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Thursday, 5 October 2017

New Matrix 1000: ideal for mould&die makers

The name “Matrix 1000” is not new for Breton; originally intended for the mould&die market, it had excellent success over the years. The machine has been completely redesigned to cope with changes in the market, thus maintaining only the name and the target sector; it now includes many new features that are required in other sectors such as aeronautics, precisely for its stiffness, accuracy and working envelope. Some of the ideas that contributed to the success of the previous Matrix 1000 have withstood the test of time, while others have been reviewed and updated.

In fact, although it was designed for mould&die makers, it has been particularly successful also in the aeronautical world. Some solutions designed for modularity have an impact on costs so, the machine concept has been redesigned, keeping the good points of the previous versions, simplifying where possible and ensuring the interchangeability of the accessories such as different choice of milling heads so that the machine can be better used in the aerospace sector.

Listen to the users

Who better than the final user can say what a specific sector needs? Breton passed from a top-down approach, where it offers solutions and features to the market, to a bottom-up approach, where it is the market that guides the new model development.

Therefore  the new Matrix 1000 was born from the requests of the mould&die market. The approach is simple: the travels were based on the largest workpiece that is generally machined in the mould&die sector, such as car bumpers or dashboards.

The design then started from the simplest things, that normally are considered unimportant but are required in all workshops (ergonomic access to the working area or easily cleanable working area from chips); then, it moves on to more complex aspects (greater structural rigidity for significant removal or reduced thermal expansion). This approach could be described as a true user experience.
There is another direct request from users: “it must cost less and produce more” - difficult to achieve, but not impossible. In fact, Breton designers were able to achieve better performance at a lower price.

Designed for the mould&die industry

Among the new features that Breton has introduced into this version, there is the right angle head, particularly appreciated by mould&die makers.

In fact, compared to a fork-type head, it can machine closer to the workpiece (therefore with shorter tools) or reach points that would otherwise be inaccessible by a forked head. Breton has given this head model distinctive features such as direct drive, safety brakes and encoders, as well as a case that resists bending and twisting as much as the forked one.

Obviously, the right angle head is not an acceptable solution in the aeronautical sector, this is the reason why the forked head is still available. This is one of the features that makes Matrix 1000 suitable for such different application sectors.

By default, Matrix 1000 is offered with Heidenhain iTNC 640 numerical control, but it is also available with Siemens 840D SL.

Redesigned from top to bottom

An excellent job has been done in developing and engineering the machine; it costs less than the previous version, but at the same time it features better accuracy, performance and productivity.
In fact, it has smaller footprint than the previous model, even though the axis travels are longer (300 mm more in the Y direction). Workshops often have problems with space, and sometimes this can be a key factor when choosing one model over another.

Modularity is still significant: a fix size for the Z and Y axes and a choice of travels for the X axis, from 2500 mm to 4000 mm.
Breton designers have provided a stainless steel cover for the internal working area ; this solution avoids the risk of “paint removal”. This is an added value really appreciated by machine users.

Chip evacuation is another feature that users appreciate. Unlike steel machining, aluminum produces a considerable amount of chips: machining aluminium rotary moulds means starting from large blocks and removing up to 80/90% of the stock material. In this case, being able to rely on an efficient evacuation system implies keeping the working area clean and preventing accumulation that can create future problems to the machine.

For this reason, Breton has provided a front belt conveyor, which allows the doors to be opened easily, and two lateral chip evacuation belts that take the remaining chips to the front conveyor. Moreover, the rear wall is up against the table to prevent material accumulation.
The stainless steel walls also protect columns and bellows, which remain clean and easy to wash.

Details that count

Installation time is a detail that means a lot to end users. For this reason, Breton has introduced significant improvements that have reduced the commissioning time by approximately 20%.

The base version has a step to access the working area; in this way, it can be installed directly on the floor or industrial foundations, without the need for any contractor work. The machine just needs to be anchored, and it is ready for operation. This will be useful also in case the machine has to be relocated in the future.

There is no need for foundation work to allocate the conveyor; moreover, all the cables pass through the machine. For those who prefer a solution with the work table at floor level (e.g. to enter directly with a forklift), it is possible to dig a pit to recess the work table. 

