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Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Automation: wide range of solutions for Breton machines

No one seems to remember that the machine tool itself it’s an automation! 
Not too many years ago, the NC was the operator brain and robots were still to be invented.
Now the situation is completely changed and in the industrialized area, in order to be competitive, we need to remove the constraint of a ration 1:1 between operator and machine.
The automotive industry started with the massive production of few products, the high technology companies need to do the same with many small batches of complex and different products.

Breton production is dedicated to these customers, providing them solutions capable to run alone 24 hours/day with remote monitoring and control. The electronic and software improvements are a big help to reach this challenging target but they cannot work without a strong and reliable machine automation.
The best way to describe automation solutions that Breton can provide is to show some real applications developed to answer real customer claims:


Customer claim: remove any time spent for machine setup, avoid mistakes due to wrong fixture setuo, disconnect operator setup time from machine operating time.

Solution: Breton designed and supplied to Piaggio Aerospace 6 tailor made Ultrix 800 machining centres featuring special ergonomic solutions for the best workpiece accessibility, each one is equipped with a total of 5 pallets (4 loading stations and 1 high precision setup station) and a manipulator. The result is a multi-pallet solution characterised by a very compact layout. The extreme accuracy of Breton Machine Tools is possible also thanks to the special pallet changer solution, based on a hirth serration that provides higher performances respect to the standard competitors system. Pneumatic, hydraulic and electronic connections can be supplied to the tooling.


Customer claim: strong reduction of cycle time while performing roughing and finishing operations on large size aerospace components.

Solution: Breton supplied to an important Aerospace company a Maxima 1600, fitted with a heads changer system. The head storage hosts a high torque milling spindle (up to 480 Nm and 14,000 rpm) suitable for roughing, and a finishing spindle (up to 94 Nm and 28,000 rpm). The machine is equipped with two bridges and is 16 meters in length, so can be configured to run two pieces together (for example one roughing operation and one finishing operation) or a single long piece removing material with the two heads. Breton Flymill 1600 HD K160 fully achieved the customer requirements providing a strong cycle time reduction together with a perfect flexibility.


Customer claim: avoid long machine stop during the setup operation of a typical aircraft structure big component.   

Solution: this problem can be solved providing a long machine with two separated areas (one for machining and one for piece setup) or by using a table change system. For TAI (Turkish Aerospace Industries) Breton chose the second solution, providing a total of 3  Breton Flymill 1300 2T K30 equipped with a table change system that allow the operator to spend all the time he needs to perform a perfect piece setup while the machine is milling another component on the second table.


Customer claim: the use of multitasking machines has increased the number of requested tools (milling, turning, grinding) but not the available space. Customers want smart solutions.

Solution: one Breton well know key feature is the development of tailor made solutions. We are capable to take the best-in-class tool storage solutions from the market and adapt to the different customer requirements.
One example is the 200 positions tower type tool storage integrated on our Breton
Maxima 1600 (mixing HSK-A100 for milling and Capto C8 for turning) with up to 3500 mm turning capability.
Another solution is the 200 positions tool storage fitted on our Breton Maxima 2000 K80.
Breton designer used the 8 meter machine length to hide the system in the machine footprint. A robot picks up the tool and transfers it to a tool changer avoiding any waiting time.


Customer claim: reduce the features cost and complexity, be sure to remove from the machine a conforming piece.

Solution: the machine probing systems are provided as standard solution by many different competitors. The difference of Breton solution is the strong integration with the machining process and the measuring performances thanks to high machine accuracy. Breton can provide a turn-key solution to check the machine condition before starting operation, perform a perfect piece setup, even on deformed components, machine, measure and automatically correct the part saving all the measurements for statistical analysis. The only thing that the operator has to do is press the start green button. The final result for an important Aerospace customer is a measuring difference between Breton Ultrix and CMM of less than 0,01 mm.


Customer claim: create an automatic machining line to produce tire moulds with a minimum operator surveillance. 

