11 March 2008
11 March 2008
UK based Crosby Composites have recently invested in and installed a CMS Ares 3626 CNC machining centre, adding to their existing 5 CNC machining centres
Mr. Crosby founded his company 25 years ago and has spent all his working life in the auto sport industry. He began his career as an engineer with March, when the use of composites in racing cars was first introduced. “It was obvious that this was an opportunity that would get bigger and bigger so I started my own company,” he remembered. “We began with very basic wet lay-up methods, and moved to using pre-preg and autoclave curing as the company developed.”
Mr. Crosby introduced 3D modelling and machining around eight years ago. Before then, he had thought the systems were too expensive but CNC machining and CADCAM quickly became the normal way to do things.
Utilising this type of technology is the only practical way to machine repeatable to the level of accuracy we need,” he added. “The F1 market generally requires a maximum run of sixteen parts. Unless you can be very efficient, it is difficult to justify the cost of machining everything.”
Speaking about the newly installed machine and the positive impact it is having on the business, Mr. Crosby said “It is important that as a company we equip ourselves with the very best technology available. That is exactly what we have done with this new capability provided by CMS., we know that they will provide us with an extended pattern making ability and a second to none component trimming capacity, critical in today’s market place.”
The machine installed is the CMS Ares 3626 5-axis machining centre, with a 3.600 mm X axis, 2600mm Y axis and a 1200mm Z axis, equipped with a large 3640mm x 2350mm work table. This system allows for tandem or single table working. Fully interlocked automatic doors ensure the operator is completely protected from the cutting area and a vacuum system provides an effective part holding solution.
“Since then we have used on- machine verification as much as we possibly can,” said Mr. Crosby. “It ensures that we catch any mistakes before they reach our customers. In the six months since we started with this approach, we have only had one part rejected and that was because of just one undersize hole.”
“We will continue to use technology to do things better and more accurately,” concluded Mr. Crosby. “Once the teams realise the level of accuracy that we can provide, they will soon switch from other suppliers that regularly send boxes of bits that don’t fit together.”