Friday, 18 March 2016

Breton = Leading edge technology

With the purchase of Breton's new high speed 5-axis vertical machining centre for milling of parts in superalloys, steel, aluminium and engineered materials, Focus On Molds can assure its customers the impeccable quality standards befitting the company's high reputation on the market.. 
(by Edoardo Oldrati and Flavio Della Muzia - TM)

High machining quality, prompt delivery, reliability and competitive pricing are the cardinal points of Focus On Molds' strategy. Specifically, since 2002 and with the current management at the helm, the company has followed a continual path of growth leading to its current status as one of the most widely recognised toolmakers for the automotive industry in Italy and worldwide thanks to a workforce of more than thirty experts engaged in the design and production of moulds for injection moulding, die casting and semi-solid metal casting.

Operating primarily on the European market, which accounts for around 80% of sales, Focus On Molds has implemented a long-term development plan that saw the 2011 acquisition of the current production site in Cologne in the north Italian province of Brescia, previously headquarters of Astornova, an engineering concern specialised in series machining operations that has now become a member of the Focus On Molds group

In parallel with this initiative, in 2004 company management also incorporated a new company called Plastinject on the Bedizzole site. The newly-formed company is dedicated exclusively to testing the moulds produced both by Focus On Molds and by other toolmakers that turn to Focus On Molds to make their samples. 

Specialists in the automotive industry
«Our operations are mainly addressed to the automotive industry to which we dedicate our full resources, receiving 3D models of the parts and then moving on to the mould project development step in close liaison with the customer, through to production and testing of the part with the customer's assistance at Plastinject – In the words of chairman/CEO Giuseppe Ghilardi, : "Basically it's a full turnkey service  - We've got an engineering department in which our designers use the latest CAD tools to translate the customer's needs into tooling for their production processes, frequently operating in a co-design formula with the companies involved in order to arrive at the most suitable shapes for moulding». 
The Cologne plant produces moulds from 2 to 20 tonnes in weight, with the facility for parallel production and handling of multiple jobs in response to the fast-moving needs of today's market with its obsession with ever shorter lead times from the initial quotation to delivery of the product, with the not infrequent complication of additional requests that reach our company even when mould production is well advanced.

This dynamic has forced the Brescia company to embark on an internal reorganisation process in order to optimise all the management stages and boost its flexibility, starting from the employment of increasingly highly qualified personnel. 
«Another key factor was the upgrading of capital equipment, currently consisting of around twenty advanced machining centres capable of producing exceptionally high quality products with stable and efficient processes.
Giuseppe Ghilardi explains: "One of the basic requirements we consider when choosing our machines is their ability to work within these very tight production times, with the facility to work over several shifts and in unmanned conditions, at high speed and precision: with these requirements in mind we analysed the market offering carefully and decided to contact Breton to order the Xceeder line, which matches all our specifications in full.
In fact, we got to know the company back in 2004 when we purchased an excellent Matrix series machining centre that we continued to use until our 2011 relocation, after which we purchased a new 5-axis gantry machine – again from the Matrix series – that's still hard at work in the plant to our full satisfaction
So on the back of our positive experience, since we needed a new high-speed machine with 5-axis control and turntable, we decided to contact Breton once again».

Having reached the position of a point of reference in the production of multi-function high-precision machining centres, the company based in Castello di Godego (Treviso) currently has a 700 strong workforce engaged in the design and construction of high-tech systems for multiple industrial sectors including aerospace, automotive, shipbuilding, energy, toolmaking and the manufacturing industry in general.

Top-level performance
Designed to meet the most exacting requirements of companies working in the aeronautical, precision engineering and toolmaking industries, the new Xceeder CNC plant forms part of the innovative range of high speed vertical machining centres produced by Breton, with gantry architecture, advanced Metalquartz technology and a direct-drive rotary tilting table. 
Capable of guaranteeing high throughput rates, with compact dimensions and higher rigidity than a steel or simple polymer composite frame, Xceeder has a vibration absorption coefficient that is 10 times greater than that of cast iron, combined with impeccable dynamic performance that forms a benchmark in the machining of complex parts on 5 axes.

The special thermally symmetrical structure and the temperature stabilising systems also guarantee the utmost accuracy of machining processes regardless of changing environmental and working conditions in the 900 RT version, which offers a generous working range with travel of 900x900x700 millimetres on the X, Y and Z axes, speeds of up to 60 m/minute, an 800 mm diameter worktable, and continuous "C" axis and "A" axis with rotation from +110° to -30°, capable of handling loads of up to 1000 kilos.
The unique characteristics of the Xceeder are completed with 4 different electrospindles, all with an integral temperature control circuit, the first of which with power of up to 85 kW, 300Nm of torque in S1, 480Nm in S6, and rotation speed of 14,000 rpm. This electrospindle makes it possible to machine even with special alloys such as Titanium and Inconel with the maximum chip removal capacity. 
The second and third electrospindles, with power of 40 kW, torque of 100 and 64 Nm respectively, in S1, and rotation speed of 18,000 and 28,000 rpm, ensure the maximum versatility of the machine when working with lightweight alloys, while the fourth electrospindle, which is especially suitable for superfinishing and machining of aluminium and engineered materials, reaches 40,000 rpm while maintaining the same power as the two preceding electrospindles.

Finally, all versions of the machine can be equipped with a tool magazine with up to 200 positions, automatic pallet changer and a full range of optionals capable of meeting the most complex requirements. «We use this machining centre in our production shop to perform multiple tasks and, primarily, to produce special screw anchors (with a consistent finish level and very tight tolerances) that the machine can produce to unparalleled quality levels – adds Mr Ghilardi - We are extremely pleased with the performance of our new Exceeder, also because it complies with the logic around which we have organised our production cycles, which are usually managed over a single shift, optimising the work processes on the machine, with automated 30-position tool changer, to exploit the facility for unmanned operations in the plant to its full potential».

In addition, as underscored by Mr Ghilardi, one of the main distinguishing features of the Brescia company is their diligence in their production operations, which are conducted with the utmost transparency towards the customer, who is provided with a feasibility study of the part involved showing, right from the pre-sale stage, any criticalities to be discussed together before proceeding.

So thanks to the new Breton machining centre, Focus On Molds is now able to guarantee compliance with sampling start times, a highly critical requirement to maintain the confidence of customers who are thus reassured that they can always rely on the Cologne-based company. «The role of our internal quality control function is essential throughout this process: in relation to the moulds, we use qualified external consultants responsible exclusively for validation activities, because having an external and unbiased assessment helps to ensure our customers get the quality levels they rightly expect from our company – concludes the Focus on Mold chairman and CEO – a quality level that we are able to achieve thanks also to constant updating of our designers and engineers, who receive adequate training in relation to the mechanical aspects and, especially, in relation to software (a constantly evolving field) and the types of tools available on the market time by time».

For INFO and request about 5-axis machining centre Matrix 800 and Xceeder write now to
Well, that’s all for today. 
Sergio Prior


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