12 Apr 2023
New Era with "5 Axis”
In 2023, Brough Superior invested in a Hurco 5-axis CNC machining center. Until very recently, mechanical and engineering parts were machined using a conventional HAAS machining center that could process material in 3 axes: X, Y and Z.
What is 5-axis machining?
As its name suggests, in 5-axis CNC machining, the cutting tool no longer moves in 3 different axes, but in 5 directions: the 3 usual linear axes (X, Y and Z) as well as 2 rotational axes (B and C) around which the tool in question rotates. Thus, in a single operation, it is possible to process a part on 5 sides.
Using such a machine makes it possible to produce parts with very complex shapes and to carry out machining operations at angles that are difficult or impossible to achieve with a 3-axis CNC machine. Among other advantages:
- A high level of precision attributable to the use of shorter machining tools,
- Higher working speed,
- A reduction in machine-generated vibrations.
This technology is used in leading-edge sectors such as aeronautics, motorsports, medicine and aviation, to name just a few.
Pierre, our production engineer, explains the steps involved in setting up this tool.
What was needed to install this machine in terms of time and organization?
"Initially, we had to rethink the organization of the production line, in order to optimize space, taking into account the technical constraints of connection as well as storage of raw materials. The installation of such a machine requires a stable base, unlike our first 3-axis machining machine, which needs to be anchored to the ground, for which we had to ensure that the concrete slab met the criteria. A partner company commissioned by Hurco drilled the slab beforehand, so that the machine could be anchored to the ground upon delivery. Once the machine was installed, a Hurco technician took part in the start-up process: connecting the various cables and extractors, leveling the fluids, calibrating and fine-tuning. Afterwards, a Hurco trainer trained us for a week, so that we could get to grips with all the specifics and understand the working environment of this machine, which is much more advanced than that of a 3-axis CNC machining centre."
What benefits will this machine bring to Brough Superior?
"This investment benefits us in several ways. First of all, it allows us to be more flexible, in case we have supply concerns from our suppliers, we can now avoid certain stock-outs by anticipating the lack of certain parts. This results in a better fluidity of the whole production chain, avoiding delays in the long run.
This also allows us to increase our reactivity, as all production is managed internally, the transit of information is extremely fast. Faced with a technical problem, for example, Laurent or Jean-Baptiste, our engineers in the design office, can quickly provide me with a 3D model of a part adjusted to the technical problems, so that I can directly launch production, which makes it possible to test technical solutions in practice very quickly.
Finally, and most importantly, we are able to go even further in the customization of the bikes for our customers, different machining finishes, infinite engraving possibilities, and to be assured of an impeccable quality of the parts."
What are the concrete results today, one month after the start-up
"We already have the capacity to internalize the production of certain technical and strategic parts that we were unable to produce with the 3-axis CNC machine due to their complex geometry, such as the disc frets, technical parts to produce due to their thinness, their circular shape as well as the progressive offset from their center. There are also the gearbox output gear covers, a new part adapted to the new machined engine, the clutch housing, the alternator housing and the cylinder head cover. In summary, there are many benefits to be gained from this investment, very concrete results and a continuous improvement in the advanced production techniques of Brough Superior motorcycles."