Familiar to many for its range of Magnetic chucks and lifting equipment Eclipse Magnetics, part of the Spear & Jackson Group of companies, now encompasses a much wider product portfolio; with magnetic filtration and separation systems accounting for around 50 per cent of its turnover. These filtration and separation systems are used across a diverse range of applications from removing swarf from machining operations, to the food processing industry to eliminate metal contamination in high speed production lines.

The growth of this side of Eclipse Magnetics’ business prompted a review of its in-house machining capacity and the need to replace an ageing vertical machining centre, that had 25 years of service and was seen to be on ‘borrowed time’. The nature of the work, with a mix of standard catalogue and bespoke systems meant that any new machine had to be versatile, easy to set-up and program as well as providing the y-axis travel needed to accommodate the length of parts across the product range. “In addition to the size of the machine, price/performance was also a major driver in our decision making when it came to the new machining centre,” says John Parker, Design Engineer, Eclipse Magnetics. “We looked at lots of machines, but after discussions with one of our sub-contractors, Impact Toolroom Services, who are a user of XYZ Machines, we settled on the XYZ 1000 LR vertical machining centre.”  

The XYZ 1000 LR vertical machining centre at Eclipse Magnetics is adding capacity and capability to meet a growth in its filtration and separation unit business.

The type of machining undertaken ranges from light milling, drilling and tapping in materials from Stainless steel to aluminium, so the introduction of the linear rail technology to the XYZ machining centre range provided the cost-effective solution Eclipse Magnetics was looking for. The choice of the XYZ 1000 LR also provided the table size and Y-axis travel that was needed, as well as the overall performance in terms of traverse rates and spindle speed, these being 20m/min in all axes and 8000 revs/min respectively. “While the machine size and specification matched our needs, one concern that we had was the 25 year step in control technology. Our old machine had a Fanuc control which we programmed using G-code, therefore the switch to the latest technology with the Siemens 828D Shopmill control was a little daunting. What we found was the simplicity of programming on the Siemens control meant that we now program most jobs at the machine, with offline 3D software on the PC as back-up if needed.”

This 25 year jump in technology was eased by the on-site training provided by XYZ Machine Tools Applications team. The initial two-day training session covered the key points, with the final one-day that is included in the machine price held over for when required. “XYZ have looked after us from start to finish and we are reassured by the fact that their programming helpline is just a phone call away if we ever find ourselves struggling with anything.”