Nerc Precision turn to powerful, precise and scary SMEC SL3000

Thursday July 23 2020

Only founded two years ago, Nerc Precision Engineering Ltd (NPE) was set-up by Konrad Nerc to ‘follow his dreams’. The Bristol based business owner was working a full-time job whilst setting up NPE. Now, the dreams are becoming a reality as the company has just installed its first turning centre, a Dugard SMEC SL 3000LM. MTDCNC went to visit him, watch the video below.

With a wide selection of 8 and 10inch chuck machines available in the machine-tool industry, Company Director and Founder Konrad Nerc tells MTD magazine why he selected the SMEC SL 3000LM from Dugard: “That was quite a funny process, because we were looking initially at smaller machines. I was looking at a 6 to 8-inch chuck with half a metre turning length, but then I spotted this beast. The machine is great value for money and the service and support has been excellent.” Emphasising this, Konrad says: “We placed the order for the machine one week before Christmas and the machine was with us on 9th January 2020. It was set up and running just a couple of days later.

Referring to why the company bought its first turning centre, Konrad told MTD magazine: “We had a lot of enquiries for turning work and we used to outsource our work to somebody else. Now we have a turning centre in-house, we have more control over the process. This means we can do all of the turning and milling, either on the SMEC SL 3000LM or by transferring parts to our milling department after turning for secondary finishing. This means we can do more work and we can turn our work out even quicker than before.”

An innovative high precision heavy duty CNC turning centre, integrated with all of SMEC’s advanced technology; the SMEC SL 3000LM slant bed turning centre from Dugard incorporates a 12/24-station BMT65 high-speed servo tooling turret and the intuitive Siemens 828D CNC control unit. This combination creates remarkable ease-of-use and an impressive level of flexibility. With 650mm swing over bed and a maximum machining diameter of 405mm with maximum machining length of 997mm, the SMEC SL 3000LM has proven the perfect productivity partner for Nerc Precision. The 18.5/26kW spindle motor provides unprecedented power and torque levels with a maximum spindle speed of 3500rpm.

From a build quality perspective, the SMEC SL 3000LM incorporates a one-piece Meehanite casting with a heavily ribbed torque tube design as well as a rigid bed design that supports powerful cutting. With a Hexahedral slideway frame that is induction hardened and ground to ensure long-term rigidity, precision levels under extremely heavy-duty cutting are assured by a design structure that also exhibits excellent vibration dampening and thermal displacement.

This is all demonstrated by Konrad Nerc’s comments: “My advice to anybody looking for machine would be ‘do not to buy the Dugard SMEC SL 3000LM!’ The reason behind this is that the machine is just too powerful. We started exploring bigger and heavier cuts, and it just started to get scary.” When asked what the company has done to put the SMEC SL 3000LM machine through its paces, Konrad says: “The biggest cuts we have done is with EN24T, it was a 6mm cut at 0.6mm/rev at 200m/min cutting speed on a job that was 135mm diameter. The tool went through the material like it was butter. No doubt, we’ll be pushing it further when the opportunity arises.”

Further emphasising the tooling turret and the power of the machine, Konrad says: “We are using 20mm indexable end mills with no issues on materials like EN24T for drilling and milling.”

As a machine shop with a number of machine tools from different vendors, Nerc has FANUC and Siemens CNC control systems at its facility. Alluding to this, Konrad says: “The FANUC is a necessity and the Siemens is just a pleasure to work with. The Siemens control on the SMEC is so easy to work with. I have a new employee that used to be a manual turner and he learnt how to use the Siemens control in just one day. He learnt all the setups and was running his own programs very quickly.”