Solution: Breton supplied to an important automotive company three machines, 2 Xceeder 900 and 1 Ultrix 800, with pallet change system served by a robot on rails collecting pieces and fixture from a big storage. Breton was responsible for the complete FMS solution and the final acceptance criteria were very severe but they have been achieved. The robot gives the system an higher flexibility respect to a classical FMS solution, in this way it will be possible to change easily the production in the future.

For further information, please write to
Thanks for your attention!
Sergio Prior

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Breton at EMO 2017 with fully redesigned machining centers!

The two main products that Breton will present at the next version of EMO Hannover are the latest versions of the ULTRIX 1200 EVO and MATRIX 1000, fully redesigned machining centers to ensure even better performance for our customers.


Breton offers you a free one-day entry to EMO 2017! To register your entry, fill out with your details the form on this page:

You will receive the link to complete your registration by email later.

For more details we are waiting for you at EMO 2017 in Hannover, from 18 to 23 September.

[Hall 13 - Stand C 24]

Sergio Prior

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Technological Partner

Breton supplies the aerospace industry with 70% of its machine tool production, covering a wide dimensional range. All machines share the 5 continuous axes configuration. Customer service is the essential ingredient ("Tecnologie Meccaniche", July 2017).

Lightweight airframe, maximum engine power, minimum weight and high safety levels are just a few of the key factors when serving the aerospace industry.

To accomplish these goals, designers need to distinguish between two macro areas: airframes and engines, both of which share the need for extreme weight reduction combined with maximised performance.

Requirements change also depending on whether the work is being performed for the civil segment, with its focus on the absolute safety of the aircraft, or the military segment, with its more performance-oriented agenda.

Airframe designers must therefore create a lightweight product, capable of accepting the maximum possible payload and sufficiently rugged to withstand the dynamic stresses generated in flight. 

Conversely, powerplant engineers need to concentrate on designing a system with the maximum possible efficiency, minimising weight and guaranteeing safe operation in all application conditions. Aerospace industry suppliers must also remember that technical excellence must be delivered at a reasonable and competitive construction cost, and hence market price. Aircraft construction costs can be broken down into the macro families of design, raw materials, transformation, and assembly.
Here, we focus more specifically on the stage in which the material is transformed into the finished part required for the subsequent assembly process, because it is in this area that cost-cutting efforts are generally concentrated.

Working area of the Ultrix Evo 1200
Because of the high technological expertise and certifications demanded by end customers, the number of companies making the most critical aerospace components is quite small. Transformation plants require continuous improvement to meet the binding, competitive market pricing. 

Chip removal remains the most widely employed method with respect to existing new machining technologies. In the vast world of machine tool manufacturers those that are able to supply aerospace market form a restricted elite group: a group of which Breton forms part.

Breton supplies the aerospace industry with 70% of its machine tool production, covering a wide dimensional range. Machines for the production of engine parts offer working volumes from 800mm diameter by 700mm height up to 5000mm diameter by 2000mm height.

Ultrix Evo working on an aerospace part
The range of machines for airframe parts offers gantry solutions with working strokes from 2000x2500x800mm to 20000x4500x2000mm.

All machines are configured with 5 continuous axes, and those dedicated to the machining of axially symmetrical parts offer combined turning and grinding functions.

One of the key strengths of Breton's turning solution is that it offers two machines in one, without the compromises typical of lathes converted into milling machines and vice versa. In fact, both the smaller mill/turn solutions, such as the Ultrix, and the large machines like the Maxima, handle lathe work with a dedicated turning bar or with automatic head changeover.
Through this solution, the system can guarantee the performance levels of a dedicated vertical lathe, allowing optimal access also to the inside of components and better control of machining stresses, while preserving valuable electrospindle bearings.
The bearings are another Breton hallmark, because despite their compact size they offer exceptional levels of performance gained through a painstaking co-design process working alongside the main electrospindle manufacturers.

Example of a part made on a Breton machine
All systems manufactured by Breton are designed to provide high speed machining, with limited material removal depths and high feed rates to ensure the maximum accuracy plus lower levels of residual internal stress in the workpiece. This feature is a perfect fit with the aerospace industry, with its reduced machining allowances and highly distortion-sensitive components.