The chip evacuation system is positioned behind the front doors, with its way-out on the tool-store side (either right or left), while the operator can operate the numerical control panel on the front side. The tool-store and the chip box are accessible from the machine side, so there is no need to go to the back side.


On one side, there is access for tool store expansion, with 30 positions in the base version, which can be doubled on request. These are values that are perfectly aligned with the needs of the mould&die making sector, where large numbers of tools are not required. Regarding usability, it is important to remember that the electrical cabinets need a safety distance from the other machines in order to be opened safely. In the new Matrix 1000 they are located at the rear, so that it can be installed 1 meter (40”) from the wall without running into operational and maintenance safety issues.

Better chip removal

An increase in removal capacity has been achieved by using a structure that has been designed and built to support higher cutting forces. Previously, the spindle could reach 100 Nm of torque, while the versions designed for this evolution can provide now a continuous torque of 160 Nm on a 18,000 rpm spindle. Alternatively, there are other spindle models with 100 Nm and 18,000 rpm or 64 Nm and 28,000 rpm.
The columns, bridge and ram are structurally have increased the  rigidity In addition to its stiffness (certified by FEM structural analysis), the new Matrix 1000 has a patented solution that makes it less sensitive to temperature variations. Together with a thermo-symmetric structure, this means an increase of its overall accuracy in all operating conditions.

Another requirement of the mould&die sector is more robust tool tapers, both to support the increased removal capacity of the machine and to improve the operating conditions of the tools (as they are subjected to less vibration). For this reason, Breton has provided both the traditional HSK63 taper and the HSK100 version.

Matrix is a gantry type with 4 motors on the master/slave X axis and backlash recovery; the Y axis is moved by a recirculating ball screw, while the Z axis has two recirculating ball screws without balancing, which increases reactivity during machining.

A ram with hydrostatic guides, a solution that dampens vibrations even more effectively, is available on request.
The rotary axes use torque motors with encoders, while for the linear axes, Breton preferred to stick to a more “traditional” solution, which still ensures high performance levels; ballscrews and racks ensure up to 5 m/s2 and 50 m/min, without the problems associated with using linear motors (consumption, complex cooling system design, etc.).

Thermal shield

Breton deals with temperature variations in a special way; within obvious limits, the machine can be hot, and must remain so. The important thing is that this temperature variation is gradual and controlled, so that the thermo-symmetric structure can adapt. To achieve this result, the structure has special insulation; if there is a sudden change in outside temperature, e.g. of around 5 °C, the machine opposes this change and takes much longer to heat up and therefore expand. This idea is already well known in the construction industry, where thermal cladding is used to make buildings more efficient by keeping the temperatures as stable as possible compared to the outside.

The temperature difference between the sheet metal panels that make up the machine is 0.2 °C, a very small values that can be managed by the passive (thermal cladding) and active (electronic) compensation systems in Matrix 1000.

In addition to the temperature sensors placed in the main structure of the machine, there are also vibration sensors on the head already in the base version:  when needed they stops machining to prevent any damage (such as is unexpected and excessive stock to be removed). As option an adaptive  package is available on request, which varies the machining parameters according to the measured machine reactions (power consumption, vibrations, etc.).

The spindle can be easily removed  by undoing a few screws and using a quick cabling system. In this way, the user can change it  quickly when needed (such as a collision or the requirement for different performance) and restart after a centering cycle. On request, Breton can also supply an automatic cartridge changing device.

For more information please write to:
Thank you for your attention.
See you soon,
Sergio Prior

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Automation: wide range of solutions for Breton machines

No one seems to remember that the machine tool itself it’s an automation! 
Not too many years ago, the NC was the operator brain and robots were still to be invented.
Now the situation is completely changed and in the industrialized area, in order to be competitive, we need to remove the constraint of a ration 1:1 between operator and machine.
The automotive industry started with the massive production of few products, the high technology companies need to do the same with many small batches of complex and different products.

Breton production is dedicated to these customers, providing them solutions capable to run alone 24 hours/day with remote monitoring and control. The electronic and software improvements are a big help to reach this challenging target but they cannot work without a strong and reliable machine automation.
The best way to describe automation solutions that Breton can provide is to show some real applications developed to answer real customer claims:


Customer claim: remove any time spent for machine setup, avoid mistakes due to wrong fixture setuo, disconnect operator setup time from machine operating time.

