"The two machines, a Suprema 650M and an Ultramat 650M are high
precision cylindrical grinders, the Ultramat being a higher
'Easy’ set-up for motor sport
EDS Engineering based in Chelmsford Essex is gearing up to supply more high precision parts for next seasons F1, A1 GP and World Rally Championship. In order to tailor its production capacity to demand, EDS recently invested in two precision machines from Jones & Shipman, both fitted with the company’s extremely flexible Easy control system.
The two machines, a Suprema 650M and an Ultramat 650M are high precision cylindrical grinders, the Ultramat being a higher specification machine supplied with Heidenhain linear scales and a B-axis universal programmable wheelhead allowing it to perform internal and external cycles linked together. Both machines were built in the UK at J&S Leicester base and supplied on a lead time of just eight weeks.
Mr Stuart Clarke, Managing Director EDS Engineering Ltd. ‘Our expertise lies in producing complex parts in hard and difficult to machine materials, we supply a number of components to F1 teams for example where we literally make them in ones and twos, very small batches, very accurate components, so rapid set-up is crucial. We have a lot of set-up because of complex forms that means we spend more time setting than cutting.’
‘The J&S machines are absolutely ideal for us because the Easy controls allow us to set-up a job in ten minutes that would have taken a couple of hours on a traditional CNC machine. We can manually run one component using the two hand wheels for traverse and in-feed, digitize the position, and then manual feed, or set it to auto once the positions are set and it will cut straight away.’
‘The machine has a Renishaw probe on board for precise component positioning, plus automatic wheel dressing with Z axis compensation, so the accuracy is totally reliable and if we have longer runs then we can use the icons to create a link cycle and fully automate the grinding. Even this is far quicker than filling in key codes, so we have the accuracy we need and the flexibility to work in automated manual, semi automatic or fully automatic modes.’
‘Motor sport is obviously a high-pressure industry, deadline-focused, and wholly dependent on quality and reliability for safety and performance. A recent example of EDS work using the Jones & Shipman machines are hydraulic spool valves for a very well known race team; we had to match grind the ports to avoid any backlash in the steering system, so we ground them on the Ultramat 650 and adjusted them with aid of a flow test rig, we put the valve on the rig and adjusted it to find the start of flow, and plotted a graph to give us a datum point and then ground the spool and valve barrel to micron accuracy to ensure a perfect shut-off and operation.’
Other recent components include the main hydraulic manifold for an F1 car machined from solid 7075 that was ground then gun drilled, honed, 3D contoured, cross drilled and polished. Steering gear box housings machined from Ć 350mm billets with Ć 30 x 300mm cross bores accurate in position to 5 microns and super finished to 0.1Ra.
EDS offers CAD file transfer via email to the race teams which also makes a big difference to the speed of turnaround for the work. Ensuring rapid, accurate and secure conveyance of design material is essential. EDS’s software systems have to be compatible with all major formats and there are 15 offline programming systems, including two Edgecam systems for complex contouring from solid. Experience in high-specification Aluminium, Magnesium, Titanium, Stainless Steel, and a range of exotic materials also helps.
Richard Clarke, Jones & Shipman Southern Area Sales Manager helped specify the machines. ‘The Ultramat machine was specified to satisfy the very high precision requirements of motor sport; it uses a Renishaw probe to establish a datum point from component to component within a batch. With the Easy control the machine can also change from working on one component to another in a matter of minutes.’
‘The Easy control is ideal for companies producing high-accuracy small batch work, particularly those that require a quick set-up for multi-diameter and face grinding on one machine. For motor sport sub-contract suppliers such as EDS that often have different components to produce every week high precision machines that are quick to set-up and offers fast, dynamic machining are essential.’