A bespoke luxury product design and manufacturing specialist has strengthened its machining capabilities by investing in a new Mikron 5-axis 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 provided to customer Luzzo Bespoke Limited is a new Mikron Mill E 700U 5-axis machining centre.
The rigidly built and ergonomically designed machine, which features an integrated seven station Automatic Pallet Changer (APC), was installed at the company’s 10,000ft² facility in Brackley in April 2021 and is being used to machine a range of high-precision – and often complex-shaped – components in low volumes that go into the 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 aluminium, brass, stainless steel, carbon fibre, wood and plastics are machined to high accuracy (typically ±0.1mm) and to exacting surface finishes.
The Mill E 700U is also being used to machine special and innovative workholding fixtures, as well as numerous prototypes and pre-production parts – integral to the company’s design for manufacturing (DfM) services.
The machine joins, and has been installed adjacent to, another Mikron 5-axis machining centre, a HEM 500U, acquired by the company in 2016. Together, these two high-performance 5-axis machining centres provide Luzzo Bespoke with fast, efficient and reliable milling capabilities, as well as proven machine tool technology designed to improve part accuracy, repeatability and productivity.
Like many other manufacturers, Luzzo felt the impact and effects of the pandemic. Staff were furloughed and several orders and contracts were postponed with some being cancelled altogether. However, during the Summer of 2020, business began to pick-up and has been on an upward trajectory ever since.
Brian Challenger, Luzzo Bespoke’s managing director says: “Since the beginning of 2021 things have improved considerably – so much so in fact that we could see that if we didn’t strengthen our existing milling capacity and capabilities, sooner rather than later, production pinch points would occur that would detrimentally affect our operational efficiencies and productivity. As a result of these deliberations we decided to invest in a new machining centre.”
To address its potential milling capacity shortcomings the company spent time identifying the ‘need to have’ specifications and capabilities of the new machine.
It’s got to be 5-axis
“Luzzo Bespoke is a keen advocate of 5-axis machining and automation,” Mr Challenger explains. “Over the past 12 years our machine shop has changed and improved dramatically from having no CNC machine tools to one that houses high-performance CNC multi-tasking lathes and 3- and 5-axis machining centres.
“We believe that 5-axis machining is the way to go. The technology makes us more flexible and enables us to machine parts in fewer set ups, often in one hit. This makes us more efficient and productive.
“The same is true of automation,” he adds. “Machines with integrated automation have the ability to run lights out overnight and over the weekends. A machine with integrated pallet change capabilities can give us up to 14 hours additional machining time per day: a massive boost to our productivity.”
In addition to the machine having to be a 5-axis machining centre equipped with integrated automation, other machine requirements included: a high-speed, high-torque spindle; full simultaneous 5-axis machining capability; good sized working envelope with easy part loading/unloading; a generously sized automatic tool changer; efficient and effective swarf management; and the latest Heidenhain control.
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 did put them in the box seat so to speak.”
Luzzo Bespoke has invested in a number of Mikron 3- and 5-axis machining centres over the years and, prior to the arrival of the new Mill E 500U, had two 3-axis machining centres (VCE 800 Pro and one 5-axis machine (HEM 500U) at its disposal.
“We approached GF Machining Solutions and other companies with our requirements,” Mr Challenger recalls. “Taking the machine cost, its availability and its technical specifications into account, as well as the applications and service back up offered by GF, we invested in the Mikron Mill E 700U.”
The Mill E 700U is a high-efficiency 5-axis machining centre that has a rigid C-frame construction, large-sized guideways, a double-supported 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, high-speed 36kW/20,000rpm (OptiCool) spindle with oil-air lubrication, the Mill E 700U delivers excellent cutting performance, machining flexibility and reliability.
“The machine’s advanced spindle technology with oil-air lubrication enables us to maintain part accuracies and keep within tolerances during long machining runs, and its direct-drive rotary table technology, in combination with the StepTec spindle, means we can achieve super-fine surface finishes on machined parts,” Mr Challenger explains. “All in all, the Mill E 700U is a versatile, high-productivity machine – and is a real asset to the company.”
Luzzo Bespoke designs and manufactures a range of high-quality bespoke products for a diverse range of markets and industries.
One of the most important of these is the luxury car sector where the company makes high-end products that include drinks cabinets, picnic hampers, under seat fridges, humidors, customised and bespoke clocks, dials and instrumentation panels for the world’s most prestigious car makers such as Rolls-Royce, Bentley, McLaren, Bugatti and Jaguar Land Rover.
The business also manufactures a range of motorsport and classic car parts and, to lessen a potential over-reliance on the automotive sector, has diversified its operations towards the marine and furniture markets.
Many products manufactured by Luzzo Bespoke, especially for its luxury car maker customers, are supplied as finished products – with all manufacturing and assembly taking place at its Brackley facility.
“We are a one-stop shop design and manufacturing solutions provider,” Brian Challenger enthuses. “In addition to our comprehensive machining capabilities, we provide a range of other manufacturing and finishing services and specialisms in-house which include wood veneering, laser engraving/marking, spray painting and polishing.
“Bringing all these services and specialisms under one roof helps us maintain our high-quality standards and keep control of operational costs and customer delivery schedules. We made a conscious decision some years ago to avoid subcontracting work out. This move has helped make us more competitive and has differentiated us positively in our markets, and with our customers.”
Case in point: Champagne chest
A good example that helps illuminate the range of Luzzo Bespoke’s in-house capabilities is the Rolls-Royce Champagne Chest.
Part of Rolls-Royce’s accessories portfolio the chest, made from machined aluminium and carbon fibre, comes wrapped in natural grain black leather and Tudor Oak wood.
The chest opens at the touch of a button, with the illuminated central bay exhibiting four hand-blown crystal champagne flutes, which Rolls-Royce says are: “arranged to evoke memories of a V12 engine”, and the owner’s choice of champagne – kept at the ideal temperature thanks to black anodised aluminium and carbon fibre coolers.
GF Machining Solutions