Discovery Week at Mazak: A real find


Contributing Editor Steed Webzell called into Mazak’s Discovery Week open house in December, discovering a breadth of CNC machining solutions backed by a robust UK manufacturing operation

There were many reasons to celebrate Mazak’s Discovery Week, the theme given to the company’s latest annual showcase of products, services and capabilities, not least that the event marked 35 years of manufacturing at its European Technology Centre in Worcester.

In his opening address on the first day of the event, Alan Mucklow, Managing Director UK, Eire and National Distributors at Yamazaki Mazak, said: “We’re set to welcome over 600 pre-registered attendees over the four days of Discovery Week, a number that is well up on previous events, with visitors coming from as far afield as Ireland, France, Portugal and the Netherlands. We have over 20 machine tools cutting metal, including new models, and more than 25 technical partners with expertise in areas such as metrology, CADCAM software, tooling, tool management, automation, coolant, swarf management, and finance. This makes it our best-supported partner event at a Mazak open house.”

Festival of machining

Heading into the demonstration area, visitors were able to take in a festival of machining. Among the Mazak machines cutting metal was a VARIAXIS i-300 AWC compact five-axis machining centre with Auto Work Changer and the ability to carry up to 512 tools. Other machines in action included: VARIAXIS i-700 and C-600 five-axis machining centres; INTEGREX i-450H, i-300S AM and i-200H S multi-tasking centres; HCN-5000 and HCR-5000 horizontal machining centres; QUICK TURN 250 MSY and QTE-200 SG turning centres; and an OPTIPLEX 3015 FIBER III 10kW laser cutter equipped with a TEKMAG automated sheet-loading system.

To demonstrate its prowess in manufacturing, Mazak shone the spotlight on a number of UK-built machines, such as the entry-level CV5-500 five-axis machining centre, and the new VCN-700 and VCE-600 next-generation vertical machining centres.

Partner ratification

Among numerous Mazak partners at Discovery Week was SolidCAM UK, a company that reported on a highly positive event: “Our recent investment in a CV5-500 from Mazak Europe, alongside our involvement in their successful Discovery Week open house, has enabled us to demonstrate the power of SolidCAM software, featuring proven five-axis strategies,” said UK Applications Manager Ben Miller. “We’re looking forward to what lies ahead in 2023, and further demonstrating our ever-flourishing collaboration with Mazak Europe to help provide customers with total manufacturing solutions.”

REM Systems, the UK’s supplier of EROWA zero-point tooling systems and automation was also pleased to work in partnership with Mazak at Discovery Week, providing automation on a CV5-500 five-axis machining centre. Ian Holbeche, Managing Director and founder of REM Systems, said: “As we go into our 40th year of trading I’m delighted to continue partnering with Mazak, one of the UK’s leading machine tool manufacturers. We look forward to more exciting projects in 2023.”

Tooling specialist Mapal was among further partners to extol the virtues of the open house, as National Sales Manager Eugene Nugent reported: “Discovery Week was an excellently planned event that gave Mapal the opportunity to collaborate successfully with Mazak. We showcased our latest tooling solutions with live cutting demonstrations throughout the week.”

Factory tour

Visitors could also take up the offer of a factory tour, presenting a chance to get an inside look at one of the few companies continuing to manufacture machine tools in the UK.

“There has been lots of investment in our manufacturing facility over the past four years, the most recent example of which is another new high-specification Studer universal cylindrical grinder for producing high-precision spindles in temperature controlled conditions,” said Mr Mucklow. “We’re currently building over 80 machines a month right here in Worcester.”

Each Mazak machine is built to order, with around 55 different model types produced at the plant. The tour led visitors around the prismatic component machining line, unsurprisingly adorned with Mazak machine tools. Sustained investment at the facility has seen the recent arrival of twin-pallet VERSATECH V-140N/280 and FJV-60/80 double-column vertical machining centres, as well two manufacturing cells equipped with INTEGREX i-series multi-tasking machines featuring RoboJob automation systems. A new laser cutter is also planned. Additionally, visitors got to see areas dedicated to assembly, sub-assembly, spindle grinding, jig boring, metal forming, powder coating, inspection and calibration.

With the first day drawing to a close, some visitors were lucky enough to leave with a variety of festive demonstration parts machined live at the event, including a miniature decorative sleigh with reindeers, a tea-light holder and a coaster. More importantly, they left with the lasting impression of Mazak’s comprehensive machine tool portfolio and its extensive manufacturing capabilities.

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