Solution: Breton designed and supplied to Piaggio Aerospace 6 tailor made Ultrix 800 machining centres featuring special ergonomic solutions for the best workpiece accessibility, each one is equipped with a total of 5 pallets (4 loading stations and 1 high precision setup station) and a manipulator. The result is a multi-pallet solution characterised by a very compact layout. The extreme accuracy of Breton Machine Tools is possible also thanks to the special pallet changer solution, based on a hirth serration that provides higher performances respect to the standard competitors system. Pneumatic, hydraulic and electronic connections can be supplied to the tooling.


Customer claim: strong reduction of cycle time while performing roughing and finishing operations on large size aerospace components.

Solution: Breton supplied to an important Aerospace company a Maxima 1600, fitted with a heads changer system. The head storage hosts a high torque milling spindle (up to 480 Nm and 14,000 rpm) suitable for roughing, and a finishing spindle (up to 94 Nm and 28,000 rpm). The machine is equipped with two bridges and is 16 meters in length, so can be configured to run two pieces together (for example one roughing operation and one finishing operation) or a single long piece removing material with the two heads. Breton Flymill 1600 HD K160 fully achieved the customer requirements providing a strong cycle time reduction together with a perfect flexibility.


Customer claim: avoid long machine stop during the setup operation of a typical aircraft structure big component.   

Solution: this problem can be solved providing a long machine with two separated areas (one for machining and one for piece setup) or by using a table change system. For TAI (Turkish Aerospace Industries) Breton chose the second solution, providing a total of 3  Breton Flymill 1300 2T K30 equipped with a table change system that allow the operator to spend all the time he needs to perform a perfect piece setup while the machine is milling another component on the second table.


Customer claim: the use of multitasking machines has increased the number of requested tools (milling, turning, grinding) but not the available space. Customers want smart solutions.

Solution: one Breton well know key feature is the development of tailor made solutions. We are capable to take the best-in-class tool storage solutions from the market and adapt to the different customer requirements.
One example is the 200 positions tower type tool storage integrated on our Breton
Maxima 1600 (mixing HSK-A100 for milling and Capto C8 for turning) with up to 3500 mm turning capability.
Another solution is the 200 positions tool storage fitted on our Breton Maxima 2000 K80.
Breton designer used the 8 meter machine length to hide the system in the machine footprint. A robot picks up the tool and transfers it to a tool changer avoiding any waiting time.


Customer claim: reduce the features cost and complexity, be sure to remove from the machine a conforming piece.

Solution: the machine probing systems are provided as standard solution by many different competitors. The difference of Breton solution is the strong integration with the machining process and the measuring performances thanks to high machine accuracy. Breton can provide a turn-key solution to check the machine condition before starting operation, perform a perfect piece setup, even on deformed components, machine, measure and automatically correct the part saving all the measurements for statistical analysis. The only thing that the operator has to do is press the start green button. The final result for an important Aerospace customer is a measuring difference between Breton Ultrix and CMM of less than 0,01 mm.


Customer claim: create an automatic machining line to produce tire moulds with a minimum operator surveillance. 

Solution: Breton supplied to an important automotive company three machines, 2 Xceeder 900 and 1 Ultrix 800, with pallet change system served by a robot on rails collecting pieces and fixture from a big storage. Breton was responsible for the complete FMS solution and the final acceptance criteria were very severe but they have been achieved. The robot gives the system an higher flexibility respect to a classical FMS solution, in this way it will be possible to change easily the production in the future.

For further information, please write to
Thanks for your attention!
Sergio Prior

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Breton at EMO 2017 with fully redesigned machining centers!

The two main products that Breton will present at the next version of EMO Hannover are the latest versions of the ULTRIX 1200 EVO and MATRIX 1000, fully redesigned machining centers to ensure even better performance for our customers.


Breton offers you a free one-day entry to EMO 2017! To register your entry, fill out with your details the form on this page:

You will receive the link to complete your registration by email later.

For more details we are waiting for you at EMO 2017 in Hannover, from 18 to 23 September.

[Hall 13 - Stand C 24]

Sergio Prior

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Technological Partner

Breton supplies the aerospace industry with 70% of its machine tool production, covering a wide dimensional range. All machines share the 5 continuous axes configuration. Customer service is the essential ingredient ("Tecnologie Meccaniche", July 2017).

