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Tornos Alleviates Production Woes for Waste Disposal OEM
Tornos Alleviates Production Woes for Waste Disposal OEM
Tornos Alleviates Production Woes for Waste Disposal OEM
Tornos Alleviates Production Woes for Waste Disposal OEM

Tornos Alleviates Production Woes for Waste Disposal OEM

Added to MTDCNC by Tornos Technologies UK Ltd on 03 October 2015

When waste disposal and sewage treatment manufacturer, Haigh Engineering Company Ltd introduced a new product line to its portfolio, the company immediately had a precision, quality and capacity issue to deal with. An issue that needed a new turning centre from Tornos.

The OEM manufacturer has an extensive range of innovative waste disposal solutions for the healthcare sector and the water-board utility PLC's; and as an environmentally conscious manufacturer, Haigh developed its Quattro Pulp Disposal unit to reduce the running costs for customers and also the OEM's carbon footprint. From its 60,000sq/ft facility in Ross-On-Wye, the 94 employee business manufactures over 4,000 different turned parts to support the assembly of its diverse product range. With parts ranging from 4mm to beyond 300mm diameter, Haigh has pushed its plant list of existing Mori Seiki MT and SL turning centres to capacity. 

Operating 24/5, the quality issue for Haigh was created by new small diameter components that fit into the Quattro product line. The parts demanded tighter tolerances and surface finishes, something the larger machines couldn't easily achieve. With regard to its capacity issue, Haigh was subcontracting upwards of £15,000 per annum of work out to local subcontractors. The subcontractors also had difficulty obtaining the tolerance and surface finish demands of the parts. This led Haigh Engineering's Manufacturing Manager, Mr David Brown on a quest for an appropriate turning centre. The result was the acquisition of a Tornos ST26 in August.

Why Pick the Tornos?  

The development of Haigh Engineering's new Quattro Pulp Waste machine some 12 months ago, required the machine shop to add another 50 different turned part variations to its existing 4000+. With the majority of parts being small, intricate and often complex, the Tornos ST26 has been brought in to produce 40 of the 50 small part families; alleviating the pressure from the larger twin spindle machines.

Following extensive trials with alternate sliding head turning centre manufacturers, the selection process came down to three key factors. Firstly, Haigh noted the diameter capacity of alternate machines wasn't appropriate. As Mr Brown recalls: 'We trialled a series of parts with two vendors. We wanted a machine to manufacture a variety of parts up to 25-26mm diameter. One vendor offered a 20mm diameter capacity machine that could be pushed to a limit of 25mm. Their only other option was a 32mm capacity machine. The 20mm machine was too small and the 32mm machine was too large and it also pushed the price beyond our expectations.'

'This inability to fit with our 4-25mm diameter demands, instantly made the Tornos ST26 our primary choice. Additionally, competitor machines looked like they haven't been updated since the 1980's. It was apparent that Tornos has invested in the aesthetics of its machines and not just the technology inside. Tornos has also given consideration to factors like machine access. The ST26 has a sliding door that gives the operator access to the machine from the front and rear of the machine.'

In addition to its ability to fit in with the dimensional demands of Haigh, the Tornos was also selected for a number of other reasons. Firstly, the Tornos was offered with a Fanuc control similar to the company's existing machines. This reduced the learning curve for the operators considerably. Furthermore, the rigid and robust platform of the ST26 delivers impeccable surface finishes and tolerances, something that was a key decision factor for Haigh Engineering.  

The Benefits of Buying a Tornos...

The robust nature of the ST26 improved process stability for Haigh, as one of the company's Senior Technologist, Mr Jeremy Allen says: 'We produce spring rod components that are part of an intricate spring assembly. The 303 stainless steel rods have a 7mm shank with a tolerance of +0/-0.036mm with a surface finish of 0.2Ra. Our larger machines couldn't achieve the surface finish and our subcontractors couldn't achieve the finish with their machines. So, our only remaining option was to turn the parts then roller burnish the finish, which ironically was too good. The Tornos ST26 gave us the desired finish within the right tolerance band without secondary finishing.'

This scenario also occurred with an aluminium bush housing that forms part of the same spring assembly. As Mr Allen continues: 'The spring assembly gave the machine shop a host of challenges that the Tornos has overcome. In tandem with the spring rod, is a bush housing that has a 40mm deep bore. Within the bore are 7.25, 11.38 and 16.09mm diameters with tolerances of +0.04/-0 and +/-0.05, all in the H7 and H9 range. With high pressure through coolant, the ST26 comfortably produces these parts where our subcontractors tooling left a spiral score in the bore.'

And The Capacity Issue?

Unlike many of its other machine tools, the Tornos ST26 can confidently run lights-out. As Mr Brown continues: 'On each shift we run batches of 100-500 parts and then we set the machine to run overnight unmanned, so the machine has very little downtime. Added to this, it can produce parts up to 75% faster than our other machines. This is because the sub-spindle on our older machines cannot conduct simultaneous front and back end working like the Tornos. This releases capacity from the larger machines.' 

Looking to the Future..

'Across our portfolio, we export over 30% of our products globally. At present sales of the new Quattro system are very strong and we project significantly higher production schedules in the future for both UK and export markets. This may well lead to more investment in Tornos and Mori Seiki turning centres.'

When questioned over the philosophy and choice of machine tool vendors, which has seen the company invest over £1m in the last 5 years, Mr Brown concludes: 'We are not under the same market pressures as subcontractors who are looking to shave a few tenths of a second off part production. We are a prestigious OEM with a marquee brand. Whilst we invest in the latest production technology to support our product design department and most importantly production schedules, our ethos is to invest in high quality plant that will stand the test of time. Tornos is certainly a brand with that reputation.'

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