The competitive edge

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 1 October 2004




(2004), "The competitive edge", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 76 No. 5.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The competitive edge

The competitive edge

Keywords: Aerospace industry, Turning, Chuck systems

A Mazak Super Quick Turn turning centre fitted with Hainbuch precision collet chucks on both its main – and sub-spindles is central to Jaybee Engineering's successful policy of machining small batches of complex parts, to extremely tight tolerances, for customers in the aerospace industry.

Supplied by Yamazaki Mazak UK and Leader Chuck Systems (Plate 1), respectively, the Super Quick Turn/Hainbuch package is reportedly allowing the Newhaven-based sub-contractor to compete with allcomers in terms of both piece part cost and component quality.

Plate 1 Leader Chuck Systems' Hainbuch collet chucks, on a Mazak Super Quick Turn, are key to Jaybee Engineering's success

Accredited to BS EN ISO 9001:2000, Jaybee's competitive edge comes from being able to regularly leave the bar-fed turning centre to run during the night and at weekends, while the highly-accurate Hainbuch collet system complements the Mazak's rigid build quality to guarantee consistently high-precision machining.

“We recognised some years ago that we just couldn't compete with overseas sub-contractors for large-batch, fairly straightforward (and lower cost) sub-contract work”, reflects Managing Director Nigel Benson. “So, in concentrating on smaller volumes of higher value and complex work – frequently meeting surface finish and machining tolerance demands of 5 mm – we had to re-equip with the appropriate machine tools.”

Today, some 14 years or so after the initial CNC purchase, the Jaybee shopfloor now includes high-specification vertical machining centres and sliding head autos as part of a high-tech CNC turning portfolio. This is a far cry from the days when the company – which was formed in 1964 by Nigel Benson's father to produce parts for typewriters – was characterised by more than a dozen cam autos.

Diversification over the years has seen the company establish a reputation as a specialist machinist of copper components and subsequently, move into the supply of a wide range of components, in all materials, across a wide variety of industry sectors.

The Mazak/Hainbuch combination was carefully chosen by Nigel Benson when he decided the time was right to increase capacity to capture more complex work in difficult materials.

“If small UK sub-contractors like us have any hope of progressing, then running a lean organisation and taking advantage of the latest developments in one-hit, unmanned machining on high-tech machines is the only way to minimise piece part costs,” he affirms.

We looked at a variety of turning centres, and the Super Quick Turn 250 MSY turning centre offered the best value-for-money package in terms of both build quality and machining specification: it has a bar capacity of 65 mm and maximum machining diameters and lengths of 300 mm and 495 mm, respectively, as well as 4,000 revs/min on both the main- and sub-spindles, a rotary tool spindle of 4,500 revs/min and 12-tool turret. Travels in X, Z and Y axes are 180 mm, 575 mm and 100 mm, respectively.

“Yamazaki Mazak UK offer a variety of collet systems, and I knew that an 'ordinary' chuck simply wouldn't do. As soon as I saw the Hainbuch chuck I could see it was exactly the product I needed.”

Hainbuch collet-style chucks boast high-accuracy clamping of up to 0.004 mm TIR and higher clamping forces – up to 50 per cent more, with the same drawbar pull – than a conventional jaw or collet chuck. The chucks differ from standard chucks in being able to also securely hold short component lengths.

“When you're producing angles of 0.58 and achieving tolerances of 5 mm – and 10 mm on 316 stainless – and increasingly eliminating finish grinding, as we regularly do, it is essential we maintain the highest accuracies in everything we do. So, Hainbuch chucks are specified for the both main- and sub-spindles.

“It's one of the best investment decisions I've ever made!”

Details available from: Leader Chuck Systems Ltd. Tel: Freephone 08000 LEADER (08000 532337); Web site:

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