Vesconite Bearings invests in 5-axis capability
VESCONITE Bearings, based in the Free State-based, is ramping up its 5-axis machining capability in line with future demands for more complex machined parts made from its advanced engineered plastics.
The company already has a Haas VF 11 and a 6-m Marufuku machining centre with a 5-axis head and is currently investigating the purchase of specialist software that will allow it to produce even more complicated parts.
“We are ready to increase our 5-axis machining,” factory manager, Robin Crabb, says of the initiative that has training, staffing and technology implications.
Four staff members have already been familiarising themselves with 5-axis technology and have trained themselves in the use of the complex 5-axis machines that allow the cutting tool to move across the X,Y and Z linear axes and the workpiece to tilt and to rotate in any direction.
Once the additional specialist 5-axis software has been bought, selected staff will also undergo further training, with the intention that all staff will be fully familiar with 5-axis machine use and programming.
The decision on which computer-aided-design and manufacturing software option to purchase is currently being considered by CEO, Dr Jean-Patrick Leger, as this software is regarded as vital for the success of the initiative to place emphasis on 5-axis machining.
“With the additional software, we will be able to undertake continuous cutting on 5 axes,” says Crabb. “This will result in less machine downtime and reduced set-up times,” he notes of the software, which will allow the company to complete technical drawings and programme machines for uninterrupted manufacturing.
Additional 5-axis machining capability will permit Vesconite Bearings to take on challenging machining projects, including many difficult precision-machined custom wear parts such as daggerboard casings for high-technology sailing boats that are used as an alternative to fixed keels on catamarans.
Vesconite Bearings has a factory floor space of 20 000 m2 and its factory includes polymer compounding, extrusion and moulding shops in addition to its extensive machine shop, which includes 75 computer numerically-controlled lathes and machining centres.
The company makes rods, machined plates and bushings as stock parts, as well as high-quality finished parts for the agriculture, railways, mining, pump, heavy transport, hydro, renewable, earthmoving and marine industries.
The polymer bushings and wear-materials manufacturer prides itself on fast production, turnaround and delivery, with an average global delivery time, using various courier companies with global experience, of three to seven working days.