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DMG MORI provides the machines to cope with rapid expansion
DMG MORI provides the machines to cope with rapid expansion
DMG MORI provides the machines to cope with rapid expansion

DMG MORI provides the machines to cope with rapid expansion

Added to MTDCNC by DMG MORI on 26 November 2014

BSL Industries is bringing advanced manufacturing to the oil and gas and power generation industries with the efficient machining of high quality parts.

The company passed stringent quality audits for GE Energy enabling it to become a tier 1 supplier to the GE Group, manufacturing plates and rings. Success here enabled BSL to obtain oil and gas contracts from elsewhere within the group. These have amounted to more than £1 million in the last 18 months for the production of downhole tools alone, with further significant growth to come.  New projects underway include the manufacture of 600mm prototype hydrostatic bearings for ship stabilisation equipment. This involves propulsion units which maintain the ship’s position during exploratory drilling operations irrespective of sea conditions on the surface.

To achieve such remarkable results in such a short space of time required significant capital expenditure. The oldest machines at BSL were only purchased two years ago and, in total, the company has invested nearly £4 million in machinery.

DMG MORI is the major supplier and machine technology partner to the company and has installed two NLX 2500SY/700 multi-axis turning centres, two NTX 2000 mill-turn centres, one NMV 5000 DCG 5-axis machining centre, one NVX 5100 3-axis machining centre and, most recently, one 5-axis DMF 260/11 linear machining centre. Garry Calcott, Commercial Manager at BSL Industries, says, 'The DMF 260/11 linear replaces another machine which was nowhere near rigid enough. The plates we manufacture require some very heavy cuts as we remove around 50% of the material. Not only is the machine much more rigid, but swarf removal is far better and the machine is fully enclosed. Previously we suffered from very high noise levels with coolant and swarf flying everywhere.' The plates we manufacture weigh around 1,400 kg and are completed in two operations. The second operation uses a button tool to finish a large radius across the top of the part, which GE previously had to send out as a separate operation. BSL now delivers these large components fully machined.

The NMV 5000 DCG has been invaluable for the manufacture of arms for downhole tools. Each downhole tool has six or eight spring loaded arms connected by tungsten carbide coated rollers, which run down the rock surface inside the drilled hole, keeping the tool central. These arms and rollers need replacing frequently due to wear. Previously the arms were cast, which resulted in inaccurate parts and individual on-site fettling operations to make them fit, adding considerably to cost and delays for the customer. BSL now supplies the parts fully machined, which results in repeatability and fast fitting on-site and, in addition, a stronger component due to the grain structure of the material. Garry Calcott explains, 'We use Lang vices and a Lang Eco-Tower to automatically load and unload the NMV 5000 DCG. First, billet preparation operations are completed on the NVX 5100. We then load the billets into the vices on the Eco-Tower. In the NMV 5000 DCG we machine the arms in 5-axis, completing them in one unmanned operation.  They are then automatically loaded back into the Eco-Tower. Once the batch is finished we simply snap them off the fixture.'

The power and rigidity of the NTX 2000 machines led BSL to invest in two of these machines. Originally they considered other makes, but with the DMG MORI machines they were able to use them as true 5-axis milling machines, fixturing parts between two chucks. 'The oil and gas industry uses Acme threads, which require a full cut at the beginning of the thread. The DMG MORI machines have the power and accuracy to do this easily. The NLX 2500SY/700 and the NTX 2000 machines encapsulate everything that we need from a machine in versatility, strength, accuracy and reliability.'

Business is growing so fast for BSL that it is already planning to expand its building by 35%. Garry Calcott says, 'We plan to reposition the smaller machines in the new building for the lighter oil and gas components, with a mezzanine floor for a finished part store and assembly area. Our owner had previous experience with DMG MORI machines and his decision to select them for the type of work we do was a good one, so further investment in DMG MORI machines is definitely part of the plan to cope with the rapidly increasing demand.'

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