WNT helps university reach for the stars

Along with a recent investment in new CNC equipment from XYZ Machine Tools at the machine shop of the Physics and Astronomy department at Manchester University, the department’s machinists and apprentices sought the advice of WNT (UK) to maximise the metalcutting potential of these machines.


While part of the university campus, the Physics and Astronomy machine shop is run as a commercial venture and has manufactured components for several prestigious aerospace and scientific projects. Included among these were components for satellites, the Large Hadron Collider, and for Jodrell Bank observatory. However, the arrival of the new machine tools drew attention to the fact that the workshop’s cutting tools were now seen as ‘mature products’ and the time was right to update to the latest generation of cutting tool technology, but not before making use of the expertise on-hand with a full, intense day of updates at WNT (UK)’s Tooling Academy in Sheffield.


“In arranging these customer training days, the key goal is to ensure that participants maximise the time available and ensure that each of them finish the day with some information and technique that they could usefully apply in their day-to-day work,” says Adrian Fitts, WNT (UK)’s Business Development Manager. “Therefore we work closely with the organisation to ensure that they gain genuine benefits from them, normally splitting the day into a morning theory session, followed after lunch by practical, on machine demonstrations in the WNT Tooling Academy in Sheffield.”


Above; The team of machinists and apprentices from Manchester University’s Physics and Astronomy machine shop updating their cutting tool knowledge at WNT (UK)’s Tooling Academy


For the team from Manchester University the detailed classroom session covered facts and figures on carbide production and an insight into the characteristics of carbide tools and geometries along with the benefits to be gained from good tool design and tool coatings. Throughout the morning session every area of metal cutting was covered, including drilling, tapping, milling and turning, with explanations of how to maximise the performance of each type of cutting tool. During the practical demonstrations concentrated on the drilling and milling of prismatic parts using the Tooling Academy’s XYZ 710 VMC machining centre.


“The team from Manchester University was particularly interested in solid and indexable insert drilling, as well as solid and indexable milling. Therefore we tailored the demonstrations around our ranges of High Feed Drills, SCR and MCR solid carbide milling cutters, the ranges of High Feed Cutters (HFC) indexable insert cutters. These were used to demonstrate the productivity and performance gains that can be made with the latest geometries and tool coatings on machining strategies such as face milling, end milling, helical milling, pocket milling, slot milling and trochoidal milling,” says Adrian Fitts.


These training days are something that WNT (UK) is happy to arrange for colleges and universities, as well as industrial customers who may feel that their employees would benefit from gaining a greater understanding of cutting tool development and deployment. From the positive reactions and the level of questioning that WNT is receiving from these events they are of genuine value to those attending. The WNT Tooling Academy is fully equipped with the latest CNC turning and machining centres as well as NC controlled turret mills from its partner XYZ Machine Tools. In addition it has full classroom facilities with the latest AV systems to maximise the benefit of a day’s training course.


Any organisation wanting to discuss the possibility of arranging a bespoke cutting tool training day at WNT (UK)’s Tooling Academy should contact WNT either by telephone on 0800 073 2 073 or by e-mail at and request that their local Technical Sales Engineer contacts them to discuss their requirements.