Mollart Engineering partnered with FANUC UK to develop a new version of its specialist VDM vertical micro drilling machine, which was launched at EMO 2017.


The new multi-axis VDMF machine is a complete upgrade on its predecessor, having been equipped with FANUC drives, motors and CNC control. The new drive systems offer a 25 per cent improvement in cycle times compared to earlier models. What’s more, the new machine is equipped with a W-axis and a two-axis coordinate table for prismatic parts drilling or, alternatively, on-board loading options. The machine comes equipped with the option of either two or four spindles.

The VDMF is ideally suited to high-volume micro drilling applications that require extreme accuracy, such as the manufacture of precision automotive parts and medical devices, such as bone screws or dental implants. The machine has a space-saving design of only 2m x 2m, making it ideal for smaller machine shops in which floorspace is at a premium.

The original VDM machine was originally developed in Germany by a company that was subsequently acquired by Mollart Engineering.  With the original team due to retire, the decision was made to partner with FANUC to develop an upgraded version, replacing the original PLC control and drives with new FANUC drives, motors and CNC. The partnership with FANUC also means that the VDMF machine can be easily fitted with robotic automation, all controlled from the FANUC CNC, to facilitate lights-out and unmanned running.

Ian Pettit, sales director at Mollart Engineering, said: “When we first acquired the VDM it was clear that the machine had enormous qualities, but needed significant upgrades to the drives and CNC in order for it to reach its full potential in the marketplace.” He continued: “We’ve worked with FANUC for more than 25 years and they were the natural partners to help us develop the machine. We believe that, together, we have now developed a best-in-class precision micro-drilling machine that is easy to programme, highly productive and can be easily retrofitted with robotic automation. Most importantly, the VDMF has a highly competitive price point for a machine of this quality.”

Andrew Armstrong, sales and marketing director at FANUC UK, added: “Our partnership with Mollart is well-established and we were delighted to be invited to partner with it on the upgrading of its micro-drilling machine. The inclusion of FANUC CNC in particular has made the VDMF much more efficient and easy to programme, compared to its predecessor. FANUC CNC is the most popular CNC in the world, which means that programmers will feel comfortable with the programming language and its capabilities – all of which help to deliver a more efficient production environment.”

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