Lambert & Searle invests in its first 5-axis VMC
Lambert & Searle Precision Engineers has now invested in an X5 5-axis machining centre from Dugard Machine Tools to machine parts in one-hit, something that will enable the Worthing company to counteract the cost pressure placed on it by customers.
Commenting upon its route to acquiring a 5-axis machine, the motorsport and F1 subcontract company's Director, Mr Keith Humphrey, says: "We had cost pressures from our customers and we realised more companies were investing in this type of 5-axis technology. With the customers looking for cost reductions, a 5-axis VMC was the obvious route to take."
"We looked at available machine tools but as an existing Dugard customer, we have always been extremely happy with their service and support and having the company local to us is also a benefit. With regard to the X5 machine, we looked at others but it really was a lot of machine for the price tag. Something we couldn't resist."
"On one particular job, a magnesium manifold that has holes all over the job; holes are drilled at different angles. This means the job wouldn't have been cost effective to take on prior to the arrival of the 5-axis. However, with the 5-axis machine we can do the job in one-hit which reduces our set-ups and cycle times whilst enabling us to retain tolerances and precision by machining in a single set-up. This is a new job for us that we wouldn't have been able to quote for previously without 5-axis capability."
Another particular job was machined in seven operations on a 3-axis machining centre but with the addition of the 5-axis Dugard machine, the component is processed in two operations, reducing cycle time by over 30%. These examples highlight not only the cycle time reductions as a cost benefit, but also the ability to bring new work to the company that wouldn't have previously been possible.
Making the transition from typical 3-axis to 5-axis machining had a learning curve, that Lambert & Searle has easily overcome. As Mr Humphrey continues: "We wish we made this transition before now, The machine has been an excellent addition to our plant list."