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Hartford VMC is 'exceeding all expectations' at Lodge Engineering

Hartford VMC is 'exceeding all expectations' at Lodge Engineering

Added to MTDCNC by TW Ward CNC Machinery Ltd on 05 November 2014

The installation of a Hartford vertical machining centre is 'exceeding all expectations' at Lodge Engineering by, for example, 'reducing machining time on one job alone from 4.5 hours down to just two hours', says managing director Richard Evans.

Supplied by T W Ward CNC Machinery (Ward CNC), the UK’s exclusive distributor for Hartford machines, the HCMC 1682 single-table, open-fronted machine was installed by the Doncaster-based precision engineering firm because of its robustness, among many other attributes, he adds.

According to Mr Evans: 'The heavy metal cutting on the primary job in question – a 700 mm diameter by 120 mm thick EN19 sprocket – was ‘testing’ our existing milling machine, which featured linear guides. We knew we had to invest in an appropriately robust machining centre, one with hardened and ground box guideways, to handle this component.'

He continues: 'While these components are processed in relatively small batches, they incorporate a lot of machining and any mistakes would obviously be very costly – hence the need to use a machine that is best suited to such work. We found just what we needed when we saw the Hartford.'

Having surveyed the market, Mr Evans and colleague Dave Stokes compared three different makes of vertical machining centres, and they chose the Hartford because:

- Its high quality construction endears rigid, robust and reliable performance – plus the BT-50, 26 kW, 6,000 revs/min spindle is also ideally suited to heavy machining;
- Its table size (1,750 mm 820 mm) was bigger than the alternative machines; and
- It was available immediately from stock from Ward CNC’s Sheffield headquarters.

'Overall,' adds Mr Evans, 'Ward CNC won the deal based on the complete package and level of customer service offered. Indeed, Ward CNC knew we needed the machine quickly and it responded.'

Lodge Engineering was established in the South Yorkshire town more than 40 years ago by Mr Evans, who says he became interested in engineering at an early age. 'My father was an engineer and as a nine-year-old I was able to weld and operate a lathe, for example.'

The company’s initial years were dedicated to serving the needs of the local mining industry and it has continually widened its customer base and grown to the stage where it now employs 14 people across a number of neighbouring units that house a wide range of machine tools as well as profiling/fabrication capacity.

A variety of shaft- and prismatic-type components in all material types are handled, from relatively small one-offs to larger workpieces weighing up to five tonnes.

As the company has evolved, its level of service has, however, never changed: 'We have built our reputation providing precision-machined components and consistently exceeding customers’ delivery expectations,' says Mr Evans. 'The customer is king,' he adds - which explains why Lodge Engineering enjoys long-term relationships with a number of clients, he says.

One thing that has changed over the years has been Mr Evans’ approach to machine buying: nowadays he only installs new machines. 'Machine reliability is everything,' he insists, 'coupled with the expertise of a dedicated workforce.'

The 32-tool Hartford HCMC 1682 is the latest evidence of this policy, with its X, Y and Z capacity of 1,600 mm by 820 mm by 660 mm being put to good use on a wide range of components.

'Indeed, since its installation, the machine has generally improved machining times on every workpiece by at least 20 per cent,' concludes Mr Evans.

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