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Qualiturn Catches Quality with Hydrafeed

Added.. 13/09/2011 | Print Friendly PagePrint Page  

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For a number of years Qualiturn has been striving to add 'value' to its services and products. Putting the customer at the forefront of its investment plans has paid dividends with recent company expansion and investment in new machine tools. The value adding process has seen the company acquire metrology and component cleaning equipment as well as production control software and a Rota Rack rotary part accumulator from Hydrafeed.

However, in the three years since investing in these 'value adding' systems the Hertford based manufacturer has added two new Star sliding head turning centres and a Miyano ABX51 turning centre to meet its increased capacity demands. This increased workload has just seen the arrival of a second Hydrafeed Rota Rack part accumulator for the machine shop.

The reason for the introduction of the first Rota-Rack was to improve the quality of components manufactured on its turning centres, as the diversity of the parts produced includes soft materials like brass and aluminium whilst components made from steel can be heavier and larger. The Rota Rack solves the marking problem created when parts collide upon ping from the machine into the collection bins. As the company runs unmanned machining, a relatively large collection bin sits under each machine with parts ping up to 12 inches into the bins. This compromises component quality and this is why the ISO: 9001 registered company initially invested in the Rota-Rack.

The success of the first Rota Rack acquired in 2008 has now led Qualiturn to purchase a second Rota Rack system, as Qualiturn Managing Director, Mr Nick Groom says: “We produce a lot of components such as bearing and seal faces and flanges that demand high quality surface finishes with tight tolerances and having high end machine tools to produce high quality parts only for them to fall into bins and get marked is unacceptable. Some customers made comments on the surface finishes whilst some jobs were returned. Despite the returns and comments being minimal when considering our output, it was still unacceptable and as a company that prides itself on its quality, we knew something had to be done. There was an issue between production and inspection and the Rota-Rack was the answer. It proved so successful that when we specified the three new turning centres, an additional Rota Rack was a must.”

Machining average batches of 100 to 2000 parts in varying lengths with diameters up to 51mm, the collection bins take differing times to fill and this was determined by the size of the component &ndash a situation that needed regular monitoring by an operator. The Rota-Rack has eliminated the need for continuous operator intervention and observation and it allows Qualiturn to produce batch runs completely unmanned with impeccable quality.

The Rota-Rack stops parts ping into bins and the consequent contact between components. This is credited to the Rota-Rack&rsquos ability to be programmed in sync with the cycle time of the part on the turning centre to ensure that it only rotates when a part enters the system from the machine tool. Ideal for limited space environments the accumulator comfortably accommodates parts up to 254mm long with diameters up to 76mm, covering the majority of Qualiturn components.

“What initially impressed us with the Rota-Rack is its simplicity and flexibility. The compact system has an adjustable height and it can be set at the left or right side of the machine. These attributes enable us to quickly move the Rota-Rack between the Miyano and Star machines depending on where the sensitive and more demanding parts are being produced. The single phase power output enables us to move the Rota-Rack to any machine in our facility in a matter of minutes. However, we wanted to take this flexibility to a new level with the second Rota-Rack, so we requested it with a scissors lift. The reason for the lift was because of the varying heights between the Miyano ABX and the two new Star machines. The new Rota Rack has taken flexibility to yet another level for us.”

“This new system is yet another investment in improving product quality, adding value for the customer and introducing proven technology to our processes. The benefit of this system is that whilst it improves quality it also enhances profitability by extending unmanned running. With over 20 turning centres we may invest in further Rota-Racks to extend unmanned machining beyond its current levels,” concludes Mr Groom.

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