Hydramotion has been leading the field in viscosity measurement for nearly 30 years. Its holds a series of patents for its high precision instruments which have revolutionised in-line and in-process viscosity measurement for a wide range of industries including oil and gas, food and beverage, paints and coatings and resins. In fact its products play an important role in any industry where the viscosity of a fluid is a vital part of product quality and performance – its viscometers are used in over half of the world’s melamine production.
Managing Director John Gallagher is proud of the rigorous scientific development that goes into the company’s continuously evolving products and he wanted to apply the same approach to the manufacturing process. “We wanted to develop our engineering and introduce a philosophy with an F1 sensibility. We already use CFD software in product development, CAD for design and CAM for CNC program generation. The next step was to enhance high performance machining to speed up production, ensure our products are of the highest quality, future proof our manufacturing and enhance the confidence our customers have in our capabilities.”
To meet its requirements, Hydramotion invested in a DMG MORI NLX 2000 | 500 and a CTX beta 800. John Gallagher says, “On a technical level, the machines met our requirements with a second spindle on the NLX 2000 | 500 and a programmable travelling steady rest on the CTX beta 800. Additionally, we wanted visibility from the investment. The aesthetic appearance of the machines is well done as is the CELOS® interface.” For the new machines, the company invested in an 8,000 sq ft extension, which it is planning to join to its existing factory to provide a seamlessly connected production facility both physically and electronically. He continues, “By connecting our design, development and manufacturing together we can speed up development and production. Feeding back improvements in machining capabilities to the design phase will in turn lead to product enhancements. Our customers are highly international and the investments we have made and the high technology philosophy which we are pursuing will definitely be appreciated.”
Parts that previously required four operations can now be done in two setups on the NLX 2000 | 500 thanks to the second spindle, while on the CTX beta 800 the travelling programmable steady rest enables parts as small as 8.7mm diameter and up to 850mm long to be turned without them flexing during machining. Richard Bielby, Team Leader Production Centre, says, “The DMG MORI machines easily work within the tolerances we need to achieve. However the big advantages are the quality of the surface finish and the lack of blend marks which we used to have from turning parts in sections. Previously, this required a significant amount of polishing to achieve the desired mirror finish. Now this finishing task is at least 50% faster.” The nature of the viscometers is that they are designed to vibrate, so the rigidity of the DMG MORI machines and the way in which the parts can be manipulated and supported during manufacture is crucial to the quality of finish.
Previously, it was very time consuming with all the different operations to produce a batch of 30 parts. Now it is extremely simple and highly repeatable, thanks to the tool setting in the machines, the use of standardised tooling, the reduction in operations and the smooth vibration free operation of the machines. Richard Bielby says, “We use various corrosion resistant materials which are difficult to machine. The DMG MORI machines cut these with ease giving us increased tool life of around 25% and halving the time to manufacture parts. Furthermore, the CELOS® interface on both machines enables us to program parts on the machine if we want to, look up setup sheets, simulate the toolpath, and examine CAM data, models and drawings of the part, minimising the chance of error by utilising a paperless environment. It is clear that the NLX 2000 |500 and the CTX beta 800 are high quality machines.”