Siemens delivers simplicity on Dugard machines

Friday November 15 2019

Benfleet based Wilson Tool & Engineering Ltd has recently purchased a brand new SMEC SL2000 turning centre from Dugard and MTDCNC’s Paul Jones visited the Essex subcontractor to take a look at the new installation.

For over 50 years, Wilson Tool & Engineering has been at the forefront of the UK precision engineering industry, providing CNC machining, in-house heat-treatment, grinding & JIT services to global companies in a wide and varied range of industries. The machine shop is home to machine tools from a range of manufacturers and the SMEC SL2000 has proven the perfect addition for the subcontract company.

The compact SL2000 has a maximum machining diameter of 360mm with a machining length of 540 and an 8inch chuck as standard. Commenting upon the machine and a cutting test that Wilson Tool & Engineering Ltd is taking, Mr Darren Wilson says: “We have just put a billet of EN24 in the 8-inch chuck with a 4.5mm side cut. In terms of material, there are more challenging materials, but it is still a challenge and the machine is just eating it alive! I’m not too sure whether it’s the VDI replacement mount or the rigidity of the machine, but it really is improving tool life and machining performance. Previously we were taking 1mm of side cut and by upping the cut to 4.5mm, I was expecting the inserts to last for two components – we’ve currently machined 35 parts. That is a measure of the build quality of the machine.”

“We looked at a milling facility and a Y-axis lathe and I decided a C-axis wasn’t for us, but with just small batch runs and the subsequent set-up times of milling heads, we knew we wouldn’t get that time back. So, we opted for the SMEC. The machine was with us in just 10 days and as we specified the Siemens control, Dugard brought a machine in from Germany. There was a machine immediately available with a FANUC control, but we decided the FANUC control wasn’t for our business.”

MTDCNC’s Paul Jones was particularly interested in. Taking a closer look at the new Siemens 828D CNC control interface with a touch screen facility, Darren Wilson says: “There are a few new extras on this control such as a touch screen interface and the control is the perfect size that makes it really workable.”

Looking at the Shopturn software on the Siemens control interface and talking through a cycle, Mr Wilson says: “The process is very simple. We can just select a turning cycle and then select stock removal and then a lot of information is pre-stored. So, we can pick a roughing tool, select the feed and the start and end point and then click ‘accept’. There is also a contour turning function that we can pick. From this, we can choose the option of external profiling and select a ‘new contour’. We can give the contour a name and then we have options, and I personally like to have the graphic view on. From here, we can add the X and Z axis parameters and whether we want to add a radius or chamfer and which direction the feature is in.”

“In this demo, I will just add a 2mm radius and I’ll also add a 5mm blend radius and change the X axis to 130mm diameter. Once we select our parameters, we can add the machining data, like the stock removal. This then provides tool, feed and depth of cut and finishing allowance options. Once the parameters are selected, we can do a quick simulation and that will load.”

Watching the simulation with Paul Jones, Mr Wilson continues: “The simulation is showing all the tool paths, depth of cut and radii. Sometimes if there is data missing, the simulation can add a radius at the front, and this is a lovely feature.” When asked what happens if you make a mistake, Mr Wilson says: “On this simulation, you can see where I have turned into the jaws. So, we can turn the simulation off, go back to our program parameters and see that the chuck jaws are set to -87.5mm, I can see that I have set that wrong and then go back to change that parameter. If you enter any details incorrectly, they will show up on the simulation and it won’t look right. So, this gives us an element of security.”

When asked if the touch screen is a gimmick or whether it helps the subcontract manufacturer, Mr Wilson comments: “At the early stages of installation, it certainly looks like it’s the best control that we have in our business. Just using the touchscreen, we have a lot of shortcuts that speed up processes as it saves cursoring through cycles. When you have a long program, you can use the touchscreen to simplify and speed up the process.” 

If you want any more information on the SMEC SL2000 like Darren’s got a Wilson Tool & Engineering, or anything else, give us a call on 01273 732286 or email