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With a recently expanded manufacturing facility purposely designed to produce milling centres with extended Y (vertical) axes of 10 metres and beyond, Spanish machine tool builder Soraluce is clearly reinforcing its focus on producing machines capable of satisfying the increasing capacity needs of a wind power manufacturing industry that is taking on ever-increasing global significance.

Soraluce is capitalising on its 50-year pedigree of producing world-class milling machines in the manufacture of even larger capacity units to cope with rising demands for wind turbine blade and tower components such as nacelles, hubs, and bearings and flanges.

"Soraluce's reputation for highly-productive and efficient yet cost-effective milling machines is unquestioned," says Simon Whitworth, "and especially in the UK where we have supplied a wide range of users, many of them household names in the aerospace, bearing, construction, marine, mining, medical, nuclear, oilfield and pump industries, with a variety of travelling table, travelling column bed-type and travelling column floor-type machines."

The machines' success is based, initially, on their characteristic build qualities of stability and rigidity, heavy-duty GG-30 cast iron construction for optimal stiffness, and vibration and stress absorption, complemented by INA linear guideway technology (for effective rapid traversing).

But importantly, a number of other machine specifications come into play to ensure super-accurate multi-axis milling routines. For example, sophisticated 32 kW milling and automatic indexing heads - as well as fixed boring heads rated at 30 kW and 37 kW - complement high cutting speeds and rapid traverse rates of 25,000 mm/min, plus high-speed up to 30,000 revs/min electro spindles, floor and angle plates, and auxiliary and CNC rotary and tiling tables.

Coupled with automatic head changing systems for unattended machining, adaptive control routines and anti-collision systems, for example, the machines are clearly designed for one-hit milling and boring - from heavy-duty cutting through to finish machining.

Soraluce milling centres are already being used by blue chip OEMs such as Alstom, Siemens and Suzlon for machining the support faces for blades, generators and noses on hubs - one of the most complex and critical parts of a wind turbine - and for the production on nacelles of faces to accommodate tower points, jaws bores and generator fittings.

The range of F floor-type Soraluce milling centres currently available in the UK extend to 6.5 metres in the Y axis (and to 30 metres in X) "but this latest significant investment by Soraluce is set to take the company to new heights.