When innovation meets design – PES Media
A specialist in the design and manufacture of bespoke luxury products has boosted its machining capabilities by investing in a new 5-axis Mikron model from GF Machining Solutions. PES reports.
GF Machining Solutions is a 3 and 5 axis milling, EDM, laser texturing and additive manufacturing (AM) machine tool specialist and automation systems solutions provider based in Coventry. The machine supplied to customer Luzzo Bespoke Limited is a new Mikron Mill E 700U 5-axis machining centre.
The rigidly constructed and ergonomically designed machine, which includes an integrated seven-station automatic pallet changer (APC), was installed at the company’s 10,000 sq ft factory in Brackley in April 2021 and is being used to machine a range of high-precision – and often complex – shaped – low-volume components that go into products manufactured by Luzzo for its growing number of high-end automotive, motorsport and lifestyle customers.
These components, made from a diverse range of materials such as aluminum, brass, stainless steel, carbon fiber, wood and plastics, are machined to high precision (typically ±0.1 mm) and rigorous surface finishes.
The Mill E 700U is also used to machine special and innovative workholding devices, as well as many prototypes and pre-production parts – an integral part of the company’s Design for Manufacturing (DfM) services.
The machine joins and has been installed next to another Mikron 5-axis machining center, a HEM 500U, acquired by the company in 2016. Together, these two high-performance 5-axis machining centers provide Luzzo Bespoke with a fast, efficient solution and reliable milling capabilities, plus proven machine tool technology designed to improve part accuracy, repeatability and productivity.
Like many other manufacturers, Luzzo has felt the impact and effects of the pandemic. Staff were made redundant and several orders and contracts were postponed, with some canceled altogether. However, during the summer of 2020 business started to pick up and has been on an upward trajectory ever since.
Brian Challenger, Managing Director of Luzzo Bespoke, says: “Since the start of 2021 things have improved dramatically – so much so in fact that we have seen that unless we build on our existing milling capacity and capabilities, as soon as possible, the production would be pinched points would occur that would affect our operational efficiency and productivity.Following these thoughts, we decided to invest in a new machining center.
To address its potential milling capability gaps, the company spent time identifying the “needed” specifications and capabilities of the new machine.
it must be 5 axis
“Luzzo Bespoke is a strong proponent of 5-axis machining and automation,” says Challenger. “Over the past 12 years, our machine shop has changed and improved dramatically, from having no CNC machine tools to a shop that houses high performance CNC multi-tasking lathes and 3 machining centers. and 5 axes.
“We think 5-axis machining is the way to go. Technology makes us more flexible and allows us to machine parts in fewer setups, often in one go. It makes us more efficient and productive.
“The same goes for automation,” he adds. “Machines with built-in automation have the ability to turn off lights at night and on weekends. A machine with built-in pallet changing capabilities can give us up to 14 hours of additional machining time per day: a huge increase in our productivity.
Besides the fact that the machine had to be a 5-axis machining center equipped with integrated automation, other machine requirements included: a high-speed, high-torque spindle; full 5-axis simultaneous machining capability; good size work envelope with easy loading/unloading of parts; a generously sized automatic tool changer; effective and efficient chip management; and the last Heidenhain order.
Mikron gets the gig
The decision to invest in a Mikron 5-axis machine from GF Machining Solutions was not a foregone conclusion however, as Brian Challenger explains: “Our existing excellent relationship with GF put them in the basket so to speak.
Luzzo Bespoke has invested in a number of Mikron 3 and 5 axis machining centers over the years and, before the arrival of the new Mill E 500U, had two 3 axis machining centers (VCE 800 Pro and a machine 5 axes (HEM 500U) at his disposal.
“We approached GF Machining Solutions and other companies with our requirements,” recalls Challenger. “Taking into account the cost of the machine, its availability and its technical specifications, as well as the applications and the backup service offered by GF, we invested in the Mikron Mill E 700U.”
The Mill E 700U is a high-performance 5-axis machining center featuring rigid C-frame construction, large slideways, a dual-support trunnion-type direct-drive rotary tilting table and an integrated seven-station automatic pallet changer.
Equipped with the Heidenhain tnc 640 control and featuring a powerful 36 kW/20,000 rpm high-speed spindle (OptiCool) with oil-air lubrication, the Mill E 700U offers excellent cutting performance, flexibility of machining and reliability.
“The machine’s advanced spindle technology with oil-air lubrication allows us to maintain part accuracy and tolerances during long machining cycles, and its direct-drive rotary table technology, in combination with the spindle StepTec, means we can achieve an ultra-thin surface. finishes on machined parts,” says Challenger. “Overall, the Mill E 700U is a high-productivity all-rounder – and a real asset to the business.”
Luzzo Bespoke designs and manufactures a range of high quality bespoke products for a wide range of markets and industries.
One of the most important of these is the luxury car sector, where the company manufactures high-end products, including beverage cabinets, picnic baskets, under-seat refrigerators, wine coolers bespoke cigar boxes, clocks, dials and instrumentation panels for the world’s most prestigious car manufacturers. like Rolls-Royce, Bentley, McLaren, Bugatti and Jaguar Land Rover.
The company also manufactures a range of motorsport and classic car parts and, to reduce a possible overreliance on the automotive sector, has diversified into the marine and furniture markets.
Many products manufactured by Luzzo Bespoke, particularly for its luxury car manufacturing customers, are supplied as finished goods – with all manufacturing and assembly taking place at its Brackley factory.
“We are a one-stop-shop for design and manufacturing solutions,” enthuses Brian Challenger. “In addition to our full machining capabilities, we provide a range of other in-house fabrication and finishing services and specialties including wood veneer, laser engraving/marking, spray painting and polishing.
“Having all of these services and specialties under one roof helps us maintain our high quality standards and keep operational costs and customer delivery times under control. We made a conscious decision a few years ago to avoid outsourcing. This decision allowed us to be more competitive and to differentiate ourselves positively in our markets and with our customers.
Example: champagne chest
A good example that helps illuminate the range of Luzzo Bespoke in-house capabilities is the Rolls-Royce Champagne Chest.
Part of Rolls-Royce’s range of accessories, the trunk, crafted from machined aluminum and carbon fiber, is wrapped in black natural-grain leather and Tudor oak wood.
The trunk opens at the push of a button, with the illuminated center bay displaying four mouth-blown crystal champagne flutes, which Rolls-Royce says are: “arranged to conjure up memories of a V12 engine “, and the owner’s choice of champagne – kept at the perfect temperature thanks to black anodized aluminum and carbon fiber coolers.
GF Machining Solutions