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(Above) Ian Mynett and Paul Fricker of BEMA with their XYZ Education Partner plaque.

The British Engineering Manufacturers’ Association (BEMA), based in Yate near Bristol recently took the decision to create its own in-house training facility for both member and non-member companies. To facilitate this BEMA has worked closely with XYZ Machine Tools and is now an Educational Partner of the Devon-based machine tool company, joining a long and distinguished list of training and educational establishments.

The decision to create the training centre was driven by member feedback, which indicated a desire to develop apprentices to a standard that they required. Initially six BEMA members stepped forward to sponsor the opening of the BEMA training centre and back the investment required. These companies were among those reporting that the apprentices were not meeting their requirements in terms of modern machine tool knowledge and, the result was that additional time and effort had to be invested in them, once they returned to their employers. “The decision was made very quickly and at the same time we also set out the structure to become a recognised Group Training Association member,” says Ian Mynett, BEMA’s Director of Training. “This allowed us to set our own training agenda and take the structure of what we do way beyond what a local college could provide.”

we researched suppliers thoroughly, with XYZ coming to the forefront due to their professionalism, their commitment to work with us, making suggestions on what we needed rather than what they wanted to sell

The initial intake of 12 apprentices aged between 16 and 17 have just completed their nine months, off-the-job, training at BEMA and the feedback in terms of quality of training is excellent, something that has caught the attention of other companies in the Bristol area. This interest is leading to further expansion of the facility and BEMA will be adding to the existing XYZ Machines that it has, which include an XYZ ProTURN SLX 1630 lathe, two XYZ 1500 manual mills with digital readouts, and four XYZ Trainer manual lathes.

“We took the decision to invest in all new machinery from the outset and we researched suppliers thoroughly, with XYZ coming to the forefront due to their professionalism, their commitment to work with us, making suggestions on what we needed rather than what they wanted to sell, the synergy between XYZ and WNT(UK) also worked very well for us, allowing us access to both machine and cutting tool advice from day one. Not forgetting, of course, that the XYZ machines were excellent value for money. The final piece in the jigsaw that swayed our decision to go with XYZ was the fact that many of our member companies have XYZ machines installed, therefore the choice of machines that we now have provides the apprentices a natural progression through their training, ensuring that when they go back to their employer they are familiar with both manual and CNC machine operation. The ProtoTRAK control on the ProTURN lathe is certainly one factor in BEMA being able to take training beyond what external training providers deliver locally,” says Ian Mynett.

The initial success of the BEMA Training Centre has attracted interest from other BEMA member companies and also from non-members. The result of this is that expansion plans are already well under way to increase the number of trainees that can be accommodated. This in turn will lead to additional machines being installed, to include full CNC such as XYZ’s Minimill 560 vertical machining centre for example, which would further complement the existing machines and extend the level of training that BEMA is able to provide.

We are happy that BEMA has joined the growing number of training/educational establishments that are now XYZ Educational Partners.

The machines currently at BEMA are the XYZ Trainer lathe, which is a manual lathe that can be equipped with or without a Newall C80 DRO digital readout (BEMA has both options). The DRO has many intuitive features including: absolute/incremental operation; zero approach warning; data recall; data hold; radius/diameter readings. The basic machine specifications are a swing over the bed of 330mm and a between centre distance of 750mm. The XYZ 1500 Mill features a 2.25kW (60 – 4200 revs/min) R8/30 ISO taper spindle and axis travels of 660mm by 305mm by 406mm (XYZ) and a ram travel of 305mm. Positional accuracy is monitored and controlled by an Easson DRO unit. The XYZ Proturn SLX 1630 is the smallest machine in the XYZ ProTURN range but still provides a capable machining platform and a perfect first step into CNC machining. It features a 400mm swing over the bed, a between centre distance of 760mm, a spindle bore of 54mm, and a 5.75kW (150-2500 revs/min) spindle. Control is provided by the latest generation ProtoTRAK SLX control, which has features such as TRAKing, which allows users to manually feed through the program, eliminating the risk of collision, which is a great safety feature, especially in a training environment such as BEMA.

“We are happy that BEMA has joined the growing number of training/educational establishments that are now XYZ Educational Partners. XYZ recognises the importance of training the next generation of engineers and our success in the education sector is built on our diverse range of machines that provide the opportunity for apprentices to develop their skills as they progress through their training. Our manual machine range provides the entry point into gaining machining principles and the natural progression to ProtoTRAK controlled mills and lathes that can be operated as manual, part CNC or as full CNC machines is the next stepping stone. Through our Education Partner scheme, colleges have the reassurance that teaching staff will always be up to date with the latest machine training, which we provide on an ongoing basis either at their facility or at any of our showrooms around the country,” says Kerry Kidd, XYZ Machine Tools’, Educational Sales Director.

(Above) BEMA Apprentice Ryan Cron receives an award from XYZ’s Kerry Kidd.
(Above) BEMA Apprentice Daniel Clement from Ravenscourt Engineering setting up the XYZ ProTURN SLX 1630.
(Above) The XYZ 1500 manual mill alongside the ProTURN SLX 1630 at BEMA.
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