High Precision Machines

Raphaël Constantin

Deputy General Manager, President of the High Precision Machines Division

Given the economic context, we have been able to maintain a respectable level of profitability throughout this period. Thanks to the responsiveness of our teams, our sound positions in markets less affected by this crisis, and our agility, we demonstrated our excellent resilience.

The High Precision Machines Division was faced with a sudden shutdown in 2020. It affected most of the activities in the aerospace and automotive sectors for nearly four months, both for new investments and for service. However, the implementation of strict sanitary measures made it possible to preserve everyone's health, while maintaining most of the activities in the other sectors.

Fives was able to proceed with the global installation of machines despite travel restrictions, thanks to its digital solutions and local team support.

The Division took the opportunity during this unprecedented time to confirm and accelerate its strategy in the defense and general industry sectors. In addition, the Division continued its developments in the aerospace and automotive markets, particularly for electric vehicles.

At the end of 2020, the Group acquired partial assets of Dufieux. This enabled Fives to expand its range of machines and expert teams, including new technologies such as MMS® (Mirror Milling System), which replaces a chemical erosion process with a more environmentally friendly solution.

The High Precision Machines Division supports its customers throughout the project’s life cycle,  confirming its position as a long-term partner, developer and solutions provider, meshing machines and digital technology as one. Through this partnership, the Division accompanies its customers from the very beginning of a project to meet their needs, providing them with the necessary support before, during and after the equipment is put into production, anywhere in the world with local service teams.

Thanks to the consistency of the Division’s strategy launched several years ago, supported by a continuation of investment in new solution development, the High Precision Machines Division continued with a market share gain and entered the 2021 year with a respectable order book and an optimized cost structure, thus further increasing its resilience.



Fives' expertise to retrofit non-proprietary machines

Relying on their technical expertise, Fives' Service teams in the USA responded to a critical need for a major player in the space sector by developing a custom engineered solution, including a Siemens control retrofit, an internally designed Gimbal head and the creation of a simulated Y-axis motion on two Pietro Carnaghi VTL.

GrindXelerator, Artificial Intelligence to optimize grinding cycle time

By combining its technical expertise in grinding process and the use of a proprietary AI software, Fives has studied the operation of two Landis camshaft grinding machines, then defined and edited new profiles and parameters using AI. Once installed, they allowed the customer to obtain 20% cycle time saving and to optimize production volumes.

A Giddings #&# Lewis FTR machine for a major industrial player

Fives secured an order for a Giddings #&# Lewis FTR Floor Type machine featuring too rotary tables, for the production of engine parts. Machine acceptance by a major player in the Construction and Mining industry in Fives workshop is scheduled in August 2021 before its commissioning at the customer’s plant in January 2022.

Two Landis 3LVe grinding machines for rotors and transmission shafts

Fives has delivered a Landis 3LVe to a large North American automotive O EM for grinding rotors and transmission shafts for their new Battery Electric Vehicle line, thus confirming the adaptability of its technologies to this rapidly expanding market. A second machine is currently being manufactured for delivery at the end of 2021.

Fives to support the Marine sector with Liné Machines technologies

Fives has secured a significant order including the design and supply of a Liné Machines Macbormill Mill/Turn with a 7-meter diameter Rotary Table and a capacity of 100,000 kg, for manufacturing naval parts.
The machine is scheduled to be shipped in January 2022, and the production to start in July 2022.

Fives pursues its grinding diversification strategy

Fives has secured two orders from a world leading bearing manufacturer. The first is for a Bryant RU2 grinding machine, which, thanks to its flexibility, will enable the customer to grind a large range of part families in the same machine. The second is for a Giustina XL-VSD to grind large bearings in the wind energy sector.

MMS®, an innovative and differentiating technology that meets environmental challenges 

By taking over the assets and activities of Dufieux in November 2020, Fives has not only completed its range of 5-axis machines but has also enhanced it with a breakthrough technology: the Mirror Milling System.This machining solution, developed in partnership with Airbus, enables high-speed milling, drilling and routing operations on 3D aluminum panels in a single cycle.

Its major advantage is environmental, since it replaces a polluting chemical acid erosion process that is difficult to manage. Featuring a patented 2 x 6-axis facing system for ultra-precise positioning, the MMS® has a cycle time up to six times faster than the chemical erosion process, as well as a power consumption and footprint reduced by half. Finally, programming time for panel machining is improved with the Management Programming Tool software layer.

With the MMS®, Fives is pursuing its strategy of developing innovative solutions that are more respectful of the environment and adapted to the production requirements of tomorrow.