced material costs plus the ability to obtain greater number of parts from a bar following the installation of a Citizen Cincom A20-VII with non-guide bush capability for use on plastics components.

Said General Manager Martin Branch: “The removable guide bush feature on the Cincom A20 has increased our competitiveness in a tight market as we no longer have to order pre-ground bar for plastics components which has not only reduced material cost, but also saved four weeks on our lead time to customers and has enabled us to pick-up new business.”

Colpa Precision Engineering was set up in 1946 having consistent investment with some £560,000 spent over the last three years with some six Citizen sliding head machines installed.

On the Watford site, 10 people are employed and production batches vary between prototype and customer development parts to continuous production runs such as involving the supply of 32,000 parts a month.

Colpa’s customer base covers a wide field including optical, electronic, audio, music, pneumatics, commercial air conditioning and certain aircraft industry companies producing parts from brass, mild and stainless steel, aluminium, titanium and a wide range of plastics including PEEK and acetal. Cycle times tend to generally vary between 45 secs and 2 mins.

Mr Branch describes a typical multi-featured part produced on the new A20-VII, which is a multi-featured anti-skate dial machined in cycle times of under 2 minutes in batch quantities of 500.

The anti-skate dial was transferred to the new machine from an existing A32 in order to free up its capacity for larger work and maximise the use of lower cost unground bar.

The component is 14 mm diameter by 14.75 mm long with key features that include the head of the part with 12 milled slots each having 1 mm radius at the bottom of the slot set on a 15 mm tool PCD. A spigot diameter has a waist, the head undercut with a cross hole 1 mm diameter which breaks into the 2 mm through bore.

The other end of the part has a cam form just 1 mm thick produced with a 4 mm radius and a 5.22 mm width cam lobe extended out to 4.75 mm and having blending radii of 1.5 mm. The part is also drilled and tapped M3 by 6.5 mm deep and the head counterbored to a series of 8.5, 10.5 and 12.5 mm diameters by 3.75, 3.0 and 1.75 mm respective depths.

The 5-axis Cincom A20-VII has a bar capacity extendable to 25 mm with 10,000 revs/min main spindle from a 3.7 kW drive. The 1.5 kW sub-spindle has a maximum speed of 8,000 revs/min. The tool capacity is 21 tools with driven tools having a maximum speed of 6,000 revs/min from a 0.75 kW motor for cross machining. Positioning speed is fast at 32 m/min with a direct indexing C-axis enabling deceleration direct to the programmed position.

Said Mr Branch: “The new A20 has enabled us to take on more complex and profitable work which has come from both existing and new customers and proves that continued investment cements the future of the company.”

https://www.citizenmachinery.co.uk/citizens-non-guidebush-cincom-a20-slashes-lead-time-and-increases-competitiveness-on-plastics-parts-production/

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Colpa Invest in Keyence Optical Measuring Machine

The IM Series Instant Measurement System is an automated optical comparator that can perform up to 99 dimensional measurements in 3 seconds or less at the push of a button.

The unit also automatically records measurement data and creates detailed inspection reports.

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Citizen M32 -VIII Arrives

We now are able to offer shaft components up to 1 meter long due to our new long parts unloader.

With the new ‘B’ axis we can now make more complex parts.

We now have the capacity to make parts from 35mm diameter bar.

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