One of the main features of Breton machines is the guaranteed accuracy of the machining processes. This property is based on careful research into the mechanical perfection of the components and the final assembly, with exclusively thermal expansion caused by ambient conditions being addressed with the use of electronic compensation systems.
And on account of its dynamic spirit, Breton can boast another important characteristic: all standard solutions can be tailored to match the customer's specific requirements without affecting reliability… and at costs that are significantly lower than those associated with ground-up re-engineering.

Heads magazine
Breton also offers a comprehensive range of automation options for both stand-alone machining centres or systems to be incorporated in an existing production line. The company  can supply modular tool changers (from 30 tools to more than 400), pallet changers, part handling automation systems, advanced measurement systems for components and tools, workpiece temperature probes for dimensional offsetting, and far more besides.

Rather than simply supplying a machine to the end customer, thanks to an in-house team of technologists skilled in all the materials used primarily in the aerospace industry, Breton builds a quasi-family relationship with its customers, accompanying them throughout the entire process: from the initial choice of the solution to construction and testing of the first machined parts. So, rather than approaching the market as a supplier, Breton works as a partner able to accompany customers throughout the entire life cycle of each product supplied.

For more information please write to

Thank you for the attention and best regards.

Sergio Prior

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Outstanding milling

[article by Edoardo Oldrati, original source: "Tecnologie Meccaniche" Magazine, June 2017]

The German mould maker, WFT Werkzeug- und Frästechnik, has invested in Breton milling solutions. Specifically, in the recent Flymill HD for machining superalloy, steel and aluminium parts with complex three-dimensional shapes.

Founded in 1997, but the heir of an entrepreneurial history that started in 1919, WFT Werkzeug- und Frästechnik is a German company that manufactures matrices and moulds for punching, foaming and compression moulding of all kinds for the automotive, aerospace, medical and renewable energy industries. 

State-of-the-art technology and many years of know-how”, explain Frank Elzener and Stefan Lühr, managing director and owner of the company respectively, “allow us to provide our customers with everything they need for each process phase, from design and manufacture to assembly and testing, giving them a single source procurement service”.

In the Coppengrave plant in Lower Saxony, more than 50 employees use modern production systems to machine blanks. The CNC machines have up to a maximum of 5 programmable axes and can machine workpieces up to 8 metres long and weighing up to 46 tonnes.
One of the strengths of WFT is precisely this advanced fleet of machines, which takes up four halls with an overall surface area of 3 thousand square metres. For the past three years, WFT has relied on machines supplied by Breton. Currently the company's plant houses a Breton Matrix 1000, with axis travel of 2200 x 2500 x 1000 mm, and a new Flymill HD with head change and an axis travel of 8000 x 3500 x 1300 mm.

Flymill HD in action


A company like WFT must be able to rely on milling machines that can combine high material removal capacity with high accuracy. Precisely for this reason, a partnership was started with the Italian manufacturer Breton, which has supplied two machines in recent years.
The most recent one is the high-speed, high-performance milling machine with 5 continuous interpolated axes, the Flymill HD. It is ideal for machining superalloy, steel and aluminium parts with complex three-dimensional shapes that must be made accurately.

A sample worked by WFT with the Breton Flymill 1300 milling machine

To ensure high performance, the Flymill is equipped with sturdy shoulders made using the exclusive Metalquartz® technology, which provides high structural rigidity and a high degree of vibration damping to guarantee improved surface finish and increased cutting tool life.

The large work table size, the strength of the structure and the large operating travels make this high-speed milling machine suitable for use in a single work area or in pendulum mode, with a milling speed of up to 40 m/min for the linear axes, reaching up to 60 m/min in rapid mode. The bi-rotary heads (with continuous C-axis rotation, A-axis rotation up to 135°, power of 85 kW and rotation speeds of up to 100 rpm) allow the machine to rapidly perform even the most complex machining, working simultaneously in all three dimensions with very simple programming. In fact, considering that the A-axis can rotate up to 135°, it is easy to perform difficult undercuts without repositioning the workpiece. 

