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Mill-boring specialist Soraluce has developed for the first time a dynamic system for the automatic correction of the effects of spindle droop when the quill of the machine is advanced to its fully extended position anywhere within its working envelope which can be up to 7 m of travel in the vertical Y-axis.

This and other major developments including recently approved patents in mill-boring technology were presented to more than 300 engineers from 10 countries at Soraluce's ‘Innovation' open house. Included in the delegation of visitors were 11 people from the UK's leading subcontract, nuclear, mining, mould and die, defence, oil and special materials production sectors.

The British contingent, organised by Soraluce's exclusive UK agent Sheffield -based T W Ward CNC Machinery, were able to see demonstrations and discuss points first-hand around the different machines installed for the event, which collectively were valued at over £27 million.

These machines, all under power, included large capacity floor-type milling-boring centres with up to 7 m of travel in the vertical Y-axis and cross travel (Z-axis) of 1.9 m. To emphasise the flexibility of its modular quill and automatic head exchange systems, an 800 mm facing head was automatically exchanged in-cycle. Also visitors were able to preview the latest Soraluce MultiTask, a combination milling and turning centre, due for its world launch at EMO 2011 exhibition in Hannover during September.

The most significant technology demonstration involving large component feature machining was the first showing of Soraluce's patented Dynamic CNC Ram Balance system on a horizontal FXR14000 milling-boring centre fitted with Heidenhain iTNC 530 control. The machine was able to automatically adjust in real time the Y- and Z-axis positions using an electro-mechanical system carried in the vertical saddle. As a result it was able to maintain geometric accuracy within a 40 micron envelope for straightness and parallelism (droop) to the horizontal plane across the working strokes of the machine. The axis travels were 7,000 mm in Y, 1,900 mm in Z and up to 1,000 mm on the extending W-axis of the quill.

However, most impressive is that the Ram Balance system is integrated with the automatic head exchange and is able to dynamically self-correct the true position of the quill for different heads that can vary in weight between 20kg and a massive 1,600 kg. The system operates independently from the fully integrated thermal compensation system.

Soraluce has grown to become a key supplier of milling-boring centres in particular to the energy, power generation, shipbuilding, aerospace, mould and die and capital goods sectors of which wind power, nuclear and gas are fast growth areas. Sales are now over £80 million and altogether 230 people are employed at the impressive new assembly facility in Osintxu and nearby Bergara plants.

As a major business amongst the 256 companies in the Mondragon Co-operative that employs altogether 92,000 people in Spain and alongside sister company Danobat, it has access to the Group's research centre Ideko to help in advance development projects. Altogether the Group's machine tool production adds up to 45 per cent of world sales achieved by Spain's machine tool industry.

Further breakthrough demonstrations involved the Accur head calibration system which compensates for any positional deviation of the milling head following exchange and indexing. This is applied to any angle and positioning error as well as offset error caused by thermally influenced changes over the working volume of the machine.