Ashe invest heavily in a CNC bridge milling machine for sideframes and fabrications

As part of the ASHE's drive to produce the majority of machine parts ‘in house’ the company have recently invested in a new machine to increase their production capabilities.

During the last three years, with the increase in sales for our globally recognised slitter rewinders, our three existing jig borers have been massively overloaded, leading to unwanted bottlenecks in producing side frames and other machine parts.

We looked at the market and collectively agreed, that a CNC bridge mill was the answer. One that could handle our largest side frames as well as being able to accommodate our smallest. 

But we wanted more
We finally found a partner in the UK who could assist us in supplying the machine and helped with the installation, commissioning and training.

But we wanted more
We then looked at tool changing as this is a major part of the production, the time it takes to change the tools for machining to take place.  We agreed that an automatic tool changer on the CNC bridge mill was a must, and added a 40-station automatic tool changer.

But we wanted more
We investigated the options on the machine we were looking at and decided that we had to have a head that could bore from the side and also handle angular machining as well as side frames edge profiling.
It was agreed to purchase a fully automatic head on the CNC machine tool.

But we wanted more
We then decided that it would take too long to manually change over this head so effectively we automated the changeover and allowed for it to be included in all the programmes

But we wanted more
We then looked very closely at the work holding and found that this took a large chunk of setting up the side frames so we looked at many alternatives including hydraulics, clamping bed plates and even discussed the possibility of magnetic holders.  We then searched the marketplace and came up with magnet holders that could cover the bedplate and select pods so that boring could not damage the magnets, this was purchased and added to the project.

But we wanted more
We then searched for a system that could give us a direct programme from our 3D design network into the machine, and with the help of our 3D design package supplier, came up with a CAM system and processor that could give us direct interface for this machine tool, as well as our other 8 fully automatic machines tools in the future.

We are extremely pleased with the machine performance, the machine is already in production and has already cut machining time down on side frames by a third.

The design to machine (CAM) software side is still in its early stages and we still have some trials and tribulations to overcome, but with what we have done so far, we know it will prove a success.

This investment will shorten our delivery times deliveries considerably and enables us to take on more products and of course, with the CNC and fully programmable head, the accuracy of the plates is guaranteed as well as being able to mill very sophisticated profiles within them.

The whole team at ASHE are delighted with this investment totalling £750,000.00