The continual need to satisfy rising demand for consistently machined high-value workpieces has led to further capital equipment investment at X-Cel AMP, including a number of Hyundai-Wia machines: a quartet of vertical and boring (VTL) machines; a two-axis CNC lathe; and a turning centre - all installed over the past 18 months or so by T W Ward CNC Machinery (Ward CNC), the exclusive UK distributor for Hyundai-Wia.
These machines are playing a key role in enabling the company to achieve impressive machining accuracies on a range of circular parts up to 22 inches diameter in difficult-to-machine high nickel alloys – roundness tolerances to within 20 microns and surface finishes of 0.4 CLA.
X-Cel AMP was established in 2012 by X-Cel Superturn on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Sheffield to focus on the machining of gaskets and seals, including ring-type joints (solid metal gaskets that seal flanged connections subject to high pressures and temperatures) for customers in the petrochemical and power generation industries.
This work includes a £6 million three-year contract to supply precision products to a manufacturer of subsea ‘trees’, with the equipment being used to ‘top’ underwater wellheads and control the flow of oil/gas.
The company’s heavy investment in production machinery for AMP has mirrored the philosophy successfully applied at the company’s main Superturn site and at its X-Cel Precision facility: 'The machines have to be able to produce these components day in, day out and with absolute accuracy,' says Managing Director Andrew Taylor.
'In addition, of course, they have to be cost-effective and, if the need arises, adequately supported,' he adds. 'When considering new machines we always look at three or four alternatives at least, but our investment in this series of Ward CNC machines met all of our ion criteria and, as usual, the machines were available from stock.'
The ongoing and long-established success at the main Superturn and the group’s X-Cel Precision sites (in Sheffield and in Batley, West Yorkshire, respectively) of a number of Ward CNC-supplied machines – Hankook Protec 9NC lathes, a Hartford Blockbuster PRO 3150 double-column vertical machining centre plus two Hyundai-Wia VTLs (LV800R/L and LV1100RM) and a Hankook VTC-140/E VTL - left Mr Taylor in no doubt that further machines from Ward CNC would perform similarly at the AMP facility.
This decision was partly based on Superturn’s use of a Hankook VTC140/E VTL that has been used to machine, in a single set-up, a variety of subsea oil seals. The machine’s ability to turn, drill and tap in a single set-up the seals – which can measure up to three metres in diameter and weigh 1.5 tonnes – superseded the traditional process of flat-bed turning before the workpieces were transferred to another machine for drilling and tapping.
All such work is now performed at X-Cel AMP which occupies a custom-designed 14,000 ft2 site that is accredited to OHSAS 18001 and ISO14001. Here a rising order book is being satisfied by, for example:
- Four Hyundai-Wia LV800R/L two-axis vertical boring and turning machines – the LV Series features machines with tables of 305 mm to 1,016 mm diameter and having maximum turning diameters and lengths of 430 mm to 1,160 mm and 400 mm to 1,000 mm, respectively;
- A Hyundai-Wia L400C slant bed two-axis CNC lathe – the L Series range embraces machines with bar capacities of 90 mm to 117 mm and with X axis travels of 320 mm to 325 mm as well as 1,200 mm to 2,100 mm in Z; and
- A Hyundai-Wia L300MC turning centre with C axis and driven tools – the 12-tool station machine range extends from models having bar capacities of 76 mm to 90 mm, maximum turning diameters of 410 mm to 490 mm and maximum turning lengths from 660 mm to 1,320 mm.