Lightweight airframe, maximum engine power, minimum weight and high safety levels are just a few of the key factors when serving the aerospace industry.

To accomplish these goals, designers need to distinguish between two macro areas: airframes and engines, both of which share the need for extreme weight reduction combined with maximised performance.

Requirements change also depending on whether the work is being performed for the civil segment, with its focus on the absolute safety of the aircraft, or the military segment, with its more performance-oriented agenda.

Airframe designers must therefore create a lightweight product, capable of accepting the maximum possible payload and sufficiently rugged to withstand the dynamic stresses generated in flight. 

Conversely, powerplant engineers need to concentrate on designing a system with the maximum possible efficiency, minimising weight and guaranteeing safe operation in all application conditions. Aerospace industry suppliers must also remember that technical excellence must be delivered at a reasonable and competitive construction cost, and hence market price. Aircraft construction costs can be broken down into the macro families of design, raw materials, transformation, and assembly.
Here, we focus more specifically on the stage in which the material is transformed into the finished part required for the subsequent assembly process, because it is in this area that cost-cutting efforts are generally concentrated.

Working area of the Ultrix Evo 1200
Because of the high technological expertise and certifications demanded by end customers, the number of companies making the most critical aerospace components is quite small. Transformation plants require continuous improvement to meet the binding, competitive market pricing. 

Chip removal remains the most widely employed method with respect to existing new machining technologies. In the vast world of machine tool manufacturers those that are able to supply aerospace market form a restricted elite group: a group of which Breton forms part.

Breton supplies the aerospace industry with 70% of its machine tool production, covering a wide dimensional range. Machines for the production of engine parts offer working volumes from 800mm diameter by 700mm height up to 5000mm diameter by 2000mm height.

Ultrix Evo working on an aerospace part
The range of machines for airframe parts offers gantry solutions with working strokes from 2000x2500x800mm to 20000x4500x2000mm.

All machines are configured with 5 continuous axes, and those dedicated to the machining of axially symmetrical parts offer combined turning and grinding functions.

One of the key strengths of Breton's turning solution is that it offers two machines in one, without the compromises typical of lathes converted into milling machines and vice versa. In fact, both the smaller mill/turn solutions, such as the Ultrix, and the large machines like the Maxima, handle lathe work with a dedicated turning bar or with automatic head changeover.
Through this solution, the system can guarantee the performance levels of a dedicated vertical lathe, allowing optimal access also to the inside of components and better control of machining stresses, while preserving valuable electrospindle bearings.
The bearings are another Breton hallmark, because despite their compact size they offer exceptional levels of performance gained through a painstaking co-design process working alongside the main electrospindle manufacturers.

Example of a part made on a Breton machine
All systems manufactured by Breton are designed to provide high speed machining, with limited material removal depths and high feed rates to ensure the maximum accuracy plus lower levels of residual internal stress in the workpiece. This feature is a perfect fit with the aerospace industry, with its reduced machining allowances and highly distortion-sensitive components.

One of the main features of Breton machines is the guaranteed accuracy of the machining processes. This property is based on careful research into the mechanical perfection of the components and the final assembly, with exclusively thermal expansion caused by ambient conditions being addressed with the use of electronic compensation systems.
And on account of its dynamic spirit, Breton can boast another important characteristic: all standard solutions can be tailored to match the customer's specific requirements without affecting reliability… and at costs that are significantly lower than those associated with ground-up re-engineering.

Heads magazine
Breton also offers a comprehensive range of automation options for both stand-alone machining centres or systems to be incorporated in an existing production line. The company  can supply modular tool changers (from 30 tools to more than 400), pallet changers, part handling automation systems, advanced measurement systems for components and tools, workpiece temperature probes for dimensional offsetting, and far more besides.

Rather than simply supplying a machine to the end customer, thanks to an in-house team of technologists skilled in all the materials used primarily in the aerospace industry, Breton builds a quasi-family relationship with its customers, accompanying them throughout the entire process: from the initial choice of the solution to construction and testing of the first machined parts. So, rather than approaching the market as a supplier, Breton works as a partner able to accompany customers throughout the entire life cycle of each product supplied.

For more information please write to

Thank you for the attention and best regards.

Sergio Prior