Whiteley Brooks Engineering opts for the newer generation of XR machines
One of the UK’s largest users of Hardinge XR 1000 VMC’s is Midlands based specialist sub-contractor Whiteley Brooks Engineering who maintain a fondness for VMC format machines and the Hardinge/Bridgeport XR machines in particular.
Whiteley Brooks Engineering Limited is a specialist machining subcontractor renowned for manufacturing and adapting high performance clutch and brake components for F1, high performance sports and rally cars and road vehicles.
Established over 30 years ago the first CNC machine tool the Whiteley Brooks’ founders purchased was a Bridgeport vertical milling machine. And it has stayed loyal to Hardinge/Bridgeport.
Today the company has over 25 of their milling centres with the latest XR 1000 VMC’s having 4 and 5 axis capability, being equipped from new with Nikken 5th axis rotary tables. This enables maximum productivity in their sub-contracting environment.
A spokesman for the company says; “Verticals have always been best suited to our type of work and the fact that Hardinge machines are upwardly compatible means that even a programme written a few years ago for an older machine is still compatible with the latest machines.
“We have opted for the newer generation of XR machines because of the high standard specification of the machines and the value they offer and they have quickly become an integral part of our operations.”
One of the attractions of the machines is the inherent high specification. The XR 1000 VMC’s feature Weiss 40 taper spindle technology which produces exceptional radial and axial rigidity and offers a unique grease replenishment system.
The construction of the machines is based on an engineered double ribbed machine base and this heavy duty approach is also evident in the low friction linear guide ways, oversize 45mm double-nut ball screws and rugged axis drives. The tool changer has a 30 tool capacity and the machining envelope has a ‘best in class’ working cube with a substantial 1020mm (40”) Y-axis travel. The spindle offers a maximum speed of 12,000rpm giving it a high precision contouring capability.
The latest machines at Whiteley Brooks are fitted with Heidenhain iTNC530 controls which have integral probe cycle software as standard. Therefore fitting inspection/calibration probes to the machines was a relatively straight forward option.
There is a 5th axis interface added to the later machines, configured to suit Nikken 5AX 200 compact tilting rotary tables on two machines and 5AX 130 tables on the others.
After installation of the 5th axis interface, it is possible to operate the machines either as 5 axis machines with the rotary table connected or as a standard 3 axis machines if the rotary table is removed or isolated.