GF Machining Solutions Helps Lotus F1 Team

The Lotus F1 Team invested in six high-performance, cost-effective Mikron HPM 450U 5-axis machine tools with integrated automation to produce its precision, complex F1 car parts in low quantities. These replaced 3-axis milling machines that were not performing at the desired productivity levels.

With Formula 1® racing kicked into high gear, the Lotus F1 Team will spend the 2014 season relying on high-performance milling technology from GF Machining Solutions (Lincolnshire, IL) to play a key role in driving its success.

Approximately six months ago, the Lotus F1 Team, headquartered in Enstone, England,
invested in six high-performance, cost-effective Mikron HPM 450U 5-axis machine tools with
integrated automation to produce its precision, complex F1 car parts in low quantities. Prior to the Mikrons, the team was using 3-axis milling machines that were not
performing at the desired productivity levels.

According to Thomas Mayer, the chief operating officer of the Lotus F1 Team, with the 3-axis machines, his crew spent a considerable amount of time on machine setup as well as on the planning and design of individual add-on devices for milling.

As the team sought to standardize its production efforts with six identical 5-axis
machines, the Mikron HPM 450Us were the top pick based on their compact footprint,
integrated automation features, performance value and reliability along with GF
Machining Solutions’ quick, efficient customer response times. Furthermore, these
machines effectively cut through a wide range of materials, from aluminum, steel, and
stainless steel to extremely difficult-to-machine materials.

A demonstration of the 5-axis HPM 450U in action.

Mayer noted the team’s strategic decision to expand its milling capabilities via the
Mikron HPM 450Us allows them to machine their workpieces in a single set-up process.
As a result, they have been able to considerably increase their productivity, achieve
higher precision, produce more uniform parts and lower the cost per unit. “The HPM
450U machines fulfilled our high expectations right from the start,” said Mayer.

Each Mikron HPM 450U machine inside the Lotus F1 Team shop is equipped with a direct-drive rotary tilting table, which allows for basic milling and drilling processes, as well as 3+2 positioning and 5-axis simultaneous machining. The machine’s highperformance 20,000 rpm spindle and integrated automation, which includes a sevenstation pallet changer and 120-position tool changer, offer high levels of machining performance.

Another key feature of the machine is its SMART technology software modules that ensure maximized productivity, even in lights-out operations.

GF Machining Solutions is the world’s leading provider of machines, automation solutions and services to the tool and mold making industry and to manufacturers of precision components. The products range from electric discharge machines, highspeed and high-performance milling machines, including clamping and palletization systems, and 3D laser surface texturing machines, to services, spare parts and expendable parts, consumables and automation solutions.

As a globally active group, GF Machining Solutions, a division of Georg Fischer Group (Switzerland), maintains a presence on 50 sites worldwide within its own organization. Its 2,873 employees generated sales of CHF 867 million in 2013.,


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