The installation of a large-capacity Hartford vertical machining centre has not only allowed C.S.Simmons Precision Engineering to expand the size of niche work it handles for its established customer base in the oil and gas sector, but the new machine is also enabling the Bath-based company to effectively produce in one hit completed components that were formerly also machined on turning centres.
As production director Mark Simmons explains, the heavy-duty Hartford HCMC 2082 accommodates workpieces weighing up to 2,600 kgs and provides an X axis capability of more than two metres. “This now allows us to machine long shafts for oil and gas valves, for example, and the machine’s high-speed milling capability of up to 8,000 revs/min combines perfectly with its high torque value of 650 Nm.
“The result,” he says, “is a machine that is perfectly suited to processing the difficult-to-machine materials we process, such as the super alloys Inconel, Hastelloy, Monel, 17-4 PH, S316 Super Duplex, Zeron 100 and Waspalloy that have characterised our business since we were established 39 years ago.
“Importantly, too,” he adds, “the machine’s integral thread milling capability has also enabled us to eliminate a separate tapping operation which, on these types of materials, often created problems and frequent tap breakages.”
With ten employees, the family-run business knew it needed to invest in a larger, faster vertical machining centre to ensure it continued to provide its oil and gas industry customers with the parts they wanted at cost-effective prices.
“We decided to replace two ageing machining centres with one new machine, and when we compared the Hartford to a competitor, it was immediately clear that the Hartford was a much better machine.
“Also, we already have a [smaller capacity] Hartford Kappa machining centre and have been very pleased with its rigidity, performance and the level of back-up and support from the machine supplier, T W Ward CNC Machinery (Ward CNC). We had no hesitation in placing the order with Ward CNC for the new machine.”
Processing small batches of either one-, five- or ten-off – for companies also in the defence, hydraulic, mining, nuclear petrochemical and rail sectors - the Hartford HCMC 2082 has X, Y and Z axis capabilities of 2,060 mm by 820 mm by 660 mm/820 mm, respectively, and spindle speeds (geared) up to 8,000 revs/min from the 11/15 kW (optionally 15/18.5 kW) motor. The machine has an arm-type tool storage facility for 24/32 tools.