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Hartford VMC is heart of new service for Oil and Gas customers
Hartford VMC is heart of new service for Oil and Gas customers
Hartford VMC is heart of new service for Oil and Gas customers

Hartford VMC is heart of new service for Oil and Gas customers

Added to MTDCNC by TW Ward CNC Machinery Ltd on 09 October 2014

A multi-axis Hartford vertical machining centre will be used by a start-up company in Scotland as the springboard for the provision of highly complex yet cost-competitive machined components for oil and gas customers. Supplied by T W Ward CNC Machinery (Ward CNC), the four-axis, open-fronted HCMC 2082AG machine is at the heart of the future success of Central Machining Services (CMS).

Established by directors Billy Dale, Colin Kirkwood and David McElhinney – all ex-shift leaders who between them have some 50 years’ experience in the manufacture of components for the oil and gas sector - CMS has been set up in a newly-acquired 9,600 ft2 machine shop in Livingston, near Edinburgh.

According to Mr Dale: 'From our backgrounds, we knew what level and quality of machine tool technology would be required to attract the type of business we could major on – components that depend on a high level of expertise complemented by a cost-effective and quick turnaround service.'

He explained how the three engineers had done their homework and how Hartford was ticking all the boxes. However, before the order was placed, they visited the MACH 2014 exhibition to finally compare five other possible suppliers against their benchmark.  

He added: 'What really brought it home to us was that the Ward CNC-supplied Hartford included a host of standard features that were on-cost options with the other machines – aspects such as the BT 50 taper and the interfacing for Renishaw probing. Also, Ward CNC’s promised delivery of mid-September from its Sheffield headquarters was ideal timing for the start of CMS.'

According to Mr McElhinney: 'Having spent the previous 18 months in our own time discussing and investigating what the oil and gas sector was looking for from a sub-contract supplier, once we let prospective customers know about our decision to buy the Hartford and outlined what we would be offering, we immediately drew very positive comments.  

'Also, with our background in providing R & D and prototype machining support – especially in terms of workpieces for sub-sea applications - we are well-versed in meeting very low volume requirements that have ‘no room for error’ demands. We believe that the Hartford VMC is at the centre of an engineering package that will see the business grow and grow.'

Mr Kirkwood added: 'Having worked together for 15 years and established a level of machining experience on materials such as Inconel and special stainless steels, it is clear that sub-contract suppliers to oil and gas customers cannot simply ‘work from the book’.

'Typical components have very difficult to access features and usually involve the production of deep bores and holes, large critical sealing faces, intersecting holes, heavy duty threads and, in particular, critical surface finishes and geometrical relationship tolerances. All these aspects dictated our choice of machine specification.'  

In this respect, the trio maintain that the Hartford’s Fanuc control – 'which always proves popular with operators' - will provide a good interface for off-line programming routines, which they see as critical in the provision of quick turn-around deliveries.

'Also ideal is the machine’s X, Y and Z capacity of 2,060 mm by 860 mm by 860 mm, as well as the addition of the fourth-axis to enable multi-face sequences aligned to particular datums,' said Mr Kirkwood.
As far as Mr Dale is concerned:  'In addition, we needed the machine’s 50 BT taper for heavy milling and the inclusion of 20-bar coolant pressure for the production of deep holes and for clearing away swarf.  Also, the right level of filtration and an interface for Renishaw probing again proves ideal for the type of parts our customers are talking about. The machine’s table size of 2,000 mm by 920 mm with the capability of supporting up to three tonnes is more than adequate.'

To enable mill-turning up to 12 inch by 2.5 m, plus the capacity for smaller machining centre work, CMS has also installed two used machines – 'thus adding extra flexibility to open the door for general sub-contract machining where we can also apply our skills and knowledge', said Mr Kirkwood

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