Metal 3D printing system prepares prototypes and samples

studio-printer_r1_c1The first UK reseller to exhibit the Studio Printer metal 3D printing system from Desktop Metal outside of the USA, the eagerly-awaited unit, ideal for prototyping and creating sample parts, was the highlight of Laser Line’s presence at the show.

The company is a leading supplier of 3D printers, 3D scanners and laser equipment. The company has over 25 years’ experience in the 3D printing and scanning sector, and is often the first point of call for customers who want to find out more about the realities of installing a system for manufacturing, rapid prototyping or reverse engineering.

The Desktop Metal Studio system has a build area of 300 x 200 x 200mm and it can print at 16cm3/hr using a variety of metal alloys. Including copper, stainless steels, aluminium, titanium and inconnel.

The Studio system has been designed for simple installation and with fast material changes, web-based software and the hand removal of supports. Every stage is automated and managed by software for a simple transition from CAD to part without needing third party software.

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Coil winding designs includes prototyping service

Chokes-6-300x168One of the UK’s largest coil winding companies, North Devon Electronics, manufactures quality customised components at competitive prices. It is approved to ISO9001:2008 and TS16949:2009 standards.

The company supplies diverse markets such as aeronautical, automotive, military, and medical and provides design assistance, prototyping, coil winding and electro-mechanical assembly.

This year at Southern Electronics, the company exhibited example of transformers, toroids, chokes, inductors, solenoids and custom manufactured products. It can supply a one-off batch or a full, ongoing production run.

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Machine tool range meets subcontractors’ demands

Hurco reviewToday’s subcontract engineering businesses must focus on the immediate order book, but at the same time has to keep an eye on the future, says Hurco. It is essential to be as flexible as possible and to be able to advance seamlessly to the next level of technology.

The company’s machine tool range is designed specifically to meet this demand. The same Max5 control is fitted to the simplest three-axis machining centre, the high specification five-axis machines and the firm’s entire lathe range.

Conversational prompts guide the user through the programming process. There are canned cycles for all of the usual routines, calc-assist to find intersection points and clear graphical representation of toolpath and component on the nine-inch colour LCD screen.

Operators can be up to speed quickly, producing one-offs or small volumes and less programming mistakes, claims the company.

Two of its most popular and compact, entry-level machines were at the show. The VM5i, three-axis machining centre provides full machining centre performance, despite the machine being able to fit into a space that is less than 2m in height, depth and width. It provides 8,000 rpm and 7.5kW of power from the spindle and has a 16-station automatic toolchanger.

There was also the updated XP version of the TM8i lathe. This model boasts a more compact footprint and bigger spindle bore, with some innovative control system enhancements.

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Visual inspection range includes digital handheld magnifier

VisionEngineering Review_tmbThis year’s show saw the launch of Vision Engineering’s digital handheld magnifier. The company supplies ergonomically designed stereo microscopes, digital inspection and non-contact measurement systems.

The Camβ magnifier was demonstrated alongside key products from the range of visual inspection systems, including the award-winning Mantis, Lynx EVO and EVO Cam.

There was also the new Swift Pro, non-contact measuring system which provides superior edge detection with combined optical and video measurement technologies.

The division of contract manufacturing engineers was also on hand, to offer advice and interpret optical and opto-mechanical demands to ‘production ready’ drawings.

To mark the company’s 60th jubilee and Southern Manufacturing’s 20th anniversary, there were competitions and promotions running across the three days.

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Rubber and membrane keypads can be backlit

G English Review_tmbCustom plastic injection and compression moulded components together with bespoke metal products have been supplied by G English Electronics for over 40 years. At Southern 2018 it showcased examples of its wide product range, together with variety of in-house services including rapid prototyping, tooling and contract manufacturing.

As a supplier of custom silicone rubber and membrane keypads, it offers backlit solutions with carbon ink, carbon pill or mechanical tactile applications.

Custom designed plastic housings have competitive tooling charges and unit costs and a quick turnaround of four to eight weeks from concept to production.

The company is also supplies bespoke manufactured zinc and aluminium alloy die casting, sheet metal stamping and forming, welding, CNC machining, aluminium extrusion and powdered metallurgy (sintering).

The company is also the UK distributor, and largest partner in Europe, for Sunon thermal management products. The manufacturer of electronics cooling fans has a comprehensive range of AC, DC and the recently introduced EC fans and motors.

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Merger strengthens European focus

Northern-01143_tmbMetal working fluids and industrial lubricants provider, Chem Arrow Europe, acquired metalworking lubricants and cutting fluids specialist, Fluid Solutions UK, late last year. The merger will improve the overall capability offered to customers, says the company, in terms of an enhanced product selection, customer service and future research and development.

The levels of technical service offered by the Fluid Solutions technical support team will be further enhanced by the latest generation of coolants and plant maintenance lubricants offered by Chem Arrow. The team reports that it is looking forward to bringing a more efficient experience to customers across Europe.

