When R&G Precision Engineering purchased a system for fast drilling and tapping in 1992, a FANUC ROBODRILL 14T, they had little idea that the range of machining centres would evolve into a highly flexible system for machining complete jobs.
Over 20 years since that first purchase and specialist engineering business R&G Precision has seven ROBODRILL vertical machines, including 14T and 21T, producing high-quality throughput for the aerospace, motor sport, medical, oil and gas and MoD sectors. Based in Wellingborough and operating since 1974, the business operates with a strong resource of milling, EDM, grinding and turning machines.
Enzo Chiarelli, Managing Director of R&G Precision Engineering, explains: “We originally went for ROBODRILL because of its spindle speed and price, but follow-on purchases have reliability as a key factor; the original machine remains an important resource to us and still runs efficiently. Delivery demands for all the sectors we serve are similar now – if we can action work with short-lead times for the motor sport sector it becomes the requirement for aerospace as well.
“So speed is essential – the quicker we can get work off a machine the better. ROBODRILL has slowly evolved into a bigger machining centre with a faster and larger diameter spindle and more beefed up construction. With a longer bed and FANUC’s high speed 4th rotary axis we’re machining complete jobs with 20–30mm cavities.”
Helping to reduce cycle times, on all seven ROBODRILLS, is FANUC’s DDR system for high speed control of the x-axis (4th axis). DDR is a direct drive zero backlash linear motor that eliminates waiting time for table positioning. A DDR-T option (5th axis) is available which combines a tailstock for fast turnover positioning requirements.
Although R&G Precision is machining mainly aluminium components on its ROBODRILLs, later versions of the machine, the α-DiA series, have a high-rigidity framework making it equally suitable for cutting cast iron.
Control has led the evolution of increased performance, with the latest iteration being the 31 i-B5 control system. Enzo concludes: “All our programmes are generated offline; programming wise and functionality – you get to find that FANUC is becoming the norm – and straight-forward for our operators and setters.”
For further information about the FANUC ROBODRILL 14T and other products, please visit www.fanuc.eu.