Australia’s backyard is seen as a region that has a continuing pattern of solid economic growth – forecast to reach 6.2% this year according to the World Bank. This is why TIMTOS, the Taipei International Machine Tool Show, has grown from being Taiwan’s national show into a major showcase of engineering technology for the entire Asia-Pacific region.

The UK-based 600 Group has placed high importance on its presence at the exhibition, at this year’s show, held from 7-12 March, it had its top team demonstrating market-leading products from the UK and USA. Leading the charge for Australia was 600 Machine Tools’ Asia-Pacific Managing Director Cliff Purser and South-East Asia Sales Manager Steve Drummond.

The two Sydney-based executives were on hand to introduce current and prospective customers from across the Asia-Pacific region to some of the Group’s top executives from the UK and US. These included: Terry Allison, the Group’s new UK-based Managing Director; worldwide Product Development Manager, Mike Berry, from the manufacturing complex in Yorkshire; as well as Don Haselton, Global Chief Operating Officer of the machine tool division, based in Michigan in the US.

The turn-mill phenomenon

Speaking from the Group’s stand at the show, Purser said: “The 600 team is focused on helping each customer at every turn, but that may change! Since the introduction of the all-new Harrison Alpha XC combination CNC lathe, we are now helping them at every ‘mill and turn’,” he added with a grin.

The Harrison Alpha XC machine caused quite a stir at MACH 2016; there were very good reasons why so many workshop managers from all over Europe crowded the 600 Group stand at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, UK.

“The new XC can conduct off-centre drilling and boring, hexagonal milling, and much more,” said Purser. “What this remarkable combination CNC lathe gives workshops is the ability to perform secondary operations that usually require machining centres or expensive slant-bed CNC turning centres.”

The highly-versatile XC range now incorporates driven tooling and full C-axis interpolation. This feature, a significant addition to the simple-to-operate CNC Alpha lathe, now allows operators to carry out secondary operations at the machine in one set-up.

“Before TIMTOS, we previewed the XC to customers and distributors throughout the region,” Purser added. “And they have welcomed the availability of a flat-bed machine that can finish the parts in one-hit – at a price they can afford.”

Following the enthusiastic reception for the breakthrough Alpha XC design, the 600 Group has created a short video, to demonstrate the capabilities and benefits of this combination CNC lathe (view it at:

Enter the heavyweight

Drummond said that the myriad of visitors to the company’s exhibit, including many from Australia and New Zealand, had expressed interest in two newly introduced machines. He explained that the Colchester Triumph VS2500 variable-speed manual lathe sets new standards of performance with its combination of electronically-variable spindle drive and a constant surface speed option.

“The result is a cutting performance far superior to standard centre lathes and many CNC machines,” said Drummond. “Precision, power and durability have been built-in to give many years of reliable performance from this heavyweight conventional lathe.”

The second newcomer caused some excitement among visitors from the training sector. The Harrison M300 centre lathe has been designed to allow easy control of its comprehensive capabilities, making it an asset in the tool-room, apprentice training, and secondary and tertiary education. It has the power to deal with heavy metal removal, while at the same time offering precision for fine tolerance turning, with routine servicing requirements kept to a minimum.

“The M300’s safety aspects meet all international standards, and include the latest European CE requirements, making this conventional lathe a valuable asset in any workshop,” Drummond added.

Mills with grunt

The 600 Group executives anticipated – and witnessed – a wave of interest in the range of milling machines from Clausing, a 600 Group member based in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Clausing company offers a large range of powerful mills in its comprehensive range of machine tools. In the spotlight at TIMTOS was the Clausing 2VS, a heavy-duty vertical mill that has two big brothers, and all three are formidable performers.

“Right from the drawing-board, the 2VS has been designed for power, precision, and versatility, and is able to handle most milling jobs,” Haselton told visitors. “It is one of the heaviest in its class, and is equipped with a powerful spindle-drive motor and an infinitely variable speed drive that delivers a speed range of 60 to 4,300 rpm.”

Getting a grip

When 600 Group company Pratt Burnerd introduced the Gripfast combination power chuck at the EMO 2013 exhibition in Hannover, Germany, workshop managers from all over Europe crowded the demonstrations.

“It was the same in Taipei,” said Purser. “Visitors could immediately see the time-saving advantages provided by the new design. Many were surprised when they saw that the Gripfast combines a chuck, a collet chuck, and a mandrel chuck in a single unit.”

Purser also noted that the new chucks are supplied with a duplicate set of master jaws and simple off-machine jaw setting fixture, enabling the jaws to be pre-set off the machine, and ensuring a changeover time of less than one minute. Since then, the world-leading chuck has been complemented by the Gripsafe gripmeter, which accurately measures and records chuck gripping-forces within seconds.

“Nobody wants to see a machine operator lose his head, when a workpiece that is not securely held, goes flying off the machine like an executioner’s axe,” said Drummond.

Happily, the Gripsafe is suitable for use on all makes of chuck, and has been developed to help customers comply with health and safety legislation, allowing them to ensure that their chucks remain fit for purpose.

The last word

Speaking from Taipei, Allison summed-up the success of TIMTOS 2017.

“The 600 Group is a regular participant in this very important event,” he said. “We are here because the Asia-Pacific region has excellent economic prospects, and is going through a process of expansion, modernisation, and widespread adoption of state-of-the-art technology.

“As usual, TIMTOS has attracted representatives of companies of all sizes in manufacturing and processing, not forgetting the education and training sector, and a cross-section of military bodies. Without exception, all of them have found something of interest in the 600 Group exhibit, supplemented by videos on YouTube, and the team on the stand are confident of setting a new record for sales at TIMTOS and in the Asia-Pacific region.”