The machine model installed at the German company has an axis travel of 8000 x 3500 x 1300 mm. There are electrospindles for the Flymill HD heads that can guarantee high performance through their bilateral fork structure made of cast iron, which gives them structural strength and vibration damping ability. The Breton Flymill is equipped with the Tornado HD head, which can take a 75 kW (S1), 14,000 rpm spindle for rough machining and finishing.
Also noteworthy is the compact structure that meets the increasingly widespread demand for small-footprint systems. 

Furthermore, the Breton machine previously installed in WFT, a Matrix 1000 with an axis travel of 2200 x 2500 x 1000 mm, features high machining speed and high material removal rate.

It is a high-speed, high-precision machining centre for milling parts with complex three-dimensional shapes, ideal for applications in the aerospace, automotive, mould making and design industries. In fact, thanks to the speed of its linear axes, which can reach 60 m/min, and its Direct Drive head with a continuous C-axis rotation speed of 100 rpm, the Matrix can perform uncommon high-precision and dynamic machining of complex profiles with 5 continuous axis.

Matrix 1000 Dynamic

The bi-rotary continuous head with direct drive can be positioned at any angle within its operating range, thanks to powerful hydraulic brakes. This makes it possible to use spindles with continuous powers of up to 40 kW and 28,000 rpm, giving the machine a considerable material removal capacity.
It is also worth noting that it can easily handle high-speed machining and milling of both light alloys and other special alloys that are often used in the aerospace industry.

The completely enclosed structure with mechanisms at the top of the machine offer maximum operator safety with maximum machining reliability and precision. Its machining quality and precision are also achieved through the thermo-symmetry of the structure and the a thermal stabilisation system in the Z-axis lead screws and bearings and the axis drives, which keeps the temperature of these parts aligned with that of the machine structure during operation. 

This stabilisation system makes the machine practically immune to deformation caused by the thermal dilatation of the structure that is induced by continuous daily use for high-speed machining. Sophisticated finite element method (FEM) dimensioning integrated with global dynamic simulation has made it possible to obtain strong structural elements that combine stable geometric precision with dynamic high acceleration of the operating units.


WFT manufactures prototype moulds, pilot moulds and production moulds for a wide range of plastic machining technologies. Depending on the geometry of the workpiece, the number of components and the customer's needs, WFT can offer the optimal mould concept from both the technical and economic points of view, providing its customers with recognised know-how as well as intelligent and highly technological solutions. 

In addition to its versatility, another element behind the success of WFT is its ability to follow the whole implementation cycle of moulds and customised machines, from design to production. “Our personnel create the three-dimensional model of the component to be made on CAD/CAM workstations. The design department is connected with customers around the world, allowing them to see the data on line and to perfect the design through direct consultation”.

The target industries for the moulds made by the German company impose high quality standards.

“Quality is our watchword”, confirms the technical department, “and many years of experience and the constant training given to our engineers and experts guarantee the highest quality combined with reduced production times. To ensure excellent quality, every aspect of all moulds and machines is tested before being delivered to the customer. Moreover, visual inspection is an effective method, but it is not enough to meet the current requirements imposed by the manufacturers of components for the automotive and aerospace industry. 

For this reason, we reply on complete control systems and we manufacture measurement devices and test equipment from aluminium, steel or light material, to guarantee accurate measurement of every product. Here, the distinctive feature lies in making the measurement: in fact, the test and measuring devices provide assessment, documentation and display. We can also build custom test devices to meet customer requirements”.

The ability to innovate is also essential, not only by investing in a fleet of state-of-the-art machines, as we have seen, but also by developing new technologies. An example of this approach is the innovative joint technology for plastic products that WFT uses in its plant. 

To make products such as trims for doors or bumpers, dashboards or fuel tanks, packaging components or medical items, plastic components are applied to various objects. In these cases, WFT uses latest generation joining technology to integrate metal elements into the plastic, fold laminated materials or securely fasten thermoplastics by welding or riveting.

For more information please write to

Thank you for the attention and best regards.

Sergio Prior