Guides and actuators reduce machine downtime

Hepco review_tmbAldephi’s System F filling machine received the Highly Commended award for the Most Innovative Processing & Packaging Machine. HepcoMotion provided the machine’s guides and actuators for the liquid filling and capping machinery manufacturer. The System F-1800’s design is focused on reducing downtime, increasing productivity, and offering customers greater flexibility and convenience. For the linear motion, HepcoMotion provides the SBD and SL2 products for the multi-axis nozzle carrier movement.  The nozzle carrier uses Hepco products on all three axes. The SBD belt-driven actuators with connecting shaft, couplings and motor connection kit provides the vertical movement enabling nozzles to dive into bottles of varying depths. A vertical counterbalance design is supported by two Hepco SL2 stainless steel slides. The SBD actuators provide a higher level of performance in terms of load capacity and life than other comparable sized linear actuators, says the company. Mike McGuire, HepcoMotion sales engineer explains: “SBD fits this application perfectly thanks to its high capacity re-circulating ball guides providing improved moment load capacity and longer life in high duty linear applications”.

The duty is quite high for this application as the main nozzle bar is raised and lowered frequently and quickly. The weight of the nozzle apparatus, piping, and product being dispensed also need to be taken into consideration. Products need to be able to cope with this high duty and be low maintenance.

The System F caters for a number of industries, including food production, medical, and cosmetics packaging, with varying environmental conditions depending on the type of liquid that is being filled. Both the SL2 and SBD offer surfaces that can be easily washed and wiped down during cleaning routines. The need to wipe and wash down machines, together with high production rates is a combination that only the toughest systems can provide, says the company.

Corrosion-resistance is another key requirement for any liquid filling application. On the nozzle adjusters, where mechanical components are close to the filling process, corrosion resistance is essential for liquids such as oral dose pharmaceuticals and food items. The SL2 stainless steel bearing wheels are sealed for life units, negating the need for lubrication so the system can run dry, and eliminate product contamination. System F has been developed as a hygienic and versatile inline filler, capable of accurately dosing products with a range of viscosities, and even those with large particulates. Solid and liquid particles such as dust and liquid droplets are handled by the V guide system has a self-cleaning action, ensuring a smooth and accurate movement. SBD also has a stainless steel sealing band which prevents dirt ingress, ensuring a low maintenance solution.

The modular machine can meet the needs of the customer. For example, it can fill volumes from 20ml to over five litres on one machine, without modification. Three- wheeled SL2 carriage plates with a trigger release system enables rapid nozzle pitch adjustment down to just 40mm. This allows very small containers to be accommodated. Another application of the SL2 and rollers is in a ‘raking’ axis. This gives the ability to move nozzles between multiple parallel conveyors, and to eliminate the need to adjust two conveyor guide rails during container changeover routines, reducing downtimes and increasing output by minimising the negative impact of container gating time.

The number of components in the machine has been reduced, for a quicker build time, shortened lead times and reduced cost.

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Thermal imager camera is compact

Optris ReviewClaimed to be one of the most compact thermal imaging cameras available, the Optris PI 640 as an optical resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. The company claims the VGA infra red camera delivers pin-sharp radiometric pictures and videos in real time.

The body measures just 45 x 56 x 90mm (1.77 x 2.20 x 3.54 inches) and weighs only 320g (11.3 oz), including the lens.

Operating temperature range is -20 to +900°C or -4 to 1652°F, which can be extended to +1500 °C (2732°F).

The spectral range is 7.5 to 13µm and the frame rate is up to 125Hz.

The camera can be delivered with industrial thermal imager equipment and it comes with an extensive license-free thermography software package.

Collaboration yields passive pallet system

Clinc reviewContract design and manufacturer, Clinc, was involved in the development and supply of components for an innovative passive pallet shipper system. Working closely with the client throughout the development phase, the company offered valuable engineering and DFM expertise on a wide range of aspects for the final design.

The system is now in production and Clinc is pleased to be manufacturing many of the major components which include complex aluminium/plastic extrusions, a precision welded aluminium door frame, CNC machined components and various injection moulded parts.

Displays are in all shapes and sizes

MIDAS REVIEWNew TFT products exhibited at Southern Manufacturing 2018 by the Midas Group included micro TFTs, high resolution IPS TFTs, portrait orientation letterbox units, and all round view angle (ARVA) types. Standard RGB and mono devices were demonstrated, alongside the display enhancement products such as cover glass, multi-touch capacitive and resistive multi-touch screens (RMTS)

Round and micro OLEDS complement the company’s traditional mono and RGB OLEDs, VA technology LCDs, high resolution graphic LCDs, alphanumeric LCDs, and ultrasonic sensor ranges.

Comprehensive technical assistance services the product development, working closely with the customer to find the best solutions for a specific application. This is supported by a range of interface, interconnection, and driver board products, designed to work with a range of industry standard processors and controllers such as Raspberry-Pi, UC32, and Arduino.

Technical business development managers offer on-site demonstrations for all display products, to reduce a customer’s project concept stage. The UK-based engineering team can support the chosen product evaluation time by supplying technical support including the initialisation code. The company says it aims to minimise a customer’s time and effort in realising a new product and presenting it to an end market.

Midas also offers over 700 lines stocked through distributors Farnell, RS Components, Rapid, and Maplin, making availability for prototyping and low volume production exceptionally easy